One of the most interesting people in this industry is Greg Powell. Greg has worked in many different roles in his time in the gambling affiliate world. He’s been a poker player, an affiliate, an affiliate manager, a consult and moderator/admin of some of the biggest poker affiliate forums, as well as a few more roles I’m sure I am forgetting.
Greg currently now works with Empire Marketing, an Affiliate Program Consultant company. Greg sat down with me to conduct a PHENOMENAL interview as we covered a lot of very interesting topics, and Greg went into some amazing detail. This is one interview you really can’t miss.
This is part 1 of 2. The 2nd 5 questions will be up shortly.
Man this is so true. When someone asks me, ‘Greg how did you get involved in this business’ I have to step back myself and think about it. It’s funny to me sometimes to think back on playing $1/$2 Limit games on PartyPoker to the career I have now.
Honestly, I was terrible at poker (still am) but was fascinated by the way the business of it worked. When I started my first poker portal I emailed my affiliate manager at Party and asked for some things to help me market their room to my friends. A couple signed up and I got my first official commission check – $102! Needless to say I was excited and actually printed some more shirts and hats myself.
As cheesy as it sounds, and it really was, I put my bonus code right on the shirts! I remember going on a cruise with my wife and taking a load of affiliate stuff with me to pass out to people. I knew a few guys on the ship with us and we organized a little poker tournament, which was highly frowned upon. Shortly after that I began working as an affiliate manager for CelebPoker.com knowing nothing about what I was doing. I simply tried to do for our affiliates what I had wanted from my AM’s before. It was a simplistic approach that worked and I still use it today.
I have the privilege of working with several great operators and getting to know their platforms. I’ve been doing consulting full time for the past several years and that’s allowed me to closely work with most of the software platforms and backend reporting systems out there.
Now back to your question, yes – affiliates should always contact the program manager before signing up. This gives you several advantages that you might miss out on by simply registering without any communication.
1 – You need a dedicated contact at the program that can help you if you need assistance.
2 – There might be a better deal for you if you ask. Honestly, these rooms want your business and most are willing to up you 5-10% if you just ask for it. Send them some data on what you’ve done in the past and how you’ll be marketing their rooms and ask if they can place you on an elevated commission.
3 – Like you said Dan, these guys should know their programs. Try as best you can to skip the marketing BS and get straight to this question, “what makes you different from the other rooms on this network” or “what is different about your software and promotions”
If I was going to start any gaming portal right now it would be Bingo. After that I would build a mobile gaming portal and have bingo on there as well!
No secret that I have always been a bit of a Bingo advocate on the forums and in my career. Before the laws changed I actually ran a pretty large bingo room myself. Talk about a crash course in the way that business works! Recently though, for the past 18 months, I’ve had the pleasure of working with CyberBingo.com and seeing how they have been able to run a program successfully for the past 15 years.
In working with them it still amazes me how wide open the playing field still is. I don’t think you have to go ‘ultra niche’ in bingo like you would in poker/casino. There’s still loads of players out there, especially in the US, that are just looking for a safe and fun place to play. For me I like the basics in a bingo portal; clean design, 5-6 good programs listed, how to deposit content and also screenshots of the games.
Some great terms are ‘how to play online bingo’ ‘best bingo rooms online’ ‘where to play online bingo’ ‘depositing online bingo sites’ etc. There is some real money to be made when you rank for those type of terms and can easily show your visitors how they make a deposit. YouTube videos work wonders for bingo players.
This is a pretty complex answer that could go for pages and pages. I’ll try and highlight some of the more important aspects that we as affiliates don’t think about (but should be). The biggest is payment processing. It’s what makes the business work and keeps rooms profitable.
It’s also a never ending process that keeps CEO’s awake at night and customer support people working 24/7. We all see Visa/Mastercard listed in the Cashier but the methods behind getting those to work change monthly. Without giving any specifics away, all the gaming companies that take US players have processors set up remotely ‘coding’ transactions as all sorts of things (that aren’t gambling).
Credit card deposits can affect a companies revenue by 50%+ so it’s vital that they have a good acceptance rate. 3rd party payment solutions like PIC Club and eWalletxPress are nice back ups, but they go down every year and new ones emerge. It’s a constant process and one that no one likes to discuss. As an affiliate you should periodically ask your AM ‘how is your payment processing looking these days and are there any new providers you’re bringing on soon.’
Another big factor in what’s happening is this: Is the program you’re working with a skin/white label or do they operate on their own platform. If they’re a skin (85% are) then pretty much all they do is Marketing. They’re essentially a staffed affiliate program and you’re their sub-affiliates. They don’t handle the processing, support or software upgrades. Likewise, they don’t have the ability to change much for you. They are however more likely to give an affiliate more attention and many are experts in marketing themselves.
TowerGaming is a really great brand it was fun working with them as they launched their program. I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish there and they have a great team in place.
Cover-All type programs have their strengths and weaknesses, on the affiliate side and the business side. Typically they are very good at 1-2 pieces of the business (usually sports and casino) and have the other games on there for good measure. Tower was an exception because they were very strong on poker first. Most of the big boys are Sportsbooks that have the software for other games and add them without much thought.
As an affiliate the draw is that your players are making you money no matter what they’re into that day. BetUS is a prime example of how this works very well. They’re a sportsbook that has a great casino (and a mediocre poker room). Bet365 is another good example of this. Your players are typically worth a little more at these rooms because they play there longer. It’s really not because they play poker, casino and bet on sports all in one day (people bankrolls are usually the same) but it’s due more to the marketing these larger companies do and their ability to keep a player happy and loyal.
Now, if you have a poker strategy site and a forum with expert players etc. then you might be better off sending them to a poker room only. You don’t want them going on tilt and losing everything at a slot machine when they could have made you 3x more in rake. However, let’s say you have a deposit bonus oriented site and your players are much more casual. You would be better off sending them to a PlayersOnly type room where they can dabble in everything. It really comes down to what sort of site you’re running and where you think your players would deposit the most at.
(Part 2 will be up soon)