Welcome to 10 Questions With….Nick H. You may know Nick on the affiliate forums as “Hazo”. The main purpose of Casino Affiliate Bible was to educate poker affiliates who are interested in promoting online casinos, therefore I thought it was an excellent idea to interview Nick, who started out as a poker affiliate and is now promoting online casinos too.
Nick has been promoting online poker since February 2008. Based in Australia, Nicks first site was Poker Shark. He also has an excellent site that covers everything Australian Gambling related.
Recently Nick jumped into the online casino market. He picked out a niche in online craps, and then created an absolutely phenomenal Online Craps site. Nicks goal is to be making $10k a month by May 2010, and with a site like that I think he will make that goal with ease.
Nick also has an excellent blog entitled Successful Affiliate. With that, let’s pick Nicks brain.
Thanks for the interview Nick. You started off in online gambling as a poker affiliate. What made you decide to become a poker affiliate?
Like most poker affiliates I started out playing poker online. I saw an affiliate link on an operator website and began discussing it with my poker buddy. At the time I was living with a guy that was a graphic designer and knew his way around general web/html stuff. For about 6 months it was something “that we should do” but had no real plans of implementing it.
I went on a holiday to Thailand for a few weeks and went on our trek was a group from Newcastle (Australian city). A couple of them worked for one of their fathers, who ran a pub poker gig. Apparently he was making an absolute killing so had a few discussions with them.
One day when I got back I found PokerAffiliateBible.com when searching for how to get started. After a bit of research around some forums I made a start on the site and Poker Shark was born.
I have recently teamed up with a fellow Aussie affiliate. He has run a successful Aussie poker site before and has the authority greyhound racing site here. He has been around a long time and brings a lot of experience to the table.
I am trying to concentrate on the 3 sites to give them the attention they need. At the moment Australian Gambling is taking up a lot of time due to the sheer amount of content that is needed. I can also foresee this happening in the future as well.
We don’t have any staff as yet but will be something that we will look into in the future as the site takes off. I will be outsourcing some work, like the XML coding. I have a great gig going where I write quality content for a sweet coder so it’s a win/win for both of us. Hopefully this arrangement sticks around long term.
You’ve been an affiliate for a couple of years now. What have you learnt in that time, that you wish you had known when getting into the business?
The biggest thing is the day to day activities that take a long time when you don’t know how. Things that would take me hours/days before only take a number of minutes. You just can’t beat experience in this industry. You can read all you want but at the end of the day you need to be efficient in your work.
If I had to learn one thing early on it would have been to get a better understanding of code. I relied on my partner/others for almost everything related to it. It hasn’t been until recently my independence has grown so I can complete simple taks by myself.
Recently, you’ve entered the online casino world, with the excellent site dedicated to Online Craps. What was the reasoning behind the decision to become a casino affiliate, and why craps?
To be honest, it was the money that lured me to the online casino world. It has always been something that I wanted to get into but didn’t have the knowledge to do so. Late last year I got my feet wet but then sold the site off.
I was searching through domains and I came across onlinecraps.net. I got a good deal on it even though it wiped out my bank account. I just knew that I needed the domain. With such a top level domain it would be silly to ignore the calling of the Craps market.
Why Craps? Well besides the domain it was definitely high on the list anyway. I don’t tend to follow the crowd as much as everyone else and didn’t particularly want to make yet another slots site that would take hundreds of pages just to make some money. While this niche has less money in it for sure, it also has less competition.
One of the biggest differences in poker affiliation vs casino affiliation is the swings that you can get as a casino affiliate. I even have an article on that topic – Preparing for the Swings. You experienced these swings first-hand very early in your casino affiliate career, when one affiliate account went from $6.49 to NEGATIVE $11,070.25 overnight. Tell us about the swings.
Yeah I wrote that article on my Successful Affiliate website. One of the key reasons why we love to be affiliates is because we experience strong fluctuations and work in a volatile market. Even though the account is in negative it is a key indication of what we should be prepared for.
Affiliates should recognise that just because they make x this month, don’t count on it next month. That’s why you need to treat affiliating like a business. By this I mean having several sources of income and managing it in a way where you won’t be broke if you are wiped out for a few months. Putting income aside each month is one of the ways affiliates like to deal with situations like these.
What other differences have you found so far in promoting online casinos as opposed to promoting online poker?
I still am pretty green in online casinos, but what I have noticed is the attitudes/mindets of the players. IMO, casino players are more impulsive, and react better to the “salesy” type website. We are dealing with a completely kettle of fish here and not all of them want deep strategy. You’d be surprised at the type of sites making loads of money, so you need to adapt to your audience. SO what do you need to do this? Well that’s the million dollar question isn’t it.
Another difference I have noticed is in terms of the affiliate programs and other affiliates. I believe it is one of the shadiest industries in the world so you need to be careful about who you deal with and do your due diligence. There are a lot of black hatters around and you have to be on the ball to spot irregularities. As with any industry that has tons of money floating around, the dodgy people will come. With low barriers of entry to becoming an affiliate, you will get affiliates of all shapes and sizes.
Do you prefer to run mega-sites like your Australian Gambling site, or targetting a specific niche like the Online Craps site?
As I alluded to above I prefer to run bigger sites. While Online Craps
is a niche, I still plan on making it a larger site. I am terrible at organisation so I struggle to maintain more than a few sites. The sites I do work on mostly require regular updates so that in itself is enough to keep me more than busy.
At the end of the day the question that is always in my mind is “what benefit will this shitty little mini-site provide my visitor?” Before I was an affiliate websites like that pissed me off, so I try to steer clear of them now (although I have done them). I think by having major sites and everything in one location for your visitors is much more valuable then spread out across a few. While mini-sites do serve their purpose the motivation isn’t there for me. All that work to get a site to make xxxx doesn’t grab me at all. I’m an ambitious guy and big sites bring in the big $ (mostly). That is my plan.
The online gambling industry, while lucrative, is also very competitive and can be tough to make money in. Because of that, I’ve seen literally hundreds of affiliates in the last few years get into the business, start up a site, then let it stagnate because it was too competitive, or they weren’t earning enough money etc. You started in early 2008, yet seem to get stronger and better when it comes to internet marketing every day. What tips do you have for new affiliates?
No matter what anyone tells you or tries to get you to believe, it all comes down to you. It is your personality, motivation levels, ambition and drive that will get you to where you need to be. As soon as you let your guard down and begin to believe what others tell you is when you will lose at this game. I’m in it for the long haul so I’m in that frame of mind.
It is no secret to anyone that most people in the world aren’t what we refer to as “rich.” It is the same people that try to give us these gems of advice. If you are smart, stick to your guns and create value for your visitors then affiliating will be a lucrative industry for you.
You recently started your own website, SuccessfulAffiliate.com. At what point do you think an affiliate can consider themselves truly successful?
That all comes down to the affiliate. My goal for the past 6 months or so is to be regularly making 10k/month before may next year. When I achieve that I believe that I can confidently say that I am successful. While it isn’t a huge amount of money and my goals extend way beyond that, it is a point where I believe that will be where I can say “I successfully run affiliate websites.” Part of this blog is to find out exactly what it takes to get to this point. There are many resources on the internet that tell us what to do, but not how. A lot of us don’t realise what it takes day in day out to be a success either. I personally have been victim of lots of mistakes, misbeliefs and laziness. I think by tracking my progress I can get a solid read on how to improve. At the same time I’m a strong believer in giving back to the community that has helped me so much. Nobody likes a tight arse.
Any final advice for current poker affiliates looking to get into the casino affiliate world?
Recently I have figured out that I spend way too much time reading forums and blogs. While the information in the beginning is key to your development, over time it becomes less and less valuable. You need to start actually doing the work. I have come to the realisation that by continually reading isn’t going to cut it. I only learn by doing anyway so much of what I read is lost if I don’t practice what I read/preach.
While you should make lots of friends online, don’t let the forums/blogs take over your business life. You will find in most cases that the people that post the most are making the least amount of money. Be smart about how you handle your business and don’t be scared to make mistakes. By tightly holding onto affiliate communities is going to stunt your growth. Knuckle down and create a valuable resource.
Thanks Graeme for having me on here it has been a pleasure. Your poker affiliate website was the first one I stumbled across in my journey. Only now have I started working with you in an attempt to take my efforts to the next level.
Goodluck on your quest to dominate the casino affiliate market.
Thank you very much for the interview Nick. If any readers feel they learnt anything from this interview then show your appreciation – put a link on your site to Nicks excellent Online Craps site. You can read more from Nick at his blog, SuccessfulAffiliate.com.