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Dealer Dan, pictured here with WWE Superstar Mick Foley, has been in internet marketing since 1996. He likes hugs, long walks on the beach, and making money while wearing his jammy jams. For more information, you can read all about Dealer Dan. » Interviews » Affiliate Roundtable: Life After Affiliation

Affiliate Roundtable: Life After Affiliation

While deciding on whether or not to attend next years London Affiliate Conference, I was thinking a lot about just how great the gambling affiliate community is, and how many friends I’ve made within this industry.

But what really got me thinking was just how many people I’ve met over the years that have moved on from being purely a gambling affiliate to other areas of marketing and business on the internet. For example I was at the Budapest Affiliate Conference in 2009 – and over half the people I spent time with at that conference aren’t even in the gambling affiliate business anymore.

With all this talk of diversification, as well as regulation seeping more and more into the gambling affiliate world, I thought I’d take some time to talk to 3 such persons whose primary income was initially based on gambling(and mainly poker) affiliation, and now not so much.

The three people I’m interviewing today are Jeremy Enke, Mike Wittmeyer and Greg Powell.

Jeremy is one of the most famous poker affiliates who has been back and forth with poker affiliation for years. He runs the best gambling affiliate community in and while rather quiet for the last few years when it comes to poker affiliation, he is clearly now reinvigorated and motivated due to the regulated markets opening up in the USA.

When you think of “blessing in disguise”, you think of Mike Wittmeyer. A series of events such as Black Friday and the fall of a gold/silver affiliate program all ended up being the best for Mike, who is now the co-owner of the highly successful, one of the largest websites on the net for purchasing gold and silver.

Finally, Greg Powell is one of the pioneers. If you remember the Paradise Poker iPod deal, Greg was one of the brains behind that. Greg now focuses both on affiliate management and consultation for affiliate programs with a focus on poker and gambling affiliation as well.

I’d like to thank all three of these guys for taking the time to do the following interviews and participate in this roundtable:

You were big into poker affiliation since the early days. What would you say were the biggest learning experiences from your time as an affiliate?

(Jeremy)As a poker affiliate in the U.S. since 2001 or so, it’s been one heck of a ride. A few of the greatest learning experiences I have taken from the poker affiliate industry is:

  • The online poker industry and affiliate landscape is constantly changing, sometimes for the good, and other times for the bad.
  • No matter how much money you are making from an individual affiliate program, it can all disappear within the blink of an eye. It happened to many of us in 2006 with the UIGEA, and again in 2011 on Black Friday.
  • I learned early on the importance of diversification and working within multiple affiliate verticals.

(Mike) Being an affiliate was a great learning opportunity, albeit in a fairly limited scope because I was a bit narrow-minded – essentially just building websites and learning SEO. Affiliating is how I learned to buy domains, set up hosting, create/code websites, and make those websites rank in search engines and therefore make money. I also learned all of the basic technical skills that a lot of us probably take for granted now, like how to change DNS, work with a CDN, use FTP, edit images, etc.

The other side of affiliating as a learning opportunity was really just meeting people at conferences and opening my eyes as to what was possible on the Internet. I started out very young, and initially viewed affiliating as a way to avoid having a job in high school and college, but not much more.

Once I started making more money and taking the business more seriously, as well as networking with people on Skype and meeting fellow affiliates in-person at conferences, I really got hungry to get on their level. It was truly just mind-blowing to see people around my age and how they could live their lives as a result of being a “super affiliate”. I think this was probably my best takeaway from affiliating – the drive to become successful like those people I had met, as well as the belief that it was actually possible.

(Greg) Great question, and looking back at those days I wish I’d have known a 10th of what I know now about the business and cementing long term relationships. I was trying everything I had read that other affiliates were doing in the beginning. I was having the most success with local advertising; creating niche sites based on the poker games in the areas I lived by. I remember Party Poker would open a password protected table for me and I would literally drive around to the casinos (land based) and drop business cards on the car windows with the information. Let’s just say I’ve been kicked out of more than one casino parking lot in my old days!

My most important lesson learned was the process of repetition. Along the way I found several marketing angles that worked, The better I became at not getting bored with the same things and instead focusing on refining those channels and re-investing into what WAS working the more successful I became.

When did you start to gravitate away from poker/gambling affiliation and why?
Well, it’s kind of been a love/hate thing for the last decade! I’ve never really gravitated away, but I have explored other markets, for example precious metals, and financial type stuff. After UIGEA in 2006, I made it a point to not be solely reliant on gambling affiliate revenue.

Then in 2011 after Black Friday, I had almost had enough to completely leave the industry. But I’ve always believed in doing what you love, and I actual have a great passion for online gaming, especially the business side of it. So with that, I gravitated more towards consulting roles and non-affiliate marketing work while the industry was in a holding pattern awaiting regulation.

I had sold my network right before most of the sites like FTP started cutting CPAs and cookie length, which back then I thought I had timed it perfectly. From that point forward I felt gambling was really saturated and also in decline, so I spent most of my time squandering lots of money in other industries, while simultaneously building one last poker site on a pretty good domain. The poker site never really took off in Google, and when Black Friday hit, I was just over it and dumped it for pennies on the dollar. A few weeks later it skyrocketed in the rankings – the buyer in that deal ended up doing quite well. Since then I haven’t done anything else in gambling.
I wouldn’t say I ever completely left the online gambling world. But the more efficient I became at helping companies grow their affiliate programs the more I realized I could replicate (see above) the process with retail and more traditional companies. One major success I had was diving into the precious metals market and growing a monster of an affiliate program selling gold and silver.
What are you primarily doing now?
Currently I would consider myself a fantasy football guru. OK, just kidding! It’s actually a very exciting time in my career right now. I recently partnered up with a great company, and together we are building a dream team to be the authority on all aspects of the regulated online gaming markets in the U.S. as they continue to emerge.

Personally I have been waiting for the opportunity to work in a regulated U.S. market for a long, long time. And while I am not actively doing as much individually as an affiliate, I am still very connected to this side of the business and plan on continuing to work closely with both operators and affiliates for many years to come.

After being in the industry so long and developing so many great relationships, I think it’s just a natural progression to become more immersed in the business of affiliate marketing than actually just being an affiliate.

I’ve been working for over two years now on, which is an online retail site offering physical gold and silver products to individual investors. I fell into the project when I had bought a few gold and silver domains to be an affiliate for, partnered up with an old friend from PAL who knew the industry, and built them out, just in time for APMEX to shut down their affiliate program.

We were left with a good chunk of people visiting our sites looking to buy gold and silver, but nowhere to send them. My partner suggested we give retail a shot to see if we could monetize our existing traffic and perhaps grow beyond that. I was quite hesitant as I had never done anything outside of affiliating before and knew absolutely nothing about the metals industry or online retail, but fortunately he talked me into it and we sort of just winged it from there.

For the past several years now I have been focused on consulting work; both inside and outside of online gaming. It’s a huge advantage for me to be able to take the marketing tools and practices retail affiliates are using and plug them into the casino/poker affiliate mix. I still believe that gambling affiliates are the savviest marketers online so I tend to pull more influence from my ‘old stomping grounds’ than the new trends in affiliate marketing.
As someone who has seen it all in the poker affiliate world, what advice would you give to any new poker affiliates, in this new day and age of legislation?
Wow, I could write an entire book on this. It would be easy to say learn SEO, rank well, etc. But the reality is nobody knows exactly what the landscape of this new age of legislation is actually going to look like. More important than just being a “webmaster” and operating “websites”, build a brand.
Secondly, there is so much to learn as an affiliate. After a decade, I am still learning each and every day. Surround yourself with other successful affiliates and absorb everything you are able to learn from them.

Lastly, life is short; don’t waste it typing on a computer hoping to be the next internet millionaire. Have a fun life, a balanced life, and make money at the same time!

I think the best advice I could give someone is to just man up and get started. The first version of your first website will likely be horrendous and make you no money, but just taking that first step and launching your first site is where we all began. Nowadays it is so cheap and simple to build a simple WordPress site that there really is no excuse for putting it off other than laziness. Just pick a topic, go buy the domain and hosting for $50 or whatever, and put it live.

Some other general bits I’d recommend are:

– Have a working knowledge of as many things as possible and always keep learning. Affiliating was a bit more cut and dry for me, as far as buy links/buy content/put it together and repeat sort of thing, and I really got lost in that and ignored everything else for so long. Working on JM has required us to learn about hedging, corporate finance, recruiting and managing employees, working with partners, supply chain, vendor relations, on and on. The Internet is an incredible resource for reading and learning, so take advantage of that as much as possible.

– Surround yourself with the right people. We have a really great ownership group, and everyone brings something unique to the table. I’ve learned a lot from the guys I work with, and they’re all quite smart and successful, so it gives you something to strive for as well as great resources to lean on when you need help figuring something out.

– And finally, respect the money. When times are good (like when I sold my first network), you feel invincible and want to start 100 things at once and throw money at all sorts of projects, because of course they’re all going to work out and make you more and more money. Going bust on so many of my post-gambling things really taught me to treasure a successful business for what it is – an extremely rare and fragile thing that isn’t to be taken for granted.

Just this morning I spent some time looking at the New Jersey site that Party Poker has put up. It’s fascinating to me to see real companies’ spending money on US players. The smallest tip of the iceberg has been cracked and there’s no slowing down now. My advice for new affiliates is to keep up to the minute on legislation news and which companies are making their moves. Even outside being an affiliate, these companies will need people to help them run these interactive divisions. Parlay your experience and offer your services to them as a consultant in addition to being an affiliate driving traffic. Localized, geo targeting for players in these newly legal states is where the money is going to be!

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This article, as are all articles on, was written by Graeme aka "Dealer Dan". Graeme currently resides in Kingston, Ontario and has been running his own internet marketing business since 1996.

This article was written on December 17, 2013 however all articles are looked at on a monthly basis and updated to keep them relevant.

If you need to contact Graeme, please see his Contact Page. If you are an affiliate manager wanting promoted please see this page.