Category Archives: My Story

London Affiliate Conference 2011 (Part 1)

2008 was the last time I had a chance to make it out to the London Affiliate Conference where I had a lot of fun, so I decided it was time to head back, even though the idea of being in London in January didn’t appeal to me that much. Regardless, I had always wanted to go back to the iGB Awards, so decided to make the trip this year to catch up with some old friends and meet some new people.

Wednesday

I flew out on Tuesday night and arrived in London at 9am Wednesday morning. Since my hotel would not be ready for several hours I decided to head over to the main hotel (as I stayed at the Shaftesbury Notting Hill Hotel the first night, which probably had the world’s smallest hotel room) to meet up with Nick (from Casino Coins) and his girlfriend Jenna for lunch. Upon arrival to the hotel there were many familiar faces in the lobby. I ran into Riyaz from Bodog Affiliates, Mike Wittmeyer and Roger (2 PAL members) and we hung out for a bit, and grabbed Nick from upstairs. After lunch we Nick, Jenna and I decided to head over to ICE (another big more land based focussed casino conference) that was going on just before the LAC event. It was pretty cool to see some the “future of games” in land based casinos. I saw some of the coolest slot machines that I have ever seen, with a lot more focus on electronic chip management for table games. Still running on no sleep from the morning before, I had to head out as I had dinner plans with Odette from PKR. Odette took me on a tour of the offices at PKR which have apparently been expanding like crazy over the past few years. It was pretty cool to see what happens behind the scenes at an online gaming company. After the tour, we headed for dinner at Shaka Zulu, which was a really cool South African restaurant at the same venue as where the Fire and Ice party was being held that night. We tried some Biltong (a South African cured meat), had some curried shrimp, fish as the main course and of course some delicious cocktails. Odette ordered an Ostrich dish which she let me try, which was also really delicious! After dinner we headed upstairs to the Fire and Ice party where PKR had a table right in the best location of the club. The rest of the evening involved lots of champagne, vodka, and all sorts of mystery shots plus some excellent entertainment involving many painted naked ladies, midgets, performers and much more. All in all, it was a great night and I got to party with many other affiliates and affiliate managers (too many to list everyone). One nice parts of the night was I managed to work out some differences with Nick K., an affiliate who I had some issues with in the past but I think he might have finally started to see my side to the problem from the past ;)

Here is a picture of our table with some other affiliates (borrowed from Odette’s pics):


Thursday

After getting home late from the night before I managed to get a few hours sleep before getting told that I needed to check out by the Shaftesbury hotel, so I headed over to the Grange St. Pauls, and checked into my room there. I had always wanted to stay at the main conference hotel, as there is where most people usually congregate but in the past I typically booked my hotel last minute and it was always sold out, fortunately I did this time, as this hotel was quite amazing! The rooms were really nicely done and had tons of space (even though I hardly spent any time in there). Most of Thursday during the day was spent hanging out in the hotel Lobby with Nick and Jenna. I met lots of different people (affiliates and affiliate managers) and had a couple of beers to help overcome the hangover from the night before.

Thursday evening I was invited to the iGB Affiliate Awards with Martyn from Affiliate Edge (formerly CWC Affiliates). Martyn is highly regarded as one of the best AM’s in the industry, so this was an excellent opportunity to hang out with his team and meet some new casino affiliates since I am trying to learn more about the casino side of the industry. Affiliate Edge had 2 tables and I got to have dinner with several casino affiliates that I had seen on the forums such as CasinoMeister, Simmo (Ian), Christine (Streak Gaming / Affiliate Guard Dog), as well as several others. After dinner I decided I was going to call it a night and ran into Tony (belgamo on the forums) and hitched a ride back to the hotel with him and his wife. Right as I entered the hotel lobby I ran into Troy from Bodog who was with Dana Workman (the new CalvinAyre.com reporter) and said they were heading to Chyna White to meet some affiliates and asked me to join, so I decided sleep could wait for a bit. At the club Nick and Andreas were partying with a few other affiliates and balling out of control on several massive bottles of vodka. I only had a couple of drinks though but it was still lots of fun and finally around 2:30 or 3 Troy, Dana and I decided to call it a night and headed back to the hotel (our oringinal plan to only stay an hour quickly went out the window).

Here is a picture from the Awards (photo credit to the iGB Events Facebook Group):

Continued in Part 2

Summer Is Almost Over… That’s Probably A Good Thing

Every now and then I click the link I have to my blog and keep thinking I gotta update this thing, so I figured tonight that I would write about what I have been up to lately.

Right now it feels like summer is drawing to a close. It is getting cooler at night, kids are heading back to school and the non-stop patio nights have drastically reduced. I think this summer has probably been one of my laziest ones yet. I keep pushing projects back, find it hard to get work done, and am spending far too much time going out. Fortunately as it gets cooler this means that I will be able to turn my focus back to work and start working on getting some sites up and running. It’s tough sometimes to keep yourself motivated when the weather is nice and you have sites generating you enough income to get by on (even though you know that well could eventually dry up).

Earlier in the Summer I decided to go visit a friend out in Nova Scotia for a week extremely last minute. Basically we were chatting on facebook on Thursday night and I jokingly said I wish I could come out there and before you knew it I was booking my flight about an hour after and leaving the very next morning. This was a really chilled out trip which involved a lot of drinking when we were in Antigonish staying with his cousin, and laid back reading time when out where his dad lived (out in the middle of nowhere). His dad had a Celtic monk staying with him and we spent a lot of time chatting on the porch to pass the time.

A few weeks ago I made it out to the CBG Affiliate Weekend. This is a great smaller event targeted more at the North American affiliates (even though a lot come over from all over the world). The event is put on by Judy, Dean and the rest of the crew from CasinoBonusGuy.com. Like last year, this event was a ton of fun and definitely one of my favorite events to attend (as I don’t have to get on a plane for 9+ hours to get there). They brought in some great speakers (I caught a bit of the SEO session), hosted some great dinners and of course you can’t go wrong with an open bar. I caught up with some old friends as well as met a few new people so all in all it was a great time. The weekend included the typical conference debauchery of strip clubs, gambling, excessive drinking, and partying till all hours of the night.

The week after the CBG weekend, I headed down to the Bahamas on a cruise with my friend John for a few days to relax, though it turned into more partying. The theme song of the cruise was David Guetta’s “Getting Over You”, which constantly repeats “we gonna party, and party and party… etc” so I knew it was going to be a long week. During the days we would get off the boat and explore wherever we were. Day 1 was Freeport where we went swimming, lied on the beach and I hopped on a jet ski for a bit. Day 2 was Nassau where John and I lived like we were kids again and hit their outrageously priced water slides ($110/day) at Atlantis. It was well worth it though as the slides were a ton of fun and the coolest was the one where you slide through a pool filled with sharks. Fortunately after returning from the slides John hit his first pull on a slot machine and covered the cost of the slides – thank you sir! Day 3 we went to Great Stirrup Cay, which was a beach owned by the cruise line and just laid in the sun drinking some tropical drinks and went swimming. On board the boat we typically went for dinner at one of the restaurants and like some kind of weird ritual would head down to the casino with our wine glasses and whatever wine was left in the bottle from dinner. This usually resulted in about a 4-5 hour session after which we would head to the bar or club. By the end of the first day I think pretty much everyone in the casino knew John and I by names and we had a drink guy that would check on us every 5 minutes or so. It was pretty fun! This was definitely one of my favorite trips I have been on and can’t wait to do it again sometime. Shout out to Norwegian Cruise Lines for doing an awesome job!

So that’s about all I can think of for now and I promise I will try to make a better blog post next time!

Life Update

It’s been a while since I posted here so I figured I would give a bit of an update on what’s going on in my life.

About a month ago I sold off a large majority of my poker websites.  I kept a handful to keep me with a bit of an income stream, but for the most part I am pretty much out of the poker game.  The main reason I did this is because I was getting fed up with the constant stories of affiliate programs changing their terms and screwing over their affiliates plus I really wanted to try and start expanding into other industries.

At the time I was selling everything I was working on a project to build a casino site about the best casinos online.  Since I already started with that project I figure I will continue building the site (which is almost done) then start focusing more on my plans to do things in other industries.  I am really happy with this site so far, and think the design is incredible (thanks Will!).

Recently I made it out to Prague for the iGaming Super Show which was a lot of fun.  There I caught up with some old friends and got to meet some people that I had spoken to many times online but never met such as Roger (congrats on finally making it out to an event ;)).  The highlight of the trip was definitely the CalvinAyre.com party which consisted of an old sewage plant that was still active, many midgets, beautiful women, all sorts of Mad Max characters, overhead jousting, a drum band, unlimited booze, pyrotechnics and much more!  Unfortunately I didn’t bring my camera, but you can see a bunch of the pictures from that party here.

While over there I also managed to get down to Vienna for a couple of days, which was a very beautiful city (I added a pic of Belvedere Palace which is now a Museum to this post).

Once I finish up with the casino site my next plan is to build a kind of Men’s Online Magazine which will be sort of a cross between Askmen.com and Forbes.com.  I really don’t know how it will do but it is more something I want to do for fun and think that it could have great potential.  Also I am kinda new to other types of online marketing so it will be a bit of a learning experience.

Anyway, that is all for now, and I will try and get some more interesting posts up soon.

Real Estate Negotiations vs. Website Purchase Negotiations

After spending the last 2 or so years trying to buy a condo which I finally found a couple months ago I learned a lot about the negotiation process (after many failed offers).  Here are a couple things that I think could be used to negotiating the purchase of a website or domain (if you aren’t already using them).

Time Sensitive Offers (BUYING) – One of the things that I picked up that I thought could be applied to the affiliate industry is the use of time sensitive offers. Basically what I mean by this is putting in an offer, but telling the person your offer expires in X # of hours. This way you put the pressure back on the seller to either accept your offer (if it is the highest at the time there is a good possibility this will happen) and risk losing it, or holding out for a better one. Typically if you come in around the amount they are looking to get, but a bit lower usually you will get the site you want and save some money doing it. I find that far too many people on PAL and other forums have the worst approaches to both buying and selling their sites. People post offers in a thread (which is now visible to any other potential buyers) and give the seller an endless amount of time to make a decision. For me personally if I am going to commit to a purchase I want to know if I have it almost immediately, which is why I like using this approach.

Offer Conditions (BUYING) – Another thing that could work with purchasing websites (like they do in Real Estate) is putting restrictions or conditions on your offer. Almost every real estate deal will have some kind of condition on the offer, so why not do the same with virtual real estate (or domains). This way you can come in with a good offer and ask the seller to take the site off the market if he accepts, but also give yourself some time to do some due diligence on the property you are buying to make sure there is nothing funny about it.

Holding Back Offers (SELLING) – One common tactic used in the real estate market is to hold back offers. Basically this means you set a sell date, and allow everyone to present their best offer anonymously. This can create bidding wars back and forth as the seller will then usually try to work with the top 2 offers on price. Sure, its annoying as hell from a buyers standpoint and it might discourage some, but this could also lead you to making a lot more on the sale of your property than you had planned.

Anyway, I am sure there are some other things and I didn’t really plan to write this post so most of this is off the top of my head.

Life Update… Well I have spent the last month or so getting settled into the new condo. It has been a ton of work, but its pretty close to done now. Just need a couple more small things. Other than that I have been trying to get some other projects going that I have been working on for a long time. One is a men’s magazine kind of site that is a cross between Forbes and AskMen.com. Another one is a Casino Site that I will post more about once it is complete. Then I have a few more sites that I will be developing further down the road which include a real estate site, a local furniture store site and a site about local restaurants. I am really just trying to dabble in a bunch of different industries to see what works and what doesn’t. I also hired a writer that is helping me get many of these sites ready.

Here are a couple of pics of the condo that I think I promised in the last post:

The View:

My Workcenter / Dining Room

Guest Bathroom:

View of most of the place (there is a new sofa now and the dining table is now white glass):

Kitchen:

Affiliate Tip: I don’t think I have ever really posted many good tips on how to make money for a while so, here is an easy one. Scour around for domains that have some good keywords in them (I know all the really good ones are gone, but if you look for ones with lower search volumes or find dropped ones its possible – preferably generic with things like “online” “poker” “review” “code” “bonus”, etc. in them). If you have to spend $50-$100 to get a pretty decent domain. Then get someone to build you a decent template that you can reuse for several sites (this will be the most expensive part but it is a one time cost and the more you spend the more you will get in return). You should be able to get something decent for around $400.  Write around 25 pages of good content (the more the better) and add it to the site.  You should instantly be able to flip that site for around $2000 or more depending how much content is there on your $500 investment.

Bought a Condo!

After looking for the past 2 years (pretty much) for a place to live I finally found a pretty nice condo that will do the job. It is right downtown in Toronto and for a downtown condo has a decent amount of space. The building it is in is pretty sick and has all sorts of cool ammenities including a pool, bbq area, gym, rock climbing wall, spin class / yoga studio, movie theather, business center and many more! I move in in just 3 weeks so will probably be scrambling to get a lot of things ready for the move.

Work has been getting pretty busy lately too. I am trying to develop a lot of the domains I have just sitting around with nothing on them. The biggest one that I am building is a casino site, which I will post more about when its closer to completion (just in case any of you readers have similar domains that you are building on ;))

Other than that, not a lot else going on in my life. Will try and write some better posts on this blog soon.

New Office / Happy Holidays!

Again, it has been a while since I wrote anything here so I thought I should probably post an update of what is going on in my life.  So, here are some of the bigger things going on….

New Office -  The past few weeks I have spent looking for a new office.  Finally, last Thursday I managed to find one in one of the best areas of the city (Yorkville for those of you that know Toronto) that doesn’t cost a fortune.  I am splitting the office with my good friend and fellow affiliate John making it even more affordable.  The office isn’t anything super fancy (it looks like it was probably used as a closet at one point), but the location can’t be beat.  I will try and get some pics up shortly (probably after we paint it and fix it up a bit more).  The main reason I decided to get an office was working from home and Starbucks all the time was really starting to take a toll on my productivity.  Even after being here for only 2 days, I feel like I am already accomplishing so much more.

Other Niches – Lately I have been really trying to focus on building some sites in other niches.  I have had a music site with a friend for a while now that gets pretty good traffic, and registered a few other domains to try and build on (such as a site about Toronto Catering companies – still being built).  Who knows what the future is for online poker, so I think diversification can never hurt.

Vacations – In January I will be heading down to Trinidad with a few friends for a week of fun in the sun.  I have never been there before, but my friend is half-trini and goes there all the time so he knows where to go.  After that I may head back to Argentina for a month, but still trying to decide.

Working Out – I am not sure if I mentioned it here before but for the past few months I have been taking Muay Thai classes.  They are an amazing workout and I am probably getting in the best shape of my life.  I think since I have started I have lost around 20lbs or so.  Anyone thinking about trying it, I HIGHLY reccomend it, but be ready to work your ass off!

Other than that, there isn’t too much else going on that I can think of, so I will end this by wishing everyone a Happy Holiday!

HappyHolidays

Wazzzup!

As usual it takes me about a month in between posts, so here is what is and has been going on…

Bartending Course – A few weeks back I decided to take an introductory course on bartending and mixology.  I have always wanted to be a bartender and enjoy the high paced environment that comes with the job.  Anyway, 3.5 weeks have gone by and tonight I have my final exam.  Basically there is a written test as well as a practical exam where you have to do things like make 3 different drinks in 3 minutes.  I know that may sound easy, but its harder than it sounds.  Anyway, hopefully I pass tonight then the whole class is going drinking after.  Should be a good time.

Financial Planning – The markets are so bad right now, that I figure this is probably one of the best times to get in (well probably would have been better about a month ago, but never did that).  Anyway, I’ve realized over the years that I suck at trading and I think I have lost on pretty much every stock purchase I have ever made.  So, why not get someone else to do it for you.  I remember my bank telling me a long time ago that if you were willing to invest a certain amount they would give you one of their “experts” to work with you on an investment strategy.  Well, I finally reached that goal and had my meeting yesterday.  The planner is putting together my plan over the next week and a bit so I should be ready to go to make some money shortly.  Fingers crossed.

Trips – Will be heading to Las Vegas in a week for what will hopefully be an amazing weekend with several PAL members.  I have tried to organize some fun stuff, but so far it has been about a 50/50 interest so we’ll see where that goes.  Ah well, will be good to seem some old faces regardless and maybe meet some new people.  After Vegas I think I may go back down to Argentina for about 3 weeks, but still waiting to confirm on that.  After that I may or may not head over to Europe for August and maybe stick it out for Budapest in September, but that is just a  dream right now.

Motorcycle License – I bought the books to get my motorcycle license, but still need to read them and do the test.  I think driving a bike would be a lot of fun, though a little dangerous.  Since I don’t have a car (everything I would want is too expensive) I think a bike would be great to use to get around.  Once I get that done was thinking about picking up a used R6 or something.  I love the Harley Night Rod, but don’t want to spend that much.  Anyone have one?  Tips?

Affiliate Stuff – I am falling so far behind in this game I need to start busting my ass again.  I have like 3 new sites on the go and get so overwhelmed sometimes I don’t know where to focus my time.  To top it off my existing sites need some work and I just finished redesigning one of my bigger sites.  I need to hire someone I think, but am also kinda cheap with what I would want to pay.  Decisions, decisions.

Well… thats pretty much all I can think of for now.  I’ll try and get some better posts up here soon and put more focus into what I write here.  I definitely need to start doing more affiliate tips.  If you are coming to Vegas let me know and I’ll see you there!

Anyway, I’ll leave you with this…

Back in Buenos Aires

Man is it nice to be back here after freezing my butt off in Canada for the last little while.  Not much has changed here and it is still lots of fun as usual.  Since being back I have managed to catch up with some friends that I met last time, and start spanish classes again.

I found a pretty kick-ass apartment and I have actually been able to get a little more work done.  Here are some pics of the new place:

Fortunately this apartment has wifi, so I can even sit outside and do work.  Right now its around 30+ degrees everyday and there is always a nice cool breeze.

Also I have joined a gym and am trying to be a little more healthy.  Reading Justin’s new site has really made me start thinking about getting back into a more proper workout routine/diet, rather than just going to the gym a few times per week.

Anyway, I’ll try and write more later, but unforunately I HAVE HOMEWORK/STUDYING TO DO… I know… WTF?

Don’t Go To Venezuela / Welcome to ’09!

First off, this is the first post in 2009 so HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I had a good new year until the end of the night when my jacket managed to walk its way out of the restaurant that I was at.  This is never a good thing to happen especially after a ton of alcohol as when I got home I sent some stupid email to the restaurant.  Anyway, turns out someone “mistakingly” left with my coat and it is waiting at the restaurant now to be picked up.  So… the point of me telling this story.. don’t use your computer when you are really drunk.

Yesterday I got back from a week in Margarita Island, Venezuela with my good friend Greg.  It was a nice relaxing trip, but I would probably never go back there.  The people were pretty rude, unfriendly and didn’t seem to welcoming to tourists.  For example, I went to the mall and tried to order a pretzel, the girl just looked at me with one of the coldest looks and was like “no”.  I couldn’t tell if they didn’t have them or if she just didn’t want to sell one to me.  Also, when we were leaving the Country at the airport they had these Chavez dolls that talked.  I decided to push the button to hear what it said and some douchebag came over and said, “you aren’t going to buy it so why are you doing that”.  I just looked at him and said, “this is why your country sucks and why I’ll never come back”.  I am so tempted to register MargaritaIslandSucks.com right now, but I’ll sit on it for now.

I shouldn’t say that all the people were bad ovbiously, as one of the bartenders at our resort was awsome, but I think he was probably the only nice Venezuelan we met down there.  I even asked some Venzuelan/Canadian girl about the general attitude we had been receiving at one of the clubs and was told simply: “they don’t like gringos here”.  On top of that the island itself had a communist feel to it, and at times didn’t feel very safe.  When I asked one girl about going to a club one night she must have told me about 5 times to “cuidado” which means be careful in spanish.

The trip wasn’t all bad though.  I spent most of my time there lying on a beach getting a tan, doing little to no work.  We left the resort quite a bit and took a jeep tour of the island which was a ton of fun.  It was 8 hours long and included a boat tour, open air jeep driving around the island (you could stand in the back which was a ton of fun), off-road driving, lunch, stop at a beach, and much more all for just $50.  Here are some pics of that:

The food at the resort was pretty decent, so I can’t really complain about that.  One thing that was a little annoying though was Greg and I were probably the only single guys at the resort so the “girls” situation was awful.  Long story short.. if you are thinking of going to Margarita Island, I’d pick somewhere else (like Jamaica) instead.

Well, next week I am headed back to Buenos Aires :)  I am so excited to get back there as the winter cold is killing me being inside all the time.  I need to get out and move around as I feel that winter makes me feel so much unhealthier.

As for ’09, I think this will be a good year.  My main goals are to start expanding on non-gambling projects and investigate other areas of online marketing.  I think my strong points are consulting others so if possible I would like to focus on that a little more.  Hopefully this year I can come up with a more long term goal for myself as right now I still have no clue what I want to do with my life.  Time will tell!  If anyone is planning to come to BsAs (Buenos Aires) or wants to, send me a note.  Best to everyone with this year!

Buenos Aires Recap

Ooops… been back for about a week now and forgot to post about the rest of the Buenos Aires trip.

Well, I survived the paragliding.  What an experience that was!  For the rest of my time in Mendoza I went rafting and biking around the vineyards.  It was probably one of the best parts of my trip and I had a ton of fun there.  Here are a couple pics:

Gettin Ready to Jump

On top of the mountain

Biking to the wineries

Dinner with the Dutch Girls on their last night.  Amazing Tapas and Wine!

After Mendoza I headed back to Buenos Aires where the trip came to an end after a few more nights of partying.

All in all it was an amazing experience and I am so glad I went.  I met a ton of great people from all over the world and made some new friends.

Here are some more highlights from the trip and things that I’ll miss about Buenos Aires…

- Finding out they have Stoli Elite for less than Absolut at Godoy (obvious mistake)
- Celebrating Colombian Christmas at Claudia’s Appt
- Daily beer tips to Plaza Serrano
- Seeing a new “hottest girl in the world” every single day
- My friend Lucio trying to pick up the same girl about 50 times in a row while she is standing at the bar with her boyfriend
- Cheap amazing dinners at sick restaurants every day
- Random blaring of “Feliz Cumple Anos” in nice restaurants
Plus many more!

I might be heading back there again in the new year.  If anyone is interested in coming down, let me know.

Bye for now!