Category Archives: Poker Affiliate Programs

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

Budapest Affiliate Conference Trip Report

It had been a while since I had been able to make it out to a conference (Barcelona 2008 was the last one), so I decided to book my ticket to Budapest this year for BAC. It was nice that the conference was in a change of venue, which made it much easier to justify the long trip.

I arrived on the Wednesday morning after a long flight with a connection in Frankfurt. I was a little worried about going because I thought that I wasn’t going to know anyone there as many suckers people backed out last minute including the person I was supposed to split a room with (Nick). Regardless I still went and landed in Budapest around 11am. As I went to tell the cab where to go I realized that I was in a different hotel than I had thought. Meh, I went with it and headed to the new hotel (InterContinental). I arrived at the hotel to check in and looked down at my reservation to realize it was for a day later (crap I thought, but figured they would probably have a room). As I explained the situation that I might have gotten the date wrong to the guy at the front desk he replied, €œI hope your reservation is for today because our hotel is full€. Fortunately, he managed to find me a room after hammering away at the keyboard and speaking gibberish Hungarian to his co-worker.

After a bit of a nap, I started trying to find out who was in town and managed to get in touch with Mark from PAL. We decided to meet up for a beer and hit a cool little bar a short trip from the hotel. We took one of the oldest subway systems in Europe to get there which was pretty cool. It was nice meeting Mark finally as we had chatted many times online about how we were both former IBM slaves employees. As I was heading out I also ran into Richie formerly with Carbon who I had spent some time hanging out with in Barcelona and we exchanged info to meet up later. Richie (like me) loves to party so I knew he would be a good person to meet up with later.

On the 2nd day I got in contact with Greame (DealerDan) who was out having a few drinks with some people and invited me to join them. I met up with them all at this cool square, grabbed a few beers then took off because he had dinner plans with Bodog. Fortunately he invited me along so I managed to get a free meal from the Bodog guys (Seb and Claire €“ who had been my affiliate manager in the past but I never actually met). After a nice dinner, which included several Mojitos, we all headed over to the opening party which was hosted by Expekt. As with most gambling conference parties it was a complete sausage party. I wasn’t really in the mood to party so I just took it pretty easy. I also ran into Carly and Jo (from Pokerstars) and Andreas (darko on the forums, but never really posts). I ran into a bunch of old friends too which was nice and we were out of there early (around 2am). We went to hit up the casino, but they wanted to charge us 10 Euros to go in and gamble. We laughed about that and decided to save our money and call it a night.

Day 3 was the 1st day of the conference. I met up with Richie in the lobby around 9am who was with Ven (formerly at Party Poker) and we hit up the buffet at the hotel. We had a great breakfast laughing the whole time and completely lost track of time (not getting out of there till like 11:15). We then hopped on the shuttle and headed over to the conference. We did the whole stroll around the room (me looking for the best swag probably a bath robe from Chipleader). Richie knows pretty much everyone so he kept introducing me to a lot of people. I decided to hit up the SEO sessions (one on link building and the SEO roundtable) after which were all around pretty decent. Though I didn’t learn a whole lot, there were a couple of tidbits here and there that I learned which should help. After the conference we had a bit of time so Richie and I headed to a little bar close to the hotel. Richie ordered probably the gayest drink in Budapest which consisted of pink lemonade, a pink straw and a cherry, I opted for a beer. Mike from Poker Nordica also came and joined us for a drink then we all split up to our own dinners. I headed to the PAL dinner and met DealerDan in the lobby. There we waited like 20 minutes for Seb (yea, we gave him a hard time about it) then finally headed over to Spoon for an awesome meal. At dinner were several people I hadn’t seen in a while like Giorgio, Jason (GoodKarmaKid), Stephen and Russ from Commission Account as well as several new faces. After dinner Seb, Russ and I wanted to keep drinking so we decided to head over to the conference party sponsored by ChanceRoom. Again, it was a huge sausage fest so after we finished our few free drinks (they had this weird ticket system) and grabbed Alex Pratt and Andreas and headed over to a club that several people had been talking about called Bed Beach. Bed Beach was awesome! It was a huge outdoor club with a massive dance floor, tons of tables and a nice VIP section. We ran into many other people and spent the rest of the night mingling not getting back till like 6am (I think €“ didn’t wear a watch all trip).

At Bed Beach

At Bed Beach

On the 4th day (the last conference day) I slept in and missed Calvin Ayre’s speech which was one of the things I was looking forward to. Fortunately from what I heard from other people it was rather awkward and he didn’t really tell any interesting stories about entrepreneurship. When I finally did get to the conference I had my meeting with Lee Allen from Sticky Eyes (an SEO company). They were doing free SEO analysis sessions for conference attendees. This was really cool and Lee definitely knew his stuff. He definitely made me think differently about a couple of things and wasn’t like most SEO companies that just BS and pretends they know what they are talking about. Thanks Lee!! After that I walked around the conference a bit more and ran into Johan formerly at FTP / Gnuf. We had met a ways back in London at the Cap Awards dinner and he really helped me make the push to doing this full time. I also met his wife Anna who is with an interesting bingo company called Maria (a branch off from Unibet). Unlike most sites it sounds like they are actually building a brand than just a site (so if you promote Bingo check them out and tell her I sent you). I hung around at the conference a bit more and ran into Dee from 888 and chatted with them for a bit and finally left the conference. I ended up getting in touch with Graeme after who was having a dinner with some people close to the hotel so I decided to join them. There I tried Goulash for the first time, which I understand as being the “big dish” of Hungary and pretty tasty. After dinner we headed over to a party hosted by Bodog. We were greeted at the door with a glass of champagne and asked to take our picture with some of the Bodog Girls. Bodog REALLY knows how to throw a party. The venue was awesome, they had special tables where you could try the national drinks of Hungary (I liked the Unicum the best which is a bitters), tables with free cigars (good ones), constant Mojitos and Caipirinhas plus Hors D‘oeurves and even a hand massage table. The party ended around midnight and I decided to head back to Bed Beach with Johan and Jennifer from Betting Jobs. There we ran into many other people and drank and chatted the night away.

bodog

Bodog Girls at the Bodog Party

On the Sunday I slept in again and missed the “tourist session” as I was pretty hung over not rolling out of bed until about 4pm. I ran into Richie again at the patio of the Sofitel (the main hotel directly beside the InterContinental) and we had some drinks to nurse the hang over. Richie was with Chris from Poker Space and a few other people. Chris came up with a great idea to head to a shisha bar so Richie, Chris, Jen (Fortune Poker), and 2 Swedish affiliates (Mike and Peter) all headed over to this place recommended by the hotel. We ordered some massive platters of food and shared everything. The conversation started pretty tame but after Richie asked what everyone thought about Megan Fox things progressively turned into pure hilarity. We learned some new things like what “musting” is along with several other funny things. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

On a side note, some of the companies throwing the “Official” parties could really learn a thing or two from Bodog. Having a club filled with guys staring at 1 or 2 girls dancing, then making them pay for drinks (especially affiliates) to be there says a lot about your brand. Bodog goes all out when they do a party and it says a lot about their brand. In the future I think the parties should be turned into more of a “pre-drink” where everyone goes and drinks for free then heads out to various nightclubs around the city. If you were at Bed Beach you will know that industry people pretty much owned their VIP areas.

After that the conference was officially over for the rest. I stuck around in Budapest for a bit the next day then headed to Prague for a couple days to do some sightseeing. I am actually writing this on the train back from Prague to Budapest where I have to catch my flight in the morning.

All in all it was one of the best conferences I have been to and was really nice meeting many new people along with seeing some old friends. Till next one!

me-doyle

Doyle Brunson and I

Cool Hand Poker… Could I Have Been Wrong?

Well, I was at the gym the other day watching the TV and what should come up but an ad for CoolHandPoker.com.  In a previous post I though these guys were just some random skin that was going to try and base their business model on affiliates, but it looks like I might have been wrong.  It is good to see these guys are actually spending some money advertising.

It is good to see that they also updated their homepage from a picture of a bunch of dorks playing poker to a couple of guys with semi-attractive women.  It looks like they are finally starting to find their niche.  Will be interesting to see what comes of this place.

Other News

Affiliate Speedpay closed their doors today and I can’t say that I am surprised.  I think it was great for some people, but I always had a feeling it wouldn’t last and was wary about having my money sent to some shady bank.  I never really wanted to open an offshore bank account because I felt it all seemed a little too shady.

BUDAPEST! In just over a week I will be heading to Budapest for this year’s BAC.  As usual Alex is doing an awsome job organizing it and it looks like this is gonna be one of the MUST ATTEND events of the year.  Will be good to catch up with some friends and meet some new faces / people I have probably talked to a shitload online but never met.  Thanks to Mark for organizing the dinner, looks like it will be awsome!

Anyway, that is all for now…. see everyone going to Budapest on the other side of the pond!

What Happened to PAP?

Ever since Jeremy left it seems like PAP (Poker Affiliate Programs) has turned into a business than being the home for affiliates. Sure, I understand they are running a business, but trying to cover up things by editing posts and pushing companies that have a shady track record like Chipleader just for the money is a really bad idea in the long run.  Without people posting, they don’t really have a community.

Last week I was removed from the moderator group over a small disagreement with Jeremy’s replacement, Randy. Randy decided it was better to remove a link to xxhttp://www.pokerstarsmarketingcode.com (which happens to be owned by a real douchebag) in a thread that had to do with PokerStars and the favoritism they were showing to a few affiliates with using domains with pokerstars or marketing code in them. Apparently its ok for one affiliate to do it, but not others. Anyway, since linking to the site is really the only evedince to question Pokerstars about I felt it was important to post this. This is an issue that has really bothered me for a long time, and from talking to other affiliates at conferences I know it is a big one for them too. Anyway, within 5 minutes of this being posted my reply had been edited by Randy. Funny enough at the same time I noticed an IP address from the Cayman Islands watching that thread so I can only assume that he was either protecting a friend/affiliate that does nothing for the PAP community (who is clearly doing something that he shouldn’t) or who knows… maybe he has a boss telling him what to do. Regardless, editing other people’s posts is never a good idea as I have learned from running my own forums.

Anyway, the thing that really got to me was that I wasn’t even notified that I was no longer a moderator, nor even thanked for all the things I did do over the past few years. I have spent a lot of time either deleting/editing threads for people, and resolving issues (UNPAID OF COURSE), but I guess the people at PAP look at this as some kind of priveledge. Oh well, if thats the case then I would rather not have it.

I strongly disagree with the way it was handled and decided it was probably best to just stop posting there all together. I can be very stubborn at times, but I also don’t really like the way the site is going. If I can’t post REAL AFFILIATE ISSUES without being censored, then what is the point of me going there? Not to sound cocky, but it is a great site for new affiliates, but the amount of knowledge I am able to extract from the site has gone down to next to none.

I find that the only thing the site really does for me is wastes a lot of time (surfing forums when I should be working) and creates a lot of stress dealing with certain situations.

Anyway, I am a little hungover in Buenos Aires right now, so this probably doesn’t make much sense, but oh well… I’ll post it up anyway.

Affiliate Tip: Stop wasting your time on forums!

BrandonBerndt.com Re-launches!

Brandon and ShenazDISCLAIMER: The following blog post is intended as a joke only.  Regardless of what is said in this post Brandon really is a hard worker, is not gay, and is a close friend of mine.

The highly anticipated re-launch of BrandonBerndt.com is finally here! After over a year of no updates and many emails from fans yearning for the latest “Brandon Gossip”, Brandon has finally done it and re-launched his Blog.

One of the reasons for the new site Berndt told one of our reporters is, “people google my name a lot”. He is considered somewhat of a celebrity amongst his fellow Poker Affiliate Managers.

The new blog gives you a real insight into what Brandon does all day as a Poker Room Manager / Affiliate Program Director (at least when he is not gambling online during company time, out for a day on the golf course, or questioning his own sexuality). But after all, its not all glamour and fun. There is some hard work* (seen here on his BlackBerry during a dinner in London) involved and the hours are long.

Brandon is by far one of my favorite affiliate managers to work with, and I am glad that I have had the opportunity to meet and work with him on various projects. If you aren’t already working with him, I suggest you check out the Chan Poker affiliate program.

The most recent post is an article about how to run an affiliate progam (something many affiliate programs NEED to read….hint, hint, spin32).

As mentioned before, many people have been waiting for this relaunch. John Goldie of FiveSomething.com told us, “I can’t really breathe, Brandon’s blog is one of the best things I’ve ever seen. He is like the affiliate manager equivilant of a Japanese Ninja Master. Congrats.”

I look forward to the future updates on Brandon’s new blog and if you haven’t done so already I suggest you bookmark this one. Nice job Brandon!

* Thought it looks like he might be working, we really cannot confirm that he is actually doing anything. For all we know he is just playing Brick Breaker.

Spin32 – Spamming Does More Harm Than Good!

Dear Spin32Poker/Spin32Live/Spin32Casino/Spin32.com/Whatever the hell you call yourself,

Stop spamming me. This morning I replied to your email asking to be removed from your mailing list. In case you can’t remember what email I am talking about, it started off:

Dear %Name%
I visited your website %Website% and wondered…

And, came from a campbell@spin32.com. Sure enough, about 10 minutes later I received another email from you guys with my information in it (which you obviously bought or stole from another site as I have never given you my email address.

You obviously didn’t learn anything when it was first brought up in this thread. I have heard all your crap about how you are a small site and can’t afford to hire multiple people to send emails all day, but why the hell would I want to work with you if you can’t even take 2 seconds to look at my site and send a personal email (not just some cookie cutter crap).

One of the funniest things is that you are even sending these out to people that own <establishedpokersite>bonus.com. Are you guy’s that retarded? Why would someone advertise spin32 on something like pokerstarsbonus.com?

If you really want to build relationships with affiliates do it on a personal level, but its already too late for you guys. Hopefully some other sites out there will read this and learn why SPAMMING DOESNT WORK!

Honestly, do yourselves a favor and just shut down your affiliate department right now. Nobody is gonna want to work with a bunch of spammers that use shady marketing tactics!

And, now that I have gotten that off my chest, lets end this on a positive note…