Category Archives: Poker Affiliate Tips

Understanding Twitter (For Personal Use)

Like many people, I originally signed up for a Twitter account back in 2009 when everyone started to say it was going to be the next big thing. Like many of these people I also used my account a few times, didn’t really “get it” and basically gave up on it. About a year ago I noticed that it was still sticking around and figured I must have missed something. For the longest time I really didn’t “get it” so I decided to spend a large amount of time understanding Twitter better to see where the value really lied in the service. I am very glad I did as it has become a huge part of my life, allowed me to meet many awesome people, attend really great events, and get lots of free stuff plus much more. If you are one of those people that don’t get it either, hopefully my experiences will help you “get Twitter” as well.

I Have Facebook, Why Do I Need Twitter

The first big question many people (including myself) have when looking at Twitter is why do I want to use a service that restricts you to 140 characters when you can use Facebook that allows much more? This was one of the things I struggled with the most about Twitter and to really answer this question I need to explain how I view both Twitter and Facebook differently. For me, Facebook is a much more private social network that allows you to keep in touch with people you know and people you don’t mind having access to things like personal pictures, life events and more. Twitter on the other hand is something I use more to connect with people that I don’t necessarily know but share similar interests with without giving them too much access to my personal information.

What is Twitter Good For?

When I started using Twitter I used it primarily to follow what was going on with one of my favourite sports teams, Toronto FC. I could follow soccer reporters that focussed on the team, other Toronto FC fans, players and even the team itself to keep up to date with what was going on at the club. Finding out who these people are is relatively easy because whenever there is a Toronto FC game on, these people are the most actively talking about the team using hashtags like #TFC & #TorontoFC. Since this probably has you thinking, what is a “hashtag”, it is essentially any word with a “#” symbol in front of it used to group together tweets about a particular subject making them easy to find. They are clickable so when you see one you can find all the other people talking about the same thing. You can also search them in the search box and then follow the people who you find to be informative about the subject that interests you. With Facebook it would be next to impossible to find all of these individuals and likely the only way to follow along would be by liking the team’s page or joining a Facebook group (which are often inactive anyway). When people are tweeting about a subject it is typically LIVE as the event is happening and the information is available at your fingertips instantaneously. Other than sports teams many people like to follow along for information about their favourite TV shows, movies, actors/actresses, people with similar interests, people in your area, news and industry specific information (ie. SEO, Social Media, PR, etc.).

What To Do Now That You Are Following People

Now that you have found the people you want to follow its time to strike up a conversation. Since you have similar interests if you have questions about something you can message anyone you want on Twitter to either say thanks for sharing their content, ask questions or anything else you want and a lot of the time people will answer (unless of course it is some celebrity with millions of followers). This is one of the best things about Twitter as you can easily connect with people anywhere in the world and unless they are blocking you or have a private profile (very few do) they will get your message by just typing with a “@” symbol before there username in a message to them.

How To Get Followers

Now that I’ve covered basics of following people and talking to them, it’s time to get some followers of your own. The best way to do this is to share information. Ideally you will get more followers if you are an expert about something in particular or have a blog that you link to your Twitter account. If you don’t want to go this route just share information about topics that interest you and other people with common interests might follow along to see what you have to say. For example, I love food so I follow many foodies and restaurants and post pictures from places I am eating to let other people know how they are. The higher the quality of the information that you share is, the more likely you will be to attract new followers. Once you build up a good following you will be able to do a lot more and even ask questions and get answers from your following.

Taking Your Twitter Relationships Offline

The next step, if you are comfortable of course, would be to take some of these online relationships that you have made offline. Many of the active users in the Twitter community meet up on a regular basis. Some events are organized by Twitter users themselves (typically called Tweetups which can be found on sites like Twtvite.com just search your city for events that interest you) while others are organized by businesses. Attending these events is a great way to get more followers and meet new people that have similar interests as you. Also occasionally companies or organizations organize events for their Twitter followers as well which you can attend. For example, I am heading to an event shortly for Toronto FC being held at a sports bar in Toronto where there are tons of free giveaways for their Twitter followers and everyone is getting together to watch one of their games. I have attended around 10 or so different events and have met many awesome people doing so.

Tweetup Example

Example of a Tweetup Search Result

I Want FREE Stuff

If you have done all of the above you should be pretty comfortable at using Twitter by this point, but there are many other great things to be found. Many companies do giveaways on Twitter and quite often they are pretty easy to win. Some of the things I have won include restaurant gift cards, tickets to a premier movie screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, a tequila prize pack worth around $250, VIP tickets to sporting events, free items at restaurants and much more. I even joined a softball team that I found through Twitter after trying to get more active and made some great friends in the process. I also use Twitter quite a lot to find out what is going on in my city and find many events that I would never have found if I just stuck to hanging around on Facebook.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have my Facebook account which I use to keep in contact with close friends and post pictures, and it is great for that, but Twitter is a much better tool to meet new people that share common interests, network with people in your industry and keep up to date on things and places that interest you. I will eventually try to write an article on using Twitter as a business (ie. as a gambling affiliate, or small business owner) but this will take much more investigation to put together.

If this article does encourage you to sign-up be sure to create a profile listing your interests and ensure you add an image of yourself. Otherwise people might think you are a spammer. Also check out this Newbies Guide to Twitter before getting started:.

Follow me on Twitter @beachrockinc, tell me that you read this article and I will be your first follower if you are new to Twitter. Also don’t be afraid to ask me any questions about my experiences on Twitter. Have fun!

One Easy Way to Diversify

After Black Friday, almost everyone in our industry is getting more serious about diversifying and getting some eggs out of the online gambling basket. One hiccup that gambling affiliates have had with diversifying is finding an idea that is not only interesting, but profitable. This post is going to give you one easy way to find new, profitable niches outside of gambling.

Flippa.com

Flippa.com is one of the most popular marketplaces for buying and selling premium domains as well as existing, profitable websites. One of my favorite ways to find new website ideas is to check out Flippa.com once a week and see what is up for sale.

When I arrive at Flippa, I like to look at High End Websites (this is a preset search that shows websites priced at $5,000+) that have a profit of at least $500 per month. This weeds out all of the ridiculous domain auctions that are listed at a high price but have no profit or potential.

From here, I will take a look at the ongoing auctions as well as the recently ended auctions. Whenever I see something that catches my eye, I open up the auction in a new tab to review it later. When I am searching through the auctions, I am usually looking for affiliate-type businesses that have at least $500/month in revenues (so I know the market actually has some financial potential).

Once you have a few promising auctions opened up in new tabs, start looking through them to see what you’ve got. A quick way to whittle down the auctions are to close any auctions that are for websites that require a live presence, inventory, credit card processing, shipping, customer support, etc (unless you actually are interested in/capable of handling those tasks).

Once I find something that seems promising, rarely do I actually buy the website that is listed for auction. If I can get a good price on it, I will go ahead and buy it, but oftentimes I would rather seek out a good domain to go after a larger segment of the specific market.

For example, if I found an auction for an affiliate site selling candles that ranked in the top ten for “large scented candle” and was making $500 a month, I would try to find a good domain to purchase, such as scentedcandles.com. Then, I would start my own affiliate website on the exact match domain with a much higher ceiling than the smaller, non-exact match website.

The Flippa auctions often include the dropshipper’s or affiliate network’s contact information, so you don’t have to look too far for someone to work with. Also, the

Google Analytics are often right there for you to look at and gauge the market potential.

Sometimes you may determine that it makes more sense to buy the existing website and improve it than to start fresh, but oftentimes you are going to want to go after a larger segment of the market than the site for sale originally did.

A lot of the stuff on Flippa is not going to be relevant, but if you keep monitoring it for a couple weeks you may just find a great new niche with available exact match domains.

This article was provided by Michael Wittmeyer of BusinessCards.org, a business card print shop.

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.

3 Cool Tools For Tracking Visitors On Your Website

Reading Justin Goff‘s latest facebook status update kind of inspired me to write this post…. So without further adieu, here are 3 cool tools for affiliates to use for cyber-stalking the visitors of your website that you might not have heard of:

ClickTale – Last week my friend John told me about this cool tool. Basically you add a couple of lines of code to your pages that allow you to see everything people do when they come to your site. By everything, I really mean EVERYTHING! ClickTale creates a video for you that tracks what every visitor is doing on your site including mouse movements, heatmaps and when they are scrolling down on the pages. This allows you to determine how effective your pages are at driving a sale and what aspects of the page are actually getting the visitors attention the most leading them to click (or not click) through on to your offers. There is a very small delay in the time it takes to create the videos (probably like 5 minutes) but it is pretty much live data. The free version allows you 100 free recordings per week or you can pay like $80 per month for the bronze package which allows multiple sites and something like 20,000 recordings.

HitTail – This is another live stats system that allows you to see how people are getting to your site from referral sites or search engines. It shows you exactly what they searched to get there or the specific page where they clicked a link to your site. I know most of this information is available in Google’s Analytics but its nice to have this info live so you can see what is causing traffic spikes on your site. It also helps you understand where the visitors are coming from (ie. Google.com/Google.es/Google.ca etc.) to reach your site.

hittail

Woopra – This is a cool tool that allows you to track the people on your website live. You can see what pages people are on, how they got to your site, and how they have moved about while on your site. One of my favourite features of Woopra is it even allows you to send a message to the people on your site if you want to “help them out” or ensure that all their questions have been answered to help drive the sale better. (Shout out to Cheryle for telling me about this one)

woopra

Of course Google Analytics is also one of the best, but I left it out of the list because I assumed everyone already was either using it, or knew about it. Hope this helps and if you have any other great tools you want to share post a comment below.

You Can’t Be Serious

Okay, so I got an email today that made me think… “WTF!!”

Here is the first few lines of the email:

Hello,

My name is Virginie and I am the Affiliates Manager for www.a-winning-hand.com

Did she actually just say that they entered a multi-billion dollar industry and the best thing they could come up with was THAT DOMAIN???  Holy crap they must have thought they hit the jackpot when they found out it was still available!  Are people really this retarded?

wtf-is-that

That is all for now :)

This Blogging Thing Is Harder Than It Seems…

So, its been ages since my last post and a lot has changed/happened.  Thanks Giorgio for the reminder that I need to get back on this thing with an update on what is going on in my life.  To celebrate this new post, I thought I would change the theme on the blog to something that I didn’t hate as much.  The old theme was really getting to me and I think I need a change.

I think part of the reason for the lack of updates, has been a lack of motivation overall from me over the past few months.  So, in an effort to combat this, I am gonna get some things off my mind in this blog post.

I, like many other affiliates I know, am falling into ‘the trap’ and becoming very lazy.  Part of the reason for this is because when I was at IBM my job was a complete joke and 95% of my time was spent sitting around doing nothing.  Funny enough, with the remaining 5% of the time when I actually worked I managed to get the highest promotion levels and reviews from my managers… go figure.  This wasn’t because I didn’t want to work, there just simply wasn’t any work to be done.  Could you imagine what they would think of me if I really busted my ass the whole time I was working putting in 100%!!!

To some people this would be the dream job, but I’ve never been like that and have always appreciated a good challenge.  In fact, this could be partly why I am getting lazy lately, because I figure if I do nothing or very little work, things will get harder for me and I will have to start busting my ass again…. WRONG!

In fact, being lazy is actually having an opposite affect and it seems that every month keeps getting even better.  I guess I am riding the fruits of my labour in the past as they are starting to pay off, but I know this won’t last forever so I really am making a strong effort to turn this bad cycle around.

I’ve tried taking vacations, breaks, getting up earlier, excessive drinking, but really nothing seems to be working.  The reality is, none of these things are gonna change anything and I am the only one that can do that.  So, going forward I am really going to make an effort to change this.  I am going to make more goals and set more targets for myself.  I think that will help.  Anyone got any suggestions on staying motivated?

Hell, I’ll do 2 back to back blog posts now to prove that I am trying to break the laziness!

Additional Shout Out / Poker Affiliate Tip

Shout out to Chris from Poker Affiliate Solutions (or PAS for short).  Chris told me tonight that he had my blog in his blog reader (Google reader is my choice) and was also hinting that I should do an upate.  I am just glad that I finally know who the other RSS reader is beside me ;)  JK… i know there are a few of you out there and appreciate that you care what I have to say.  Anyway, PAS provide services to affiliates such as the ability to create a rakeback section on your site and offer deals that you wouldn’t be able to get normally without knowing someone.  I have created a rakeback section on my site using their software and so far it has been great, though I am sure Chris is thinking it would be greater if I sent them more players ;)  They have a really cool admin back-end and it makes things really easy.  All you have to do is bring the players, so if you haven’t checked them out I recommend dropping them a line today if you are looking to offer something like this on your site.  Chris also has a blog over on PAS which is even more overdue for an update than mine!  You should get on that Chris ;)

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.

Cool Way To Get Free Poker Links

Just got back from a nice week long vacation in Jamaica.  It was lots of fun, and I really needed the break.  I got to see Bob Marley’s birthplace, and climbed Mt. Zion, went to Dunn’s River Falls (see below) and just hung out on the beach eating lots of Jerk Chicken and other good food.  Here are a couple pics:

Dunns River Falls
Dunns River Falls

Resort
Our Resort at Night

Anyway, back to work now :)

I was talking with beanie today about possibly doing some link exchanges with his awsome poker blog.  Beanie being the nice guy that he is, said I don’t even really need to give him any links as I could just post my own stories on his site myself when I create an account.  In my head alarm bells rang off: FREE LINKS!

So, I registered an account, added an article from my site and it was up instantaneously on the homepage.  If this isn’t a great way to get free links, I don’t know what is.  The site kinda works like a poker digg, and anyone can submit stories which can be voted on by the users of the site.  So, if you just wrote an excellent peice of content and want to get it out there fast, why not submit it on his site.  This can be a great way to help your SEO efforts as it will get your story on one of the best poker blogs on the Internet and a PR3 site right away.

But PLEASE!  If you are going to use this service, don’t abuse it.  Try to submit only your best stuff, and not your latest review of xxxx poker site.  I am sure Beanie would also appreciate it if you gave him some link love back also :D

Thanks Beanie!

Respect – It can get you farther than being a dick!

I decided to write about the topic of respect because there are far too many children getting into business that seem to lack basic people skills entirely. Let me tell you a story of what happened last night with an affiliate that I thought I got along with pretty well (for the sake of identities lets just call him SNAPS – because snapping in a situation is completely retarded, especially if you are trying to get something resolved)…

So its late, I am about to go to bed, when suddenly this message pops up:
21/05/2008 2:51:08 AM SNAPS : you are a total douche
21/05/2008 2:51:49 AM Graham : ?
21/05/2008 2:51:58 AM SNAPS : think before you talk
21/05/2008 2:52:32 AM Graham : whats the matter?
21/05/2008 2:53:07 AM SNAPS : you’re an absolute twat
21/05/2008 2:53:15 AM SNAPS : why don’t you think before you post bullshit on PAP
21/05/2008 2:53:18 AM SNAPS : and mention other peoples domains
21/05/2008 2:53:21 AM SNAPS : that can land them into trouble
21/05/2008 2:53:22 AM SNAPS : idiot
21/05/2008 2:53:34 AM Graham : what domains?
21/05/2008 2:53:50 AM SNAPS : bye graham

At this point I honestly had no idea what SNAPS was talking about, but figured it had to do with something that I posted in a thread that I had been heavily involved with on PAP (and had actually defended in the thread without mentioning names). In the thread I had randomly listed off a bunch of domains as examples (ie. xsitebonuscode.com, xsitereferralcode.com) not really pointing fingers at the owners of those sites, just making things up off the top of my head. It was then that I realized that one of the domains I had used as an example redirected to SNAPS’ site.

Sure, I screwed up, but it was completely unintentional. But, after being called an idiot, douche and twat by this individual I also wasn’t too eager to go back and fix the post either. All this person had to say was “hey man, that site you mentioned in the post is mine, can you please remove it”, and it would have been gone immediately. Instead, this person thinks that it will be more effective to talk to me in a condescending and disrespectful tone to get the problem resolved…. WRONG! I find it funny that people can have such big mouths when hiding behind their computer, but I guarantee they would not say these things face to face. Anything I post online I would gladly back up in person.

Hopefully you have learned something from this experience that it is better to treat your fellow affiliates with respect than treating them like a dog. Don’t be so quick to overreact as a lot of the time people may not know what they are doing that is so wrong. People will be much more willing to accommodate you when talk to them like normal human beings rather than a piece of shit!

What Are You Selling?

Whether you believe it or not, the affiliates role is very similar to that of a salesperson but looking at many affiliate sites you wouldn’t think so.  Many new affiliates focus so much on the content, that they forget to actually promote the product at hand (whether it be a poker room, poker software, books, or whatever).

When you look at your site or any article on it, you should be working to close a deal in every peice of content.  Whether it simply be a banner on the side, or a link to a poker site in an article.  Look at your site from a visitor’s point of view and if you don’t see any reason to sign up under one of your offers, then you probably aren’t doing a good job.

Since I have really been lacking on tips for poker affiliates, let me end this post with a great link to some really good videos.  I suggest you watch them all, but if you don’t want to use up 5 hours, watch the one on conversions.  Its called the stompernet scrutinizer and there is a link in the bottom right corner to pull up the playlist of videos.

Good luck!