Robot Porn!!!!

After years of linking to Brandon Berndt’s blog on my here I finally asked him why he never gave me a reciprocal link.  I mean I always send him nice messages to see how his day is going and thought we were pretty good friends, but apparently my site is not link worthy on his blog.  When I inquired about getting a link Brandon said he would only link to my site if there was robot porn on it.  Here is the link he gave me:

I didn’t really get it, but apparently he has an obsession with Robot Porn and who am I to judge.  So in exchange for the link, here is your Robot Porn Mr. Berndt:

And now for the video….

New Year / New Design

First off HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone that reads my blog!  To start the year off right, I figured I would give this site a new look and opted on using the free Mystique Theme.  It has a whole bunch of cool widgets, and best of all, IT IS FREE!

Hopefully everyone has recovered from the New Year celebrations and is back working now.  I had a nice little break, though feel like I am getting a bit sick now (obv from all the partying over the holidays).

I read one of the weirdest stories today about how iPoker is banning winning players.  As an affiliate I think this is absolutely retarded of them and makes me less eager to work with iPoker Rooms.  Basically they are coming out and saying we only like when players lose.  I don’t know about other affiliates but I have always wanted to attract and help poker players get good and win more money, because at the end of the day it means more money in all of our pockets.  Them sending out this message just makes online poker in general look bad.  Hopefully the sites affected can get this straightened out and band together to create a new network.

I don’t really have much else to say other than Happy New Year just want to make sure the new theme is working properly.

Here is a cool video of Travis Pastrana making a car fly on New Years Eve:

Also, if anyone wants to do any link exchanges just comment below, or send me a message on PAL (if Jeremy ever gets the server fixed ;)).

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

Great Motivational Video

So, today is my birthday and I have already decided that this year I am going to break a lot of old bad habits and start “doing” a lot more.  Anyway, while trying to find something to watch before going to bed I decided that instead of watching some show that is entertaining, why not use this as a chance to possibly improve myself (even if its in the slightest).  I started to look for motivational videos and came accross this blog.  I chose to watch the “Nick Vujicic – Life Without Limbs” video and have to say it was very intresting and I think everyone can probably get something out of it. Nick was born without arms or legs. At 23 years old he now spends his time travelling the world doing motivational speaking, helping people and investing his money in the stock and real estate markets.  Here is the video if you have about 30 minutes (thought it seems to kinda cut off in one part and at the end). Enjoy!:

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.

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!

No Way That Is Her!

I was just on facebook when the following ad caught my attention:

fatloss-hotchick

No way that is her in the after!!!  I actually thought this was a great ad though because it caught my attention and I clicked the link to see if there were more pics of the hot girl.  Unfortunately there were not :(  They did have a cool site though with a bunch of good affiliate links in it and am sure they probably make some money from this.

Anyway, this just goes to show that sometimes the best ways to grab people’s attention is to make them not believe you.

/end of weird blog post

Affiliate Managers Contacting Through Facebook

I understand, its hard to get new affiliates to promote your room but sometimes I just want to tell these people to LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!  It’s one thing to send emails to addresses associated with sites, but sometimes the contact becomes a tad too invasive.  I get random people adding me to MSN with no clue who they are, and a few times now I have even received messages to my facebook account.

Like I said, I have grown used to the emails, but I look at Facebook as a more personal venue.  Even though it can be used as a great networking tool for people you have actually met or talk to, it should NOT be used as a method to promote your brand and contact potential affiliates.  It is actually just kinda creepy to me.

Anyway, I decided I would try and turn this into something productive that hopefully other affiliate managers could take something from and provide pointers on what I don’t like about these or most forms of “first contact” from affiliate managers.

Here is the message I received from NAME REMOVED of Cool Hand Poker with things in bold that could be improved if you had to use this method to contact an affiliate for whatever reason:

Hi Graham,

Not some mad stalker – I promise! :)  I am sure you prefer the term “e-stalker”.  “Stalker” is so real world.

I am an advertiser interested in promoting our Poker room – Cool Hand Poker via your network.  Network eh?  I bet you couldn’t even list some of the sites I have.

Been doing research to find appropriate media partners for my client, Belle Rock Entertainment. The company owns various online gambling sites (Poker, Bingo & Casino) and have been operating for over 10 years.  If you had done your research properly you could maybe tell me a few of my sites and why you think they would be a good fit for your room.

Cool Hand Poker is a relatively new and small poker room – it was launched late last year and we are aiming to grow the business. It is quite unique in its marketing, as the target market is “everyday people” or people wanting to learn & play poker socially / newbie poker players onto the site. We are not aiming for the big-stakes Professionals who usually go to the more aggressive sites such as Full Tilt or Poker Stars.  More on how this is a retarded idea later.  Do you really think you can keep out the “sharks” from a site.  Also, you do realize those are the ones that make money, not the guy who plays poker once a week.

We are focusing our marketing efforts on the UK, Canada Europe and Australia & NZ (not USA or Africa) – would be helpful to understand your traffic split (USA vs. target countries above) and targeting capabilities better?

In order for me to motivate for any media deal, we must provide as much detailed information as possible. Besides Cool Hand Poker, we also market Casino and Bingo – further opportunities to work together!  Oh, I forgot I was trying to sell you on why I should promote your stupid site.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Warm regards

NAME REMOVED

The thing that annoys me more than anything is NAME REMOVED has probably copied and pasted this message to hundreds of affiliates.  Anyway, since it wasn’t an email I will let facebook deal with the spammers roaming their site:

am-facebook

Her messages lack personal touch, and really do nothing to make me want to work with them.  For further proof here is an email from NAME REMOVED with the things that need improvement in bold:

TITLE OF EMAIL: Advertising/Affiliate partnership (FuzioPoker)‏ First off, the site is Fuzion Poker (instant points off for spelling mistake)

Hi Graham,

By way of introduction, my name is NAME REMOVED and I am the Poker Affiliate/Publisher Manager at COMPANY REMOVED.  And, you already lost my interest.  I don’t give a fuck who you are, why are you contacting me!  It’s bad enough you creeped my whois info to get this email instead of looking for the site contact email.

I am an advertiser interested in promoting our Poker room – Cool Hand Poker via your website. Would be grateful if you could contact me to discuss opportunities?  “Cool Hand Poker”, really, thats the name you went with?  Ummm… I don’t care about opportunities, you contacted me, remember.  What do I get out of this?

My aim is to find appropriate media partners for my client, Belle Rock Entertainment. The company owns various online gambling sites (Poker, Bingo & Casino) and have been operating for over 10 years.  Whatever.

At this time, I am specifically focusing on our Poker room – Cool Hand Poker – the emphasis being on fun, free or low-stakes, social poker games. Especially for newbies wanting to learn poker in a friendly, safe environment.  Fun, free, low-stakes?  Let me guess, you probably want me to send these players that will make me no money on an MGR deal too, right?

We are focusing our marketing efforts on the UK, Canada Europe and Australasia – would be helpful to understand your site and traffic split better?  Do your own research.

Looking forward to hearing from you. Not likely.

Warm regards,

NAME REMOVED

Anyway, I hope someone learns something from this post so I don’t have to use you as an example for one of my future posts.