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MJ

Back To My Roots

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by
MJ
on 06-15-2011 at 12:01 AM (4712 Views)
I entered this business in 2009 as a player, with the idea of being a player advocate. I remember my first website, which was RakeVIP.com - I'd get player emails asking questions, and even providing info I didn't have related to different countries - at the time I made good use of it and sent players to places I thought was safe. This was "user submitted" content at it's finest, and led to several five figure rakers. I MISS those days with a passion, and hate the business of seo born gambling affiliate marketing - the difference is most notably in my ethics, and I intend to go back to my roots.

Over time, as I become an "seo affiliate" or whatever you'd call it - I crossed over to the dark side, I admit it. I saw some success, made some money, and pretty much caved to the dark side - I admit it.

I'm making this announcement I'm going back over to the white side, getting back in touch with my roots, and finding my voice again.

Let's put this in perspective - if you are an operator that treats players and affiliates fairly, I'd like to promote you. If you are a scam operation (especially a problem on the sports betting side) or a crap affiliate program that screws over affiliates, we are done. At the very least if you are good for players and shit for affiliates (aka Bwin) you will be on prepay or cpa basis only.

I look forward to a day when we can be back to a business of honest gambling, this is a fucked up greedy world we are living in - the house always has the edge and often that isn't enough.

On the affiliate side, I've let quality slip as well. I promote shit books, and marginal content, all in the name of profits. I admit it.........hell most of you do too. I'm done with that though, I can't sleep at night without promoting honest businesses to real players.

I'll expand on this with a future post, but you can expect to see a lot less of me this summer. I'm going to be revamping my websites in order to get back to the basics of providing players with good honest value, in theory there should be a fortune made off of that alone, and I have the network to do it with.

That is all, best luck 2011 y'all. Stay tuned for a blog post where I'm not half drunk explaining my position.....bottom line I'm sick and tired of being an affiliate that puts pages up just to chase keywords, there is no future in that anyways, I'm getting back to my roots of being a straight shooter, making a living off gambling I feel like it's the only way forward anyways.
Prop, TheDonk, Holis and 4 others like this.

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  1. Sebastian's Avatar
    Awesome plan, I also understood you need to work with Google and for players, rather than the other way around.
    Updated 06-15-2011 at 12:46 AM by Sebastian
  2. Prop's Avatar
    emails from players drives me.. seriously I hear all the time people don't like to gambling sites. One of the few reasons for this.. it is because most gambling sites suck.

    What affiliates do today no one would have done business with them 5 years ago. I mean that. they'd be considered a spam site, and a spammer that makes the net worse and serious sites won't link to them. I seen this coming in 2008 where it was like wow.. yeah this is the norm now.. just slap up pages.. buy links.. every pages purpose is to go for kill,, when get nuked in google, rinse repeat and do again.

    If you're good at it and want to do it the rest of your life it can be fun. MOST go broke on this strategy. It become an addiction and you keep poring more cash into it chasing the rush of bigger terms, bigger money etc. things change.. those not as sharp as they believed they were get the final zap.. they go into depression and remember days that once were. The really sharp people adapt and keep gaining the system.

    If you're great at it, why not. money is money, right?

    You want the safe plan that will work 98.342137015% of the time and make HUGE money.. "put yourself on the web". live with passion, strive to be best.. and build a reputation that when you speak people listen. When you recommend something people know it is legit.

    The idea people don't link is absurd. Its not a TON.. but I'd have to guess I get about 10 emails per year.. from RANDOM players that are a flat out "thank you so much or having this section of your site". "thank you so much for posting honest info" "man i so wish I had read this earlier, where should I play" etc. Now if you add forum responses into it then I probably get 50 per year. I'm talking straight out people that whois'ed my domain and emailed. Meanwhile people saying.. anytime I ever joining a betting site I'm asking for your link.. I hear that 20 times per year.

    If players are going to take the time to email like that, don't you think some of them are posting on forums, telling others about the site.. won't like minded sites link to them?

    Everyone wants to know how to build to a brand. Start with trust, value and integrity.. there's some shady as people in sports betting, former crooks, a few murders etc.. they realized at some point or another that trust, value and integrity is a profitable business model.. whether you outsource content, link building, marketing, design coding or whatever. you own the site, you're its narrator.. "you are the brand". Seriously man anyone wants to make money in this niche.. write in black permanent marker on your hands so you can see it when typing "I am the brand".

    Everyone loves to complain. Randy Ray the other day on his forum at pokerseo.org:
    "Be the change you want to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi
    His reference was that he freely links out to sites and doesn't feel it ever hurt him.

    Anyways ranting here a bit.. but glad to read your post MJ...
    Players First, Gambling Sites Second.. Yourself after
    That = work ethic.

    It's the same as any job. you work in IT installing phones, one day your boss tells you the construction crew is short today and we need help digging this ditch "sure boss no problem". tomorrow they ask me to do it again "okay". later that day.. "how long am gong to be working construction for" I don't like the answer I find a new job and give my notice.

    Same in affiliate except.. you fuck with the players "I quit". some other program wants to pay me more, you made new terms I don't like etc. okay time for negotiation.. it don't work out I now work for someone new. If it does then i got back to: #1 players, #2 company that pays me, #3 me.

    The slogan "where affiliates come first always pissed me off".. how backwards would it be for a gambling site to put affiliates first. At BetUS this was the model though.. if it wasn't for the entire affiliate culture that brand would have no legs to stand.. players having millions stolen from them is the results of affiliates as the accomplice.. so yeah them using a slogan where affiliates come first at least makes sense. If you post on PAL and read this forum and also promote BetUS.. you're extremely fucking delusional if you don't know you are an accomplice and that's why they pay you well. There are plenty of honest ways to make a living without causing other harms...
    Why is that on topic? Maybe because can't help but take a shot at that company.. considering they are allowed to sponsor affiliate conferences.. this is the exact reason the where affiliate come first model doesn't work.

    Anyways long rant and poor conclusion lol.

    Good luck man.. looking forward to linking out to your clean site.
    sipka likes this.
  3. taxman's Avatar
    Great post MJ

    It's a reflection of the times we live in. Sounds like a solid long term plan to me, gl.
  4. Knup's Avatar
    Awesome MJ... Sounds like you have a plan. I agree 100% with your approach. Good luck!
  5. pokeraussie's Avatar
    Funny how the drink makes you so honest
    MJ likes this.
  6. MJ's Avatar
    Haha Aussie - and awesome post prop.
  7. Jeremy's Avatar
    Great post man. I have always believed in doing what's right and being able to sleep at night knowing that what you are doing on a day to day basis is ethical.
  8. kingback's Avatar
    As someone who plays poker for living and does the affiliate stuff just for fun I think that this is the only correct approach. It makes me cringe everytime I see a website list some borderline shady company (or just otherwise shitty poker site) as the "BEST POKER SITE!!!".

    Personally I feel like we as affiliates have the responsibility not to advertise sites where the players might be screwed over.
    MJ, Prop and Knup like this.
  9. nookurt's Avatar
    what is right? Google forces us to stray from righteous techniques. Google is the biggest monopoly and punishes sites for making money. They want everyone but their buddies to work for pennies. Look at a quality site like Pokerdailynews.com after all the quality they are going to sell their site for shit (probably to zynga or Caesars shills) . You do what you have to do to make money online as long as it is not hurting anyone. The DOJ needs to start breaking up monopolies and stop fucking with the little people. Watch Client #9 and see how shit works.
  10. pomp's Avatar
    Well spoken squire. And if you want an apprentice lol
  11. MPC's Avatar
    MJ, you're not thinking straight.

    As much as SEO sucks in many way, it's there to stay. You can go back to the roots of creating this network of sites that are based on the best interest of the players, and that's certainly a good thing. But you'll still have to depend on targetting the right keywords, trading links, buying links, submitting articles, etc. As much as that work is boring and annoying, it will always be a critical part of the business. The reality is that you can''t just rely on the mouth to mouth of your clients that do notice the quality of the site, because most of them won't say a peep. It's really about balancing the SEO efforts with the quality and integrity of the information. I don't think you can succeed by focusing on just quality or just SEO. You need both. In the last years, the SEO side just took over the entire operation.Thanks a lot Google!

    In terms of your business deals, you should be in this to make money. I know I'm going to get some bitch slapping for saying this, but it's really not always about what is best for the player, it's about what you can convince the player of what is best for them. It's like that in ANY business. Simple example: I think a Ford and a GM offers comparable value to a consumer. They're equivalent in my book. But when I talk to the Ford guy, he'll tell me his cars are better, and vice versa.

    The key thing is you have to beleive in what you sell. So sure, UB could have handed out $400 CPA's but if you didn't belelive in the product or the company, did it really matter? Yes, you could have made a killing in the short term, but you hurt your overall reputation in the long term when they take everyone's cash and run.

    Choosing what you sell is a compromise between profitability and the effects on reputation. If product A is the absolute best with the lowest margin, and product B is not the best but still pretty good that it won't hurt your credibility, and offers much better margins, then you should push product B. In our industry, for a long time many could have made the case that FTP was the absolute best option from a player's point of view. It was product A. From the affiliate side, quite the opposite. It was probably the shitiest program of them all. So perhaps the best compromise from a business point of view was to push a different room.

    The only reason FT keept being pushed by many affiliates is because of the many of us put all their eggs into that one basket. Then FT had you by the balls and could wipe the floor with you, and they did.

    Some of the things I have learned over the years:
    Offer value to players
    Offer more than what every other site if offering
    Collaborate with your peers
    Know your limits
    Negotiate deals
    Don't let greed guide every decision, consider the long term impacts
    Build a brand
    SEO is a critical part of your business and you better learn it
    Diversify
    Be involved in your community and give as much as you take.

    Having said that, I was never a huge affiliate. I never will be. That is a choice I made because I know my limits in terms of what I can commit to my projects. So you can take everything I say with a grain of salt I guess.

    Now if you want to go back with being a player advocate, at least you likely have an advantage. Your network is in place, you're not starting from scracth. But based on your post where you say you've let greed guide many of your decisions, I guess I would ask does your network have any credibility?
  12. Prop's Avatar
    I have a site made mid six figures (just that one site) and never traded links, bought links or submitted an article fwiw. I have many others that made five figures that never traded links, bought links or submitted an article also fwiw.

    I'm not against those things.. I'm just super paranoid of Google penalties and algorithm changes and operated for many years under the perspective if I'm reaching ranking goals as the result of fabricated means I'm far more susceptible to getting bumped, penalized or w/e. I have recently started doing some of this stuff but for many years I didn't do much of it.. my SEO focus was on site on only where I tried doing other things to increase exposure and get others to voluntarily link to me.
  13. PTC's Avatar
    Coming back to your roots eh? Well, the Powderhorn ski resort is going up for auction Aug. 4th... I hate to call you out, but if you say you are coming back to your roots I expect to see you there bidding.

    Love, Mark

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