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Thread: Interview with Paul Owner of GoonersGuide.com

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    Thumbs up Interview with Paul Owner of GoonersGuide.com

    As a lot of you know, I've been wanting to interview a lot of PAL affiliate for a long time. I am fascinated by the diversity of Gaming Affiliates especially. We all have a wide array of backgrounds coming into this industry, and we all have a unique approach to the affiliate business.

    Paul owners GoonersGuide.com which is one of the oldest Gambling Affiliate websites I know of. It has been online for 16+ years, and has over 1.6 million visitors. Paul allowed me to do a general video review of his website where I was able to ask questions about his management, monetization, and overall affiliate strategy.

    My goal with this series is to show various affiliate websites and interview the owners. I love hearing different perspectives, and I love learning new things. I've been in the affiliate business going on 10+ years now, and I learn something new every single day. Guys like Paul are a wealth of information, and I encourage everyone to check out the video of his site, and the interview as well. Please ask questions of Paul, and I'm sure he will be happy to answer them.

    Note: Don't miss out on the Affiliate Tips and Advice Paul gives to new and existing poker affiliates.

    (This is my first attempt at doing this, I promise the quality and delivery will get better. Also, because of schedules the interview was via email, when possible the interview will be in video form)

    GoonersGuide.com Review



    Interview With Paul

    Thank again for your time and allowing us to do a quick review of your website “Gooners Guide”. Tell us, back in 1999, what made you decide to create a website? What did you do before affiliate marketing? Give us your background and history.

    My background was in computing. I wrote transaction switching systems for EFT-POS and ATM banking networks for years. Later on I moved into the business side of things interfacing between technology and clients.

    GoonersGuide.com has a ton of content; it’s a great example of a content driven site. What is your overall strategy with that site?

    It’s all about content. We have 30,000 text pieces on site, plus another 20,000 statistical pages. When I started in 1999 I could not find a website that offered coverage of sports bets, casino action and poker play. Content was added whenever I had a situation that I needed to research.

    You were nice enough to give me permission to review your site on video, I brought up several things I liked and some I didn’t like or didn’t understand. Can you dive into some of the details from the video?

    1) How you manage a site with so many pages of content?

    Carefully. ;-) The reality is that 95% of the content pieces are designed as one-off pieces that are current for 3-4 days and do not need to be updated again. There are 200-300 pieces that do get touched on a monthly basis. A good list helps.

    2) The site isn’t a CMS like Wordpress or Joomla right? How hard is that to manage?

    I really don’t like Wordpress or Joomla. (or Blogger). Too much of a straight-jacket and too insecure. Yes it is all HTML code generated by hand – either via a GUI interface (for Casino and Poker) or by hand (sports).

    I noted some issues in the review video with various font sizes, browser alignment, little things like that. How do you handle those types of issues with such a massive amount of content?

    The pages are built using a couple of different editing tools – each with a different level of complexity and code awareness required by the end user – and each giving a different look and feel.

    Our GUI interface is used for reviews and “money” pages. It delivers a polished WYSIWYG (almost) design but the downside to this system is that it uses exact positioning meaning that fully-responsive design is not possible and a fixed left alignment works best.

    A text based editor to play directly with the HTML code has been used for the sports betting previews. This allows a more flexible fully responsive design – although it opens the pages up to all the variations and inconsistencies of different browsers and OS. So centre-aligning is possible but some browsers just make it look a bit weird. (IE V8.0, Opera min-proxy, early android etc).


    Six months ago – ALL the pages were this font size. The pages were 1000px wide with a small font –but it looked K on my 24 inch monitors and hey doesn’t everyone have those? ;-)

    The entry page is a complex page, and there is a lot on it, and advertisers pay $$$ to appear on the front page because for some reason they feel it is important to their program. So with all the content and ads – I just can’t make a big font work – this look is simply down to page complexity and money making.


    You’ve heard my comments on your site, what are you plans going forward with the site? Any big changes or re-design in the works?

    We’ve made changes to most frequently accessed pages now to embrace the mobile and tablet segment (as it is 50% of our readership), so that means bigger font sizes and more flexible pages depending on media queries.

    We’ve worked through our “money pages” and most important pages making them mobile responsive or mobile redirecting depending on the editing technology we use.


    You have been working in the affiliate industry longer than almost anyone I know, give us your thoughts on the current affiliate market, and where do you see it over the next few years?

    It’s currently very fragmented. Every program has country exclusions, payment issues and complex bonuses. That means a good knowledge is essential to explain programs to readers and also to make accurate recommendations.

    That’s good news for good affiliates – as it means there is a market for our services – if you are prepared to get involved and actually act as a review of programs.


    Advice For Poker Affiliates

    There’s been a lot of news in the past few weeks about rooms closing their affiliate programs, limiting how long they will pay commissions on players, and some programs lagging way behind when it comes to paying for earnings. Is this something you expect to see more of?

    There are a lot of 3rd rate programs out there that are running with no negative carryover and offering affiliates 40-50% share. They can’t survive and make money with that combination. So they engage in “creative accounting”, late payments and affiliate scraping.

    Do yourself and your readers a favour and do not work with low-rent clip joints. Will there be more of this? Only for affiliates prepared to work with programs with bad reputations.

    We only deal with 20-25 programs. They are all top tier. On average we have 0.5) overdue payments each month – that’s one every two months.


    Would you recommend that affiliates move to a CPA based model? What commission model do you prefer?

    I prefer revenue share. CPA payments are designed for average sites / average players, and we seem to attract higher quality players with our content.

    What advice would you give your fellow affiliates?

    Make your site about something that you are passionate about. It will come through in your content. Unfortunately 95% of affiliate sites are clearly cookie cutter with cut n paste content.

    What advice would you give someone wanting to break into the affiliate business?

    It’s a business with lower barriers to entry and low cost of entry – so that means that there is a lot of competition and not all of it will compete via fair means.

    If you are going to succeed – and make a living out of it - then you need to find a niche that gets you enthusiastic about it – so that you understand the needs and views of your readers and can cater for them.

    Only about 1% of affiliate make a living out of it – if you don’t have a REAL interest in the industry – you probably won’t be in the 1%.



    Thanks again to Paul for letting us do this. Please leave your comments and feedback below. Thanks!
    Jeremy, AceHigh Pino, Spry and 3 others like this.

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    Great interview. I enjoyed reading it. Thank you.

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    Would have liked to see some more detailed questions about site design and conversions. The site obviously converts in its current form (which many would consider dated/unusual) so would have been really interesting to explore this more.

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    Great interview and congratulations. Def one of the top affiliate sites

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    Quote Originally Posted by doovde View Post
    Would have liked to see some more detailed questions about site design and conversions. The site obviously converts in its current form (which many would consider dated/unusual) so would have been really interesting to explore this more.
    Great points, I'm sure Paul will comment here and share what he feels comfortable sharing. I'll make sure and get those types of questions in for the next one. This was my first attempt, so they will get better.

    Keep the feedback coming guys!

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    Quote Originally Posted by doovde View Post
    Would have liked to see some more detailed questions about site design and conversions. The site obviously converts in its current form (which many would consider dated/unusual) so would have been really interesting to explore this more.
    Ask specific question Doovde - you might get an answer - if I can and it's not a trade secret ...


    As for conversion we get about 12,000 clicks a month to program affiliate links.
    Check out the Gooners Guide to Gambling now ... for a complete online gambling portal
    or ... visit the Poker Lab Rat, the Sports Lab Rat, and the Casino Lab Rat for specific industries

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGooner View Post
    Ask specific question Doovde - you might get an answer - if I can and it's not a trade secret ...


    As for conversion we get about 12,000 clicks a month to program affiliate links.
    OK... I'll give it a go but I'd imagine you won't want to answer many or any these questions - just say no if you don't want to I won't be offended (or just pm me ).

    What percentage of your depositors come from tips traffic and what percentage come from the static content?

    Of the percentage that comes from tips traffic where are conversions happening? Well I'm guessing this has to be in either sidebar given you don't include many/any CTA's in the content.

    Have you tested each section of your sidebar and did adding any particular modules really help convert the tips traffic?

    What do you think is wrong with the way that lots of sites do tips posts and structure them for conversions?

    How much do you value geo-targetting? Did adding this significantly boost your numbers?

    What rev share percentages do you feel like it's possible to get from sports books like bet365, betvictor etc?
    suffolkpoker and yeahfree2 like this.

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    THe point was a Q/A so I think I can share this sort of stuff in the forum.


    Quote Originally Posted by doovde View Post
    What percentage of your depositors come from tips traffic and what percentage come from the static content?
    Tips traffic is 90% of the total traffic, and generates about 30% of clicks. However, the 70% clicks from more standard money pages often come from a visitor to the tips page originally that investigates some info in the sidebar.

    With between 20K to 100K pages read per day it's almost impossible to accurately track the users paths other than anecdotally. I check 10 to 20 detailed paths a week - and log details on all money clicks. Some users actions make sense - and some are either mad, unblocked bots, or unable to speak English.

    Many people that read the tips do just that - and no more. That's always going to be the case. But we do catch the interest of a fair few visitors to investigate other non-tip sports betting / poker betting / casino betting pages.

    Quote Originally Posted by doovde View Post
    Of the percentage that comes from tips traffic where are conversions happening? Well I'm guessing this has to be in either sidebar given you don't include many/any CTA's in the content.
    Plenty of CTAs - you just don't see them - they're that good. ;-) No really. Having an obvious CTA halfway through tip content is just too "salesy" to work outside North America. It acts more like a block than a CTA.

    I HATE sites that have in context CTA's so it's a personal preference to put them at the bottom of the content - and around the content rather than in between paragraphs.

    Quote Originally Posted by doovde View Post
    Have you tested each section of your sidebar and did adding any particular modules really help convert the tips traffic?
    No I have not tested each section in isolation. The sidebar content is fluid and is added / modified / changed / resorted according to the content, the visitors location, and a couple of other "TM" factors.

    I can see the effectiveness of different modules as a reflection of the destination pages read - and the analytics feed of the source pages that sent them there. It gets "tweaked" at least once per month.

    Quote Originally Posted by doovde View Post
    What do you think is wrong with the way that lots of sites do tips posts and structure them for conversions?
    See the answers to first three questions.

    However, the point of the tip is to cover the match in question. The point of the sidebar is to provide a combination of comparative information, offers, and advice as to how the reader can place the bet to maximise returns.

    The tip content by itself will almost NEVER convert - because when searching for a tip to read the idea of opening a new account wasn't the intent of the reader. And the tip pages at most sites are not structured for conversion - they give a tip some odds (usually one set) and a bet location and maybe banner or join bonus. That's pretty weak.

    If I don't already have an account somewhere then MAYBE it will work - although even then I'm likely to go find a place that offers a comparison of different accounts BEFORE deciding. This first account sale is a hard sale.

    If I already have a betting account, then potentially it's an easier sale to open a new betting account, but only if you tweak my interest. And (for me) that doesn't happen through a hard sell / low information in context CTA.


    Quote Originally Posted by doovde View Post
    How much do you value geo-targetting? Did adding this significantly boost your numbers?
    Geo-targeting is essential for us with visitors from 180 different countries. You can't make a sale if you are not offering or mentioning a product that is available for THAT visitor.

    Quote Originally Posted by doovde View Post
    What rev share percentages do you feel like it's possible to get from sports books like bet365, betvictor etc?
    30% to 40%.
    Last edited by TheGooner; 06-09-2015 at 06:46 AM.
    Check out the Gooners Guide to Gambling now ... for a complete online gambling portal
    or ... visit the Poker Lab Rat, the Sports Lab Rat, and the Casino Lab Rat for specific industries

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    First, thank you both. Enjoyed watching the review and reading the interview.

    I assume that time is limited for both of you, but would be really interested to hear more on:

    1. As it was mentioned the site design is unique - i would guess that it works well on more experienced, patient and pro visitors, therefore the high rev. Do you feel it misses part of the visitors, the more casual gamblers and people who are new to online?

    2. What would you do differently if you had to build it now, with all the current options, internet developments and of course your current knowledge?

    Again, thanks a lot!

    P.S. Sorry, wrote the post before your recent post appeared.
    Last edited by mkes; 06-09-2015 at 10:39 AM.

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    Ty for the replies Gooner - appreciate it.
    Randy L and TheGooner like this.


 
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