He’s always loved slots – and researching natural anti-viral proteins is fun, too!
Real name: Bill Jordan
City currently residing in: London
Age: 37 [Editor's Note: Happy Birthday Bill!]
Favorite food: A really good burger (like the one in my photo)
One book everyone must read: Freakonomics
Sites: www.penny-slot-machines.com, www.penny-slot-machines.co.uk
In your GPWA profile, it says you used to be a scientist. What kind of scientist were you?
I worked as an immunologist at Imperial College London. My research was aimed at improving bone marrow transplantation success for childhood leukemia. Subsequently, I moved to a genetics lab in Newark, New Jersey (at UMDNJ), where I undertook work researching newly discovered, natural anti-viral proteins. The work was great fun, stimulating and varied, involving laboratory work, lecturing, supervising students and presenting at conferences around the world.
How and why did you transition into investing in small companies on the London Stock Exchange?
I’ve always been interested in stocks and shares, and about 8 years ago I decided to learn how to invest in the market as a spare-time hobby. I hadn’t intended for it to become my profession, but in 2004 I caught mono (EBV or glandular fever for those in the U.K.), leaving me with chronic fatigue. Eventually, it became clear that I would have to quit work to recover properly. In order to keep money coming in, my investment hobby became my full-time job – I could work from home and sleep whenever I needed the rest. I’ve been able to make a good living out of it and have been investing full time ever since.
What skills from your working as a scientist or investor have helped you as an affiliate?
Certainly one trait that is required for science, investing, or affiliate work is having patience and not expecting to be able to conquer the world straight away.
Another skill that is required in both science and investing is to be able to absorb a lot of information from many different sources, piece it all together and come up with you own conclusions and theories. This is true of the affiliate business, too. For example, if you look at all the information on SEO and SEM, with so many conflicting ideas and philosophies, it can be overwhelming. In the end, though, you have to assess all that information and come up with your own, clear plan of action for the way to take your business forward.
How did you become interested in the online gambling industry and why did you decide to get involved in affiliate marketing?
I invest in a lot of companies that are involved in online marketing and some that specialize in affiliate marketing. Originally, my main aim was to get to understand the business better so I could better assess the investment opportunities out there. I began by developing a shopping portal, which didn’t get anywhere, as it didn’t really fire my interest. However, I did learn a lot of useful information from doing it. Later on, when I discovered the slots in Vegas I thought that this was a subject I could get really interested in and so chose that as the basis of my portals.
Your site focuses on marketing online slots. Why online slots? Do you play slots at brick-and-mortar-casinos. What's your favorite brick-and-mortar-slot?
Yes, I’ve loved slots since I was a kid. I used to sneak a few spins on a low-stakes one-armed bandit in our local sports and social club when the adults weren’t looking. I don’t play a great deal here in London, because the payback percentages are so low that there is no entertainment to be had. You put £20 ($40) into a U.K. slot machine, play minimum bet, and it can be gone in less than five minutes.
It was only when I visited Vegas on vacation that I discovered that slots could give good value entertainment. Not only were the slots far more interesting than U.K. slots, with multi-line, 5-reel video slots, fun bonus rounds, multiplayer games, etc., but I found that you could make your money last by playing penny slots and also get free drinks, comps, etc. After that vacation, I went home and searched for Vegas slots online. There didn’t seem to be a great deal out there focusing on them (probably because U.S. players can’t play IGT slots online for real money), so I decided to start my own site.
My favorite slots in the bricks and mortar casinos? I really like the big multiplayer Wheel of Fortune slot, although it is quite expensive to play. My favorite penny slot is called Penny Barn, but it’s old and so difficult to find now. My favorite online slots are Cleopatra and Wolf Run. I get a buzz out of playing the Vegas slots online, as they give a little bit of that feeling of being in a bricks and mortar casino.
You mentioned on the forums that you were interested in setting up an opt-in newsletter. What kind of progress are you making on it?
Most visitors to my site are U.S. players looking for free Vegas slots online. So, I wanted a way of informing people when there was a new free Vegas slot released. Unfortunately, Wagerworks recently stopped allowing U.S. players to play IGT slots for free, which means I can’t help them in that respect anymore. So, I’m now spending my time re-designing the site to focus on other types of slot play U.S. players might have enjoyed in Vegas, like slot tournaments. Once I’ve done that, I’ll get the newsletter up and running. The good thing is, that the response to my question on the forum was really useful and so I now have all the information I need to set one up. Thanks, everyone!
Why was it important to you to attend trade shows?
For me, attending these shows has been essential. They have provided a great opportunity to put faces to the names of people I’ve been working with online, which is important to me. Also, the shows are great for getting an update on the latest industry developments and to meet with real experts in the industry. The CAP conference was really useful for me, too. The SEO question and answer session was particularly good and I gained a lot of useful knowledge about how to go about optimizing and marketing in order to get useful, targeted traffic.
How long did it take for you to start earning money?
Amazingly, my first revenue came almost immediately after I uploaded my site for the first time. I had about 10 sign-ups and a few deposits in the first few days. I also had visions of making a fortune very quickly! After that, there was a period of a few months before I saw regular traffic and revenue coming in. I still have no idea why I had that initial success in those first few days.
What do you wish you knew when you got started in the industry that you know now?
I wish I had known the benefits of joining the GPWA as a private member. The information on the private boards is a tremendous resource to the newbie. It would have saved me a lot of wasted time and effort had I joined earlier.
What advice would you offer someone who has just started in the industry?
Join the GPWA as a private member, take part in forums and learn as much as you can from people who have been there and done it already. At the same time, find your own niche and develop it. Ask yourself how your site will be different from all the other portals, who you will be marketing to and why they would like to visit your site regularly once they have discovered it.
If you had to pick five keys to success as an affiliate, what would they be and why?
What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
- Only promote sites that you know and trust. If you don’t trust a site enough to deposit your own money, then you shouldn’t expect your visitors to do so.
- Learn from others – Join GPWA and ask questions on the forums.
- Patience is key – this is especially true when you are starting out and trying to build good traffic to the site. It does take a lot of time and effort.
- Only do it if you enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, then everything is automatically 10 times more difficult.
- Get to know which affiliate programs work for your site. Some will work and others will not.
I expect them to be available to provide a quick response when I have a query. I also expect them to be honest and respectful, which means never trying the hard sell. With respect to the programs themselves, they have to represent a casino I trust and enjoy playing. After that, a lot comes down to the terms and conditions. There are programs out there with ‘predatory’ terms and conditions.
In an ideal world, how would you divide the efforts you put into your site? What percentage would go to marketing, updating content, managing your books and other tasks?
One of the things that everyone tells you when you start is that ‘content is king.’ It’s become a cliché, but it really is true. Pages on my site that I consider to have good and useful content really do convert well, but those pages I know are poor are worse than useless. Like many other affiliates, I have found it challenging to get the balance right and I still spend too much time thinking about the design of the site, and looking at stats, when I should be creating new content. So I need to work a lot more on the content in the future.
- Creating new content and updating the site – 50%
- Marketing – 20%
- Research, like reading forums, testing out casinos, attending industry conferences etc – 20%
- Managing books, examining stats etc – 10%
What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you? And why is it important to you?
I decided to join GPWA because I wanted to learn from experts in the business. Joining has been tremendously important to me for the information found in the private forums and also in having the forums as a simple way to pose questions to the experts out there. I’m impressed by the community and the professionalism that GPWA members tend to have.
If you could change one thing about the online gaming industry, what would it be, and why?
I would like to see all countries legalize and regulate online gambling as they have done in the U.K. British players can select a reputable and trustworthy online casino to play at that is regulated by the U.K. government and that is a good thing for the industry as a whole – players, casinos and those involved in marketing.
What's your favorite vacation spot? And why?
The place I keep going back to again and again is New York. I love walking in New York because of the variation in neighborhoods you can see during a short walk – Chinatown, West Village, East Village, Meat Packing District and Union Square are all very different places but only a short walk from each other. Also, having lived in New York a few years ago, I have lots of great friends there and it’s always nice to catch up with them.
What is your favorite movie? And why?
I don’t have a particular favorite, but I love movies that are thought provoking with attention to detail because you can watch them again and again, but always see something different. I like films by Quentin Tarantino.
If someone were visiting you in London, what's the one place you would definitely take them to see? And why?
Rather than see one specific place, I would take them on a walking tour of my local area, taking in sights of London past and present (I live between Hyde Park and Regents Park). It would cover lots of places of interest that are not on the tourist guide – street markets, interesting architecture, parks, people watching – and along the way we would sample good British food and real ale in several old-fashioned English pubs. If we’re lucky we might even get the chance to have a bit of a sing-song around the piano in one of my locals. OK, basically, I’d be taking them on a pub crawl!
If you could visit any five places in the world, what would they be? And why?
As a real foodie, I love to discover different cultures through food and drink. When traveling, I’ve always met great people through a shared interest in food and drink. Top of my ‘to do’ list of places I’ve never been to are:
And finally, what are three things that nobody knows about you?
- India – I love Indian food and would be really keen to learn more about the real Indian curry and how to make them.
- Mexico - to see how the food differs from the ‘Tex-Mex’ style we get here in London.
- Korea – I used to enjoy barbeques in Korea Town when I lived by NYC. Apparently people in Japan get on a boat and travel to South Korea to eat in the same way that British travel to France for the food, so it must be pretty good!
- Thailand – I’d especially like to visit an area in Thailand where they specialize in seafood.
- China – I have friends from China who keep telling me how wonderful the food is there and that makes me want to go and try it out.
- I grew up in a house in between a village pub and a brewery and we kept pigs in our back garden. While other kids had to feed cats, dogs, or goldfish before going to school, I had to feed pigs!
- I once worked in Shetland, living in a tent, researching dolphin and porpoise behavior.
- As a student, I won a national whiskey tasting contest.