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Age:
36
Hometown: Isle of Wight
Living in: Devon, England
Favorite Food: A full English breakfast
Must Read Book: The Mysterious Stranger, Mark Twain’s unfinished novel
Sites: GamblingJoe.com, SlotsInYourPocket.com

When did you launch your sites?
GamblingJoe.com was launched in August 2013 and SlotsInYourPocket.com was launched in July 2014. Prior to GamblingJoe, I had Cashpotter.com, which was a U.K.-facing fruit machine site. This was eventually consumed by GamblingJoe, and now Cashpotter is little more than a series of redirect pages. Before all of this, in 1996 I had a gambling site hosted on Geocities which was set up as a way for me to learn HTML. This grew into a large fruit machine players’ community and eventually morphed into a larger site under the name Arcadia, and then Super Arcadia. This site was closed down in the early 2000s as I pursued another career.

Your name is Darren, but your marquee site is GamblingJoe.com. So who is the “Joe” in GamblingJoe.com?
There’s no rhyme or reason to the name selection. I wanted something that I hoped was catchy, easy to remember, still gambling related, and ending with a dot com. Getting hold of a dot com with the word “gamblin”’ in it is no easy task, but I think I’ve found a friendly, catchy name.

What are the differences between GamblingJoe.com and SlotsInYourPocket.com?
When I started building GamblingJoe, I didn’t take responsiveness into account. As the site grew, so did the number of mobile users, which at the time of writing was at 47 percent. Although I feel my site displays reasonably well on mobile, I wanted a proper mobile experience for my mobile and tablet users, and I think SlotsInYourPocket will eventually give it to them.

How did you become involved in the industry?
In the late '90s and early 2000s I used to be a professional gambler, and as such I met with many people on both sides of the brick-and-mortar gambling industry. From then on it was a gradual progression into the online market.

How long did it take for you to start earning money?
This is a tricky one to answer as my first site ran Google AdSense. Google then disabled the ads and took two months to reinstate them on appeal. During that time I signed up with Sky Vegas and made money in my first month.

Any plans to launch additional sites?
I have a set of domains which will eventually be part of a related series of sites, although buying the domains is the easy part. I hope to eventually have a site in all of the main gambling niches, but it is likely I will only target U.K. readers and players.

Are you a one-person shop or are you part of a larger organization?
It’s mainly just me and my laptop. However, I do occasionally use a freelance writer to do some reviews for me if I’m struggling for time.

Describe your work environment. Do you work from home or in an office? If you work from home, how often do you get to see and interact with other people in the industry?
As the waters of affiliate earnings are a choppy sea, I like to be able to fall back on something more stable, and as such I have another job: I’m a fruit, slot and gaming machine technician for a large U.K. gaming company, and with the majority of my time spent sitting in an office waiting for something to happen, I am able to do most of my affiliate work at “work.”

What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
An affiliate manager must communicate properly; it is a two-way relationship, and if they can’t be bothered it is unlikely that I would work with them for long. I’ve only ever dropped one program due to their lack of communication. I’m currently very happy with everyone I am working with.

As for an affiliate program, I like a brand my readers will recognize that has good creatives and pays within three weeks of the end of the previous month.

What’s your preferred method of communication with affiliate managers? Do you like to talk on the phone, by e-mail or via Skype?
I generally favor Skype, for the most part the responses are quick. I prefer e-mail for enquiries that are more general or for a response that isn’t needed too soon.

What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?
I can’t remember how I initially came across the GPWA, but as I was new to the affiliate industry, I researched and discovered this lively community.

The GPWA has helped with almost everything; as a complete newbie to affiliate gaming I was unaware about everything from cookie length to cross-product revenue share, and so much more in-between.

Most of the brands are fair, but there are also a considerable number that target users who may be less knowledgeable, and the GPWA and its readers help to highlight those that may have less favorable terms than others. The GPWA allows users to make a more informed choice.

You posted to the GPWA over 300 times before reaching the first-year anniversary of signing up. What motivates you to be so involved in the forums?
That many, huh?

You recently created a coffee cup with an ad for your site and posted it on the GPWA forums, offering the template to any affiliate who'd like to use it. Where did you learn your Photoshop skills? And what prompted you to offer the template to your fellow affiliates?
I’m self-taught with Photoshop and video editing, and it is something I like to play around with to break the tedium of writing content. The coffee cup was an editable template that I found online, with my logo overlaid on the surface. I couldn’t find too much productive use for the coffee cup, but I thought maybe someone else could. As far as I know, it has been used to promote at least one site on Pinterest.

You have referred to the GPWA as “the U.N. of the gambling world.” What prompted that comparison?
The GPWA brings together people from both sides of the industry and often works to resolve disputes in an open and fair manner.

What do you like about the industry?
I like the fact that anyone can come into this industry and if you work hard enough, you can make a real go of it and earn good money.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
Affiliate programs need to face legal repercussions for the way they behave sometimes. Retroactively changing terms, tweaking the term “lifetime revenue” and skimming players when they change software platform are underhanded practices. I’m lucky in a way that I’m not aware of experiencing any of those issues, but they certainly seem more frequent than they should be.

What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
At first they were skeptical, but once the money became more consistent, they have warmed to the idea. I don’t think they actually appreciate how much work I put into it.

Do you gamble online? If so, what do you play?
I used to play poker many years ago, but haven’t played for a long time. The last slot I played was Plants vs. Zombies (on £1 a spin), which is a good game. I play so rarely, it’s probably once or twice a year.

How long do you give yourself for answering e-mail? What e-mail tips can you offer?
I usually respond within an hour, but it depends on the subject – or the person! My e-mail comes through to my phone, so it’s rare that anything important is ignored for long.

How do you manage your “to-do” lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
My “special software” mostly consists of a pen and scraps of paper. I am, however, amazed at how unorganized a desktop screen can become.

How much time do you devote to SEO and/or social networking in order to drive more traffic to your sites?
I optimize my sites internally, such as building link juice, linking to reliable external sources and adding relevant alt tags to my images. As far as social networking goes, I don’t tend to focus too much on it. I have social sharing options on all of my pages, but no specific “fan” page. I enjoy Instagram and post images of my gambling exploits to #gamblingjoe.

What’s the most difficult thing about running your sites?
Organization; the more pages I add the more difficult it becomes.

What’s the best thing about running your sites?
I can do what I like and am answerable only to myself.

What do you do to stay in shape – both physically and mentally?
Mentally – I read a lot, especially sci-fi and science-related articles. I also play a lot of word games. Ruzzle is a favorite of mine on my Lumia, as is a real game of Scrabble. Physically – probably not enough, but I do walk a lot, and I try to swim when I can.

If someone were visiting you, what’s the one place you’d definitely take them to see?
There’s a little beach near me with a coffee shop in an old hut overlooking an eroded rock in the sea. The rock has eroded in such a way that a hole lets in the sun’s light as it sets. It’s a perfect spot to spend a quiet evening.

When you need to get as far away from work as possible, where do you go?
I take my dog, Bruno, for a walk on the beach.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?
I don’t have a favorite, although I’ve spent an awful lot of time in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe, both of which I enjoy. I’ve visited Bella Coola, which is a beautiful and remote part of Canada and is a fantastic area to see.

What’s your all-time favorite movie?
The Book of Eli is a fantastic movie. I love the theme and the concept of the entire story.

If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
My granddad passed away during the days that I was doing this interview. I would invite him back for dinner and ask him about his life and tell him how much I admired and looked up to him, and say everything I should have done while I had the time; otherwise there is only regret. He is the only person I would invite back.

What are three things that nobody knows about you?
I’ve written a sci-fi book and self-published it on Amazon.
I used to be a professional gambler.
I want to live in Canada.