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  1. #1
    GPWA Aaron is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Eddie Yu - casinoman

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    First of all, congratulations on the recent publication of your book, Speedlights & Elephants: Winning the Online Business Game (available in paperback or Kindle on Amazon.com). Tell us about the book – why did you write it, and how could it benefit GPWA webmasters?

    I wrote the book because I wanted to share my knowledge and experience so that it might help and inspire other people to set up their own online businesses. I felt that a book was the most accessible way for people to get that information in a nicely presented format. GPWA webmasters can get a lot of the mindset help that is needed to become a good webmaster from the book.

    Being a webmaster is quite a lonely business and we all know that business is not business without people, so I know that when I started out, I lacked the interpersonal skills I needed to succeed. Over time I gained those skills and I felt that I could share that process with people, to help them over this particular hurdle, which personally took me three years to overcome. Being a webmaster is also not just about SEO or PPC, it's about being a well-rounded entrepreneur, making good decisions for business, and the book aims to ensure people understand that online business is no different from any other business, that you must get your business hat on and learn about all those things which make businesses work – e.g., cash flow, margins, taxes, legal matters, etc., etc. – stuff we want to avoid, but know that we can't!

    In a recent blog post, you pointed out a study that found that "69 percent of all workers believed that the office was unnecessary now." Many affiliates have been working from home offices for years. Do you work from a home office? If so, what have you found to be the key to success when working outside an office environment?

    Yes, I do work from a home office and the rest of my team does as well. I think the key to home-office working is to get out more and have meetings in fun places! Business is about people and no matter how many Skype sessions you can have, you've got to always mix in real face-to-face meetings and networking in order to get a balance!

    What kind of writing experience did you have going into the book? Was the process harder than you thought when you first set out to write it?

    I have no writing experience, other than writing blogs. So as I always do when I don't know something, I find an expert to talk to, help me and maybe coach me. I found one of the best book coaches in the U.K. (known as The Book Midwife®) to help me understand how to create the architecture behind a book and how to structure it correctly. With her help, I found the process much, much easier than going it alone!

    There are a lot of sites in your online gaming portfolio. What is the business strategy behind operating so many sites?

    Initially the strategy was to build up a network of sites for SEO purposes. Then there would be many sites on many different IP addresses that could all cross-link each other so that in effect I could own my own backlink network. Eventually this strategy took more of a back seat as business moved forward and really that was a short-term strategy aimed to "game" the system. We moved towards more value-driven, long-term strategies that revolve around good quality content and building a solid brand that could last the years.

    In terms of Alexa traffic, CasinoMan.net is one of the larger affiliate sites. What were the keys to building up that traffic? What did you do really well that others didn't?

    Quite early on, we made a decision to concentrate on branding over SEO because we felt that SEO was an ongoing short-term strategy that put the site at risk whenever the search engines decided to change their algorithm. I looked at other industries and modeled successful retail sites and service-based sites and realized that the long-term business game is always won by brands and not by forgettable domain names!

    This switch was a major change and it meant that we would now be concentrating on retaining our visitors. To this date, a vast majority of our visitors are repeat customers loyal to the brand, and our stats show that some visitors will come by over 20 times a month. That's branding at work. We also drove traffic using lots of other diverse methods so that our overall reliance on SEO would keep reducing. Thinking outside the box, we noticed that there were huge amounts of searches and traffic in the desktop wallpaper sites, so we started to create ranges of desktop wallpapers and uploaded them there. We were the first to create game videos and now our YouTube channel has over 1,000 game videos – the largest channel of slot games. We took social media on board as soon as we figured out how to use it. Driving long-term, sustainable traffic is about looking all around and seeing what opportunities there are outside SEO.

    You posted last May that you were preparing to sell all of your online gaming sites. Is that still your plan? Do you work with any other industries?

    Yes, this is still the plan. We are now heavily involved with other industries and my personal mission to create a world without offices. I'm selling our projects in this industry so that I can fully focus on the new opportunities ahead.

    How long have you been involved in the industry? What drew you to the business?

    I started in 2001 and it was an article I read in Yahoo news about the potential of the online gambling industry that attracted me towards it. After reading that article I did some market research and noticed that it was a small market with little competition. I saw it as a business opportunity and started to work on the CasinoMan project from then.

    Are you a full-time online gambling affiliate, or do you hold down another job as well?

    I am a full-time entrepreneur with multiple businesses. My team takes care of the gambling affiliate side with me directing.

    You have affiliate sites in a variety of different online gaming verticals – casinos, poker, sportsbooks, bingo and backgammon. How does attracting and converting players in the different verticals differ? How are casino players different from poker players and bingo players? And how do you take those differences into account as you create your sites?

    To be perfectly honest, our core skill is in understanding casino players and slots players. The other sites we created were, as I mentioned earlier, simply a mechanism for SEO and we never really concentrated on marketing them or attracting players via those sites. Invariably they still did attract players; however, it was never important for us that they did because it was not our primary purpose. I think if you want to understand the differences of each vertical in the industry, you must first understand one of them as much as you can and then translate that knowledge into the others. There are of course similarities in players because their overall agenda is gambling and that is a question of understanding the human psychology behind it all. The verticals are merely niches within that psychology.

    What do you like about the industry?

    I like the challenge, and the changing legal climate makes it quite the rollercoaster ride. It keeps me on my toes and that has helped to fine-tune me as an entrepreneur. Lessons learnt from this industry have been invaluable for me when I work in other, more stable industries.

    What don’t you like about the industry?

    Lack of technological change. Since its earliest days, this industry has relied too heavily on deals, banners, links and not enough on new technology. The adoption of fully automated systems to utilize technology like RSS, XML, social media streams, database API and XML API hooks has been abysmal. As a result, this industry is falling behind as others gain prominence because they are investing in those new formats.

    What surprised you most about the industry?

    Strangely I think what's surprised me the most is how old business thinking has had a chance to succeed in this marketplace merely because demand is always going to outstrip supply, which means that casino companies can be complacent with innovation yet still make a profit!

    How long do you give yourself for responding to e-mail? And what e-mail tips can you offer?

    I'm terrible with e-mail and I know a lot of affiliate managers will agree with me on this! I'm afraid my e-mail tips are not worth listening to!!

    How do you manage your “to-do” lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?

    We use a combination of Basecamp for long-term objectives, Outlook task management for short-term tasks and I personally keep a handwritten daily task list which I compile each morning to help me focus on the most important things for the day.

    Time management is one of the biggest issues facing affiliates. What time-management tips can you offer your fellow webmasters?

    Work in solid blocks of 90 minutes so that you focus only on certain things during those 90 minutes. Have a 15-minute break in-between to relax and chill out. The human mind and body work well with the ultradian rhythms, which are natural biological cycles, so use them to your advantage. Break up the activities as well so you aren't doing 90 minutes of SEO followed by a 15-minute break and then another 90 minutes of SEO. Mix up the types of work. This rhythm fits with breakfast, lunch and dinner, too!

    How much time does it take to keep your sites updated?

    In terms of man hours it takes probably 35 hours per month.

    How much time do you devote to social networking in order to drive more traffic to your site?

    Our traffic from social media has grown steadily and hasn't stopped since we started adopting it. It's a vital long-term strategy for anyone in online marketing. Social media isn't going away; it's not a fad, it's a necessity, so learn it or get left behind.

    You’re coming up on your 10th anniversary as a GPWA member. How has the GPWA changed over the past decade, and how has being a member helped you?

    When I first started, the GPWA was an incredible resource for me to learn about the industry and tips to do with conversion, marketing, SEO and everything else as well. The part of the GPWA I love the most is the friendly, collaborative atmosphere. It is exactly that willingness to help each other that has kept it growing consistently.

    If you could have dinner with any five people, living or dead, who would they be?

    Bill Gates – I want to meet the best business mind in the world.
    Richard Branson – I love his attitude towards life and how it translates into the way he does business.
    Alexander Graham Bell – the inventor of the telephone, but also of many other things that perhaps people aren't aware of, including avionics, Montessori and National Geographic amongst many.
    Margaret Thatcher – I want to find out how she dealt with overcoming what most people of the time deemed impossible and became one of the most powerful people on the planet.
    Jamie Oliver – I want to find out what drives him on his mission, which I find utterly inspiring.

    When you need to get as far away from work as possible, where do you go?

    St. Lucia.

    How do your family and friends feel about the way you make your living?

    My family don't really get how any of it works. They understand the business component, but not the mechanics of the online world. My friends are pleased but at the same time envious. Unfortunately the friends who were close to me when I started out in 2001 are somewhat more jealous than happy for me as they did not see the same level of success in their lives. This is a story I've now heard over and over again from successful entrepreneurs, so if you are a webmaster reading this and you are planning to be a success, be prepared to leave some friends behind; it’s for the best.

    If someone were visiting you, what’s the one place you’d definitely take them to see?

    Hampton Court Palace – one of the most magnificent palaces in all of Great Britain.

    What’s your all-time favorite movie?

    There are too many! I guess a recent favorite would be Star Trek (2009). I'm a total trekkie and this movie goes to show that no matter how old an idea is, if you can give it a brand-new spin for the present day, then it'll be a success. In an age where many ideas are already done, it's time to get inventive in business and bring old ideas back into the digital age.

    If you were a Star Trek (or Star Wars) character, which one would it be?

    Star Trek – Captain Sisko – commander of a space station!

    If you won $50 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?

    First, I would ensure that my family was all taken care of for the rest of their lives, and then I would invest some in my new businesses to grow and establish them and the rest in property.

    If you were a brick in a wall, which brick would you be and why?

    Depends on the bricklaying technique.

    What are three things that nobody knows about you?

    I was in the movie Love Actually.
    I used to take vegetable deliveries from my parents’ restaurant to Pierce Brosnan before he was famous!
    I want to set up a charity for sexually abused women.

  2. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to GPWA Aaron For This Useful Post:

    cass (11 April 2012), Gabriel_LCP (12 April 2012), Moonlight Cat (15 March 2016), Renee (11 April 2012), Simmo! (11 April 2012)

  3. #2
    Simmo! is offline Public Member
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    Good read So where we can see you in Love Actually, Ed?

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    Renee (11 April 2012)

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    cass is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simmo! View Post
    Good read So where we can see you in Love Actually, Ed?
    Very insightful interview Eddie I really enjoyed reading it. I'd like to know this as well, hehe.

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    SlotsAff is offline Public Member
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    Great interview - I second Simmo, where in the film can you be found?

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    Renee (11 April 2012)

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    Maria F is offline Former AM
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    Thank you for sharing, nice interview.

  9. #6
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    IhreConsulting is offline Public Member
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    Great interview Eddie!

    Love Actually!?!? The hubbie wont be pleased because now thats on our movie night list for tonight just so I can try to spot you!! LOL

    I saw the reviews of your book on Amazon - such amazing feedback! You must be extremely happy. I know its on my list of books to buy!

    Claire
    Edward Ihre / Claire Wellard / Katerina Milfaitova

    www.ihreconsulting.com
    affiliates@ihreconsulting.com

    Ihre Consulting

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    casinoman is offline Public Member
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    Thanks for posting this!

    Listen guys, if you can spot me on Love Actually, you really need to get a life lol. The life of a background artist is basically wandering around sets in the background blending in! That's what I was doing back in 2001 just before I came across online gambling and starting CasinoMan. It was an easy way to make a hundred quid from a days worth of sitting around.
    Main sites: MindysMegaSlots.com, CasinoReviews365.com, CasinoNews365.com and FreeSlotsLive.com
    Email annalise@ladyluckmedia.co.uk for collaborations and back link swaps.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    AK (13 April 2012)

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    Connie B is offline Public Member
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    Congrats!
    Burstin Marketing Group Inc.

    Services:

    * Copywriting
    * Human Translation & Localization
    * Creative Services
    * Marketing Consulting

    Products:
    * www.excelife.ca


    Gmail: cburstin@gmail.com
    Facebook: Burstinmarketing
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