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    GPWA Daniel is offline Associate Editor
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series - Chris Trenka

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    (This interview was originally published in the July 2018 issue of the GPWA Times Magazine)


    Before you got into iGaming, you were a LotusNotes Domino administrator for a Fortune 500 company. Are there any skills or experiences from your previous jobs that you think have helped you as an affiliate?


    Working for a large corporation or two in a slightly stressful environment where 30,000+ users depend on your systems running around the world has to be good for something! I enjoyed the technical aspect of managing large groups of servers on multiple platforms, as there was always something new to learn at each new stage. Learning early on that you cannot stress about things you cannot control is the largest lesson learned, though, I think. A big affiliate closing the doors that you counted on month after month, or Google no longer loving your site, are all things that getting upset about won't do any good.

    How and when did you make the transition into iGaming?

    In 2004, a coworker came to me and said that 1&1 is a brand-new webhost as registrar offering a free domain name and web hosting for one year for signing up. This was their way of advertising by word of mouth, so I joined. At the time, I was playing no-deposit casinos online and thought if I made a website talking about them, maybe I would get some more free money to play with. I had no idea what an affiliate was at this point, but I registered Allfreechips.com and started to learn what HTML was.

    Tell us about your first site. When did you launch it? How long did it take for it to start making money?

    2004, when I launched my free domain, I was reading about advertising for casinos at Zodiac Casino. I was shocked that I could actually be paid, so I made a table of casinos and was off and running. I found it simple to just go ahead and sign up for each and add them Ė we only had three main softwares at the time: RTG, Microgaming and Playtech. As far as getting players, I started posting on gambling forums about Allfreechips and linking back. This was a learning curve as well, as one got real mad that I was posting I had these great no deposit bonuses etcetera in their bonus section. But all this aside, after one month I had some earnings already. I think it was about $12 in total, but the fire was lit. Lots of links posted wherever I could post them back in 2004 quickly went to top 10 rankings for a few good keywords, got me moving forward.

    When did you start launching other sites? Why did you decide to launch multiple sites?

    Once I learned that I can have all my data in a database, this was a game-changer for sure. A new site back then was a simple as a logo, some colors and throw in the database! You can see by my old sites that have not been updated what they looked like back in the pre-2010 era, such as bonuscasino.ws. So with this in mind I made a bunch of sites, and one with a no-deposit casino URL did so well for no reason that it was sold for a quite a large sum at the time.

    Are you a full-time or part-time affiliate?

    I am now a full time affiliate. I think I quit my job in 2011 or 2013, I really cannot remember at this point. When work was getting in the way of me making more I knew it was time to leave, but it was still a scary process with two young children at the time.

    Your sites cover a variety of verticals. What are the benefits of covering a lot of verticals rather than specializing in just one or two? What are the challenges?

    As far as many verticals, because Allfreechips covers them all itís all just one process for me, while allowing for some specific sites like Hotslot. It's really just a byproduct of the data I have for Allfree. The big challenge right now is finding out some casinos are either gone, renamed or the links just no longer work. My method is to have all casinos listed and let the players vote openly on them, giving them a real user-based guide for others to read. I do step in when I get a complaint, and if I feel that the casino is not holding up its end, they find their way to my growing rogue section.

    What makes your sites unique? How do you help them stand out from the competition?

    In 2004 this was simple. I loved sites with tables of information, and then I loved the sites with forums. So I combined them together to make AFC. At the time, to me this was a new way of doing things. Although I found there were a couple of others like this already, such as casino-crush, AFC has always seemed to be unique for some reason. I try to keep up with design changes and technology, although as a one-man show things move a bit slowly for me, but I am building some software to eliminate most of my concerns with multiple sites.

    How do you decide what casinos to promote?

    I promote any casino that agrees to my terms, and that I feel are worth it. There are just some casinos you know are not on the level from the get-go.

    Do you gamble online? What about in brick-and-mortar casinos?

    I used to gamble online and in Vegas before I started this. It is still fun, but when you realize how many people make a living off of people gambling, it really takes away from it. When I was younger I always wished we could have a casino in Ohio, and now we have a few that I donít even bother visiting, so my outlook has changed quite a bit.

    How often do you get to see and interact with other people in the industry? Have you attended any conferences?

    I have been to Judyís meetings in Canada a couple of times. It is really fun to put faces to people you interact with a lot and to meet some of the affiliate managers. They were always a great time and close enough for me to travel to with my wife easily. In the future I plan on attending some of the larger, more professional ones, but itís never been something high on my list.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?

    No. 1, I like an affiliate manager I can get a hold of. In most cases, with Skype this is not an issue anymore. Secondly, it kills me when a manager comes to me to get listed, then gets angry that either I am not fast enough or their current offers do not sort well on my sites. As far as programs go, nothing is worse than getting a new affiliate manager every few months, or the fact they change the terms of your deal without notice or at all. So many times the big programs like Fortune and Buffalo just dispose of all agreements and say you're now on X instead of Y. Programs like that instantly end up in the rogue section.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?

    A friend of mine that also got into iGaming was active on GPWA, and I was looking for an alternative to some older affiliate sites such as CAP at the time to have some insight into the industry. The GPWA is great resource for many things and has helped me with contacting programs and deciding on programs to promote, but the biggest benefit is other webmasters. The amount of help I have received is amazing, and I try to give what I can in return.

    What do you like best about working in this industry?
    The freedom of being my own boss and not having to follow a 9-to-5 work day. Although some of my work days are much longer, I can take a week here and there with no issues, or simply say I am done working for the day. Itís hard to believe there are many other industries that are as rewarding today.

    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be and why?
    A standard payment processing for affiliates separate from any gambling, allowing the free flow of commissions anywhere in the world. Being paid in the U.S. is still not easy Ė a new type of Neteller that is 100% accepted by the U.S. and the rest of the world would be great.

    What do you think the industry will look like in five years?

    In five years, I see the U.S. becoming more segregated by states protecting their casino borders, as well as more and more regulation around the world. To succeed, webmasters will need to adhere to overwhelming restrictions and break up displaying content specific to regions.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?

    Most still have no idea what exactly I do. Itís easier to say I do online marketing, and if it goes further than that itís about managing ad campaigns for online casinos. I do feel most are happy for what it allows for my family and myself.

    What's your approach to SEO and drawing traffic to your site? How much time do you spend on SEO specifically?

    I like to build pages in a way that I feel will be on target for SEO results. Past mistakes teach lots of lessons with SEO, such as the time I added 2,000 slot machines with no real content. Google frowns upon not only adding a lot of pages at once, but when the pages are all the same without a review, it is just terrible! Currently I do not spend much time at all Ė anything new falls into the same basic guidelines I already worked toward having. Items such as improving site speeds are ongoing, as well as a switch to https was the last big project.

    How much time do you devote to social networking for your site?

    Virtually none; I created a worker bot to handle them all at this time. Other than manually going in and answering questions or trading likes, not much time is devoted now.

    What do you do to stay in shape Ė both physically and mentally?

    Obviously not enough Ė in my head, though, dropping 20 pounds is right around the corner! My wife, Jennifer, is very active, and keeping up with her is a good amount. Yard work is another form that keeps me going.

    What do you do with your spare time?

    Spare time is funny. You would think with working for yourself you would have a ton, but somehow thatís not true. But there are a lot of things such as fishing, target shooting, skiing, hiking, birding (really, it's cool), along with a lot of things with my kids, which far outpace the amount of ďspareĒ time I have.

    What did you dream of doing, both professionally and personally, when you were a kid?

    Thatís a funny question as I really donít have an answer. I was always wanting to get to work to pull in a paycheck, but never really said I want to be X. I worked in food service for a while and they sent me to college for a culinary management degree, then I left that and did some computer work. That jumped into Lotus/Domino and ended me up here. I can make a great beef wellington still, though, so itís all good!

    If you won $10 million playing the lottery tomorrow what would you do?

    I would most likely complain I need to pay four of that in taxes. Then put the rest into the bank, maybe buy a bass boat, but then Iíll need somewhere to store it so on and so onÖ

    If someone from out of town were visiting you, whatís the one place you'd definitely take them to see?

    The Winking Lizard in Peninsula. Itís an old night club from the 1800ís in a little town, original building, dance floor and some lighting from back then. Now a full-blown busy restaurant with really good bar food. It is something thatís just cool.

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

    The best disconnect was on a cruise ship. We took two different ones to Bermuda over a few years, and the fact that I had no connection at all is actually quite nice. After the first day, you completely donít care if the server is on fire anymore.

    If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you and why?

    A satellite phone, a lot of fresh water, and toilet paper. What else could you really need?

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

    Thomas Jefferson and four members of the Supreme Court of the United States. There are a few things I would like to get settled.

    Name three things that people reading this magazine don't know about you.

    I worked as a taxidermist for a while.
    I hate people that cut in line.
    I was onstage at Cirque du Soleil for quite some time at a show we went to.

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  3. #2
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    I started in this industry just a few months after Chris did and although we were running competing websites at the time (and for many years to follow) he was always eager and willing to help me out by answering my questions and providing guidance on many different occasions.

    Definitely one of the good guys in this industry!

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    The best thing about working in this industry is being your own boss and working only the hours that are set down by yourself. The other comfort that comes with this job is working from home. A good affiliate interview series with realistic expectations. Well done!
    usa

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    The all flattering new years eve hat pic Thanks and hopefully people can be inspired to just get it done
    Allfreechips online casino guide offers online casino reviews from our members. Also our exclusive No Deposit casino bonuses are always up to date. See the latest slot machine reviews at Hotslot and exclusive no deposit casino bonuses as well with a good dose of daily online gambling news to learn about pokies

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    Nice interview. I have to say that you have one of the best and biggest sites out there. I can't imagine how much work it took to build it and to maintain it.
    Sweet Bet - Reviews of reputable online casinos, poker sites, sportsbooks & bingo halls
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