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  1. #1
    GPWA Dan is offline Former Staff Member
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Hilary St. Jonn - GaGaGirl

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    Hometown: Walnut Creek, California
    Living In: Skelleftea, Sweden
    Favorite Food: Fried cheese
    Must Read Book: Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries by Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Your username refers to your site, which is "the girl's guide to online gambling." Why did you choose this niche? And are you a Lady Gaga fan? What is it about leprechauns that inspired you to build a whole site around them? As you posted, it is ďvery niche.Ē

    I know slots are big market with women, and I thought it would be fun to make a slot review site focusing on that target group. As I started working on it I realized it was a huge project, and an affiliate recommended that I go for niche sites. Again, I thought the leprechaun site would be fun, so I did it and because it was so niche it was much easier to finish. And yes, I am a Lady Gaga fan!

    Your poker site also focuses on a niche ó the 3D online poker industry. Explain your reasoning behind focusing on niches rather than the entire industry.

    I started to get interested in poker and decided to try PKR. I really enjoyed it, and it is so much easier to write about something you enjoy. Since Iím a beginner in poker myself I knew it would never be an authority site on poker, but at least I could be an authority on 3D poker.

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

    Iíve been in the industry for a long time, starting with customer service, and later marketing and affiliate management. After being an affiliate manager, I wanted to give being an affiliate a shot and here I am. My father was in the business years before me as well.

    What did your father do? And what did you learn from him?

    He also did marketing for a casino but was done by the time I came in. But he knows some old time affiliates, and when I mention he is my dad they are usually shocked. I think the most I learned from him is to be passionate. Marketing doesn't work if you aren't passionate about what you are marketing.

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

    When I am in between projects, I am a full-time affiliate. Just recently I joined a new team to help them launch their new website,, which is a unique penny auction site where bidders can win cash and play other mini games. The concept is very innovative, and again something Iím enjoying. However, I will continue to work on the affiliate sites during my free time.

    What do you like about the industry?

    What I like about iGaming is the relaxed atmosphere at the conferences.

    What donít you like about the industry?

    I donít like that it is not completely regulated yet. I know taxes and different laws are annoying, but I think we should really make sure all operators are fair not only to their players, but to their affiliates as well. And I think that would improve with regulation.

    What surprised you the most about the industry?

    How great the parties are.

    What did you do before you joined the online gaming industry?

    I did applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy with autistic children.

    You were born in California, but now live in Sweden. When (and why) did you move? How do you like living in a Nordic climate compared to the California sunshine?

    I actually moved to Sweden only a year ago, but before that I was living in Prague, Czech Republic for 7 years. So I haven't been living in the California sunshine for a long time. I moved to Skelleftea, Sweden (which is eight hours from Stockholm and can be -40C in the winter) because of love.

    Do you think youíll ever be living in the States again?

    No, probably not. I'm in favor of the higher taxes, free health care, and free universities type of system. Plus I love languages, and that is lacking in America.

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

    It totally depends. If it is something urgent, I reply immediately. If I have to do something before, I wait until it is done. If I think it is not important, I usually donít reply.

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

    Yes, I use Remember the Milk, which is a free to-do list. Very helpful in keeping track of what I need to do next.

    Youíve said that you would be bored if you had only one site to concentrate on, and that you have a schedule for working on your five or six sites. How does it work?

    Yes, I basically try to update them weekly, but it also depends on the site and if there is anything to add. Some weeks there is not much going on, so I donít worry about it. I figure it is better to fill up with content slowly over time, then upload everything and be done with it.

    Usually I do each site page and link building once a week; I just put it on my to-do list in Remember the Milk and have it repeat. Then as the task comes up, I do it.

    Youíve posted that doing SEO, link building, content management, etc., for your gambling sites is very different from doing the same work for your non-gambling sites. Please elaborate, and could you also tell us a little bit about your non-gambling sites?

    Actually, what Iím finding is each site is completely different. Itís amazing to see what works for some and what doesnít work for others. Gambling is specifically a challenge because tools wonít let you do keyword research on gambling sites, some link building is harder, such as link bait, and social media is harder in general Ė but then again I just made a fan page for my poker site on Facebook and got 42 users in a couple of days. Not tons, but that was with no advertising and not even a post on the wall yet.

    I have two non-gambling sites, one about motorcycling off road (, and the other about Sweden called Surprisingly the motorcycle site is generally harder to generate traffic in SMM. Swedish Freak is surprisingly popular, especially on Twitter and with Swedes. I suppose it all depends on what is popular with your target market as well.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA, and how has it helped you so far?

    I worked with GPWA first on the operator side of things and loved the idea of a forum for affiliates. Now as an affiliate it is a great resource if I have specific questions.

    What was your first affiliate conference? Was it worth the time, effort and expense?

    My first conference as an affiliate was Budapest. I think all conferences are worth the time and effort, especially when it is in a city I havenít been before. It is much nicer to make it a work vacation. Luckily I live in Europe so flying to the conferences is not that expensive, and to save money I usually book my own hotel outside of the conference hotel.

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

    I need a to-do list. I also use Paymo Widget to track time on each project and what I have done Ė not only for records or analytics, but also to make sure I get a full day of work in on the weekdays.

    Where and how do motorcycles fit into your life?

    I basically ride any chance I get. I live in Sweden but decided to go down to Prague for the summer to visit friends. I drove my motorcycle. It took five days but it was well worth it. I now have planned some weekend trips with friends around the Czech Republic. When Iím home and it is good weather, we usually take the dirt bikes out for a spin in the forest!

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

    1. Bryan Bailey, aka Casinomeister Ė he has been in the industry a long time and Iíve heard great things about him and I really like that he tries to make casinos fair, talks about licensing, and gives players a third party to complain to if something does go wrong. I would just love to pick his brain about being an affiliate. I saw him in Dublin for a second and by the time I realized who I was staring at he was gone. Next time I will have to introduce myself.

    2. Travis Pastrana Ė amazing dirt biker; I would love to hear his stories and learn from him.

    3. My grandfather Ė he rode motorcycles and my first memory of a motorcycle was with him. I'd love to hear all his riding stories.

    4. Neil deGrasse Tyson Ė an amazing astrophysicist; read his book and you will understand.

    5. Chef Gordon Ramsay Ė Iíd love for him to cook the dinner.

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

    To the cottage, where we donít have an Internet connection.

    How do your family and friends feel about your work as an online gambling affiliate?

    My fiancť is super supportive, which is great. My family is OK with my working in the gambling industry, although I have gotten some frowns. As I said, my dad was in the industry before me so I think they are used to it generally. And they know if they did say something I really wouldnít care. Same with my friends Ė they seem pretty cool about it.

    What are three things that nobody knows about you?

    Hate to say it, but I think there is nothing that nobody doesnít know about me Ė I talk too much!

    Whatís your all-time favorite movie?

    The Princess Bride has everything you can want in a movie and I remember watching it at my grandmotherís house in the summers after swimming all day.

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    Renee (28 September 2011)

  3. #2
    BishamonMedia's Avatar
    BishamonMedia is offline Private Member
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    Great interview, its always interesting to read about other affiliates and see how they tick ....

  4. #3
    Gamblogger's Avatar
    Gamblogger is offline Private Member
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    I thought I was pretty up to date on what you're up to, Hilary, but I had no idea you had your fingers in so many pies!

  5. #4
    betfinder's Avatar
    betfinder is offline Private Member
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    Good interview, always like these. Also a fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson, can listen to him talk for hours.

  6. #5
    rak's Avatar
    rak is offline Former AM
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    Great to see an interview about you... there's a lot more to you then I initially though! And ... pics of your motorcycle please! you're such a badass

  7. #6
    cass's Avatar
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    I enjoyed reading your interview and good luck with your sites.

  8. #7
    EugeneK is offline Public Member
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    Beautiful girl! and smart

  9. #8
    GaGaGirl's Avatar
    GaGaGirl is offline Private Member
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    LOL, thanks guys!

    @betfinder - Neil deGrasse does totally rock, I love his books and interviews.

    @Lyceum, never put your eggs in one basket! I'm also maybe a little manic and always need to find something to do

    @Rak - Yes I am!

  10. #9
    grem's Avatar
    grem is offline Public Member
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    great interview but cannot say I would enjoy -40 temperature!

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