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  1. #1
    GPWA Aaron is offline Former Staff Member
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    July 2006
    Needham, MA
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Ralph | byebyebaby

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    Age: 33
    Hometown: Nijmegen
    Living in: The Netherlands
    Favorite Food: Burger King
    Must Read Book: Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown

    How did you become involved in the industry, and what did you do prior to becoming involved in online gaming?
    I played a lot of online poker and slots. And I came across a website about promoting poker and casino brands that said I could receive a percentage of their profit. So I decided to start a free website and see how it would go. I used to have and still have a daytime job as the head of the back office department at a publisher.

    Tell us about your sites. When did you launch them? Why three sites, and not just two Ė two of your sites have very similar names.
    I started with Heaven4Gamblers around 2008 using a free website builder, just to try it out. When I started making a little income I moved it to a paid hosting. After a while I wanted a more specific website and created Heaven4Casinos. I picked the name because I liked the sound of it, heaven 4 Ö so I decided to stay on this course and used heaven4 in all my websites (at least if available).

    Which of your sites is most successful, and why do you think thatís the case?
    My most successful website is Heaven4Casinos. I know this is because it is a more specific website for only casino players. The other two websites are very broad, about casinos, poker, bingo and more, so probably a bit too general to get specific traffic.

    How do your sites differ in their approaches to the market?
    I donít think my websites differ that much content-wise. But I do think people like the very clean look I use. I hate banner farms and very busy websites, I like clean-looking and easy-to-navigate websites and I think I have created those.

    How do you choose which sites to work with and promote?
    I used to promote all brands I came across, and did not think there would be any bad programs. Silly me. After signing up to communities like GPWA and CAP I read a lot of reviews and posts about different affiliate programs and cleaned up big-time. Now I always ask for reviews from other webmasters before promoting any brand.

    How long did it take for you to start earning money?
    I think I started earning a little money after maybe three or four months, but really only amounts like $50 a month. But because it was all new and I loved working on my, at the time, one website, it felt like I was earning big time.

    You say youíre a gambling fanatic. What are your favorite casino games to play? What are your favorite poker games to play?
    I love slots. Slots are the only games I play at online and land-based casinos. I just love the graphics, sounds and of course the bonus games and extra features. I used to play poker a lot in 2008 and 2009, won some nice tournaments also, but I donít play anymore Ė it takes to long for me. I donít have the patience anymore.

    Do you feel like really enjoying gambling gives you an advantage in this space?
    I know it does. I play myself so I talk from experience and with passion. I think people will see that when they read a post or review.

    A couple of years ago, you asked fellow GPWA members for comments on your three sites. The general consensus was that you needed to add/upgrade content. How have your sites changed, and how have your players changed, since then?
    I have focused mainly on Heaven4Casinos and added a lot of unique, original content. I update the website a couple of times a week. I have noticed that Iím getting a lot more visitors and also more real players. I think my visitor numbers have gone up about 400 percent since I added more content and started updating the website more often.

    Are you seeing any improvement in your page and site rankings lately? If yes, what have you been doing to boost the rankings? If no, to what do you attribute the decline?
    I have to be honest, I donít see any improvement in pagerank. Number wise, I do see an improvement in visitors, as mentioned above. I think I still have to tweak my website some more and focus more on a specific niche to get the results I am looking for.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
    I think the best affiliate managers are those who help you try to improve conversion and respond to any request quickly. In an affiliate program I personally love it when the minimum earnings figure is low; I think I should be able to get my earnings, even if small. And I know they are rare, but I also like it when a program offers a hybrid deal. And with more and more casino groups, no bundling is a plus.

    Mobile gaming and social gaming are attracting legions of new players to online gaming. What if anything are you doing to bring these people to your sites?
    I am not really focusing on this group yet, although I know I should.

    How much time do you devote to SEO and/or social networking in order to drive more traffic to your sites?
    With every post and page I work to keep it unique and use the right keywords, meta descriptions and all. And also I repost my new posts on Twitter and Facebook.

    How important is it to you for people to ďlikeĒ your sites on Facebook? What if anything are you doing to incentivize people to like your sites?
    I think it is very important to get more likes. The more likes my Facebook page has, the more traffic it will drive to my websites, and I also think Google likes websites that have a lot of likers on Facebook.

    Which skills did you need as an affiliate that were the most difficult to acquire? Which skills did you already have when you entered the business?
    I am still learning a lot every day about being a gambling affiliate. But what I learned the most is to constantly adjust and tweak my websites and use the right keywords and content to get the traffic I want. Donít be very general, be specific. I have always been very organized and efficient Ė I can do a lot of work in a very small amount of time.

    If you had to pick five keys to success as an affiliate, what would they be?
    I only can think of one and thatís patience. It takes a long while to really know what to do and how to build a good website that generates a lot of traffic and gets good conversions. But I have to say the communities on GPWA and other affiliate forums have been and still are amazing. So donít be afraid to ask for help Ė you will get a lot of help when you ask for it. Maybe thatís my second key. Oh, and I also have a third (wow, I have more than I thought): You have to have a feeling for gambling, either love it or play it, because people will see right away if you are not sincere or honest and will stay away.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?
    I joined the GPWA because I needed help and advice on my websites. I Googled gambling webmaster forums and GPWA came up. And I have to say it helped me a lot. I was able to get some really good advice, a lot of tips, and was able to get rid of some really bad programs after reading some reviews on GPWA. I still use it today to trade links or help other webmasters when possible.

    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
    It would be to make sure webmasters are no longer ripped off by bad affiliate programs. I think when a webmaster puts his or her time into promoting a brand and they are able to bring some good, real-money players, they should be paid for it, ALWAYS. And an affiliate program should also never steal players away to other brands they promote. I know this happens more often lately and I think this is just wrong.

    What surprised you most about the industry?
    What surprised me the most, and I know I am sounding like a broken record, is the fact that other webmasters are very, very helpful and will help you with almost anything. Before I started in this industry I assumed it would be much more about every guy for himself. But this is not the case at all. Itís really a great community to be a part of.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
    Well, my mother doesnít really understand it; she thinks I play at online casinos all day or that I have my own online casino, so I stopped explaining it. But my friends love it. A lot of them work in land-based casinos and can only play online. They were doubtful about online gambling, but now I always advise them where to play and which casinos have new games. My best friend, who also had a lot of doubt, is one of my most regular players now.

    How long do you give yourself for answering e-mail? What e-mail tips can you offer
    I try to answer any e-mail within one or two days. But sometimes I am so busy that it can take longer. Always be clear and short in an e-mail. There is nothing more annoying than having to read pages of text and finding out that two sentences would have been enough.

    How do you manage your ďto-doĒ lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
    I never use to-do-lists. I just do.

    Whatís the hardest thing about operating your sites, and what annoys or distracts you the most when youíre trying to get some work done?
    The hardest thing still is to get the traffic I want and to convert more players. I am still learning and working on that. And I get distracted pretty fast, but I donít mind it too much.

    If someone were visiting you, whatís one place youíd definitely take them to see?
    Besides the obvious, Amsterdam (I do live in Holland), I would let them see my hometown, Nijmegen, the oldest city in Holland. It has a lot of great sightseeing spots, if you like some history, and also a nice dock with great terraces.

    Whatís your favorite vacation spot?
    I am not the vacation type. I like spending my free days in Holland. I did go to Barcelona and I loved it, and also London, which is a great city. I hope to visit California next year, to see my boyfriend.

    Youíre producing, directing and starring in a movie. You need a costar, and your significant other is either unable or unwilling to participate. Who should share top billing with you?
    I would have to say Madonna. Not the best actor out there, so the movie would probably flop, but she is my idol.

    If you could invite any five people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
    First I would invite my father. He died when I was pretty young, so it would be nice if he could see me now. Second, if I would invite my father I would also invite my mother. She never remarried and I know she would love to see him one more time. Third, I would again invite Madonna. If you have the option to meet your idol, take every chance, right? Fourth, I would invite my best friend, Andrť, also a huge Madonna fan, because he would be pissed if I did not invite him to this dinner. And last I would invite my boyfriend. He lives an 11-hour flight away, so it would be nice to see him no matter when.

    If you could be any superhero, who would it be?
    I think Iíd want to be a rogue superhero, Gamblingman. My power would be to persuade everybody to gamble online. In the end I would be stopped by Governmentman, but thatís OK, because then I would retire with my fortune.

    What are three things that nobody knows about you?
    I am very open, so I donít have that many secrets, but I do wear clothing labeled M, although I probably should start looking to wear L.

  2. #2
    Anthony's Avatar
    Anthony is offline GPWA/APCW Program Director
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    June 2003
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    I never use to-do-lists. I just do.
    Well said! Great interview, thanks for sharing.
    I am here to help if you have any issues with an affiliate program.
    Become involved in GPWA to truly make the association your own:
    Apply for Private Membership | Apply for the GPWA Seal | Partner with a GPWA Sponsor | Volunteer as a Moderator

  3. #3
    LukeC is offline Non-sponsor Affiliate Program
    Join Date
    October 2012
    Birmingham, UK
    Thanked 122 Times in 49 Posts


    Quote Originally Posted by GPWA Aaron View Post
    Always be clear and short in an e-mail. There is nothing more annoying than having to read pages of text and finding out that two sentences would have been enough.
    I think that's a good point too. Nice interview and best of luck with your sites!
    Head of Affiliates at Digital Fuel

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