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  1. #1
    GPWA Aaron is offline Former Staff Member
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    July 2006
    Needham, MA
    Thanked 144 Times in 64 Posts

    Default Affiliate Interview Series: Shane | Aegist

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    Age: 31
    Hometown: Sydney, Australia
    Living in: Koh Tao, Thailand
    Favorite Food: Pad See Ew
    Must Read Book: The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries

    When did you launch your sites?
    March 2006.

    How did you become involved in the industry?
    I was investigating sports arbitrage trading and building a database of bookmaker information which I wanted to know in order to get started. While doing that I noticed this "affiliate" link on lots of bookmakers, so investigated further. At first I thought I could just affiliate with myself while arb trading, but of course that wasn't possible. Nonetheless I realized that I had built a resource which no one else had made, and that maybe other people would like it, too – so I made a website around my list of bookmakers and information I had collected about them, and a website about how sports arbitrage trading works. Turns out a lot of people really appreciated the information!

    What exactly was it about the concept of sports arbitrage trading that got you so excited?
    Like most people, the initial pitch of arbitrage trading sounds amazing! Five percent risk-free return on a trade! If I placed one of them every day for a month . . . well . . . I'd be a millionaire!

    Of course I was skeptical, which is why I spent a month investigating it before I actually did anything. I discovered the limitations, the practical considerations and the complications. In the end I had a really solid understanding of what was actually possible, and what was sales-pitch. When I made, no one else had really taken the time to tell people what arbitrage trading was really like, how it really works. I'm something of a stickler for accuracy, so I was happy to finally straighten everything out and tell it like it really is.

    To this day, though, what really excites me about arbitrage trading, is the idea that any day, anywhere, I can do something which I know will make me a reliable amount of money – all I need to do is invest the time (and have access to the trading capital!).

    What percentage of the people who visit for the first time actually follow through and sign up to your site?
    SAG doesn't actually have any registration on it – my approach is incredibly laid back. I just provide all of the information for free, and let people use my affiliate links on their own. So I don't have any sort of reliable stats on how many people will follow through to giving arbitrage trading a go, though I suspect it would be quite low simply because it is not often that someone is in the right position to take advantage of it. It requires a mental commitment to get into arbitrage trading, and you have to have thousands of dollars in capital available to make a real go of it. The financial requirement alone filters a lot of people out who come because they are broke and are looking for a way to make money!

    Why is arbitrage so often promoted as being "risk free"?
    Because the people doing the promoting are usually selling something, and "Make money risk free" sounds great!

    The honest appraisal of arbitrage trading is that any one trade can be a risky transaction. All sorts of things could go wrong which can cost you your profit, or even lose you some money, or all of a large bet. However, these risks can be minimized, and the month-to-month activity of arbitrage trading, where you place tens, hundreds or thousands of these trades, is as risk free as a normal job.

    As a bettor, to make money on arbitrage you have to find the opportunities where you can make a profit by betting on both sides. How do you make money through arbitrage as an affiliate?
    If your players are going to win money, aren't you going to lose money? Short answer – yep. I actually made more money from bookmakers in the beginning when I had fewer players because the chaos of arbers moving lots of money between bookmakers meant occasionally one affiliate account would be very up, and another would be very down. But as I acquired more players, they all seemed to average each other out.

    You need to remember that every trade has a winning side, and at least one losing side. My hopes are that the players would win at the bookmakers who didn't affiliate with me, and lose at the ones that did! That, and also the No Negative Carryover relationships where someone could win $10,000 one month, and lose $1,000 the next month, and I would profit from the second month, were the main sources of income.

    These days, most of my income comes from the real products which arbitrage traders need: Alert services, and eWallets. An alternative way to ensure an income from bookmakers would be to swap to acquisition models, or turnover models, but because of the low number of conversions my website makes, I have always generated more income through the one or two big traders than I have through the large numbers of tire kickers. . . .

    How long are arbitrage opportunities generally available? How quickly to sportsbooks adjust?
    Within minutes. Often within one minute. But sometimes they can stay for hours – though usually there is a reason for this, or something else has been constrained, as when the bet limit is really low.

    What's the typical ROI of an arbitrage bet? And what are the risks of arbitrage betting?
    Typical ROI is 1 to 2 percent – but that is really a trader's choice. You can choose to place sub 1 percent arbs if you want – it just has to be worth your time. And you can choose to only place 3 percent or greater arbs, if you are sure you can find them often enough to justify ignoring all of the smaller ones. But I think that in general 1 to 2 percent is the happy middle ground where you have a reliable stream of arbs and the profit is acceptable.

    You have a lot of content on how to take advantage of arbitrage opportunities. How much time did you spend developing that content? And did you produce it all yourself? Or did you pay someone else to write it?
    Everything on SAG was written by me alone over the course of about three years. It wasn't all done in one go, and I didn't necessarily set out to make a comprehensive guide; I just kept adding articles and information whenever I realized I hadn't covered something. I still think of things to this day which need to be added to it!

    One of the problems with operating a niche website like SAG is that hiring someone else to write for you is nearly impossible. No one else except other arbitrage traders has any idea what they are writing about, and you can't just make it up. It is a very specific knowledge set.

    You also have a more traditional sportsbook affiliate site, SureBetBookies. Which site is more profitable?
    They are a pair and I think of them as just one website. The original justification was to keep bookmaker links of SAG so that Google would allow me to use AdSense on SAG. Google still complained about SAG being gambling related a couple of times, and AdSense never really generated much money anyway, so I gave up on that years ago. But they work together because arb traders need to use bookmakers, so SAG refers everyone to SureBetBookies (SBB) whenever it refers to bookmakers, because SBB allows them to filter and search for bookmakers based on criteria which matter to arb traders.

    I can still sort of answer your question, though, because as I mentioned earlier, in the first few years of chaos the bookmakers made me some occasional big payouts which kept me going, but now the alert services and eWallets make me the better, more reliable incomes while most of the bookmakers sit in the negatives (or have decided to not let me affiliate with them anymore because they don't like my players).

    How long did it take for your sites to start earning you money?
    It didn't take long at all to make some money, but I think maybe three or four months before I got my first "large" payment. I say large, but I'm talking from the perspective of someone fresh out of university at the time who had only ever earned a few hundred dollars a week. So it wasn't a huge sum of money, but it was enough for me to reinvest it to develop a better version of the website, and focus on building a much bigger and better website on the hope that more payments like it would keep coming in!

    I think I was lucky to find a small, specific niche which had very little competition at the time and yet had a large spike of interest in it. I discovered it because of a company which was selling arbitrage through MLM principles at the time, and it garnered a lot of attention. So when I made the website, there were a lot of other people already looking for the information who immediately started using the information I had compiled.

    What traits do you look for in an affiliate manager? How about in an affiliate program?
    In the past I have never really thought about affiliate managers too much. Because arbitrage traders will use whatever sportsbooks best suit their trading needs, I have had virtually no control over what they choose, so trying to get them to sign up to my best affiliate book was pointless.

    However, the game always changes and I realize that having good relationships with affiliate managers can be very useful. For me, though, my relationship requirements are usually pretty simple: The manager has to understand that I operate an arbitrage website, and I will be sending them arbitrage traders, and the only thing which can help is to offer them bigger bonuses, bigger betting limits and/or guarantee no limitations on their accounts. Nothing else really matters to arb traders, and so as an affiliate, nothing else matters to me.

    If you had to pick five keys to success as an affiliate, what would they be, and why?

    1. Great quality content, because it is what visitors and potential referrals want. If you don't provide it, you have nothing.
    2. Product relevancy to your content. If you write articles about your cats, then put in a link to casinos, you probably won't get many conversions.
    3. Internet marketing knowledge. You need to know how to drive traffic to your pages.
    4. SEO basics. I don't think you need to be a master at SEO once you have great content and some knowledge of Internet marketing. Great quality content and a constant flow of traffic will build SEO the way that Google wants it to be built, through genuine back links made by real people recommending your website. But you need to get the basics right, too – title tags, H1, real language keywords, etc.
    5. ​Focus. I think you really need to spend a lot of your time and energy developing your affiliate website. You need to keep up with your industry to make sure you are writing great content. You can't just fake great content. It requires genuine insight. You need to know where to go to market it. You need to keep up with your competition. You need to stay in contact with your affiliate managers and make sure you are offering the best deals you can get, and are promoting them in the most effective ways possible.

    What prompted you to join the GPWA? How has it helped you?
    I liked the idea of verifying myself as a trusted webmaster in an industry too often associated with dodgy dealings and manipulation. I do my best to fight against scams and rip-offs, but when someone lands on my website for the first time, they have no way of really knowing who I am or what I do. GPWA approval is a small, easy step to take to help combat that.

    What do you like about the industry?
    I love affiliate marketing as a business because your income isn't tied to how much work you do. Your work can pay itself off thousands of times over. It can also pay you nothing, but I love that sort of risk! Affiliate marketing within the gambling industry is quite interesting because the income potential is quite large. Particularly with arbitrage traders, there are people playing with over 100,000, and they place tens of thousands in bets every day. So small victories can mean quite a lot sometimes.

    If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
    Haha! An impossibility, but my wish would be for the industry to stop limiting players who win. It is really hard as an affiliate when so many of my referrals end up being limited to tiny bet limits.

    What surprised you most about the industry?
    That people are still able to start websites in the industry and make it. The idea that it is full, saturated, etc., is just wrong.

    What do your family and friends think of your work as an affiliate?
    They're mostly just envious of the fact that I can travel and work anywhere. More often than not, though, they don't really understand what I do.

    How long do you give yourself for answering e-mail? What e-mail tips can you offer?
    I try to answer as soon as possible just to keep on top of everything. As soon as I start delaying my responses, I find it easier to delay on newer e-mails, and then they build up, and then when I finally get around to "working through them all," I'll find some important e-mail amongst them all which had a timely response required and I will have missed it.

    So I answer them whenever I can, but also don't stress about them if I can't answer them. I'm very Zen about it all!

    How do you manage your "to-do" lists? Do you use any special software to help you out?
    I've tried just about everything, and failed to stick with anything. I've used software, I've used apps in my phones, I've used the To Do list in Gmail, lists in Notepad on my desktop and pen and paper lists on my desk. Actually, I probably have one of each of those last three in action right now. I don't have any strict system. I just try to act on jobs as they come through, and a bigger job which requires activity just gets written somewhere that I will look repeatedly, and so I will keep being reminded that it needs doing. Actually, my most common method is to keep e-mail which tell me I have jobs to do as "unread," so whenever I have unread e-mail, I know I have jobs to get done.

    How much time does it take to keep your sites updated?
    Unfortunately, more time than I have put into them for last few years. I have a lot of work which I need to do to bring SBB back up to date, and a lot of work to do to tidy SAG up a bit. Luckily, most of the information in SAG is eternal and doesn't need updating. When everything is brought up to date, though, I think just a couple of hours a day, or maybe one full day a week would be enough to maintain them.

    How much time do you devote to SEO and/or social networking in order to drive more traffic to your sites?
    Virtually none at the moment. Because my niche is small and SAG is still far and away the best website in the niche, my search engine rankings are quite good and nearly every other website in the niche links to me, so people will inevitably find me when researching the subject.

    I should probably clarify at this point that I am investing very little time in SAG and SBB at the moment because I have another project which I am working on. So it isn't that I am not investing time in SEO and social networking because it isn't worth it; it's just that it isn't something I have time for at the moment.

    You've been a member of the GPWA for three years, but have just one post in the last two years. How often do you visit the forum? What do you get out of your GPWA membership?
    As mentioned above, I liked the idea of showing that I was a genuine quality content provider and getting the GPWA stamp of approval on the websites. I found out about the GPWA at a conference in Sydney, and liked the idea of it. However, I don't spend too much time working in my sites or in the industry in general. I just do what I need to do, then get on with other projects and my life.

    The forum is handy to have there when I do need something. I have a community there to help and I can ask for feedback, support or whatever. I appreciate that and love it about forums in general. I am something of a forum veteran, and post on many. It is just that I don't often have things I need from the GPWA community, or much that I think I can add to it.

    You list playing MOBA games as one of your preferred pastimes. Are you naturally a "team player"? And what are some of your favorite MOBA-genre games?
    I played team sports as a kid, and was even in the Australian Army Reserve for a few years, so I am definitely able to be a great team player. But I also work well alone. I'm quite adaptable!

    As for MOBAs, I started with Dota 3.7 (the one in Warcraft 3, not even the Frozen Throne version), but eventually upgraded to the TFT version after a couple of years. When the stand-alone MOBA games started coming out, I picked League of Legends, simply because it was free. I have enjoyed playing it, but only play it periodically. I haven't played a single game for over five months now.

    Participating in extreme/outdoor/adventure sports is also high on your list of things to do when you're not working on your sites. Tell us a little about how you became interested in extreme sports and give us examples of some of the activities/events you've been a part of.
    No idea how I became interested in them exactly. I think it is just one of those things which you are attracted to or not. I love standing on the edge of big cliffs, for example. I love jumping off them into water. I love going fast. I love exhilarating things.

    So I have done a lot of stuff in my life already. I have a scuba diving license, I have done 11 sky dives, I canyon quite a lot (which involves a lot of abseiling), I rock climb, indoors and outdoors. I completed a 170m climb just the other month in outback Australia (Mount Arapiles). I have been bungee jumping in New Zealand, and rigged up and completed a 200m single pitch abseil. That was the most terrifying thing I have ever done because it was on a brand-new rope. I rigged it all myself (read: What if I did something wrong!?!) and the wind made it very difficult to deploy the rope neatly, so it took me an hour to complete the abseil as I had to keep unknotting and redeploying the rope below me as I descended. I also love white-water kayaking – which is one of the most exhilarating sports I know. For me it feels like I am moments away from death the whole time I am on the water. That will probably go away as I get better, but the feeling of being flipped upside down on rapids keeps you on your toes!

    Oh, and snowboarding. Does wakeboarding count as extreme? And I am keen to try some ice climbing, and when I get more money, I want to get back into sky diving so that I can do some wing suit flying, then get into base jumping and proximity flying. That is my ultimate goal.

    If someone were visiting you, what's the one place you'd definitely take them to see?
    Visiting me at home? I always take them to "The Needles" – funny name, but it is a small, beautiful swimming hole near my house which is a fantastic place to swim and hang out in the sun. I used it in a short video I had to make to pitch a startup I was working on. You can watch it here, just to see what I mean:

    What's your favorite vacation spot?
    I don't really do "vacations." I get bored too easily "resting," and going to the same place more than once seems like a waste to me when the world is so big and there is so much to see. So I am more about going to new places and doing new things. I loved Queenstown, New Zealand when I went there, because there was so much to do. I can't wait to get to Canada when I get a bit more money.

    If you could have one "superpower," what would it be?
    Teleportation, like in the movie Jumper. Or better yet, teleportation, at will, through time and space. Because being able to will yourself to any point in time and space is about as awesome as it can get.

    What's your all-time favorite movie?
    Fight Club, because "Where you are now you can't even imagine what the bottom will be like" and "This is your life, ending one minute at a time" are both very powerful grounding sentiments to help keep us all in the moment, and doing the best we can do with what we have.

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

    1. Nikola Tesla, because I want to know what he says himself about his inventions, and because the man was without a doubt a genius of the highest degree.
    2. Leonardo da Vinci, for much the same reasons. The man was amazing.
    3. Carl Sagan, because his work and ideas are very much related to my current project at rbutr, and I would love to show it to him.
    4. Stephen Fry, because I have a lot of respect for him, and I know he would love rbutr too. I actually want to get his support for it, but it is very hard to get in contact with the man!
    5. Jon Stewart, because we could probably do with someone to break the serious mood.

    What are three things that nobody knows about you?
    Nobody knows the exact number of atoms in my body, the exact time of my conception or the date of my death. Yet.

  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to GPWA Aaron For This Useful Post:

    louie.wilson (19 December 2013), Planet Mark (18 December 2013), Simmo! (18 December 2013)

  3. #2
    Simmo! is offline Public Member
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    A great read and love your philosophy in both work and life Shane

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  5. #3
    louie.wilson's Avatar
    louie.wilson is offline Former AM
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    My only question: where do we get to try a mobile version of immortal outdoors?

  6. #4
    Maria F is offline No longer with Harbour Gaming Affiliates
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    November 2010
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    Hi Shane,

    Nice interview!

    I was watching a very interesting program about Stephen Fry the other day; he is such an intelligent and funny guy. I am a huge fan

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