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    GPWA Daniel is offline Associate Editor
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    Default Affiliate Interview Series - Steve C.

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    (This interview was originally published in the November 2021 issue of the GPWA Times Magazine.)

    You've been a member of GPWA since 2010, yet you don’t classify yourself as an “affiliate”? What gives?

    The key point to know here is I've never gone full time into the business of website building. Behind it all, there's a day job in telecom services. While the hope was always (and to some extent, still is) to eventually give that up and earn similar money as an affiliate, the reality is that it hasn’t happened for a combination of factors.

    I’ve made too many mistakes, chosen too many wrong targets and subject choices, wasn’t clever enough early enough, was too slow to learn and change, had insufficient belief and commitment, not enough desire for financial rewards, experienced changes in personal and working responsibilities, and the fact that the day job has always paid well enough (alongside offering significant other benefits) was a fairly major input. Giving the day job up has never been a genuinely sensible option, at least until recently. Throw in a dislike of external link-building and the whole ethos around it, and you pretty much have the perfect recipe for “failure.”

    Of course, I made some reasonable income from affiliate efforts in earlier years. For a combination of those reasons, it's never been consistent enough to classify me as being anywhere near successful at it. Well, not in financial terms anyway.

    I'm mildly rueful of missed opportunities, but regret serves no purpose. Recognize it, learn from it, file it and move onwards and upwards.

    You joined the GPWA in 2013, but disappeared from the forum for three years (2018 to 2021). What happened?

    Back in autumn 2017, I was in touch with a fellow forum member from GPWA, and we thought we could team up to do something together. I respected his work and abilities highly, but it didn't work out – which was a shame because we had significant potential to get something worthwhile going by pooling our skills.

    My fault. My day job responsibilities unexpectedly went through the roof, and I couldn't dedicate the time needed to build the site. At the time, there was no end in sight to the 14-16 hours a day the telecom job was taking, and I knew that getting a useful site up was going to take that sort of time and effort too. In the circumstances, I felt it was untenable. It was a debatable decision, I know, but I decided that maintaining a known, reliable income was the best option for the family.

    Things were changing in the SEO world. Whereas a few years before, you could still put up good content and rank just based on that content's value to a searcher, I could see that more and more pages were appearing that were strong, and it was all going to get harder and more time-consuming to compete.

    So I had the domain realmoney.games sitting doing nothing for a couple of years. I knew it would be a good vehicle for development and always felt it was perfect for delivering ways to target multiple gambling-related subjects – some of which are a lot easier to get unasked-for, organic links to than others!

    I learned how to use WordPress, spent a month getting up a basic site with a reasonable structure and base content (some of it fairly strong, much of it a placeholder), with the plan in mind of letting it age over the next five to 10 years and then seeing whether it had grown any legs. I didn't even look at it again for about three years. During the lockdowns, I noticed traffic growing to interesting enough levels, the day job responsibilities had calmed down significantly, and I decided to re-enter the fray.

    How did you approach the task of re-entering the world of website development, given the iGaming/affiliate/SEO landscape had changed dramatically over the last few years?

    Although I had the benefit at this point of an aging domain with some ranked pages, and of course, previous experience of at least building out content that would be seen as valuable by both visitors and the big G, it was almost like starting out as a newbie.

    I quickly realized it would be helpful to study developments in website and webpage structure and how the algorithms handle those elements and deliver SERPs results based on them. It was evident that anyone building pages who wanted to compete would have to be building clever stuff that was at least equally as good as anything already out there and ideally better than it. That, or (in addition) be spending time and money on some intensive link building along with appreciating numerous other developments. Link building is, unfortunately, the one area I've never been interested in, which of course, is a significant drawback.

    The reality is that every aspect counts and needs attention. The structure, the age, the authority, the content value, backlinks, speed, and a whole host of other on-page and off-page elements are all important in varying amounts. This entire collection of factors is what someone just starting out rarely fully appreciates.

    I began moving into the fields of content enhancement, optimization and algorithms. These subjects then led further into deeper SEO areas like handwritten Schema and how to use different tools to improve content output, alongside how it all ties together to help the search engines read, understand, and rank pages.

    Unfortunately, the speed and CWV stuff popped up. Speed issues drained a significant amount of time – but even that was a good learning opportunity and got me some technical level knowledge that I wouldn't have picked up otherwise. Approaching problems you think will be beyond you is often a great way to learn.

    Where are you now? It's been eight months since your “re-entry.” Have there been any tangible results from your efforts?

    Well, I had some successes with improved rankings on enhanced content, but that takes time and effort. It can take days to work one piece of 3,000+ word content and entirely turn it into a structured article that search engines are potentially going to recognize as suitably authoritative.

    The whole exercise can be complex, so it can be a slow process, especially if your structure isn’t quite right at a site level to support that content from the start.

    Using a domain that can target so many different aspects of the industry is both a blessing and a curse. There's never going to be any chance of running short of ideas for content. You can cover plenty of subjects where it's more likely they'll pick up organic links. At the same time – if you’re working without a team - the thought and time that needs to go into adequately covering everything can be daunting.

    But then I got diverted with the idea that if you could rank on page one on a few-year-old site for a 4 billion broad search term, imagine the possibilities if you were working with a genuinely aged and already deeply authoritative domain or site.

    Out of the blue, there was an opportunity to try out some ideas with such a site, and I'm currently working with the team. Realmoney.games is effectively parked and can continue to age for the future, though I keep it going with occasional content additions that serve to improve its structure.

    It's always been a near certainty that well-written, in-depth, new, or restructured content will rank Page 1 on an aged authoritative site straight off the bat. The question was whether taking that content through several optimization techniques would help it move upwards towards the number one spot. While the exercise has worked from the perspective of delivering enhanced information to search engines and visitors, it still hasn’t been quite enough to hit those coveted top positions on improved structure and content coverage alone. That's other than by obtaining the featured snippet if that’s an option, of course.

    So, there's more at play. When aiming for the top, we all know that links will help, but the reality is even that won't necessarily crack it. There's much more going on than meets the eye, and work on this puzzle continues unabated. There have been some recent promising observations and discoveries, so the signs are highly encouraging.

    I’m enjoying the team atmosphere too. It’s great to be working with others who are experienced and clued up, and it is a great environment for bouncing ideas and aiming for strong results.

    How did you get started in the world of websites?

    I won a significant sum of money on the horses. I never had that sort of cash before and began looking around to see what investments could be made, and pretty much the first thing I landed on after a plot of land in Belize or the out islands of the Bahamas was domain names.

    I started registering names purely with investment in mind but quickly realized there was the potential to monetize them rather than just leaving them parked. Gambling, or at least horse race betting, had been a significant part of life for a long time, so the obvious first targets were in gambling.

    Unfortunately, I was just too late for the earlier gold rush in domain names, but not too late to pick up some useful ones. A few, in particular, got good levels of type-in traffic where it was effortless to turn that traffic into revenue.

    Where did your GPWA username “chaumi” originate?

    It's part of the name of a horse that won a fairly valuable U.K. handicap horse race two years on the trot a long time ago. The horse’s name was Chaumiere. It won me a fair bit of money both times. That was in the pre-online betting days when actually collecting a grand in real cash from the bookies was a huge deal.

    What's the plan for the future?

    Well, I love the puzzle that all this SEO stuff presents and enjoy working on it. It's especially gratifying when something works, irrelevant of whether it's returning cash. So, I can't see any reason to reduce the efforts.

    In fact, just this year I’ve probably learned more than in the previous 10 put together, but you could argue that’s partly the culmination of all my early mistakes! There is still lots to learn, there are many opportunities to apply my skills to and get some good results, and I'm sure plenty of changes are coming that will call for the ability to adapt and explore new avenues.

    Some new markets that everyone will know offer interesting opportunities. Canadian and California sports betting are good examples. I have great domains for both, along with a brace of Tier 1 exact match gambling domains in one of the newer TLDs that are crying out for development. It's doubtful I'll get time, and pulling all-nighters isn't a viable option anymore.

    Realistically, the whole show seems to be heading inexorably towards being a pure money game. Right now, any of the sites with deep pockets could pretty much at will outrank anything else they chose to, and if they wanted to, and on any subject they wanted to. While knowing all of the elements needed actually to do that is crucial, knowledge can be bought. All of the things you need to do with that knowledge can be paid for too.

    I wouldn't put anyone off starting from scratch. Within this interview, I hope that anyone in that position will find some things that might help and many mistakes to avoid.

    I had to think deeply about whether to do this interview.

    On the one hand, I didn't think too many would be interested in an “affiliate” that doesn't make any consistent money. I’m fully aware that my early mistakes and wrong choices mean I’m not in the position I should be in by now.

    On the other hand, I figured it might help someone avoid those worst mistakes and maybe even spark some thinking that will bear some fruit along the line.

    I've accepted that building out realmoney.games alone to any absolute acceptable level is probably out of reach. It's too broad a subject for any one-person band to handle with the degree of detail and extensive coverage it deserves, and needs a team. But that won't necessarily stop the long-term attempt.

    I won't end on a negative point for smaller affiliates coming in fresh. There still looks to be some sort of a future.

    There are so many different elements involved in building up sites and ranking pages that I would urge anyone new to fully understand that it takes significant knowledge, experience and effort. Doing it alone is tough. Not impossible, but be prepared that you will need to use up a lot of time.

    It will need increased attention to choosing subjects that will be viable targets, in tandem with plenty of attention to all the elements of ranking pages and adequately structuring a site to house the content optimally. With all that, and bearing in mind that what Google does — and that we can't control — can and will have major impacts, common sense says it will all get exponentially more challenging.

    Of course, there are other ways to crack this nut outside of solely building a site and aiming for search engine traffic. Those have always been outside of my interest or skill-set, but obviously, some GPWA members are highly skilled in this approach and may offer advice from time to time. There are some clever members on the forum, for sure.

    Clearly, the changes in recent years where some gambling operators appear to have been questionably handling relationships with affiliates and the way the financial models have evolved also have a significant impact. Personally, I’m not sure where that will all end. There are other ways to make an income from a site, but we all know that the affiliate model was, and arguably still is, the best way to make money from it.

    I'll end with one final point. If you took all the names of GPWA members who appear in the “Recognition for xyz Month Active Members” posts and combined all those skills, knowledge, and experience, that would potentially create an unstoppable force. Indeed, one that would surely give those really big boys a run for their money.

    Managing that would be “tricky” for all the reasons we all know. Still, it's an interesting thought!

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

    Around four months before the virus appeared, I'd started on getting back into shape. Fortunately, I'd always been reasonably athletic and an avid gym-goer throughout my 30s, though the effort that needs to go into maintaining that had slipped. I lost about 36 pounds through a combination of intermittent fasting, cutting all refined sugar, and heavily reducing the numbers of pizzas, fries, and chocolate portions each week.

    Last summer, I invested in an infrared sauna, which along with daily use of a PEMF mat and some carefully selected supplements, is now maintaining overall cellular health. Those “tools,” combined with a sensible diet and intermittent fasting, have multiple knock-on effects for health in general, both physical and mental.

    I practice various forms of controlled breathing throughout the day combined with good sleep-assisting and circadian rhythm controlling routines. In general, I'm sharp mentally from getting up at around 5 a.m. right through to bedtime and asleep within less than 30 seconds every night.

    The signs are good right now from a health perspective, although you never know what’s round the corner. When I get to 90 and still have some semblance of a 6-pack, I’ll know I was doing some things right now. An element of vanity in that, you might say, but it’s a good indicator of overall body fat levels.

    Do you have any hobbies or other interests outside websites?

    I have a healthy interest in longevity, which explains some of the “alternative” type therapy options mentioned. It's a fascinating subject, and becomes more interesting the older you get! There’s a lot to be said for taking a preventative stance as you age, and using whatever options are at your disposal to try and maintain the best health level possible.

    I need to improve my cardio fitness further. Walking two dogs twice a day helps with that, and those dog walks are where I watch SEO videos to make the best use of time. I'm ever hopeful that one day we'll get home, and Pickle will say, “Don't worry owner, we'll try out that new Schema idea you just watched while you write an intro to a Canada sports betting page,” but sadly, all I ever get is “Thanks for the walk, now where's my dinner!”

    Aside from that, my son is just over 14 and still needs me to play table tennis, badminton, tennis, and partake in the occasional football kick-about.

    But really, there is no end to the effort that needs to go into websites. You could spend 18 hours a day and never get it all done – a good reason why sometimes you have to force yourself to take a small break and avoid the risk of a meltdown.

    If you could invite any five people to dinner, who would those be?

    I'm not too interested in historical figures, so the answer here would be a selection of GPWA members.

    There are a number that could be named here, with a few in particular that everyone will know. But I do not doubt that many current members would grace any dinner table with their intelligence, wit, good humor, and elegance. I, on the other hand, may feel slightly out of place in such exalted company!

    I'd like to have the entire membership round for a barbecue, but sadly that event is very likely unachievable.

    Name three things that people on GPWA won't know about you?

    I've probably already spilled plenty of things along those lines, but:


    1. I got close to playing professional football for a U.K. club as a youngster, but fell at the last hurdle (ha, what man doesn't have a story about how he nearly made it in a professional sport!)



    1. I have a drawer full of different green and bark teas in the kitchen, and there's a daily ritual for preparing various brewing combinations.



    1. Since anchoring the feeling of being hypnotized during a session to stop smoking some 30 years ago, I can enter a hypnotic state pretty much at will through minimal self-hypnosis. Sadly, that fails to work with a suggestion to write a 15,000-word page around the subject of “online casino bonuses” from within your subconscious.

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    universal4's Avatar
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    intelligence, wit, good humor, and elegance
    Well that leaves me off the list, but I would probably sneak in to the barbecue for the free food anyway....

    Great interview

    Rick
    Universal4

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    chaumi is offline Private Member
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    Ah, I reckon you'd crack three out of four without blinking, Rick! On the 'elegance' aspect, I'd suspect many of us might struggle

    But the biggest burger has your name on it!

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    Great interview Steve! You truly are an asset to the forum!
    TeamworkContent.com - Premium iGaming content in 25+ Languages. Website development and design for iGaming websites through our partner firm.

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    Enjoyed that!

    Resonate with the days of actually picking up real cash from the bookies, reminded me of many moons ago as a very skint student when I won £135 off of a 10p perm bet on Scottish football, felt like a king walking back into Laddies to pick it up. Won and lost far bigger sums since but that one will always stick in the memory
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    chaumi is offline Private Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by newcustomeroffer View Post
    Enjoyed that!

    Resonate with the days of actually picking up real cash from the bookies, reminded me of many moons ago as a very skint student when I won £135 off of a 10p perm bet on Scottish football, felt like a king walking back into Laddies to pick it up. Won and lost far bigger sums since but that one will always stick in the memory
    Ha ha, yeah it was great wasn't it. A true case of size doesn't matter. I still remember (fondly) a 5p super yankee with 5 winners none above 2-1 and 4 of them odds on. A long time ago and wet behind the ears. But still, what was I thinking!!! I think the return was something like just under 8 quid, but collecting anything at the window was a nice feeling. Just not quite the same when it's a figure at top right of a Betfair account, even if the sums can be wildly larger (on occasions!)

    I get how collecting £135 at a skint stage would have been one to get lodged in the memory
    Last edited by chaumi; 4 March 2022 at 11:49 am.

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    This was a great read! So great to get to know you better
    Kind Regards,
    Jen

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    Great interview.

    Too much wisdom and great sence of humour
    Seven times fall, eight times stand.

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    Cheers Ned, that's a great compliment coming from the Bulgarian sports betting king

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    Quote Originally Posted by BCGame Affiliates View Post
    This was a great read! So great to get to know you better
    Thank you Jen.

    It's already on my list to get a review done for BC.game....anything Efialtis and BTCGOSU rates highly is good enough for me!

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    Great interview!
    Feature your Affiliate Program with us and enjoy the rewards!

    Regards,

    Maria Florides
    GPWA Program Manager
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    That was a great interview .Definitely any in person meet up with affiliates are worth while. The first time we had a group dinner in Toronto it was 6 hours of brain storming and it inspired us to keep at it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by casinobonusguy View Post
    That was a great interview .Definitely any in person meet up with affiliates are worth while. The first time we had a group dinner in Toronto it was 6 hours of brain storming and it inspired us to keep at it.
    Burgers, ribs, beers, sunshine ....and a whiteboard in the shade. Would work perfectly I think!!

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    Thank you, great read!

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    I usually browse through those but this one is a really nice read.

    I was sure btw you are full time affiliate.


    TBH after reading it, i kind of thinking why are you casino affiliate. I mean seems that you are much more interested in horse racing. And, also all the longevity thing, i am pretty sure it's "quite" a big industry.
    When someone has actual interest in things, like hobby and work meet, i think no link building is needed. the understanding, knowledge, passion just goes through to the visitors and things work.
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    Hi, this interview is the bomb, I loved it, and most importantly, it's from the heart. You're right, the older we get, the more our interests change, you have "alternative" therapy, I have yoga. It takes your mind off work and puts your body in tune with your soul.

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    Totally interesting..glad you decided to go ahead with the interview.

    I too assumed/thought you were a full time affiliate just on the notion of the level of help and expertise you always give in your forum posts and replies.

    Also..Mega impressed you can dog walk while watching You Tube lol..and now know where chaumi originates from! Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartata View Post
    Hi, this interview is the bomb, I loved it, and most importantly, it's from the heart. You're right, the older we get, the more our interests change, you have "alternative" therapy, I have yoga. It takes your mind off work and puts your body in tune with your soul.
    Ah the last time I tried (some intense) yoga it resulted in a pulled muscle that took some time to fix....so since then I just stick with the 5 Tibetan Rites. Maybe one day a video session will be a good idea and you can show me how to do it properly!


    PS and thank you for 'I loved it'.....given the doubts on doing it in the first place, those 3 words mean a lot
    Last edited by chaumi; 28 March 2022 at 5:49 pm. Reason: addition

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dsquared View Post
    Totally interesting..glad you decided to go ahead with the interview.

    I too assumed/thought you were a full time affiliate just on the notion of the level of help and expertise you always give in your forum posts and replies.

    Also..Mega impressed you can dog walk while watching You Tube lol..and now know where chaumi originates from! Cheers.
    It's fairly regular that I look up from the screen and no sign of dog...result is pure panic till suddenly she appears from the bushes!

    I was in Manchester on a short break recently...shopping with my lad (15). First time wandering around the clothing sections of some designer stores for some time (not sure I ever did before actually, well not designer anyway

    But guess what I saw....a section by Dsquared!!!

    And, ofc, I thought of the Dsquared.

    Unique, sought-after, high-quality. Kind of sounds like part of a Bet365 review....but now I know where the username Dsquared maybe comes from!! And very apt, no doubt.
    Last edited by chaumi; 28 March 2022 at 5:44 pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MMM View Post
    I usually browse through those but this one is a really nice read.

    I was sure btw you are full time affiliate.


    TBH after reading it, i kind of thinking why are you casino affiliate. I mean seems that you are much more interested in horse racing. And, also all the longevity thing, i am pretty sure it's "quite" a big industry.
    When someone has actual interest in things, like hobby and work meet, i think no link building is needed. the understanding, knowledge, passion just goes through to the visitors and things work.
    You're right, horse racing is a passion. But more than that, it partly defines me. No, maybe that's an understatement.

    There's a link, you see. An emotional link. To my Dad. He loved the horses. Just about the last conversation we ever had was in the hospital when he could not speak, but when I told him one of our old favourites (a horse named Carriage Way) had won at 16-1 and I had a tenner on it for both of us, I could see the smile in his eyes.

    I like to think that for my first big win, it was him that 'did' something on the 33-1 shot last leg of the treble (the other two had already gone in at 8-1 and 40-1), when Circuit Dancer was 2 lengths down going into the final furlong and beat...and the favourite suddenly and inexplicably veered heavily to the right when all he had to do was keep going. Mine got up to win by a head. Amazing how much that one piece of luck changed so much.

    I still have to watch the Supreme (the first race of the Cheltenham Festival, for anyone that doesn't know) every year through wet eyes. Can't help it.

    Yeah, it would have been a good idea to use that passion for a horse racing site. For some reason, I figured that competing against the likes of the Racing Post might be a challenge. Knowing what I know now, that would have been a flawed decision. There's a saying in horse racing...'never be afraid of just one horse' (most often illustrated well enough when you're looking at a false favourite in a sub 8 runner race and yours is at double figure odds)....it's got a parallel in SEO to a point.

    All that said, I'm not sure I could have shared it on a website. It's like it was too personal. But I can a bit now, maybe that means that after 35 years it's getting easier. It doesn't feel like it right now, though. And I don't want to lose it anyway. I only ever wrote one horse racing article, it was still published last time I looked. Maybe one day it would be good to spill the link for feedback.
    Last edited by chaumi; 28 March 2022 at 5:33 pm. Reason: typo

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