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  1. #1
    CityGuard's Avatar
    CityGuard is offline Former GPWA Program Manager
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    Smile Portal Webmaster Interview Series: Adrian Carli - WagerX

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    Adrian Carli: The Doctor Is In

    City currently residing in: Heredia, Costa Rica
    Age: 36
    Favorite food:
    My favorite food changes frequently. Once I have a favorite food I usually eat it every day until I canít stand it anymore. One thing they have in common is that they are all desserts. This week my favorite is hot apple pie with vanilla ice cream. Last month it was apple strudel.

    One book everyone must read:
    Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, and itís hard to pick out one particular book that is a ďmust read.Ē If I had to choose Iíd say the book ďOn the Shoulders of Giants,Ē by Stephen Hawking. Itís a brief overview of the history of the pioneers of physics and astronomy. I feel itís a must read because it demonstrates the social resistance that the greatest minds in our modern history had to go through to get their ideas accepted.

    Your gaming Sites:

    How long have you been working in the online gaming industry?
    Iíve been involved in the online gaming industry for about two years now.

    You're living in Costa Rica now, but you're originally from the U.S. How did you end up in Costa Rica?
    That question as well as ďWhat do you do?Ē pops up all the time. Each time I hear it I pause and brace myself for making a long story short. I grew up in a small town in north Florida and finished my Mechanical Engineering degree as well as pre-med requirements at the University of Florida. I worked for a few years as an Engineer until my son was born. Soon after, I decided to go to medical school here in Costa Rica. Afterwards, I decided to stay. Itís been ten years now and I already feel like Costa Rica is my home.

    Besides language (and weather!!), what was the biggest adjustment you had to make in terms of living in Costa Rica?
    Not being close to family and friends was the biggest adjustment. When I first moved here I felt isolated. At the time the cost of international calls prohibited me from contacting my family as much as I would have liked.

    How does the climate toward online gambling differ between the U.S. and Costa Rica?
    Up until about a year ago the gambling industry was a prominent part of the Costa Rican economy. It was a welcomed healthy source of income for thousands of Costa Ricans. Having a profession related to online gambling is a respected occupation with no negative connotations. Thatís a stark contrast to whatís happening in the US. Just getting a link from a webmaster is hard because online gambling is considered a ďbad neighborhood.Ē

    One of the things that you've done with some of your sites is let a freelancer handle the design work. You've also hired freelance content writers. What were those experiences like? What did you like about them? What didn't you like about them? What would you change about the processes? Would you do it again? And what tips would you offer fellow affiliates in terms of dealing with a freelancer?
    My experiences with freelancers have been positive overall, but Iíve made pretty much every mistake you can make with them. Iíve used them for design work, content creation, and basic SEO.

    Freelancers for SEO work:
    When I think of ďSEOĒ and ďfreelancerĒ in the same sentence I cringe. I had no idea whatsoever what I was doing when I hired my first freelancer to do some SEO work on my first website. At the time I was concerned with the monetary ďcostĒ of getting the job done and not the ďriskĒ of having them do it. Keep in mind that this was before I joined and didnít have anyone to give me guidance. The ďSEO expertĒ took my site and my money and then handed me a site that was shortly banned from Google and Yahoo within three months. The site is still suffering one year later. That was a bad experience and I donít recommend that anyone get a so-called ďSEO expertĒ to work on your site. I had to start all over again with other websites because I paid to have someone mess up my website by stuffing keywords all over my site. What Iíve found is that original quality content is the key to great organic search engine placement. That brings me to the outsourcing of articles written by freelancers.

    Freelancers for content creation:
    I have saved lots of time and frustration by getting someone else to write content. The trick has been finding someone affordable who writes perfect English, is quality oriented, and doesnít mind researching the gambling related topics. Out of about twenty writers Iíve hired, only two of them have actually been any good. If you do hire freelancers for content make sure you test them out first by having them write a few articles for you. Then run the material through Copyscape to make sure itís not duplicate content. In my opinion freelancers can be very effective for content creation. One thing I recommend is subtle use of keyword phrases in the articles themselves. I only use a keyword phrase about 4 times in the entire page. Iíll place a keyword phrase once in the title, first paragraph, body of the article, and in the last paragraph. This gives emphasis on a particular keyword phrase without spamming. It doesnít hurt to have an inbound link with anchor text of the same keyword phrase. As long as the article is on topic and quality driven I feel itís a good strategy. If you do pay for a freelancer and he gives you a mediocre article that you feel is not quite good enough to place on your site you can always post it to an ezine site for distribution in hopes of getting some incoming links.

    Freelancers for design work:
    Thereís a lot of designers out there who are willing to make great templates for you. Iíve had lots of luck in that department and 100% of all my freelance designers have made quality designs at decent prices.

    In addition to your work as an affiliate, you hold down a full time job and you're in the process of trying to become a surgeon. How do you manage your time? What tips can you offer other affiliates in terms of time management? What do you do to avoid burnout? How do you make time for your family?
    The extra income I make being an affiliate has made all the difference in my plans to get a medical specialization. I have stopped working as a general doctor and am dedicating my time to studying for the various exams you need to get into a specialty program. Iíve competed for programs in Colombia and here in Costa Rica. Iíll be going to Mexico and the US later this year.

    I manage my time by making lists of ďaction itemsĒ for each day of the month. I have three main categories, ďstudy,Ē ďwork,Ē and Sean (my son). I map out how many hours I am going to study each day as well as what topics I plan on covering. I even make lists of the fun things I do with my son. I hardly ever accomplish everything on my lists, but it does help me manage my time.

    What does your family think about your work as an affiliate?
    Most of my family just doesnít get it. They ask the same question, ďOK, Adrian, what is it that you do again?Ē The only one who really does understand is my mother, whoís also a GPWA member. Sheís a bright charismatic woman whoís just started her own blackjack site.

    How and why did you get involved in the online gambling industry? What about the industry intrigues you?
    About two years ago I wanted to get into the industry because I thought that the live casino games were going to be the ďnext big thing.Ē I had no previous experience in the industry. I then started a white label web cam casino that failed miserably due to the software provider. That entire ordeal set me back a year. Afterwards, I changed my strategy and was convinced that being an affiliate was the best option for me.

    When did you start making money?
    It took about eight months to make anything. Even now the commissions are relatively modest compared to the industry standards.

    How does the GPWA help you in your work as an affiliate?
    GPWA has made all the difference. The community as a whole gave me some great recommendations on how to succeed in this ultra competitive environment. I didnít start making any money until I became a member. I wish Iíd found GPWA a year sooner, before I started making all the typical mistakes that set me back.

    What's been more profitable for you, promoting sports books or promoting casinos? And why (regardless of answer) do you think that's the case?
    Itís more profitable for me to promote casinos. Why? Because I donítí like sports that much. I canít imagine having to write content on something that doesnít interest me.

    Does working out of Costa Rica present any unique challenges that other affiliates might not face?
    I would say that the ďuniqueĒ challenge of being an affiliate living in Costa Rica is not being distracted from all the advantages of living here. Iím in a beautiful tropical country with great weather almost all year long. There are plenty of beaches and fun things to do. All year long you can go offshore fishing, bungee jumping, river rafting, zip lines, rappelling in the rain forest, nature hiking, sky trams, and kayaking. The people are also very hospitable towards foreigners. Itís easy to get distracted here.

    If you had to pick 5 keys to success as an affiliate, what would they be and why?
    - Find your niche. Be patient and focus on your niche that interests you. When I started I made the mistake of trying to review every casino on every affiliate program I could get my hands on. It was a total waste of time. I found that I did better focusing on one specific niche that I was interested in.

    - Integrity. Make original content based on your own ideas. The industry responds to content theft rather effectively.

    - Be Creative. The old cookie cutter casino banner sites just donít cut it. Having original content that readers would actually like to read is a must. Iím still working on this myself.

    - Donít give up. Have reasonable expectations in terms of what you expect to get out of being an affiliate. Be prepared to spend at least a year before you make anything. Iím sure this depends on how much you already know about being a webmaster. I think this is why the majority of the new affiliates drop out.

    - Find the right affiliate program. This is an important one. Iíve tried different programs and found that the conversion rates vary greatly for each program. Finding the right affiliate program specific for your content is important. Having the right affiliate manager, someone with effective communication skills, is also critical.

    Do you gamble online? If so, what's your favorite game?
    I prefer the live web cam casino games. I really enjoy the live roulette games. The real dealers and live web cam really give me the Vegas feeling. Live dealer roulette is my favorite game.

    What's your favorite activity away from work? And why?
    I enjoy taking my boat into the Nicoya Gulf to fish. Actually, I spend more time rescuing myself than fishing. Itís an old boat and 5 out of 10 times it breaks down and leaves me stranded. By now, I know exactly what to do. I need to get a new boat!

    What was your favorite subject in school? And why was it your favorite subject?
    Math was my favorite subject. I liked it because it was fun and easy. It was a big help later in college.

    If you could change one thing about the online gaming industry, what would it be, and why?
    I would want to see the US regulate online gambling. This would be a positive effect on the industry as a whole.

    What is your favorite movie? And why?
    Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Itís a great movie for guys. Itís got plenty of action and great character development. The battle scenes were awesome.

    What's your favorite vacation spot? And why?
    Fernandina Beach, Florida. Itís a relaxed beach atmosphere that I used to visit while growing up in Florida. I have many fond memories of that beach.

    If you could pick someone to play you in a movie about your life, who would it be and why?
    The actor I would choose would be either Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) or Matt Damon depending on what kind of mood Iím in that particular day.

    Last question, who is your favorite superhero? And why?
    Indiana Jones. Yes, I realize that Indiana Jones isnít a superhero, but itís the closest answer I can come up with. I really never liked any of the typical superheroes like Superman or Batman. Indiana Jones is the coolest!
    I have left the industry and earned a law degree at Indiana University Bloomington, Maurer School of Law. Here are ways to stay in touch with me:
    > Facebook:
    > LinkedIn:
    > Skype: StevenCorfman
    > Phone: +1 617 785 9324

    Inquiries intended for an administrator or staff member can be directed to Anthony Telesca through the forum (username Anthony) or to the general contact address manager AT gpwa DOT org.

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  3. #2
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    Awesome interview!

    Thanks for sharing a little about your life and your insights with us.

    I'd like to hear more about living in Costa Rica, it sounds like paradise. What about the cost of living, requirements of residency, availability of the things we take for granted in Canada and the U.S. like medical insurance etc?
    Terry - The Pokerkeep
    President / CEO - Gambling Affiliates Union

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    Email: admin @

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  5. #3
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    Thanks for the interview - nice to learn more about people in the industry

    I agree Indiana rocks!

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  7. #4
    james01 is offline Private Member
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    Great interview, Adrian, thanks very much.

    Maybe you also have some seo tips for the GPWA community?

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  9. #5
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    Great interview.

    Loved the section on hiring people, especially relating to the hiring of SEO people. A great tip for newbies to read.

    Now I just have to work out who your Mother is - got me puzzled!!

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    mojo (18 April 2008)

  11. #6
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    Very nice interview WagerX!

    I can relate to the missing family when leaving the US part. We moved to the Dominican Republic during the summer/fall of 2006 for several months and it was very nice to be right on the ocean, but eventually came back and bought a house in the States. Costa Rica was my first choice of places to live and I hope to vist there one day.

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  13. #7
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    Thanks for the comments. So, here's my experience with writing the interview article CityGaurd sent me. When I first started I really tried to sound "normal",at least by our industry standards. I felt "vulnerable" and "exposed", because I'm usually the quiet guy in the back of the room listening. Yea, I had tons of grammatical mistakes, but what the heck at least it passed a copyscape check! lol

    It was a great experience, and my ego is going to soar when I frame the article and show my friends I actually made it on a really cool magazine.

    It's an honor to be interviewed, thank you.

  14. #8
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    You did a great job WagerX. I'm glad you came out of the back room. I always enjoy your posts too. Plus, it never hurts to have a handsome surgeon around lol. Best of luck for much success.

  15. #9
    stemat is offline Former Private Member
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    Great interview Wagerx.
    Its nice to learn more about each other
    Thank-You for sharing!

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    Default Nice Interview

    Hello WagerX,

    Very nice story! Keep up the great work!


    Connie Burstin
    Connie Burstin
    The Affiliate Agency
    Telegram: @connieburstin | Skype: live:.cid.a8bedf4bdbdef84f

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  21. #12
    davis renaults is offline New Member
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    Yea well done, i bet your UK competitors are well happy that your taking their hard earned income out of the country without paying tax
    Last edited by davis renaults; 15 May 2008 at 2:25 pm.

  22. #13
    Amateur's Avatar
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    Very Nice, WagerX!

    Why'd you leave out the part about stepping over a fer-de-lance, or the time you were almost swallowed by an anaconda on your trek thru the rain forest? ? Bet everyone would love to hear that story!
    "Lifting as we climb" - NACWC
    "...the universe has no edge and no center..."
    "If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to be a horrible warning" - Jennifer Crusie
    "Common Sense is not so common." - Voltaire

  23. #14
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    Hi WagerX! I love hearing stories about other affiliates who have careers outside of their gambling affiiliate biz. Sounds like quite an exciting and busy life... Sometimes I wish I could just pick my family up and move to Costa Rica!
    Owner, Cognitive Powers, Inc.
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  25. #15
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    Nice interview

    Thanks for sharing some tips and advices, its very good know others points of views about the same bussines.

    Also, you learn spanish?

    Im fighting with my english

    - Zona Bingo
    - Casinos Online

    Link exchanges are welcome, please send me a P.M.

  26. #16
    SuperiorShare is offline Former Affilaite Manager
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    Great interview Wager. I'm Costa Rican.

    I love to travel but I also enjoy my country a lot. As you mentioned there, for some of us (Costa Ricans), working in the industry has opened a lot of opportunities to have a good and honorable life and also to meet so many people from all around the globe.

    Things have changed a bit in the last few years. However many of the biggest companies still here.

    Would be great to meet sometime.



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    Well, reading the entire posts and comments, all i can say is thats a really cool story, it takes ages but eventually its possible.
    I first met Adrian online then years later in London for the lac 2010 conference in January, wish we had more time to talk because your the man and i could learn much more. As for myself ive got about 4 months work to clear then im back on track.
    Now for the testimonial, I would recommend joining all of his affiliate programs.

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