GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 15 - January 2011

JC Troy jctroy440 As a Kentucky native, when and why did you decide tomove toMexico and operate your sites from there? I lived on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands for three years back in the early ’90s. I enjoyed the relaxation of tropical living and always wanted to return to it. Operating aWeb site can be accomplished from anywhere with an Internet connection so I decided to try Central America and ended up in Cancún this past August. I really love it here. What do you miss the most about living in the United States? Unfortunately I don’t miss the USSA at all. I feel there are entire- ly too many laws and regulations and too much public hysteria to deal with. The Twin Tower attacks of 9/11 marked the beginning of the end of personal freedoms and rights in America as we once knew them. What do you enjoy the most about living in Mexico? The people here are very open and friendly to Americans. The food is fantastic and life is led at a much slower pace than in the U.S. (except for the bus drivers, who drive like Juan Pablo Mon- toya). The exchange rate is about 12:1 so it’s inexpensive to live here, too. What did you do before you became an online gambling affiliate? In the ’70s and ’80s I owned an auto speed shop in Cincin- nati, Ohio and was a sports pool bookie/po- nies handicapper. I lived in Indiana for six years and was an engine builder on unlim- ited hydros. I then moved to the USVI for three years to work for Sumitomo/Mazda. After that I opened up an auto-repair facil- ity near Atlanta, Ga., sold it and moved to Chicago for three years, where I supervised the repair and redesign of damaged mili- tary armor. There’s probably a job or two I missed, but those are the highlights. How long was it before your sites started making money? My gambling portal busi- ness is still a work in progress. I started this past August and in November I finally broke into four figures in commissions, but I envision five to six figures per month be- fore I consider this effort “making money.” I have made a ton of mistakes along the way but my successes are finally starting to outnumber those mistakes. The amount of money one can earn here is virtually unlimited when you see the total number of people who are gambling online at any moment. But new people must realize that unless you have a rich uncle who likes to gamble (preferably on your site), you’re not going to make any real money for the first six months to maybe a year. I don’t con- sider myself a veteran yet but I do see light at the end of the tunnel. It has been a long and sleepless four months. What do your friends and family think of your work as an affiliate? My friends think I joined the Mafia. (I’m not Italian.) As for the family, I’m being stereotyped right up there with Al Capone and Louie the Knuckle. Add to that the usual “taking ad- vantage of the weak” and “How could you do such a thing?” speeches, and Mexico is not far enough away sometimes. What’s the most difficult thing about op- erating your sites? This question will un- doubtedly get me some hate mail, but the biggest obstacle I have is finding affiliate programs that have quality support, in- tegrity, half a brain and honesty. I have struggled with this for many months but now honestly feel that any affiliate man- ager who operates his/her own portal has no business being an affiliate manager. I have dealt with three so far who did, and in each case I was (in my opinion) not treated fairly; one even encouraged me to use black hat SEO. I no longer endorse any of those programs. This is my person- al opinion and in no way should reflect on the programs I dropped as all are GPWA members and apparently doing well. It’s just one of my personal rules to help elim- inate spikes in my blood pressure. Learn- ing and conquering SEO is hard enough without having to compete with your af- filiate manager’s six or seven sites on the first page of Ma Google. You’re just not going to get good advice from that kind of conflict of interest. If you had to pick five keys to success as an affiliate, what would they be? Understand your market before you jump in. Decide on your niche and then decide on your market demographics. English is not the same in the U.S. and the U.K. Marketing for “punters” in the U.K. will get you players on your sports betting portal while marketing for “punt- ers” in the U.S. will get you a job appli- cation from the kicker for the Bengals. Terminology is paramount. SEO. Overcoming a published site with poor SEO takes longer than themonth you could have waited to publish your new site after learning proper SEO practices. Investigate your affiliate programs in depth before you sign on. The reason affiliate programs offer 50 percent the first three months is because they know it takes six months or longer to get your first customer. Slow down and take time to ask questions of your affiliate manag- ers; search the forums for feedback on their programs and on them. Realisti- cally plan on eight to 12 months before you light your first cigar. “Never never never never never never give up.” Winston Churchill. Offline marketing is often overlooked and by and large ignored. Before you get those 45 to 90 HTML pages SERPing the number-one position on Ma Google, you need to get people to your Web site using other methods. I walk through the ma- rinas in Cancún and hand out business cards with poker and casino bonuses printed on them. I figure if you can af- ford a $250,000 boat you probably have an extra $500 to plunk down on the Ala- bama/Florida game this weekend, and I have the perfect sportsbook for you to do it at. I also pass out cards to tour- ists in the malls and hotel areas when I get a chance. Be proud of your business and talk it up to everyone you meet and know! A new customer will be more like- ly to sign up on a gambling portal after he has met the “owner” as opposed to picking a Web site at random from the 3.5 million sites on Google. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Ranting, raving – and loving this industry 28 GPWA Affiliate Interview Series