34 GPWA Times | You bring in an interesting breadth of ex- perience to your work as a poker affiliate. One of the jobs that you’ve held is pro- moting live poker. What exactly did you do? Good question. Originally my girlfriend and I used to play poker in pubs/bars in the city with a group known as the Red Hot Poker Tour. We also played at a place called Hurricanes and we developed some good friendships along the way. During this time one of the guys who ran some of the events at Hurricanes asked me if I would like to get into business to run live games for bars across the city. I agreed right away and thought it was a terrific idea. We purchased all kinds of poker chips, tables, and cards for these events, as our goal was to do many throughout the week. We successfully started out doing them, and yes, we had a great time. We met some new people and had a lot of fun. The bars loved it, as it brought clients, and we learned a lot. However it was a hard sell, and both my partner and I had conflicting ideas, so we de- cided to sever our business relationship. It was at this moment I decided to get into on- line affiliating, which I wanted to combine with the live events we were doing. How important are private freerolls for your business? Freerolls are of huge impor- tance, maybe not like three or four years ago, but they help with conversions. Let’s face it: freerolls are all over the net, and a player does not need to deposit to play in one. But for us, we like to have a close community of active members who play frequently. Freerolls keep them involved and playing. I have mostly done freerolls with no add-ons, but I think the add- ons are better because they tend to attract more quality-type players who are willing to invest a little money. Players who deposit and pay a little for a game play much better in my opinion. Can a poker af- filiate survive without offer- ing rakeback? Or has it be- come such an industry stan- dard that you have to offer it? Well, this is a question that’s hard for me to answer. A lot of people will say rakeback is a must. However it takes a great deal of time to develop in that niche. You need a large number of players who are what they call “whales” in order to make something from it. We have players who asked for rakeback so we decided to try it. We spend a great deal of time listening to our players and will do everything we can to keep them with us. Rakeback is just one area, but we are still new to it, so time will tell. What is the most important factor for you in choosing a poker affiliate program to work with? To answer this with one word, “Honesty.” I want to work with affiliate sites that are truthful and ethical and do what they say they will do. Along the way I have had my share of not getting paid for one reason or an- other. I am sure from my forum posts you will all know when it happens to me. LOL. Seri- ously, when a site declares they will honor pay- ment, that promise simply must be kept. Your word is your honor. I always like to follow this in my life. When I say I will do something I do it. So it’s my hope always to deal with ethical affiliate sites that are honest and pay their af- filiates. I also like affiliate managers who can communicate daily with me, and share ideas to help our relationship grow. In all my dealings it’s the affiliate managers I contact daily who bring the most rewards. We can work together easily and have better success. One of these af- filiate managers will email me every day and always is there day or night, willing to help at any time. I appreciate this a lot. Timely pay- ments and good stats are a must. I like to see how my campaigns are going daily, so daily up- dates are crucial for me. Good marketing ban- ners and reviews are also important. How much time does it take to keep your site updated? Do you use a content man- agement system to manage your site? Updating my site takes time. When I started I didn’t even know how to cut and paste. Literally. I read a post from a fellow affiliate I think on one of the forums who said the same thing, and I was like yes, that’s me! But now it takes a few hours each day. I have to do secu- rity checks on players who sign up for no-de- posit deals. Check ID, IP’s and cross reference this. Plus send test quizzes and verify if they are real players. And qualify for my promo- tions. Plus I update links, articles, and blog now. Along with add/remove sites and adding new content. So I would say a good 10 hours a day on all aspects of this. Plus I now spend a lot of time on forums learning and sharing ideas, here at GPWA and PAL. I spend four to six hours a day here and there. I love it. I use Joomla right now because it gives me flex- ibility. It’s all right, and I have added many ex- tensions andmodules. I work around things. But I do want to create my own CMS. This is why I hired two programmers to develop a new Poker/ Casino CMS with auto updates. This will save on time and effort. All that is needed is content, and it would be so easy to add on many sites. They have been working on this for months now. For new affiliates Joomla is the way to go. Easy to learn and free. What do your friends and family think of your work as an affiliate? Well, to be honest, they have no clue how it works. My dad thinks I am gambling all the time and I try to tell him, “No, Dad, I am not a player, I am like the house.” I explain how it works, but he refuses to under- stand. My siblings don’t really ask too much about it. My friends all think it’s pretty interest- ing. I always help them out, since many are play- ers themselves. But of course along the way some friends were envious and thought I was making tons of cash and not sharing it. I can say this: you do know who your friends are when you get into this industry. The ones who help out and show interest are great, since I need a sounding board a lot of the time. And my girlfriend does get sick of hearing me every day say the same things over and over. So I have a few friends who give ideas and share opinions. Mostly positive so far. And I have developed tons of online friends and associ- ates now who are good influences. I will eventu- ally get my dad to understand I amnot gambling. I hardly even play myself as I do not have time. I must not forget my cats. I love my cats! I have six with me at all times. They are like my kids in some ways. Most of the time they are unhappy when I am occupied with business and will do anything to get my attention. And they’ll jump on the computer keyboard and turn off the ma- chine when I leave it for a few minutes. I have to be careful -- LOL. INTERVIEW WITH Steve Nickoloff | GFPC WHAT MAKES GFPC TICK? Honesty, hard work, and a lot of positive thinking GPWA Affiliate Interview *Due to space constraints,we could not print this interview in its entirety. Read complete text at gpwa.org.