GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 8 - April 2009

GPWA Times | GPWA AFFILIATE INTERVIEW SERIES What’s English for smörgåsbord? If our latest group of featured affiliates were organizing a dinner party and you were invited, you’d be in for a scrumptilicious experience. The spread would include lasagna and other pasta dishes, chimichangas, sushi, Chicken Marsala, steak, faggots and peas, and would finish with a big wedge of apple pie (many, of course, would find that second-to- last dish to be an acquired taste). But food isn’t the only thing these four webmasters – two from the States, and one apiece from Canada and the U.K. – have been thinking about lately. As some of our most active forum participants, they’ve shared countless bits of candid, invaluable information and advice with the entire GPWA community, and in their interviews they open up even more. Read on!* INTERVIEW WITH Robert Medl | robertmedl The URL is somewhat self-explana- tory, but what distinguishes the from other gaming sites? I feel that The Online Casino Gambling Directory is different from other gaming sites in its simplicity. From the beginning, I have tried to make The Online Casino Gambling Di- rectory as easy-to-use as possible, using a clean interface design as well as a search and search results paradigm with which users are fa- miliar. You’ve been operating your site for almost five years now. How long did it take until you started mak- ing money? Is maintaining the site a full-time pursuit, or do you also work at something else? I didn’t make a cent in 2004, and only made enough to pay for hosting fees and maybe a nice dinner each month for 2005. Things started picking up in 2006, and then the best thing that ever happened for me in this industry came along – the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The UIGEA resulted in an incredible churn in the market, and I was fortunate enough to pick up many new players as they were forced to find new online gambling sites; all the hard work of the past years had paid off. I saw that my revenue was steady for a few months after the UIGEA, and I began to toy with the idea of quitting my full-time job as a us- ability engineer for Microsoft in Redmond, Washington. In April 2007, I decided to go for it – I quit my job and now work only for myself operating and maintaining The Online Casino Gambling Di- rectory. In your GPWA profile, you describe yourself as a “jack-of-all-online- trades.” Tell us a little about how you got into the online gaming business. I got into the online gaming business by accident. I started as a player, and was simply trying to keep track of all the online gaming sites where I had accounts. Then, sometime in early 2004, I read that online search engines were no longer accepting ads for online gaming. Looking back, I guess this was an “ah-ha” moment for me – I rea- soned that potential players would have a more difficult time find- ing places to play since the major search engines were no longer go- ing to take ads, and that creating a single directory of all online gaming sites could somehow make money. I didn’t know how it was going to make money until I stumbled upon an affiliate link on one of the online gaming sites that I was cataloging for the directory. Once I read what an affiliate program was all about, it was clear to me how to monetize the directory that I was creating. There is no question that my full- time jobs as a usability engineer helped prepare me for this career. While at IBM in San Jose, CA from 1994-2000, I learned about user- centered design and how critical it is for a product to be easy-to-use in order for it to be successful in the marketplace. I also learned all about databases, SQL, HTML, and some programming. While at eGain in Sunnyvale, CA from 2000-2005, I learned about programming Web pages, how to access and render information contained in databases and other sources, and how to write a basic search algorithm. I would not be successful today had I not worked in the computer industry for so many years. What prompted you to join the GPWA, and has being a member helped make work easier for you? I wanted something to differentiate my site from the hundreds of oth- He’s a longtime computer whiz – and a pinball wizard, too! *Due to space constraints, we cannot print the interviews in their entirety. We will post the complete text at GPWA Affiliate Interview Series