GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 8 - April 2009

46 GPWA Times | GPWA Affiliate Interview Series What’s your favorite vacation destination or getaway spot? For urban adventure, London, England is my favorite. For a more relaxed getaway, South Lake Tahoe on the California/Nevada border is fan- tastic. Of course, Vegas rocks, too. What’s the most difficult thing about op- erating your site? There is no question that the hardest thing about running my site is tracking an individual player to a specific marketing effort. What I mean is that there is no way that I have found to easily track a real, depositing player back through all the things that the player did before arriving at that point. Sure, affili- ate links that support unique campaign IDs are helpful, but not all affiliate pro- grams support these, and who wants to create a unique affiliate link for each and every page or blog entry on their site? And what about the player’s behavior before that? What search engine and what search terms did the player use that caused your content to appear in the search results list? While Google Analyt- ics and even some pay-to-use programs that I have tried provide aggregate sta- tistics about your visitors’ behavior, none that I have found provides the complete, 360-degree view of the depositing play- er’s behavior. This is a real frustration for me, because if you don’t know exactly what you did that was successful, you can’t replicate it. What’s the best thing about running your own site? My three-hour workday from bed each morning in my pajamas tops the list, followed a close second by the fact that I can tell off my boss any time that I want. Seriously though, the advantages of work- ing for myself are too numerous to list – setting your own schedule, deciding the priorities for the business, the feeling of accomplishment when your efforts are successful, even the risk of failure. But at least it would be my own failure, and no one else’s. One benefit of work- ing for myself has been that I have been able to move home to be near my parents – they’re not getting any younger. My best friend lives here as well. Another benefit: After 15-plus years on the West Coast away from my beloved Reds, not only can I now see their stadium from my living room window, I am able to go to as many games as I can stomach. Last year, I think I went to about 50. A final benefit that comes to mind is the Skyline Chili – a real hometown specialty. Word has it that when you’re not working on your site you like (among many other things) to root for the Cincinnati Reds, play video games, cook, play pinball, and hang out at the local pub. Is that where the pinball machines are? I wish there were pinball machines at my local sports- bar! Unfortunately, pinball machines are going the way of the pager and are be- coming harder and harder to find. There is only one manufacturer left in the Unit- ed States (Stern), and they put out maybe five new titles a year. There are a handful of pinball machines in the area, however; among them are Pirates of the Caribbean and Batman. I like scouting around and trying to find pinballs to play. When I lived in San Jose, one of my hob- bies was the repair and restoration of pin- ball machines. At the height of my collec- tion (addiction?), I had a dozen machines set up in the garage. My housemates and I would host parties regularly, and the pin- ball collection (and the competitive beer pong) was very popular. My favorite machine to play is Tommy, a machine based on the Broadway version of The Who’s rock opera and movie of the same name. The wizard mode on Tommy features a six-ball multiball where blind- ers come out to cover your view of the flippers; you are playing as if you were Tommy, that “deaf, dumb, and blind kid – that sure plays a mean pinball.” As for beer, my favorites are Guinness and some of the Samuel Adams brews. For convenience, though, I regularly drink the Silver Bullet ... with an occasional shot of Mr. Daniel’s when the team I bet on cov- ers the spread. What’s your all-time favorite TV show and your favorite movie? “NYPD Blue” is my all-time favorite TV show. The story lines were compelling, the characters rich and human. Recent police dramas focus too much on the case rather than the char- acters. Other TV favorites include “South Park,” “24,” and “60 Minutes.” I despise the inaccurately-labeled “Reality TV” genre, as well as the various amateur tal- ent competitions like “American Idol.” I can’t name an all-time favorite movie. Some favorites that come to mind off the top of my head include “The Last Temp- tation of Christ,” “The Exorcist,” “The Omen,” “Raging Bull,” and “Caddyshack.” If you consider concerts on DVD as mov- ies, then anything by Dave Matthews Band, Foo Fighters, or Eric Clapton is tops in my book. How do your family and friends feel about the way you make your living? I’m still not 100% certain that they believe me when I tell them how I make a living! I sometimes wonder if they think that I am just a lazy bum with a computer who plays around all day on “the internets” when he’s not napping, going to the ball game, or traveling. Here’s how I know that they don’t quite get it: When I say that my whale just dropped another chunk of change on the progres- sive slots, they feel bad for the whale!