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Warren : Sure. Some broader based questions for you, what were three of the key decisions you made in the infancy of the business that really helped make the company what it is today?
You rarely come home and suddenly everything is great. Warren : How did you stay focused on one site and one business?
I think this is a mistake that many affiliates make. The new affiliates in the first year, they launch 50 websites.
How did you do that? Dominik : First of all, we just have one website. We had some external agencies, but that was a total failure. SEO is not our focus at all.
Now, I guess this habit of starting many websites probably comes from an SEO mindset. I think that is going out of fashion more and more quickly.
My recommendation to affiliates is to build a valuable product. What does value mean? Value either means value to the customer or value to the business partner.
A website that actually does something and adds something. This has always been our focus. Now, of course building a valuable product is much more effort.
In general, that would probably be my recommendation for affiliates that are starting out is to build something that actually generates value in any way, shape, or form.
It could be different things. It could be news content. It could be education like we do. It could be some kind of more disruptive idea like Pokertube, for example.
I do think that is the most sustainable thing to do. Also, if you build proper value for the customer and for the business partner, you are much harder to be cut out as an unnecessary middle man.
Some poker rooms have cut back on their affiliate programs in the past. I do think building a valuable product is key. Warren : Thank you for that.
Luckily, we got it right thus far. What kind of company is it? What kind of substance do they have? Are they a big company or a small company?
Are they trustworthy? All these kinds of things, you must check. You must check as an affiliate for your own security but also for the security of your customers.
We take that very seriously. Probably every week, we turn down three different poker rooms or entities that want to incorporate with us because we have relatively high standards when it comes to choosing our business partners.
Then, of course, when you want establish a business partnership, I always recommend to have a proper contract in place. Standard terms can be very one-sided at times.
That covers the business-to-business side. More important is the business-to-customer side. You have to make sure that the poker brands you promote are actually good products, ideally.
Companies change and there might be differences in quality. One poker room might have great software, another poker room has poor software, one poker room has a great customer service, and another has not such a great customer service.
You can only work with certain business partners. It shows that it does payoff to choose your partners very carefully.
Talking about value again and what affiliates can do, your brand is probably the strongest in the poker industry from an affiliate or just a core perspective.
We work on a non-exclusive basis with multiple poker rooms and we provide choice to customers. On top of that, I think that now in the current market environment launching your own operator is not the wisest thing to do.
Given our size we could probably make it work but I still don't consider it an option at this stage. Potentially it would only be a strategy of last resort, if the B2B landscape changed and we needed to be our own operator or something like that but I consider it to be very unlikely.
How did Black Friday affect you and how important is legalised US poker for your business? I have always been very sceptical of US real-money poker becoming a reality any time soon.
They've probably wasted a lot of money and time focusing on that and as a result they lost their competitiveness on their product and on the marketing side of things.
Where we could be very interested in the US market is through helping companies build their own poker school on a white-label basis.
If the market does become regulated then we hope that it will be done on a federal level. Everybody that isn't already in the US or a state as a part of the historical gambling landscape would probably prefer federal.
Especially from an online point of view state-by-state legislation would be a disaster. That's not how the internet works and you can also see with the recent European regulation that the segregation of markets and liquidity pools is just a huge hurdle.
I have been the victim of plagiarism myself multiple times, and also recently discovered that my book with Jared Tendler had been translated and distributed in another language without our permission.
In the online age, the most striking thing for me has always been how on earth these people think they can get away with it. I have a suspicion that the iGaming Post website is treated more as a token website with which to give some leverage to their awards ceremony and other ventures, rather than using it as an acquisition tool in itself.
Most importantly, it is very important to give proper citations where appropriate. You avoid a backlash like the one iGaming Post faces right now for a start, it also makes you look more professional and trustworthy to your readers, and I am sure in most cases the original sources are highly appreciative of the back links to their sites.
In the Twitter age you simply cannot wait for something to blow over. Not responding to this backlash quickly is going to hurt them bad and really paints a picture that they are out of touch with the industry and technology in general.
The poker world is a small world, especially in the age of social media. The longer iGaming Post take to address this, the more momentum they will give the poker media to possibly shame them out of existence with their advertisers.
Newsjacking is a trend in online publishing, where where you inject your own ideas into breaking news, in order to get coverage yourself.
I did a simple newsjack this week. After the WSOP finally released their schedule, after putting out the initial release, I followed it up with a column where I shared my thoughts on the changes to the schedule.
It was an easy content decision to make, because the conversation of the WSOP was ripe and people still wanted to discuss and read about it.
Many of the contributing affiliates would benefit via less competition and they could be partially compensated for the loss in revenue by phasing them out of the lifetime MGR.
In exchange for a flat fee or a percentage of my MGR I can then participate as if I was a part of their site. The big upside for the poker room is that they can give the customer exactly what he wants.
If the player signed up on PokerNews and later he decides he would benefit more from a training website like CardRunners than the somewhat basic strategy articles on PokerNews he can switch over to CardRunners.
This ensures the quality of the services being rendered by the affiliates and is a strong disincentive for cannibalistic sites.
Great article, from a respected source.. Very well explained, Bill! Great input from your side. Very nice comment on that PS article.
Thanks very much for the link to original document. I intend to read it. They helped develop the culture of online grinders who would later become the backbone of the online poker industry.
The community has grown over the years, becoming a highly-influential place that has uncovered many scams, started a number of petitions, and also helped many players improve their game.
Although there are numerous people who help the forum run smoothly, including the moderators who do it all for free, it is Mason Malmuth who started it all.
Tom Dwan has been somewhat forgotten lately. He helped rekindle many dreams of success and brought many players, old and new, to the tables.
The global affiliate marketing business has become much tougher in recent years, especially in poker, as sites switch away from discriminatory rakeback models.
PokerStrategy itself has lost two major clients in the last year, including bwin.