Publisher Spotlight: VIPRakeback

Around 2 years ago I met the person that introduced me to what an affiliate was. He owns his own branded rakeback site and is doing very well. I kind of worked for him recruiting players and would get a percent of every player I brought to him. I realized how much money was to be made so I tried creating my own site, but that didn’t work out too well. I didn?t know how to get a sign up page on my site on my page etc., and I couldn’t keep up with the other rakeback sites as they offered huge freerolls and rakeraces, and the other sites had better percentages to offer to their players. After failing a few times I spent some money on a domain, www.viprakeback.net, and set out to look for a designer. The only problem was a designer could have cost thousands of dollars. This is when I found PAS. I didn’t need to spend thousands on a designer or I didn’t need to work out deals with the poker sites which would have been a pain. Making my website was very easy with PAS. All I had to do was point my domain to their name servers and in literally 2 minutes I had a very nice branded rakeback site. Once the website was up it was very easy for me to make changes in my back end to make my site look better. PAS also makes it very easy to do SEO in your back end. Another main reason I went to PAS was because they offer MASSIVE rakeraces and freerolls. This creates huge incentive for players to sign up. When using PAS you can track all your players and how much you are making daily. PAS really made it easy for me to finally own a nice professional looking rakeback site.Thanks,VIPRakeback

Improving Search Engine Performance

In my last two blog posts I went over the importance of meta tags and original content. There are several other simple items a webmaster can do to do improve their performance in the search engines. These actions will take you just an hour or so a week.One of the things that go into your score at search engines is the age of your site. If you are a new site there is nothing you can do at first to help your score here. There is something you can do to help though with another part of this score. Search engines also often look at how long your website’s domain is registered into the future. Considering your domain is less than $10 a year in most cases make sure your domain does not expire in the next 5 years. The consensus is that Google respects a site that appears to be in it for the long term over a site that has yet to renew its domain name. A site with only a few months left in its registration isn’t going to get much respect at all. This is on top of not wanting your domain to expire because you forgot to renew it.Another item is having an up to date website. Not only is quality original content important but keeping it fresh is as well. Go through your site often to make sure your content doesn’t mention a promotion from 6 months ago. Also check the promotions pages of the poker rooms you offer often to look for ever changing offers and promos. When the Googlebot visits your site he will be happy to review your site again instead of leaving immediately. The Googlebot knows if your site has been updated or not and if your site appears stale he will leave and if it continues to stay stale it will hurt your overall performance and could lower the number of future visits from him.Another important item is links. This does not mean go out and get a link to your site on every link exchange page or pay for those link services. In this day and age those don’t work. What you need are link backs from quality sites. These will come naturally over time if your content is of high quality but you can do a few things to try and speed it up. Although not as important as they used to be blogs are a great starting point. Take some time at least once a week to write about your poker life. Talk about that great bonus you cleared, how you just moved up in limits or how rakeback helped you break even this month. Link a keyword in your blog to your site every now and then. Not every time and no more than once every three paragraphs as nobody likes a spam blog. Over time you will get readers, back links and hopefully some visits from the Googlebot.In my next blog post I will write about other ways to get links.

Monday Sales Call: PAS 3.0

On Friday I had a chance to check out some of the development pages for PAS 3.0. While the project is still in its beginning stages, I was blown away by the work that Craig and our development team have achieved thus far. Since I mainly deal with servicing our wonderful publishers and marketing the PAS brand, I do not attend our daily development meetings.The company’s vision for a fully integrated rakeback solution has definitely evolved over the past 9 months. While the current CMS is sufficient for content customization, SEO, and design, we feel there is room for improvement. We envision a CMS that allows users to maximize their talents in design, SEO and marketing. The updated PAS will also enable our publishers to market traditional poker affiliate offers (CPA, Rev Share, and Hybrid) to their player base. While rakeback can be a very profitable venture, it is also a niche market. (Albeit a growing niche in poker affiliate marketing). We want to give our publishers the tools needed to market to the “non-rakeback player”.As someone who spends 10-12 hours a day on websites I have become quite the UX (User Experience) snob. Navigating your way around portals can be an exhausting task if webmasters haven’t take into account what their viewers want in a webpage. Having an interface that allows our publishers to easily navigate their Admin Area and grab the data they want from a centralized location is the optimal solution. The development pages I viewed on Friday blew me away. Craig has done a tremendous job of laying the UX groundwork for our development team. We would love to hear your suggestions for PAS 3.0 on the PAS Support Forum.Tony

Monday Sales Call: Google AdWords and Poker

Google AdWords recently announced an alteration to its policy regarding online gambling. Internet gambling affiliates can now bid on popular industry search terms. Income Access, a marketing agency for the Internet gambling market, broke the news last Friday. While this opportunity is limited to the United Kingdom for now, this is great news for online poker affiliates.I think over time we will see a domino effect as other countries will start allowing gambling affiliates to bid on search terms. There is just too much money to be made for Google and their marketing partners. Affiliates can now push their domains higher on Google searches with AdWord instead of increasing a site’s ranking organically. The value of increasing your site’s page rank without spending months creating unique content is obviously extremely high.In order for a website to advertise with Google, Internet poker affiliates must be registered with the Gambling Commission or the European Economic Area.Tony

Adding Original Content to your PAS Site

When you join PAS we provide you with basic content for your players for your new PAS website. This is a great starting point for you. We highly recommend taking a day creating your own content based on our content. This is not just for the benefit of your players but also for the benefit of your search engine performance.We provide these site reviews and FAQs to get you on your feet to your new turnkey rakeback site. We have noticed that many of our publishers use this content and do not write any of their own original content. This might work if your site is aimed at your existing high volume however if you are looking to build a standalone rakeback brand it is in your best interest to spend several hours building the content on your site.When you add a poker room to your website through PAS the review will include bonus and rakeback information for each rakeback offer. If you would like to impress your players as well as Google you should include more info than this. The reason is if you use our basic review you will have the same content as all other PAS sites that did not create their own content. This hurts you in the search engines and may also hurt you when it comes to converting your visitor into a real money player as you will be penalized for duplicate content by the search engines.Ideas for your own content might come from a detailed clear rate of the bonus at each limit, your personal experiences with the poker room including software pros and cons and volume at each limit, and promotions we may not cover. These promotions would include rake races, guaranteed tournaments, freerolls, monthly bonuses, reload bonuses or something unique to that particular room that we do not cover.Another improvement to make to your site is to add SEO tags. These can be added by going to CMS/Main CMS, going to the page you wish to add tags to and clicking “Edit Meta Tags for this Page”. You will then need to add SEO Page Title, SEO Meta Keywords and SEO Meta Description. Your PAS site will not come with any of these tags. Your site will perform exponentially better in the search engines by adding tags to each page on your site. Even if you choose not to add any new content to your site adding these tags, which will take about an hour, will do wonders to your search engine performance. In my next blog post I will cover the best ways to use these meta tags to your advantage.

Monday Sales Call: The Office

I started working for PAS in August of 2008. Prior to actually working here, I would frequent the PAS office for a game of foosball with Chris and Byron. Our office is a residential house on the strip of a popular shopping district here in Saint Paul. Over the last five months, we have added three people to our office. Herb and Jonathan packed up the Nashville office and moved up here to brave the winters. Last month we hired Mark to work with Craig and the design department.With the addition of the Nashville office and three new hires, including me and a full time accountant, the office has been a tad cozy. Chris decided in the fall that it was time to find a new office space. The space he found is located in a really cool area of Minneapolis. The office is above a swanky old school supper club and apparently used to be a car dealership back in the 1950’s.I am really excited about the new office space. A few of us went over there to have lunch at the supper club and check out the new office last month. While the contractors were still working on the build out, it looked sick. It is twice the size of our office now and has high exposed ceilings. We would love to have our publishers stop by and hangout if they are in the area. One of our publishers came in town a few months ago and the experience was priceless. It is extremely valuable for us to hear about your experience with PAS and what we can do to improve it. So if you plan on traveling to Minnesota (hopefully not in the winter), let me know and I can set up a meeting with the PAS Team at the new office.Tony GuerreroAffiliate Manager

Working on the Road During the Holidays

While many people in the industry were able to take the last couple of weeks off I am not able to being the main support person for PAS. This created quite a challenge. Not only did I have a road trip of 1500 miles (2400 km) from the Black Hills of South Dakota to Atlanta, GA but I didn’t have the same access to the internet on the other end. I was still able to do this from the road but the work backed up, even with the usual slowdown the holiday season creates.My family stayed at two different places during the holidays. One had wireless with six screaming kids including my two. The other place we stayed didn’t have wireless. It only had a wired connection in basically a closet of a room where the wired computer still runs Windows 2000. Regardless of the situation I was able to take care of our players and publishers. One thing I pride myself on is seven day support for all PAS players and publishers. So many affiliates in the industry don’t provide that no matter how big they are. I must admit I took off for about 60 hours around Christmas. That was the longest break I’ve had from support since I started with PAS 10 months ago. I was surprised to see only eight support tickets and two publisher emails during that period I was away.I’ve talked to several PAS partners that are both publishers and affiliate managers for the poker rooms and we are all presented with the same difficulty. Our players are playing and need support regardless of whether we’re driving 22 hours across the country or not. One of the services that puts PAS on top is the fact that even with the holidays our players did not have an unreasonable wait on replies to support tickets and emails. For anyone in the industry that does their own support taking care of your players is the most important aspect of player retention in my opinion. Rakeback caps leave all affiliates on a level field when it comes to rakeback percents. Promos attract and retain players but if the support is not there they will leave.The holidays present quite a challenge for all of us that need to travel. While our spouses may not understand how important it is to check the email that one last time before that turkey dinner with the in-laws we all must understand that the level of service that provides put all of us above the rest. There is no shame in taking a little time off. Everybody needs a break from “I already have an account at Full Tilt…” emails but replying to those and all other emails from players will give you a leg up above the rest of the field. Don’t forget that the next time you hit the road to go see your family your players depend on you to reply to their emails as soon as possible. Your bottom line depends on it.

PAS Promotion Winner: Trip Report

Hello Guys,My name is Rodolfo and I was the one who won the first PAS PUBLISHERS PROMOTION. The prize was an entry to the British Poker Tour Main Event, that was held in Bristol, England. The package included not only the tournament, but the travel and hotel expenses as well.When I saw that I won the promotion, I got very excited! That’s because I have never traveled outside Brazil before. I didn’t even have a passport!Unfortunately, I didn’t win anything at the tournament. I was playing quite well, but my lack of live experience made the difference: after 8-9 hours I started to play real bad and spewy.At first I got a little upset with this, but later I realized that it was just a tournament, and I didn’t even have to pay anything to play in it. I must say that it was very interesting to meet a new country, but after spending one week at the cold winter of England, the only thing that I concluded is that I love Brazil. The food, the weather, the people. It was definitely a good experience, but I guess nothing is better than our home, right? I want to thank the PAS team that made this travel possible, especially to Tony for all the assistance. I would like to thanks Dimitrios from Eurobet as well, that helped me a lot as well.RodolfoMenosRake, Brazil Rakeback