Monday Sales Call: A Recent Purchase

I have been in the market for a new cell phone for quite some time now. This past Saturday I purchased the new Google G1. I have been a loyal T Mobile customer for many years and struggled with the decision to switch to AT&T to get the iPhone. So what made me stay with T Mobile and buy the G1?
Brand
Yes, I am a sucker for branding. If Google made golf shoes I would run out and buy a pair (I golf MAYBE twice a year). However, without something behind it, a brand is merely a word, phrase, or image. The two key factors to my brand loyalty to Google and my resulting impulse purchase are trust and respect.
I have been a Google user for a long time. I use Gmail for my personal email, Google.com for web searching, iGoogle (homepage), and Google Analytics for traffic/conversion stats. Google has never failed me. I trust they will continue to provide a far superior product for the lowest price possible.
Google is somewhat of an adversary to Internet marketers. Their search engine results are puzzling at times and impossible to crack. They fool us over and over again and change their algorithms when we start to catch onto their ways. I respect Google. I respect their creativity and desire to stay ahead of the competition at everything they do. I also admire their ability to always be one step ahead of the latest and greatest SEO trends.
So there I am, handing over my credit card at the cell phone store. Buyer’s remorse is kicking in and my brain is racing with thoughts of the iPhone. I ask the salesman, Mark, to give me his best pitch as to why I should stay with T Mobile instead of switching to the iPhone/AT&T. He spoke of glorious applications, better technology, and how G1 sales have recently surpassed the iPhone. Nice move Mark. Reassuring the customer by letting him know he is one of many who have taken the same path.
In the end, I felt/feel great about my purchase. Google has yet to let me down. I feel the future for their cell phone venture is wide open and I know how they thrive on new challenges. To be completely honest, if the phone was made by anyone else besides Google, I would not have bought it. I would be walking around with an iPhone today. Call me a sucker or a slave to branding. That’s fine, but I bet you are too. Think about and let me know what you eventually find.

Tony

Monday Sales Call: PAS Promotions

The PAS Design Promotion is heading into the final stretch. We have a tight race and are eager to see the results on March 31st.I am excited to announce a new promotion for our Publishers here at PAS. Publishers will receive a professional site review by our staff covering the following areas:- Content (30 minute review)- SEO (30 minute review)- Design/Layout (30 minute review)- Marketing (30 minute review)To be eligible for this promotion, Publishers must meet one of the following two criteria:- $3,000 MGR (in the last 30 days)- 10 real money players in three consecutive monthsThis is a great chance for PAS Publishers to get a professional site review from experienced design, SEO, and marketing specialists. If you already meet the criteria above, please email us your site name and contact info to publishers (at) pokeraffiliatesolutions.com.Tony

Monday Sales Call: Sanity Management Software

There was a discussion on an industry forum last week about the different work management software affiliates use. This got me thinking how grateful I am for my CRM and the sanity it promotes in my workday. I use Highrise to manage my relationships with PAS Publishers and partners. Highrise truly is a life saver. I have used Outlook in the past but the result was nil. I like having a web based solution so I can access my files from anywhere.Upon signing up at PAS, every new Publisher is entered into Highrise. Publishers are then tagged into relevant groups (market, region, content, language, etc…). Each client in Highrise gets a unique drop box address that is forwarded to their file. I BCC every email to the publisher’s drop box so I can reference email content in the future. I can’t begin to tell you how crucial this tool is for me and my workday sanity. Highrise also has a “Task” tool which allows me to schedule tasks concerning a specific email.We also use Basecamp here at the office. Basecamp is a project management software developed by the same guys as Highrise (37 Signals). Having a project meeting once a day is simply inefficient. Basecamp allows our employees to manage projects and delegate tasks via a centralized, web based, conference room. Each project has its own home page and we upload relevant files to the project page instead of using our network.Successfully and efficiently managing several relationships/projects on a day to day basis can be a daunting task without the proper tools. If you are in need of a CRM or Poject Management Software, I strongly recommend looking into Highrise and Basecamp.Tony

Monday Sales Call: A Brief Moment of Clarity

I had a moment of clarity last night. Well, that may be a little dramatic. Let’s call it a brief yet profound revelation.My Sundays are generally spent playing online poker tournaments. I mainly play cash games during the week when I have time but Sundays are reserved for MTTs (multi table tournaments). The prizepools are so much larger on Sundays and the fields are too weak to pass up on the oppurtuniry to hit a big score. I started this Sunday ritual about a year ago and have had a few nice scores.Throughout the past 12 months I steadily increased my MTT volume (the amount of tournaments I play at one time). I generally 6-8 table if I am at home (IBM Thinkpad) or 8-12 table if I play at work (duel screen set up). I won’t get into the math or theory but it is important to be aware of your stack size, your opponent’s stack size, and blind levels when playing tournaments.I realized last night that this increase in volume has lowered my expected value in MTTs. I don’t have the skill to play so many tables at one time. I pass up small edges by not properly examining my opponents play and the flow of the table. I believe this has decreased my overall ROI in tournaments and has honestly caused me to dread my Sunday grind. I got serious about poker because it was fun and I loved the competition and theory of the game. I honestly think the game isn’t as fun as it used to be. While it is still monetarily profitable, I feel like a robot.So what prompted this self examination? I will spare you the bad beat story. Suffice it to say, variance is part of the game. This got me thinking of what I can do to improve on aspects of the game which I can control. This thought process then lead to me thinking about my workday. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been working on optimally structuring my work schedule and tasks.A typical day for me involves 20-30 emails, 8-15 IM conversations, posting on several industry forums, and working on new projects for the company. As PAS has grown and my responsibilities have increased, I have struggled with keeping up with the volume of work and STILL working at an optimal level. This sounds familiar!With a plethora of IM conversations and emails going on at the same time, I typically find myself flustered. I find it hard to keep up with several conversations at one time. This is very well a result of what my doctor calls “A.D.D”. Apparently every male ages 12-30 in the U.S. has this aliment. Anyways, my emails/IM conversations consist of supporting affiliate’s businesses. I work with PAS Publishers on a daily basis to improve their conversions and user experience.I came to the conclusion that I can’t do all of these tasks at once. Answering emails, posting in forums and chatting on IM at one time is not my cup of tea. Others may be able to run this kind of gauntlet but I simply don’t have the attention span. I need to schedule my work day so that my tasks have time slots alloted for their attention. Emails from the previous night (many of our partners are overseas and several hours ahead of me) and the morning will be answered until lunch. After lunch I can hop on IM and talk shop with publishers. While on IM, I can browse industry forums and bookmark interesting threads/articles which I can read before I leave for the day. This gives me the time and energy to address situations/questions and the head space to work at an optimal level. It took me awhile, but I finally realized my brain works best when concentrating on as few tasks as possible.I truly love my job and aim to give Publishers the kind of service and attention I would expect myself from a business partner. While this revelation may seem elementary, such is life. Many issues in our lives, which may seem somewhat trivial to others, can be solved by simply stepping back and evaluating the situation from a far. Like poker, I strive to improve my performance at work, thus improving my ROI (Publisher’s Success!).Tony

This Week at PAS

The first week of the month is always a busy one. We have been busy gathering and importing stats from February as well as answering inquiries from players about payments. Typically we start importing monthly stats sites around the 5th and finish on the 9th. This way all payments can go out to players and publishers on the 10th.I have been asked by several publishers how they can add PayNoRake to their PAS site. The affiliate program setup makes it impossible for us to offer it as a normal PAS offer. We can however get you setup with PayNoRake on your own campaign. Simply email publishers (at) pokeraffiliatesolutions dot com and let us know your skin name and that you are interested in adding PayNoRake to your PAS site. PayNoRake is a skin on the Action Poker Network. PayNoRake is a better deal for both players and publishers than Action Poker is so simply emailing us could increase your margins and signups.Earlier this week Poker Stars announced several major improvements to their VIP Program. The first was lowering the requirements for reaching their three lowest tiers. The requirements now are 1200 for SilverStar, 3000 for GoldStar and 7500 for PlatinumStar. These are down from 1500 for SilverStar, 4000 for GoldStar and 10,000 for PlatinumStar. Poker Stars also now allows Supernova and SupernovaElite players to keep their status until the end of September of the following year instead of the end of June. This way players have three additional months to maintain their Supernova Status. Prize pools for their VIP freerolls also were increased by 50%.Full Tilt Poker answered with improvements to their Iron Man Challenge. Players are now rewarded with more Iron Man Medals for maintaining their Iron Man status for more than a year. Players that have maintained their Iron Man status for 36 or more consecutive months can earn up to 600 more medals a month. Full Tilt Poker also listened to players about how a short break to go play in live events or prevent burnout can end their Iron Man status. Full Tilt introduced two items in the Iron Man store that should help players that take a short break. For 30 Iron Man Medals players can buy a 200 point day up to four times a month. For 150 Iron Man Medals players can buy a continuing month so if a player does not meet the requirements one month they can spend 150 medals and keep it. A player can do that for no more than 2 consecutive months.Absolute Poker announced they would continue their reload bonus a day during March. Players can use the bonus code APBIGMAR and receive a 50% up to $400 reload bonus. The code can be used once per calendar day. Bonuses are not deducted from MGR.LuckyAce Poker has been removed temporarily from PAS. We expect to be able to offer them again in the coming weeks. We are working on a way to get better stats from LuckyAce for publisher payments and didn’t think it was a good idea to continue signing up players on the old system until a few bugs had been worked out.Check out our blog here at PAS every Friday for the latest in PAS and industry news.