There’s a Whole Lot to Write About

WOW, has it really been that long since I wrote my last post on Pursuing Success? Almost six friggin’ months! And I was so determined to post more frequently….. oh well… guess that’s what my life looks like, like a roller coaster.

At least this gives me something to write about, since so many things have happened since my last post. I remember being all excited moving pokerforfree.org to Rackspace – it’s still there, but I recently got a Virtual Private Server, or VPS, at myhosting.com. All together it comes down to Rackspace being more expensive, and dirt slow. I still have to move everything over, but didn’t find a spare moment yet.

Let’s see what (the fuck) happened after moving my site. It didn’t rank any better, I can tell you that, in fact I lost about 60% of my traffic, but I will get to that later in this post.

Take my Advice for Granted!

Most who know me have heard I terminated my contract with Stickyeyes.com, the self proclaimed SEOs from Leeds, United Kingdom, which have a booth at most iGaming Shows to lure unexpecting affiliates into their scam with nasty contracts.

Yeah you got that right, Stickyeyes.com are scammers. I have paid them a total sum way over $30,000 over the course of a year, and all I got was a bunch of excuses why my site would not rank any higher. First time I got suspicious was when my friend Alon told me about my link on some site that was offered to him from some Indian guy for $5 a year, a link which was a premium link according to Stickyeyes.com. Of course they had an excuse for this specific link, but the fact of the matter is that over time more links like these would show up.

I also talked to more of their customers, and everybody I spoke to had the same story: Stickyeyes.com are worthless. Someone else I know told me he heard my budget was too low, so I guess their bigger clients pay lots more, and get stolen from lots more too, without them knowing of course as they retain their top rankings anyway.

Past January, at the London Affiliate Conference, I stepped up to Paul Hill, the one actually responsible for making me sign the contract after we met for the first time at the Budapest Affiliate Conference in September of 2009. I asked him man to man about my site failing to rank better after spending that crazy amount of cash, and his answer was that it was something technical on my site, but he wasn’t completely sure. He told me he was going to find out and get back to me personally – obviously I am still waiting. But wait a minute… if it really was a technical issue on my side, WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T THEY TELL ME SO?!?

Ok, enough ranting about Stickyeyes.com, I guess I needed this. I can go on and on about my negative experience with them, but let me end with giving you some free advice. Have you ever considered, or are considering doing business with them, take this for granted: Don’t do it, or you’ll be sorry.

Post Stickyeyes.com Adventures

So what happened after the Stickyeyes.com debacle? First of all, I ended up paying a some more months, as they keep you to your end of the contract, which means a three months termination period. Of course, they only did the bare minimum of work, if at all. After these three months went by, they took down most of the links they created, and you know what that means, right? Yes, you are abso-fucking-lutely right: My site dropped from rank #7 to rank #12, for “free poker” that is.

So the drop in rankings meant the loss of some like 4,000 unique monthly visitors, but if that wasn’t worse enough, Google came with the Panda algorithm update, also known as the Farmer update, that basically ruined my good mood, and positive look at the future. Pokerforfree.org dropped from 20,000 unique visitors to less than 10,000, and that means I lost half the revenue my baby was generating. Ending this part of the post, the Panda/Farmer update bounced my site from rank #12 to rank #26, for “free poker” in Google.com.

Killing the Damn Panda!

Everybody who knows me well also knows I am a fighter, not a quitter. I have never learned the meaning of giving up, hence I decided to pump all my funds into Poker For Free to enhance the quality of the site’s content. If Google’s really became this smart as they try to make us think, it should also be capable of figuring out that I am now only doing things that are valuable to my visitors.

First of all, I decided to make Poker For Free a real free poker site, not just a site where visitors can find a free poker bankroll. I acquired the pro license for a poker platform, which is fully hosted and controlled by nobody else but myself. I completely integrated it into Poker Club – pokerforfree.org’s members zone. Unfortunately my free poker game doesn’t have much traffic yet, as Aweber.com, which by the way are great for newsletters, didn’t allow me to import my existing member base of more than 8,000. In the mean time, a couple of hundred new members have signed up for the free poker game already, but I still have to find a way around to let my former members know about it, whitout the risk of beeing seen as a e-mail spammer.

Furthermore, I improved the site’s structure, and all of the sudden it came to my attention why Google has been so harsh on me. I had many pages in the first layer of the menu that didn’t make any sense – they were indeed of very low quality, and not valuable for my visitors at all. So I told my writing team to take care of this. Elizabeth – she’s one of the best writers you can think of – has taken care of the European Poker Tour pages, and Ken has written a comprehensive Guide to Winning Poker, as well as written an in depth World Series of Poker section. I estimate the site now has 50-some newly created, or rewritten pages of 1,000 words on average, and the end is not in sight yet. Take that Google!

My current rankings are a tad better, but still nothing to brag about. The Panda hunt, however, will go on, as I believe I still have some trump cards in my pocket!

Fortunately, my business doesn’t solely relay on Poker For Free anymore. I can still support my entrepreneurship. Remember some posts ago that I was going to move into my new office? Well I have in September of 2010, and frankly I am enjoying and loving every single moment of it. Working from home, or going to work makes such a difference. Efficiency and productiveness must have doubled to say the least – or at least as long as my brother in law Theo doesn’t pay me visit for an espresso out of my full automatic Saeco espresso machine.

Time for a Much Needed Break

Even I need a break away from everything every now and then, and to be honest, everything could use a break away from me too. So, I agreed some time off with my girlfriend on Wednesday, booked my flight on Thursday, and left for the States on Saturday.

I booked business-class seats using up 50,000 air miles to spent a week with my best friend Terry, his wife Ada and their newborn daughter Maya, in DC, my second hometown. Boy, I friggin’ love that place, though I hated the day after we went to Ozio on M street drinking with the fellas. We had a great night, on which I met my Scottish friend Paul who’s now an assistant coach next to Joe Wootten – yes Morgan’s son – at Bishop O’Connell High in Virginia, one of the nations top basketball programs. My man Greg-a-lirous also came over to meet me, and so did Kenny and Ron – which I already met earlier in the week when we went to the driving range for some swings. That’s actually as early as they told me about Crown Black, that it was going to be really nasty, but I never thought it was going to be this bad. Boy, did I suffer the day(s) after. Oh and Ron, if you happen to read this at some point, please don’t ever participate in American Idol – but please do keep singing for us, as that was fucking hilarious!

On my way back the Dutch customs made me open my case, after I told them I had nothing to declare. Fortunately they guy bought my story and I was free to walk with about 21 Kilos (like 45 Lbs.) of new goods worth almost as much as $2 grand!

Even though I am not telling half of what I did during my stay in DC, it was just long enough to get the much needed rest, but I have to admit that I was dying to see the loved ones who came to pick me up at Schiphol. ‘Till the next time!

A New Project, Bigger and Bolder than Ever Before

My latest project is quite amazing. I joined ventures with Andrew, someone I have been working closely together with lately. I believe he has all the skills that I have lack off. I think that this project could turn out to become my/our biggest ever, not only because it covers all gambling niches, i.e. casino, poker, bingo and sports betting, but mainly because our joint partnership.

Can’t wait to launch this sucker with a big bang, probably somewhere next week, as the domain is already getting some traffic. I don’t like to post the URL on this site, as you never know if there’s anyone willing to sabotage it after this post, but please feel free to poke me privately and I’ll tell you all about it.

What’s More?

After spending nearly two hours on something that doesn’t generate any revenue, I am going to keep the conclusion pretty short. The Donar semi-quarter series against Eiffeltowers Den Bosch are tied 1-1, but we have home court advantage. My guts tell me that Donar will come to their senses and advance to the finals, not losing another game.

Today I picked up going to the gym, after a two weeks period of rest. I was surprised to see that I was still bench-pressing the same amounts of weights as before, although I am pretty sure I will suffer from severe muscle pain either tomorrow or the day thereafter.

Finally, I can’t tell if I will post again any time soon. I might, or not, but if you like to read my blog, just make sure to subscribe and you don’t have to miss out when I do. However, I do believe my blog could use a new look and feel, so I might at least update the theme sometime soon.

Cheers!

Oh crap, before I forget. Play Poker Online <- There you go, some link-love to my friend Akhilesh, the goat herder from India.

 

Moving Around, Literary

I have been moving around, and moving out, in the past few weeks.

First of all I have finally switched gyms, almost four weeks ago already. From Fit For Free, the dump I used to go, I now became a member of the luxury Plaza Sportiva, really nearby from where I’m residing. Being a member of Plaza Sportiva comes with tons of advantages; it’s nearby (I already mentioned that, didn’t I?), it has Fitlinxx, it’s nearby (didn’t I say that before?), you can actually take a shower without having to pay for it, and for those who like it, they have Saunas and Turkish Steam Baths as well, and finally it’s really nearby (hmmm…). NEARBY aye!!! So, I start bringing Mauro to school, then bring Dante to pre-school, and only 5 minutes later I find myself enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee before I start my daily workout.

During the first week I had a consult with a PT (Personal Trainer), and we determined quarterly goals and three different routines; chest and shoulders, back and arms, and lower body (legs ‘n stuff).

The three months goals we’ve determined are:

  • Reduce body fat percentage from 16.4% to 15%
  • Gain strength with 10Kg lifting weights (Bench Press 70Kg)
  • Extend Chin-Up repetitions to 5 x 10 with a wide grip (Currently only able to do 3 x 10 with a front grip)
EnGenius M35
EnGenius M35

Reducing the body fat percentage will most probably be the easiest of all, also because basketball season has begun, and I have been practicing twice a week over the past three weeks. It’s been really great to be back on the court, especially after the groin surgery that kept me on the bleachers for almost whole the previous season. I have to admit though, that my body starts to act-up a bit, and that I’m considering to cut one of my weekly fitness sessions, probably the one on Fridays. However, as long as I can walk, just the thought makes me feels like I’m cheating.

And there’s been more moving around, as September 1st I received the key to my new office. Good news for my competition, as I have been painting, thus not working on regular stuff, for a little bit over two weeks. Everything is done, and I have to say that the place, sizing approximately 28 m2/300 square feet, looks really nice and clean. Extra locks have been added to the outside door too, and this week the alarm system will be installed as well – rest me to move over my valuable hardware.

Best story of the year, I am using the same Internet connection as the one I have at home -> my neighbors’ unprotected WiFi Router. KIDDING of course. Hey, what were you thinking, I am not THAT cheap! Anyway, after doing some proper research I’ve bought myself a new EnGenius M35, a multifunctional Access Point that gives me enough range to save me the additional costs from setting up a new connection. This alone will save me about €500/year. I’m considering to get myself another one of these suckers which I can set-up as a Repeater, that way I can have – hands down – the best possible WiFi signal I can get over there.

My former in-house office is now turning into a indoor playground for our spoiled kids. Sometimes I wish I was one of them, looking at all the toys kids have these days, not even talking about the game consoles. Fwiw, we have the XBOX 360 and the Nintendo Wii (thanks to Greg who drew my business card out of a hat at CAP Barcelona a couple of years ago), but they are both collecting dust, as fortunately Mauro is still unaware of what they actually are. He’s just one happy kid with his second hand Mac he got when he was only three, so I wait telling him what consoles are until we can actually play NBA Live together.

In-House Office
My Former In-House Office

The bright reader has noticed I haven’t been able to do much business wise the past few week, however I managed to do the regular things. There’s one thing that has been bugging me, and that is my site DepositPoker.co.uk. No matter what I try, I can’t get Google to give me any respect and have it indexed. It’s really frustrating, and I even posted about a possible Google penalty at PAL. Even Michael Martinez from SEO Theory chimed in, and I have followed some of the suggestions he advised taking. Hopefully I can tell you good news about the site in my next post!

I know I promised to write a comprehensive guide on how to implement a new, and better converting design into an excising site with decent amounts of traffic, but you have to take a rain check for it for the time being. It is highly exceptional that I write, and usually at this time of the day I don’t feel like going in depth too much. At some point, however, the day will come…

Today I’ve spent some time chatting with Jan Teilhof aka “Newjabber”. He’s a fellow affiliate, forum member, and even a semi-professional poker player, but most of all a proud father and a nice fellow to chat with. He gave me some great advice, which I will most definitely give a try, and if right probably will save me several hundreds of dollars every month. On my turn, by random occasion, I helped him discovering a malfunctioning affiliate link. On the other hand, he also left me with a dilemma, as he showed me one of his niche sites… ah, I should rather keep my mouth shut as I just came up with a marvelous idea, which I will have to talk to Jan about first. In each case, he should profit from my idea, or I will leave it alone, because I am definitely not that kind of guy.

It’s almost midnight, so I’m calling it a day now. Not sure when the next post will be… I guess when the time is right. See ya then!

Back with a Vengeance!

The summer is nearing its end, and the ‘good times’ are coming. Just like most other gambling affiliates, I suffer badly during the months of July and August – less traffic, less rake, and so on. During the 2009 summer I lost about 50% of my income, which scared the crap out of me, but thankfully this year, mainly because of investing a fair amount of money into SEO, I managed to keep a stable income. Fair to say, I hate the summer just as much as I love it!

Thursday we came back from our family vacation. This year we’ve spent two weeks in Estepona (15 km from Marbella) South of Spain. This is also the region we are planning to move to, at least in our dreams (until I convince Lydia that there are plenty of decent schools for our children). The climate is very good all year around, the Spanish people are really friendly, and life over there seems to be a real bargain compared to the Netherlands. And let’s not forget, with a possible government ran by Geert Wilders’ party… who wants to be here after all.

Anyway, the vacation was rather good, although the hotel could have been much better for a four star hotel. The room was nice, the hotel looked nice too, including the pool side, but these douche bags were charging us for about everything you can think of! If you ever think of going to Estepona, think again before booking the Pierre et Vacances – Calendonia Golf Resort.

Three weeks before leaving I decided to do what Tim Ferriss says, the author of the 4-Hour Workweek. I decided to focus on projects that are currently generating the most of my income, to make even more with them, instead of putting my energy into newly launched projects. So I redesigned Poker For Free, the site got a complete overhaul. While I was doing so, I was split testing the homepage to see if the new design outperformed the old one, and it did. So after working day and night for three weeks, I decided to put the site live just before flying to Spain. Quite a risk, but I was so excited that I didn’t want to wait. Fortunately it didn’t turn out to be a bad decision.

While I was gone I used my iPhone to periodically check my e-mail and my statistics, and was happy to find out that Poker For Free’s traffic went up by 50%!!! Of course this had nothing to do with the new site, but all with the $20,000+ which I invested into SEO over the past 8 months. With my site performing so well, I couldn’t wait to get back and work, but on the other hand I was really enjoying the time off with the family – so I let it rest.

As Pursuing Success is my personal and marketing blog, it’s about time that I should write somethings interesting about affiliate marketing, right? So my next blog will be about the new Poker For Free, and what I did prior to merging hundreds of pages into the new site. That’s a promise! But for now I will keep it a little bit more personal though.

While in Spain, I kept going to the gym every other day while Dante went to bed for his siesta. Since I started working out in February, it has become one of my favorite pass times. I managed to lose 7 kg already (my current weight is 82 kg), but I think that it must be at least double as much in fat effectively, as I gained quite a bit in muscles too, obviously. I am now proud to announce that I have a Four-Pack, and it won’t be too long before I get to that much admired Six-Pack!

August 18, 2010 – I’m continuing where I left off 10 days ago, and of course many crazy things have happened in the mean time. God, don’t you love the affiliate life! One of the things that worries me is PokerStars. They are so big and powerful, and think they can keep screwing affiliates… over, and over again. And the shittiest thing about it, is that I have just reinstalled them on Poker For Free, as a service to my US visitors, about 40% of my total traffic. Want to know why I don’t feel comfortable with my recent decision to continue working with PokerStars, please have a look at this PAL thread: PokerStars Partners are Fucking You Over. Read, or scan it, but you will get the point.

Before I left to the South of Spain, I received an email from Barry with Heaven Affiliates. One of my domains, pokerheavenreview.com, infringed their registered trademark, and he politely asked me to take it down, either by handing over the control to them, or redirect it to another domain. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t try to get something out of it, and asked them for a compensation of $250. Unfortunately they denied it, but in a very decent matter, so I let it rest and told them I would take it down after I got back from vacation. So today I finally moved my Poker Heaven mini-site to its new location, and 301 redirected the old URLs. The new location, DepositPoker.co.uk, is a site I bought from a guy at the forums, which I already wrote something about in one of my previous blog posts.

During my daily workouts sessions at the gym, I have given some special thought to my next blog post. As you could read earlier in this one, my next post will be about redesigning an existing website with reasonable amounts of traffic. I think I might have found a few ideas to come with an interesting article, and with the transition of PokerKamers.nl the other day, the Dutch equivalent of Poker For Free, I also managed to refresh my own memory a little bit. I am actually looking forward to writing it, but I have some other real important things on the agenda first, such as the translation of the almost 3,000 words counting Poker Crusher Review. I shouldn’t be making any more promises, except to my kids!

Screenshot of Externally Linked ImageLast topic, before I call it a day and visit my brother in law for a cup of coffee, is something I discovered while exploring my site’s statistics. I noticed a lot of hits coming from two specific freeroll forums. I am not mentioning their URLs on purpose, because I believe password thieves are about the lowest scum of the affiliate industry you can get. Back to the point, it came to my notice that the hits from these specific referrals were occurring because of an externally linked image causing a 404 error, an image that was deleted when I launched the new Poker For Free site. Today I gave them a Dutch treat, and replaced my image with a new one telling their visitors: “Type pokerforfree.org in your address bar.” I don’t know, and honestly don’t care if I actually get any traffic of it, I just had some fun doing it. Next time you steal from me, or which ever hard working affiliate, think again bitch!

Mixed Feelings

Today was the day Argentina was playing the 2010 FIFA World Cup quarter final game versus Germany. Where I would usually would cheer for Argentina, I kept my fingers crossed for Germany today, as this game would mean the difference between climbing to the first place in the PAL World Cup Pool, or falling further behind to Niko de Jonge. Niko, a young aged internet entrepreneur from Canada, who was first on the ladder up ’till now had Argentina win over Germany, and I picked it the other way around. I now have a five point lead, and have to say it must get really awkward if I am not going to end up with the win. With three more games to come, there are 2 x 16, and 1 x 32 points to earn, but with Brazil out – favorite to many ones – the only real threat is the Netherlands losing from Uruguay in the semis, plus Spain winning it all. I remain unbeatable in any other case, and will strike up a fair amount of money.

Netherlands Team '74
Netherlands Team '74

Of course you should never count yourself a winner too soon, but looking forward to the new office I will lease as of September 1st, any additional cash is more than welcome. And of course, we’re all looking forward to a final where the Netherlands beats the crap out of Germany. I might have been just one year young in ’74, but our revenge will have a darn sweat taste.

So, again there’s been a lot of time between my last post and this one. I just didn’t have a moment any time sooner. It’s past midnight now, and even though I have planned a Sunday morning session at the gym tomorrow morning, I decided that I didn’t want to go to bed just yet. One thing that writing entries on Pursuing Success helps me with is making me think about the things that currently keep me busy, and that’s exactly what makes me focus on the right things tomorrow and the days thereafter.

Let’s start with a few business updates. You might have read in a previous blog that I am working on something big. Well, I am still working on it, and this in fact could become the biggest thing I’ve done to date. Thank goodness I am not into this all by myself, as this is something I am setting up with my friend, my basketball team mate, and my workout buddy Shandell. We both have completely different backgrounds, and especially that’s what intrigues me about this project, which by the way has nothing to do with online gaming. Unfortunately I am not in the position to undisclosed the details yet, but once I am I will be dedicating a separate post to it.

Furthermore, the affiliate business has been level the past few months, and quite frankly, that’s not what I expected after injecting almost 15,000 euro into SEO over the past 6 months. Caffeine seems to be the troublemaker, and I hope that we can surpass this dang problem in the upcoming couple of months, say the summer. The whole situation has given me a lot of stress, as I had to come up with all kind of funky ideas to generate extra cash to keep paying the respectable fees to Stickyeyes.

Internet Gambling SitesThe biggest news from the past few weeks must have been the acquisition of internetgamblingsites.net, an exact match domain for a phrase which I was targeting since the time I was still working together with fellow entrepreneur John Holloway, who owns OnlinePoker.org. I was delighted when I found it up for sale, and didn’t hesitate buying it. I had a bargain buying it from Jim a.k.a. Poker Prop for just $175!

So I created a complete new website, and moved (yes, I 301’ed all the old locations to the new ones) over the good old English version of Casino Warehouse, since I never got the .eu domain to rank well. Together with this move I decided to drop all casinos that I was promoting and were performing (way) under the limit… shocking to say, almost all Playtech casinos. As I had so much left-over content I created another new website to store it. With some more content that I got in exchange for links, I had a new casino portal done in the matter of a few hours: CasinoWarehouse.net. Opposite to Internet Gambling Sites, which is going to end up as one of my main sites, this reincarnation of Casino Warehouse will function as another one of my supplementary sites.

There’s always more to tell about my projects, take iDEAL Poker for instance, another one of my numerous forgotten treasures. I have teamed up with my buddy Alon and his Colleagues from Reef Media to make this one work, without the need to spend tons of money to make it rank myself. Can’t say too much about the deal, but this is a typical win-win situation.

Last but not least I acquired another pair of websites – Deposit Poker, and Deposit Bingo. The former owner moved to Dubai where gambling is against the law, and needed to get rid of his sites asap. I was lucky to pick them up for just $150. However, Weycrest (stay way from this crap UK hosting company) was pretty screwed up and that’s why, after finally being able to transfer the domain names, I eventually received the contents of both sites in chunks, which I had to assemblage myself. Not a very difficult job, but still a little bit time consuming in my overwhelming schedule. The site as we speak is far from ready, no call to actions and such, but in the mean time I am just letting it age in piece.

Despite the fact that business has been great – don’t get me wrong, it is far from going bad, but nothing more than steady – I can’t complain about my personal live. I am still going to the gym about five times per week, and am still loving every bit of it. When I am walking down the street, I feel really good, and when I look into a mirror I can see the results of working out consistently for a straight half a year. Healthy wise could be much better though, as my back has become a serious problem, and even my neck starts to act up a lot lately. After all kinds of treatments I now have an appointment at the hospital next week. Several specialists are going to examine my back, and hopefully they are able to diagnose what’s causing the tremendous pain, and come with some sort of a recovery plan.

Enough for now! Time to get some sleep, but before I am going in, and since it’s only football that matters these days, I would like to share a quote from manager Bobby Robson – which hopefully applies to me one of these days!

“He’s very fast and if he gets a yard ahead of himself nobody will catch him.”

Bobby Robson

Working (Out)

The past two weeks have been awesome. I have invested much more time into my business, than in the past months. I’ve been really working hard to get things done – and I did. It really feels good, and we all know where it eventually will lead to: more money, hence a bigger car.

Besides working harder, I finally took the step to get back at the gym. It must have been more than a year, and since I didn’t play any basketball since September, you can imagine the current shape of my body. I’m currently working out harder than ever before. Four time a week, from Monday to Thursday, I’m lifting weights to work on my arms, shoulders, chest, back and abs. Unfortunately, I have to skip the Friday session, as Mauro has swimming lessons and I have to stay home to take care of Dante. I actually came up with a very cool idea when I was searching the web for supplements such as protein and creatine. I’m probably not the first with what I’ve in mind, but if you can make it in the gaming vertical (which is one of the most competitive), you should be able to make it in any vertical.

It’s already the second year in a row that we have a real winter in the Netherlands. It’s been freezing and snowing a lot since December. I’ve been building igloos in our garden, together with Mauro, and also took him skating a couple of times. Last year he could hardly stand still on the ice, but this year he was seriously moving around. You can imagine how proud I am, and happy to see him enjoy to skate just as much as I do.

When I was a little fellow, I used to play hockey. I was totally crazy about it, I lived hockey during the winters, and was always hanging around the ice court, which was very nearby where I grew up. When I was about 16 years of age, they demolished the skating rink and build a new one on the other side of town. This, and the reason that I was still the shortest (and lightest) kid amongst the other team members, made me decide to quit playing the game I loved so much (a decision I still regret today). I hardly ever went skating again, until five years ago, when I decided to buy a new pair of Bauer (Supreme 5000) skates out of the blue. These were the type of skates I could only dream of as kid. So, every time the opportunity arises to skate on a lake, I’ll take it, and I’ll bring my son along.

In my last post you could read a little bit about how PokerStars Partners are screwing affiliates. Even though they are the official affiliate program for the biggest online poker room in the world, the fact of the matter is that they run the worst possible program for affiliates. Commissions are much, much lower than anywhere else, and now that they have adjusted the terms and conditions, many of us are down up to 65%, hence I finally decided that I don’t want to deal with them any longer.

Poker Bonus Help LogoI (re)moved all PokerStars related content from Poker For Free. However, it would be a shame to junk tons of quality content in four different languages (which is also good for traffic), so I created a new website, which I named my supplementary site, to store all the content I no longer use. Besides PokerStars, I also decided to get rid of two other poker rooms performing way under the limit. This, all mixed up with a good domain name from the shelve, and taking some more content out of retirement, gave me plenty of pages to have a more than decent website right from the start. Even though I am not planning to do anything major with it, I do have to say that I really love what it has become. Curious? Have a look at Poker Bonus Help, and judge for yourself!

I’ve always worked very, very hard, and the harder I worked, the luckier I got.

Alan Bond

Oh by the way, I also gave Online Casino Blackjack [sold] a makeover. It still lacks content, but that’s a matter of time. If you happen to own a Dutch casino related website and want to do some contextual link exchanges, feel free to get in touch.

It’s Been a While

… 39 days to be more precisely. Many things have happened in between my last post and this one. Oh first of all: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Where have I been? Actually nowhere, but I just didn’t feel like blogging. I really don’t feel like it now either, but alas… I owe you one.

So let’s start where we left off, my Apple Sucks post. You won’t believe what happened after I’ve written that post. As you could have read, my girlfriend’s MacBook was having all sorts of problems, so we were planning to drop everything off at MacMe, our local Apple dealer.

In the Dutch language we have a saying that sounds as follows: “Van uitstel komt afstel.” I’m not sure if there’s a comparable saying in the English language, but it translates to something like this: “To delay is to cancel.” Now, this saying relates to us bringing her MacBook, as well as my Time Capsule to the store to have them fixed. We didn’t, and then the following happened.

Something like three weeks ago, Lydia was working on her MacBook at the dining table. I was working upstairs as usual, until she called me to come down immediately because her MacBook made funny noises, and it didn’t want to boot after she restarted OSX. It was definitely a familiar sound. I couldn’t be wrong, it couldn’t be anything else than a failing Hard Drive. Dammit, I hate that sound!

This meant that at this point we didn’t have access to her data any longer, including thousands of family and vacation photos. Even worse, the Time Capsule containing the back-ups also died, remember?

A week earlier, Lydia went to MacMe to see what they could do for us, for our broken Time Capsule, and her broken keyboard. At the moment they were really helpful and offered us to extend the warranty period, so we could get a new Time Capsule. Great!!! This was still possible because our Time Capsule died before it turned 2.

But it got even worse, much worse. As the Hard Drive in Lydia’s MacBook completely died, we brought everything in for reparation. Then the phone rang. Her HD was not accessible anymore, it was deader than dead! The only thing left they could do was ripping the Time Capsule apart, getting the Hard Drive out, placing it into a external storage case, so at least we didn’t lose our data. But, this meant that we would lose the option to extend warranty and get a new Time Capsule.

Mauro and Dante
Mauro and Dante, our boys

It was no matter of discussion. We just wanted our data back, more specifically the pictures of our two beautiful boys; Mauro and Dante. And that’s exactly what they did.

I can’t be more sad about our bad luck, but I have to say that I am really happy about how MacMe helped us out. In the end, they didn’t make us pay for L’s new keyboard, as well as for the research and repair. We only had to pay the hardware, i.e. a new 5Gb Hard Drive and the external storage case. Just €238.95, yet we still have to buy a new Time Capsule.

Now, that’s is superb customer service! Something you won’t frequently see at a regular mega/computer store.

All that’s well, ends well. So, I’m currently planning to buy the 27 inch iMac computer. I just want this sucker to replace my slow as hell PC. These babies don’t only look  good, you can run Windows just as easy on a Mac these days, so who needs a PC. Who was talking about alternatives again?! Apple is awesome! (Until it breaks down.)

What more has been cooking?

I have been playing some online poker (and have been losing some), so I self-excluded myself from playing and save myself some money, but more importantly time and frustration. I still believe I have the required skills to beat the damn game, but I’m just the unluckiest player in the world! (And don’t you dare to call it variance!)

In the affiliate business, PokerStars Partners has been fucking with affiliates. I’d say screw those bastards! I already have put them in final positions and am seriously considering to completely remove them from all my sites. Their numbers are totally ridiculous! Seriously, my advice if you’re considering them: stay away from them and team up with Full Tilt Affiliates for your US traffic.

I didn’t go to the London Affiliate Conference past weekend. Firstly I was planning to go, especially because I’ve never been to London before, but I had no valid reason business wise of being there. Since I’m not a super affiliate yet, I don’t feel like making all kinds of promises to my partners. I rather wait until the moment I can show them some real numbers, and sit and talk then. Stickyeyes is helping me out to make it happen and we’re now seeing some progress.

Last but not least, my dad left for the heat in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was planning to pay him a (surprise) visit, but it’s just too complicated leaving a family back home when mommy has to work. He will surely enjoy his stay in BSAS without me.

Time to call it an end. I’ll try to write my next post sooner.

So long!

Dreams Make Things Happen

Today, while enjoying a nice cheese and pesto sandwich that my girlfriend Lydia’s made for me, I was dreaming out loud until my she interrupted me. She told me that I might be better off if I stopped dreaming and would focus on things that will be easier to accomplish. For one, she brought up my vision board. “You’re adding new things before even fulfilling the things you’ve put on there, say 2 years ago.” But to me, a vision board is not about things that are in reach. My vision board is about extraordinary things, and she’s right, some of those things might never become reality.

Not so long ago I was reading Graham’s blog. He posted a movie with a speech by Nick Vujicic. For those of you who don’t know Nick, he’s an Australian fellow without limbs. Imagine yourself! And no, that didn’t happen while swimming with crocodiles, Nick was actually born without both his arms and legs.

Anyway, my post isn’t about Nick Vujicic. (Google his name if you want to know more about him, it’s worth it.) My post is about dreams, more specifically my dreams. Nonetheless, I like to mention two things he said in his speech that kind of inspired me.

“I have many dreams and goals that I have set to achieve in my life.”

Nick Vujicic

Nick doesn’t only dream, he makes dreams come through. He is persistent. I personally like to go one step beyond. I’ve made many dreams come through already. I was a bum, and look at me now, only 10 years later, and guess what… my life has just begun!

“As humans, we continually put limits on ourselves for no reason at all!”

Nick Vujicic

I love the idea of a limitless life. When I look around me, at my in-laws for instance, they tend to think things over way too carefully. They rather think in problems, instead of possibilities. Many people do. I, on the other hand, I don’t like boundaries. I don’t risk my life, or my family’s, but I completely agree with Nick’s statement. There is no reason to put limits on ourselves.

So, I’m a dreamer… Big deal! I’ve always been dreaming, and besides my girlfriend, my mother loves to remind me whenever she can. But guess what, without my dreams I would still be a corporate slave in a 9-5 job!

I’ve dreamt of having a family, I’ve dreamt of being financially independent, I’ve dreamt of being in control… and I’ll keep on dreaming! I like to dream for myself, for my family, and for my friends. In fact, what would it all be for, without dreams?

The Show Must Go On

Yesterday evening I could feel that my body would not be in best shape today. I felt a cold coming up, as my nose started dripping and every joint in my body was hurting. But as an entrepreneur, a one man show in particular, you don’t want to be in bed. Every lost day is a day behind in schedule.

Fortunately this morning I felt OK. It’s not that I feel great, but at least good enough to do the most important things (and write at least one post in my blog).

However, four weeks ago I had a groin surgery, more specifically a right inguinal hernia surgery, and the surgeons applied the mesh repair method. Basically, this means that they implanted a patch into my right groin to fix a weak spot.

After surgery I expected to be out for a day, or maybe two at most, and then back to work.

Boy, I was so wrong. I’ve camped on the couch for nearly two weeks. Even though I had my laptop, I decided to do the bare minimum. My body obviously needed the rest, and it was actually fun to watch TV. Discovery Channel helped me through the day. I watched programs like Overhauling, Extreme Lodgers, How It’s Made, and such.

Another positive consequence from taking a break was that I had plenty of time to think things over. It actually made me come to the decision to temporarily cease working on my casino and bingo sites, and focus on projects that actually make up my paycheck.

As an Internet marketeer, you have many decisions to make. Many times I’ve made the wrong decision, those that actually have cost me money, in fact if I was smart enough to choose another term than ‘free poker’ years ago, I would have been in fat city. Then again, I had zero experience. But this time I’m confident that I made the right one!

So two weeks ago I started working again. Full throttle. And I’m really glad how things are going, and best of all, I’m much more motivated than I was before my break.

Right Inguinal Hernia Surgery

Hello World!

While installing WordPress for my personal business and life blog, I’m watching the live match engine in Hattrick. Hattrick is an online football manager game which I’ve been playing since 2006. Tonight is the last game of the season, and all I need is a tie to promote to the next level. It looks like ages since I’ve been in level 7, and am really looking forward to go up and play in a new competition, on a higher level. As we speak, I’m 3-2 ahead and the game has just started again after the half time break.

This is exactly what it’s all about though, my blog. All the things that keep me busy. First and foremost comes my family; my girlfriend Lydia, and our two boys, Mauro and Dante. Then comes my business. I’m a true workaholic and consider online marketing to be my greatest hobby. Then comes the mere rest; basketball, poker, traveling the world, and anything else that I feel writing about.

To be honest, I have been debating about the idea to start a blog for more than a year. Will I have the time to write, and isn’t my blog yet another one? Only time will tell, but I can say that at least I’m very excited!