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 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 meantime, 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, without the risk of being seen as an 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 rely 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 to visit for 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 spend 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 of 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.
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.