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Date: Wednesday, 10 Sep 2014 06:29
I'd heard about people buying expired domains for years but never really played around in that area until recently when I bought several expired domains, including this tactical knife domain.

It takes some fiddling with as you can definitely end up with something that looks decent on the surface but has a lot of crap lurking beneath.

I usually start at Expired Domains and just poke around with keyword searches, usually filtering the results by the DP column, which shows backlinks by total number of domains.

Most of the expired domains you'll find are only valuable for the backlinks to them, so that's mostly what you'll be focusing on here.

The tricky part is learning to ignore the ones that may have a decent number of backlinks but they're all from crappy directory sites and forums where someone blasted out a non-targeted campaign to automatically generate a lot of crap links.

That approached worked in the past as far as getting search traffic but not so much these days. That means people don' bother to renew some of the sites they used that technique on, so they come up as available with a lot of links but not much real value.

If I find ones that look decent I then hop over to Site Explorer (and sometimes Ahrefs) and check backlinks there.

I've tried building out a few with a ton of crappy backlinks with actual decent content but haven't had much success so far.

Pete's Tactical Knives is the best one that I've snagged so far, as it was a real site for awhile and picked up quality backlinks but then for years it just redirected to another site.

It never got the black hat approach as far as a ton of crap backlinks being built for it so it was pretty clean and it actually gets some traffic from those forum backlinks and links from other sites.

I don't spend a lot of time with this as its sifting through a lot of junk for a few decent domains, but it's definitely worth checking out from time to time if you're building up a network of sites.
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Wednesday, 10 Sep 2014 06:15
I'm always amused at the random crap I find myself doing, such as importing raw amber teething necklaces from a guy named Tomas in Lithuania or creating a website devoted to tactical scopes.

Both are still works-in-progress and just a few of the projects I have going right now, as far as getting back into the swing of doing keyword research and creating various micro sites.

I'm curious to see how the teething bracelet one pans out, as that'll be the first site I've done where I'll actually be selling products.

I imagine it'll be a nightmare -- and I'm probably a little late to catch the recent interest/fad in amber teething necklaces -- but it'll be a learning experience if nothing else. I'm not sinking a ton of money into inventory and taking more of a wait and see approach.

Still working out some technical kinks with the tactical scope site, mainly trying to get OutWit Hub configured correctly to scrape product prices correctly on Amazon on a regular basis.

Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Ramble on   New window
Date: Friday, 15 Aug 2014 07:53
I've always wished I could have a uber history of all my Google searches over time, maybe with a heat map element thrown in to show frequency and intensity of searches.

There'd be a lot of random crap thrown in there but I think it'd be pretty interesting to see the topics that stuck long enough to register over a long time frame, as I imagine they'd jog memories and line up with wherever life was taking me at the moment.

Case in point: we're moving to Tennessee in December and embracing country life in the boondocks. I'm looking into stuff like water well drilling, aquaponics, and growing garlic whereas three years ago searches would be dominated by info on Malta, travel, etc.

No real point here. More and more life seems much more fascinating than fiction, as far as the random twists and turns and how you get from point A to point B.

It's all very natural and logical at the time but stepping back it seems impossible to be where you're at, given where you were not that long ago.
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Saturday, 09 Aug 2014 07:10
Stories like this never fail to amaze me, as far as just how strange and amazing and unique humans can be sometimes.

I've been getting back into the world of affiliate sites and domain flipping, after selling off a few websites here and there on Flippa and seeing what some sites fetch these days.

It's a far cry from when I was up to my neck in flipping houses but I'm actually enjoying the process, as far as hunting out expired domains and other sites for sale, as well as knocking the dust off some of my old sites and gussying them up.

I probably shouldn't be such a capitalist at heart but the ability for people to scheme and find an angle to make money has always impressed me.

Daily life with a 1.5 year old doesn't leave quite as much time as in the past for poking around with websites but I'm slowly getting back into the groove of things.
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 04 Aug 2014 21:38
Once again I'll be making the jaunt out to the WSOP Main Event this summer, for what is somehow the 5th consecutive year. Not really sure how that happened as it seems like just a few years ago that I was going out for the first time but yeah, five years. Wow.

The last few months have been really, really busy, especially on the work front. I spent about a month and a half in Europe during March and April, which was a combination of work (trips to Vienna and Spain for bwin work) and pleasure (vacation with my wife in Ireland and Malta).

We're still on track to make the move to Malta in August, so I've also been desperately trying to get our house in presentable shape to list it for sale at the end of July when I get back home from the WSOP.

After the WSOP the next work trip is GSOP Live Manchester, then WPT Paris not long after that. I should also finally be in a spot soon to do some reporting work solely for the tptk site at some events, which I'm excited about.

I've also been finally kicking the dust off some old projects as well, so it's been a pretty busy few months of late for me, with no break in sight until we finally get settled in Malta.

Upcoming live poker events:


Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 04 Aug 2014 21:37
Poker players from Denmark and Greenland are now able to take part in tax free poker at PokerStars, which has been approved and licensed by the Danish Gambling Authority. Online poker has grown rapidly in recent years and is the game of choice for many players now over live games and tournaments, especially when you factor in the tax implications for residents of Denmark and other countries that have very high taxes for any winnings from live poker events.

PokerStars has cemented its position as the world's largest online poker site, dwarfing the competition and bigger than its next ten competitors combined. not only will players find the greatest selections of cash games and tournaments but PokerStars has a very transparent policy when it comes to security and the segregation of players funds, letting players rest easy that their money on deposit is always safe and secure.

Unlike some sites that only have traffic at the NLHE tables, PokerStars has action to choose from at all major poker variants, including Omaha, Stud, HORSE, Razz, and more. Tournaments also run regularly in many different formats, giving players the largest game selection possible in the online poker world, ranging from microstakes to the highest stakes played online.

PokerStars is also the sponsor of the European Poker Tour as well as numerous other live series around the world, offering players the chance to win their trip packages online for the poker trip of a lifetime. Satellites and FPP freerolls see some lucky and skilled players win a trip to tournaments around the world for an investment of just a few dollars, including tournaments such as the World Series of Poker Main Event.

PokerStars also sponsors numerous top pros including Daniel Negreanu, Joe Hachem, and Jonathan Duhamel. Serving as the online poker home for many top pros, PokerStars is your best shot at playing online with many of your poker heroes. The popular VIP rewards program also gives frequent players the chance to cash in on their play, with cash bonuses, merchandise, tournament tickets, and even trips to live events such as EPT tournaments or PCA Bahamas packages up for grabs for players that play a ton of poker and make PokerStars their online site of choice.

All Danish and Greenlandic players who convert to PokerStars.DK and verify their CPR details before the 31st of January 2012, will receive a $10 credit to their account as a thank you credit.
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 04 Aug 2014 21:37
Football season is finally approaching, which means its time to time to ponder life's greatest questions such as how to cook bratwurst and decide just how crazy you are to spend $200+ on a Critter Nation Cage or a Ferret Nation Cage.

I've been such a vagabond the last few years it's hard to know how to root for. The Longhorns still have a special place in my heart but the NFL is hard.

The 49ers are our "home" team now but I'm still pretty much meh on them. Breaking my heart too many times as a young impressionable Dallas Cowboys fan in the 1980s makes it a little too difficult to really put my heart behind cheering for the 49ers.

I keep vowing to actually pay attention to baseball again but another season is sliding away without watching an entire full game.

Such is life, I guess, and definitely first-world problems to have. 
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Friday, 23 May 2014 22:27
I am indeed still alive. Poker is a distant memory, however, with time now spent plotting a gourmet garlic empire and staying busy with being a dad and other assorted nonsense. Nothing to see here...move right along...
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Sunday, 26 Jun 2011 07:00
With just three days to go before making my now annual pilgrimage out to the WSOP, things are pretty much par for the course.

Every year I swear I'm going to wrap up assorted work and house projects and go out to Vegas with a clean slate and a spring in my step.

Except somehow or other I get entangled in massive projects, spend a ridiculous amount of money, and only get 75% done before leaving, exhausted and razzled, to go spend three weeks working insanely long days and eating bad food at the Poker Kitchen at the Rio.

Pretty much exactly on track again this year, as now I'm scrambling to get out kitchen put back together and at least somewhat functional before leaving, although it's looking like a coin flip at best for that to happen.

So what have I been doing for the last six hours, with the clock ticking? Yep, that's right, watching Season 1 of Game of Thrones in its entirety again.

I rock...
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 12 Apr 2011 00:46
Not all online casinos are created equal, so the best sites for casual low-stakes players can be very different from the best online casino sites for VIP players. It's exactly the same as if you were visiting Las Vegas; while a $5 minimum blackjack game at the Stratosphere might be a great time for one person another one that's used to betting $5,000 per hand at blackjack is probably going to have a much better time (and be treated better) if they're playing at the Bellagio or Wynn. While you can obviously play at any online casino that you like, if you're a high roller or VIP player you might be eligible for exclusive bonuses and other deals that simply aren't made available to the majority of players.

When comparing site as far as where to play if you're a VIP player, the available bonus offers is usually the first thing you should check. Many of the signup bonuses for new players are designed to scale upwards, with a standard offer looking something like a 100% bonus up to $200 for new players. That's an average bonus to appeal to your typical new player, but some casinos also offer signup bonuses for high rollers as well, which might be 100% up to $5,000 in bonus cash, 200% up to $6,000, etc.

Most bonuses work the same way, as far as the bonus money being immediately added to your account, but requiring you to wager a certain amount of money before you can withdraw the bonus cash. In some cases these wagering requirements must be fulfilled at certain games, so be sure to check the terms of any bonus you accept, as they typically do come with some strings attached. A few bonuses are "sticky" bonuses in that they can be used to gamble with but the bonus money itself can't be withdrawn or cashed out. You can, however, keep any profits you make from betting with the bonus money, so there's still a chance to profit from a sticky bonus.

Other factors to consider if you're a high roller or a VIP are the available methods to deposit or withdraw money, as well as any loyalty clubs or other incentives that the casino might have. If you're playing for high stakes you'll typically end up in the highest tier of any rewards program the casino offers, which could put you in line for various freebies such as bonuses, merchandise and gifts, and even sometimes trips to Las Vegas and other gambling destinations around the world. In some cases online casinos will assign a dedicated person to high roller accounts to make sure they're taken care of (again, much like what happens in Las Vegas with high rollers) so you could be in line for special promotions as well as expedited customer service and faster processing of any withdrawals you make.
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 08 Mar 2011 16:02
Many thanks to the kind powers that be at Full Tilt for selecting my chat cloud entry as the winner, with the result being 5,000 FTP points (that I parlayed into a $33 Mini FTOPS entry, which I immediately donked away brilliantly) as well as a $100 freeroll on Friday, to which the two folks who still read this might be interested in:

Tournament #224279571 (03.11.11 20:00 ET) - $100 prize pool
Password: boomswitch

I am actually quasi-blogging a bit more over at tptk, but have been completely hammered of late with work, and about to hop over to Europe for a month and a half to cover WPT Vienna, WPT Bratislava, GSOP Live Seville, and maybe the Irish Open. Busy times, busy times...
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Feb 2011 14:28
online poker chat1 The Most Common Words in Online Poker

FULL SIZE: Full Tilt Poker Game Chat Cloud


Or, you know, a slightly less realistic, slightly more wishful one:

Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Thursday, 13 Jan 2011 13:35
Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker! The WBCOOP is a free online Poker tournament open to all Bloggers, so register on WBCOOP to play.

Registration code: XXXXXX 907582

Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 14 Dec 2010 16:46
I've been back a few weeks now from the last poker trip, this time to Malta. At the risk of jinxing myself, I've had pretty amazing run-good the last few months on all these flights back and forth to Europe, and the Malta trip took that to the extreme.

Despite getting into Heathrow with exactly 17 minutes to get off the plane, through security, and make it to my connecting flight to Malta, I somehow made that flight, and then got off of Malta and back out of Heathrow in the nick of time at the end of the trip before winter snowstorm mayhem struck. I actually got home to Texas 12-24 hours before various friends made it from Malta to Berlin and Stockholm, with all of us leaving Malta at roughly the same time, so yeah, thumbs up to running good with flights.

Malta was pretty amazing. Well, amazing may be a strong word, but very comfortable and fun, and the first place I've run across on this recent European trips where I could really see myself living there. Which is kind of good timing, as we're seriously looking to make the move over to Europe very soon, likely next spring.

It's a mix of being practical (nearly all my work is in Europe at the moment, except for the WSOP) and just needing a change of scenery in general. Plus the fact that Sarah Palin has not, in fact, been relegated to book tour appearances in Gary, Indiana and very well might be the next President of the United States of America.

But mostly because of work, more than anything. 2011 looks even busier than 2010 as far as work for bwin and I've managed to pick up some other clients here and there, to the point where I'm once again bemoaning the lack of enough hours in the day, even after ditching the day job and the 2 hour commute and the endless hours filling out TPS reports and sitting in meetings about how it's not enough to be the BEST, but time to strive for GREAT.

Stockholm would make more sense but snowy winters and the general cost of living makes it a little meh, and Malta is surprisingly cheap as far as food, rent, etc. I can't see us living in Malta for the long haul, but it's the best jumping off point I've found so far, plus it wouldn't be a bad place to kick around for awhile as far as connections with the online gaming world as well.

It's been nice to take it a bit easy the last few weeks, as October and November were crazy work-wise. We're still trying to navigate the minefield that is Christmas as far as family expectations that we'll drop everything and travel many hours to sit around and drink too much and try not to talk about all the things that set everyone off, but there's probably a 25% chance that the wife and I may just sit home this year, which would be just fine with me.

I'll be off to the Aussie Millions for the first time in January, which I'm pretty damn excited about. But for now it's definitely nice to get in plenty of couch time on Sundays and relax a little.
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Sunday, 14 Nov 2010 09:33
All the globetrotting of late (or, you know, flying back and forth across the Atlantic) makes life a big strange. I got back from Luxembourg/France on November 7th, with a few weeks home before heading off for GSOP Live Malta on the 21st.

Luxembourg was really, really nice, enough so that the hour or so long bus ride to Amneville for the WPT event was tolerable. Amneville was a pretty bizarr-o setting for a poker tournament, but it went off well enough, except for a colossal cock-up during hand-for-hand play at the bubble.

Or, more accurately, because there was no hand-for-hand play. Not a single, solitary hand. The tournament staff were pretty laissez-fair about updating the clock to reflect players busting, and as far as anyone can tell, they had no clue as to what the real number of players left were. Just as they were starting to remember that they might need to pause things and do it hand-for-hand, boom, bubble was burst and everyone left was cheering.

It's one of those weird instances where the fact I work for bwin and mainly focus on their players actually made it more interesting, as one of our players was knocked out in either 55th or 56th (with 54 spots paying). Pretty rotten situation for him, as he was 63 or 64 years old and tried very hard to tightbox his way into a cash, as apparently he's having money troubles so even a min cash for 7,000 euros was a pretty huge deal.

He'd have been safe to fold to the money but lost AK versus AJ right before things got tense and was down to just three or four big blinds. Thinking there were 57 players left (which is what the clock showed), he shoved KQ fom mid-position and got called by K 10. 10 on the river sent him packing, but that's when it suddenly became apparent that there were actually 55 players left, not 57.

Sounds trivial but a couple of players made the money with just one or two big blinds, so he actually could very likely have folded to the money (and more importantly, claimed he would have folded his KQ and played his hand differently if he'd known the real situation).

Apparently the other guy that went out at the same time was in a similar spot, but despite various official complaints the tournament director refused to do anything to
make it right and claimed he'd run his tournament perfectly, choosing instead to quasi-blame the media as his defense for no hand-for-hand play was that they were too busy trying to clear all us unruly media out of the room first.

Which I guess is standard, all the way around, for a poker tournament in France. Viva la France.

At about the same time that was going on the news came out of one of the Partouche final table members getting disqualified for cheating with his fat "blogger" conspirator. I know, I know, it's all still allegations, but if you've seen the videos making the rounds it's like 99.9% certain shenanigans were going on, along with all the other circumstantial evidence.

I guess I'm not quite as alarmed as other folks, though, as far as repercussions for blogger types. I think in the short run there might be a little more inconvenience and scrutiny paid to those requesting media credentials, but in the end I just can't see it as being that big a game-changer.

It's not like bloggers and media in general get preferential treatment to begin with at most live poker tournament events, so I can't see access changing that much. Organizers still want coverage of their events, so I'd be pretty surprised if media are outright banned from the tournament floor. Players will be more likely to give media the stink eye when trying to do their jobs, but that's already the case 25% of the time, so nothing too new there.

There's a good argument to be made, too, that if you properly protect your cards it's a non-issue to begin with, as it's not like fat "blogger" was smuggling in an x-ray camera that could see through cards. Sure, players shouldn't have to worry about media standing behind the trying to get a peek at their cards, but again, protect your cards and even that's a non-issue.

But then again, who knows. Like any profession, it's kind of a shame to see attention really only paid to poker bloggers/media when it's negative stuff like cheating allegations (or more trivial complaints about the lack of updated chip counts for someone's uncle Mortie).

When you do your job well, it's like you're never there, as far as unobtrusively getting hand details, chip counts, and photos without interfering in play. But let one fat "blogger" allegedly cheat with a sketchy player who's already been banned from other casinos from cheating, and lo and behold, suddenly a case must be made as to why poker media is even allowed on the tournament floor.
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Wednesday, 27 Oct 2010 10:52
Adjusting to Life After Day Job has been a little strange. I don't at all miss the commute (which sucked up about two hours each day in total driving time) but it is odd to suddenly have no set schedule. If I'd won many millions of American dollars in Powerball, that'd be one thing, but I'm still on the clock as far as all my freelancing work basically boiling down to getting paid by the hour/word/however you want to slice it.

It's not so much that it's hard for me to turn off the Xbox and get to work, but moreso the opposite, as far as shutting off the part of my brain that keeps nudging me to get this or that done. When the freelancing was all extra work on top of the day job, it was easier, as I'd bang away at it for a few hours after work, then power down the work side of my brain and play some Angry Birds, watch TV, etc. But at the moment it's surprisingly difficult to shut off that small anxious part of me that resents having to "waste" time by going grocery shopping or yard work or whatever, as at any point in time I could, in theory, be making money.

As far as more specifics of Life During Day Job, that's weird too, as I expected to triumphantly post that I'd left and spend much time reveling in how terrible the place was, how happy I was to be free of the shackles, yada yada yada. Except I don't really feel that way. If anything I almost feel somehow disappointed, as far as letting the Evil Day Job win in some fashion.

I originally started working at Hoover's Inc. in 2000, which at the time was a smallish company that had recently gone public, so they had some cash but I started at pretty much the same time as when the dot com implosion really started revving up, so I missed the truly fun times. It still was a cool place to work, with kegs of beer on Fridays, a casual work environment, and a place that actually hired real writers and editors and, you know, did things and valued the work of people who wrote stuff and tried out new things as far as content, since content was the main thing that paid the bills for the company.

Things got a little less cool when we got mercenary about being profitable, but it was still a pretty decent place to work. Plus we actually started making money around 2002-2003, so we had a pretty good thing going. And then Dun & Bradstreet (D&B;) bought us.

It'd be fun to bash D&B; and, sweet Jebus, there's plenty to bash, but at a certain point there's just no point in it. Imagine a company with a monopoly on a fairly profitable business niche that produces billions in revenue each and every year, and a tidy net profit in the hundreds of millions. A business that, no matter how badly it is mismanaged, will still be profitable. And one that's just discovering e-mail and the Internet and is absolutely in love with words like "leveraging" and "winning" and "platforming".

Our little company fought the good fight for awhile but eventually the Borg assimilated us, and we went from a company that rolled out new products on a weekly/monthly basis to one that it would literally take years for even the simplest of ideas to get approved and implemented. Which meant that all the smart people left to go work somewhere where things actually happened, so the workplace became quickly populated with the walking dead, who were just killing time until they got promoted or retired.

But not really a unique story, as plenty of people have been through similar situations. And in the end it was my own damn fault for doing the Zombie Shuffle for so long myself, shrugging off .5-1% raises every year and the fact that my job had devolved into data entry and mashing a few different buttons in a slightly different order each day.

I guess it's that last bit that leaves me less than thrilled about what I'd imagined in the past would be a orgy of D&B; bashing. It's fun to gripe about jobs at times but not so much when millions of people are unemployed, and especially not so much when you have options to do something else, even if it's a bit risky and uncertain. I really can't blame anyone other than myself for the years of zombitude I put in there, when the writing was plainly on the wall, so it's hard to revel too much when there's more regret there than anything for all that wasted time.
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 26 Oct 2010 16:13
I suppose Drizz gets a pass, but for the rest of the world that's not been a longtime dedicated Vikings fan, I have a simple proposal: let's all agree to simply stop paying attention to Brett Favre.

My theory is that he'll simply turn to old man dust and blow away. Poof. No more penis pics. No more annual waffling on retirement. Just simply gone. Like the advertising slogan monsters on the Simpsons Halloween special. Just don't look.

Not that game announcers have anything better to be doing, but how many more stupid in-game trivia teasers are we going to be subjected to? Favre just threw for over 40 miles worth of passing yardage? Okay... And the 40 mile mark is important why? Why didn't you celebrate when he cracked the 39 mile mark? I mean, come on, 39 MILES! That's a marathon and a half!

But, seriously, the one thing that gets me more excited than a Packers-Vikings matchup at Lambeau Field is the prospect that, one day in the not too distant future, I can watch ESPN again without being reminded every 15 minutes that Brett Favre might (or might not be) possibly doing something at that point in time. I have seen a Favre-less future and, lemme tell you, it's going to be awesome...
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Tuesday, 26 Oct 2010 15:59
Boo!

Yes, indeed, this is an actual posts of sorts, and not just an excuse to post for a paid review or to get entered into some sort of blogger freeroll or another that I'll inevitably go down in flames after outlasting about 80% of the field.

The archived post total over there on the right tells a pretty sad little tale:

▼ 2010 (5)
► 2009 (6)
► 2008 (43)
► 2007 (102)
► 2006 (290)
► 2005 (295)
► 2004 (123)

On the bright side, I actually have some things to post about. And they're about poker! And they might just lead to more regular posting in the future!

(Yeah, we'll see about that last one.)

But as of October 1st, 2010 I actually followed through on the threat of quitting my day job, threats I'd been making for so many years that they had about as much potency as a wrinkly, withered old man penis.

It was a combination of a lot of factors but I just finally reached the point where I couldn't do it any more, common sense be damned. I'd just gotten back from Cannes from working for the bwin poker blog at the Partouche Poker Tour Final, with a pile of TPS reports awaiting me and reminders about the necessity of wearing the proper lanyard around our neck to be compliant with the employee badge policy, and, you know, snap. Just. could. not. do. it. anymore.

It also helped that I'd been offered the chance to work three more poker tournaments in the near future (GSOP Live Riga, WPT Amneville, and GSOP Live Malta), plus finally (finally!) finishing the rehab of the last house I bought during the Great House Buying Spree of Aught Nine. I've also been freelancing a good bit for Pokerlistings and a few other clients in the poker world, with all the irons in the fire basically adding up to as much as I was making at the cube farm.

The travel side of it is still cool and new, but we'll see how long that lasts, as the flights to Europe and back for shorter events are kind of a drag. But there's a lot to be said for getting paid to see places like Riga and Cannes, and bit by bit the corporate stupor is slipping away. The big unknown is if I can keep scaring up enough work to make this a viable long-term option; even if the answer is no it'll be a good break at least from the grind for awhile.

Cannes was pretty amazing, but, as the joke goes, too bad it's in France. Riga I liked more, but that's just the perverse side of me that daydreams of being some sort of shady importer of rubies and Soviet military surplus and amassing mountains of money and everyone leaving you the hell alone as long as you paid off the right people. Not exactly stoked about WPT Amneville in northern France but we'll be staying in Luxembourg, which should be fun.

Other than a brief three day stretch after the Cannes trip when I got raped at the poker tables in every way imaginable, I haven't actually played much poker at all since the 2010 WSOP. I've been tempted of late but I really want to buckle down on the work side, and I never have time on the poker trips to do much other than work and sleep.
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Monday, 25 Oct 2010 19:26
The timing of the escape from the day job was both fortunate and depressing; I quit about two weeks after I'd officially worked there a decade. I'd vowed that no matter what I'd get out of there before the ten year mark, so I didn't quite make that deadline, but I did get to collect the ten year service award, which is a clear block of Lucite and $200 in gift certificates.

To give you a little taste for how the company I worked for rolled, the clear Lucite block was so that you could go on the intranet, find the page with images of various service award certificates, print the appropriate one, then cut it out and insert it in the Lucite block, and proudly display it on your desk. Seriously. I'm not making that up.

The gift certificates, though, were cool enough (if you ignored the annoying exchange rate that intentionally bends you over, as if you chose to trade them in for Amazon gift certificates the $200 in money you're awarded comes up just shy of being worth a $200 Amazon gift certificate, so it effectively was only $175 in Amazon gift certificates as you had to get one $100 gift certificate and three $25 ones), and mostly paid for a new 4th generation iPod Touch.

It's the first touch-screen new-fangled gadget I've owned, having sat out iPhone and other assorted smartphone mania. Truth be told, the main reason I bought it was to amuse myself with Angry Birds on cross-Atlantic flights, but I've found myself using it way more than I expected in general, especially for checking email and Facebook around the house.

It's also pretty crazy just how good the camera/video quality is as well, especially for something that's, you know, not primarily a camera of a video recorder. It just blows me away as far as what you can get these days to snap photos and take videos, as opposed to what you'd have gotten (much crappier) even just five years ago for 10x the amount of money.

Plus you can play Angry Birds on it. I mean, sweet Jebus...
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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Date: Sunday, 24 Oct 2010 15:42
Bill Rini has touched on this in the past, but it still amazes me that so many online gambling operators STILL have absolutely no fucking clue when it comes to efficiently managing an affiliate channel.

Case in point: yesterday I signed up for a handful of poker and casino affiliate programs, including one that manages the affiliate operations for a group of four reasonably well-known online casinos. Not a major name but also not some shady operation.

The signup process was easy enough, and they auto-approve new accounts, so as soon as you sign up you can log in and start grabbing link codes and marketing material. It was getting late so I shut things down for the evening and, the next morning, had the following email in my inbox:

"Hi, my name is Jimbob Schwartz and I'm your affiliate contact here at Midsized Affiliate Program That's Been Around for Five Years or So and Should Know Better. Please advise as to why you haven't yet added our links to your website.

Best regards,
Jimbob Schwartz"

I mean, sure, personal point of contact, quick response, yada yada yada, kudos kudos kudos, but in what strange universe is that a positive experience for a new affiliate who has been a member of your program for a grand total of 12 hours? Maybe I'm not the best example, but that's enough in and of itself to convince me to NEVER advertise your program, especially when there are literally dozens of similar casinos and programs that I can instead add a link to.

And, sadly, that's just a minor fail in the larger scheme of things, when you have major operators like bwin trying to roll out cataclysmically bad changes for affiliates that impact past players acquired under very different terms.

I get that many online sites have a love-hate relationship with affiliates (or more accurately hate-hate for most), and that's understandable, as the majority of affiliates don't necessarily "deserve" the revenue they're ultimately paid out (in the sense that they're not always doing any filtering or winnowing out of low-value referred players). But there's also an obvious reliance and need, as it'd be the easiest thing in the world for sites to wind down their affiliate programs over time if there truly was no value there.

If you're resigned to offering an affiliate program, is it really that hard to do it competently? I mean, for the majority of affiliates (who advertise a lot of programs and have a lot of experience), just get the hell out of the way. Give me a quick and dirty page with basic text links and the most popular ad formats. It shouldn't take eight clicks just to get a simple text link. Don't send me email; if I have a question or need something I'll contact you. If I need hand-holding and emails and prompts, well, odds are I'm going to be a pretty sucky affiliate for you, as it's not hard to add text links and banners (unless you make it needlessly hard, that is.)
Author: "ScurvyDog (noreply@blogger.com)"
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