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Online Gaming for Profit: 2

Online Gaming for Profit: 2

April 15, 2002
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" Football, basketball, baseball or hockey, boxing, racing, and just about any other sport you can imagine may be wagered on with an online sports book. "

In my previous installment, I began to examine the many factors involved in promoting online casinos as well as other forms of Internet gaming. In this follow-up article, I will show you some of the different types of programs available, and how to choose the best sponsor.

Types of Gaming Sites
Internet gaming sites (at least those that I have looked at to date) come in three basic flavors: "traditional" casino sites, sports books, and lottery programs. Choosing one or more to promote on your site requires an understanding of their various features. For example:

• Casino Sites
These sites are what most people think of when they hear the phrase "Internet gambling." Generally attempting to duplicate the excitement of the Las Vegas casino experience, these sites offer flashy graphics, animations, sounds, and a wide assortment of established casino games such as slot machines, blackjack, roulette, etc. These sites are the most likely to catch the interest of the casual gamer or curious surfer.

Casino sites come in two basic versions: download, and no-download. The "download" versions require that users to download and install a piece of custom software on their own computers. While these programs can offer a faster, graphically richer environment, newbies may encounter difficulty with the process (you'd be surprised how many people don't even know what a "right click" is) - and you will totally eliminate the growing base of Web TV users from your prospect pool, as they are unable to download and install software.

So-called "no-download" casino sites are entirely browser based, and the best of these will work with MS Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, AOL, Web TV and other less well-known browser implementations. Due to the requirements of cross-browser design, these sites may be less 'engaging' than are the download versions, but they are more accessible to a much broader market, increasing your chances of making a sale.

The problem with regular casino sites is perceived credibility. How do you (not only as a referring webmaster, but as a potential customer) know that the program is legitimate, and if you actually win, that you would get paid? There are many cases involving casino sites that have ripped their customers off. Personally, I would never throw MY money at one, but then again, I might never join an adult pay site either —- but many people would, and they can be a great source of profit for webmasters looking to diversify their revenue streams.

• Sports Books
Perhaps holding greater appeal to more experienced gamers, online sports books seem like a great idea. After all, it's easy to have your programmer "tighten" the odds on your JavaScript slot machine, but it's a lot harder for a dishonest webmaster to throw the next "Army-Navy" game. Football, basketball, baseball or hockey, boxing, racing, and just about any other sport you can imagine may be wagered on with an online sports book.

• Lottery Programs
I discussed lottery programs in my first installment and so I won't go into detail here. Just consider the fact that like a casino site, a lottery site that chooses its own winning number may really be a bet that I for one wouldn't make, but one that uses an established state-run lotto for its weekly winning number bears an air of legitimacy, and offers surfers the appeal of a quick and easy fortune. What could be an easier sell (excluding free porn of course)?

Program Payout Selection
As with the more traditional forms of online adult entertainment sponsorship programs, Internet gaming proggies fall into three main categories: pay per click, pay per signup, and partnership programs. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and depending on your traffic, the ad's position within your site, and the sponsor's program, one may be better suited to your needs than another. Let's take a closer look:

• Pay Per Click
Toss a banner on your page and get paid a few cents every time a (unique) surfer clicks on it. "Raw" click programs seem to be almost a thing of the past, while "unique" click programs abound. In either of these cases, I don't favor these programs unless I know my traffic is grossly unproductive (mine isn't). Still, it would be interesting to throw a ton of TGP traffic at this type of program and see what happens.

• Pay Per Signup
I prefer pay per signup programs. To me it's quite simple: I send you a customer; you cut me a check. Unlike partnership programs that pay a "commission" based on the amount of sale, pay per signup programs will give you a flat rate (although "bonus" and "tiered" payouts for productive webmasters are not uncommon) for each customer. Because there are many ways to profit from (or lose) a customer, I prefer to take an upfront payout and then let the sponsor worry about how he handles his traffic.

• Partnership Programs
You can make a substantial amount of money by promoting casino partnership programs: all you need to do is send a few big players. Like everything else in life, the reality is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, because you will send far more small scale players than "whales" - and this will cause your earnings to average out at a lower rate. Of course, as with all types of gambling, there ARE those who hit it big, and you MAY be able to earn more with this type of program than with any other. You MAY also win the lottery yourself, and not need to worry about which program to promote either. Partnership programs can smooth out seasonal fluctuations and may be your best bet for building long-term wealth.

While certainly not limited to these types of programs, I have seen partnership programs that have made use of some pretty creative traffic management schemes - and while the program itself may (rightfully so) benefit from this form of surfer manipulation, it won't help YOUR bottom line. Still, partnership programs can smooth out seasonal fluctuations and may be your best bet for building long-term wealth.

As you can see, online gaming sites come in a wide variety of flavors, and offer a range of payout options. As always, I recommend a mix of approaches with careful testing of results to see what works best for you. As for my own personal promotions, I will go with casino, sports book, and lotto programs together, and take a pay-per signup for my effort. Regardless of the approach and specific sponsor that you choose however, online gaming should be a part of your adult site marketing mix. Try it; you won't be disappointed! ~ Stephen


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