As of now the site has not made a nickel, and that’s fine, we weren’t expecting, or even attempting, to make money right out of the gate. A project this size takes time, especially since we didn’t want to spend much on the start up. But it’s time to get some things up on the site that have the potential to make us a few bucks.
Eventually the poker rooms will realize how useful we can be to promote their tournaments and bring people into their rooms, but right now our only income stream will be affiliate programs. Since Black Friday there isn’t much money to be made promoting online poker, and that isn’t really our audience at Tourney Tracks anyway, so we’re focusing on more traditional affiliate programs through CJ (commission Junction).
Travel is a good bet, since each person who finds an event through us will need to get there and they’ll need a place to stay. The site is about customers first, which is why we don’t charge poker rooms to list their tournaments, so I had to do some research into the various travel sites. Hotels.com and FlightNetwork.com consistently had the same deals as other travel sites, sometimes slightly better deals, the interface on both is easy to use, and they have good affiliate programs, so they are the choice right now.
We applied to some other programs as well, and were turned down. I requested that each site take a look at our application again and hopefully they will reconsider. I imagine we were turned down because people see the site as a gambling site, and gambling online has a terrible reputation with affiliate managers. The fact that we don’t offer gambling at all on the site, and that every tournament is above board and legal may not sway some of them. Big corporations can be annoying to deal with because an affiliate manager can’t get fired because he turned us down, and anything he sees as taking a risk just isn’t worth it.
We did get a response back from Priceline and they are reconsidering our application, which would be great since they are an excellent travel site with a high EPC (Earnings Per Click). After hunting around, every travel affiliate program that looked worthwhile was on CJ, and I would recommend them for most affiliate programs.
The key is getting the traffic so that we can get the clicks. We’re at about 100 visits a day right now, which is nice after two weeks, and increasing steadily as the word gets out. We know the site is good, and players who use it tend to bookmark it and come back, so once we get the word out we expect massive traffic.
Currently our average time on site is over three minutes, which is awesome, and our bounce rate is below 40% even though we are getting quite a few clicks from stumbleupon which typically hurts those numbers.
I’m headed to Vegas tomorrow to talk to tournament directors and hand out business cards, and hopefully we can get the local Vegas pros to start talking about this thing too.