In this three part article series I want to take a journey and explore the past, present, and future of the poker affiliate market from a US poker affiliate’s perspective. So let’s start by taking a walk down memory lane! Many of the veteran affiliates in the industry first started out as online poker players. As players however, it didn’t take long to realize how lucrative the explosive poker affiliate market could be.
In 2001 and 2002, the online poker scene in the US was just starting to emerge. New online poker rooms were being launched at a blistering pace. And as the industry in general continued to grow, so did the interest from Internet marketers. Likewise, many losing poker players were quickly learning that they could make significantly more money promoting online poker versus playing.
These were what many of us like to call “the good old days!” Poker players could easily deposit or withdrawal using Paypal, or any credit card for that matter. New poker affiliates could make thousands of dollars simply posting on message boards or building modest banner farms. Needless to say, life was good for everyone involved in the industry. Many affiliates who were promoting in these days compare the time period to that of the “Wild West”. Everyone was looking to capitalize in some way on this newfound gold rush, commonly referred to as online poker.
And as if life in the industry couldn’t get any better, a guy named Chris Moneymaker came along and won the WSOP in 2003 after qualifying in a satellite on PokerStars. This was indeed a game changer. After this, it seemed every male in the US between the ages of 18-35 was taking his shot at online poker. Being an affiliate in the online poker industry was almost like a dream come true. Thousands of potential new players were coming online every day to try their luck at one of America’s favorite pastimes. To no surprise, the poker operators were willing to pay a hefty acquisition price to affiliates for these players. During this unprecedented time in poker history, there was so much money circulating around the online side of the industry that many affiliates and players began earning six figures incomes.
Prior to the UIGEA in 2006, industry conferences looked like scenes out of a Hollywood movie. Witnessing $10k bar tabs and $100k+ parties was a normal occurrence every night at trade shows. The amount of money being spent at trade shows by operators to attract affiliates was staggering. I suppose this is not surprising considering the online gambling industry materialized out of nothing to a multi-billion dollar industry within five years.
The top affiliates enjoyed ridiculously high CPA’s, all expense paid trips, tons of giveaways, and regular monthly contests. The hardest part about being an affiliate in these days was trying to explain to family and friends what exactly it was that we did for a living!
For many affiliates, unfortunately, this dream come true quickly turned to a nightmare in October of 2006 when the UIGEA was signed. The endless flow of money quickly grinded to a halt, and the top performing online poker sites abruptly packed up and left the United States.
In the next article of this series, we’ll continue the walk down memory lane and look at what life was like for affiliates after the UIGEA, and before the infamous Black Friday.
Comment on this post and share some of your favorite memories in the industry from the “good old days.”
About Jeremy Enke
Jeremy Enke is a pioneer in the poker affiliate industry and has been working with and marketing online poker since 2002. During his tenure in the poker affiliate industry, Jeremy has launched several successful poker affiliate websites and campaigns. Jeremy is also founded the first poker affiliate network at PokerAffiliateWorld.com and currently operates the poker affiliate forums at PokerAffiliateListings.com. Jeremy is a consultant in the poker affiliate industry as well as a regular speaker and writer for the industry’s largest trade shows and magazines.