A New Venture- Ghost Bingo

I’m not overly sure how I got myself into this, but I find myself the owner of a new bingo website, Ghost Bingo. In a previous post I spoke about affiliate sites and my dislike for them and what they represent but now find myself needing the affiliates to promote my own website as a way of getting traffic quickly. Obviously I want to get as much traffic of my own, but with a lot of investment needed to get Ghost Bingo up and running I need to recoup some of that money as soon as I can.

So what is Ghost Bingo? We have been working with Cozy Games over the past few months to white label their bingo platform, used by a number of bingo sites. The website is basically free online bingo with the addition of slots and casino games. You can also play scratch cards if that’s your thing. You could describe the site as no deposit bingo, where you don’t need to make a deposit to play, we of course want your money so have other deposit offers to entice you to

The best thing about the website is that we offer £10 free to anyone who registers, to play with across the website. There are also a number of bonus offers for people who deposit cash into the website to play with. You must be over 18 to play on the website and there are minimum wagering requirements on the free money added before it can be removed, we don’t just give you a free £10 to withdraw from the website. A full rundown of the offers we have are below.

Free Bingo Banner

New player offers
– £10 no deposit free bingo
– New depositing players can claim a total of 1150% in welcome bonuses over the first three deposits made
– The first deposit bonus is 500%, then 350% on the second and 300% on the third. The bonuses give you plenty of additional money to play for quite a long time if you take it steady
– There is also a daily login bonus of £1 for the first seven days from registration
– The Minimum deposit is £10 and the maximum is £50

Free Bingo Banner

Other Promotions
We have a number of other promotions on the website that you can take advantage of, these include;
– 45 days of Christmas. So it’s only November but we like to give prizes, £100k in gifts and jackpots with over a million bonuses to give away
– Free Bingo Tournament – win cash bonuses by playing free bingo
– Daily Raffle – Every deposit of £10 is includes an entry to the daily draw and 10 lucky winners will each receive £50 Casino Cash. There is a leader board to see how many entries you and everyone else playing has in the raffle.

If you are an affiliate or have an affiliate website we are also on the Cozy Partners affiliate network allowing anyone to sign up, promote the site and claim a percentage of every deposit made on the site. As I have said before I am not a fan of affiliates and think we should all be looking at our own SEO, this article is of course part of my own SEO effort to get links to the site, promote it with other people and hope to make a small amount of money out of it.

So if you have a spare few minutes and like playing free bingo, why not give us a go and please do let me know what you think. www.ghostbingo.com

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Agency vs Client Side

OK so it’s only been 6 weeks since I left agency land for my new life client-side, but it hasn’t taken long for me to look at the differences and comment on what everyone who works in an agency thinks of people who work client side.

For a start it’s bloody hard work! OK the hours aren’t as long and since I started I’ve managed to be home most nights before I would have even thought of leaving the office when I worked agency, and my new office is further away. Some of this will be to do with working in manufacturing where the factory stops at 4.30 and most people have left the building by 5.00.

So let’s wind it back a bit, until the middle of September 2016 I worked at an advertising agency called Uber in Sheffield, nothing to do with the taxis, as the Head of Digital. I was responsible for running all digital projects within the agency including design and build, social media, ecommerce, email marketing and online marketing, together with managing the team. Prior to that I worked as a Project Director at McCann Manchester and also used to run my own digital marketing agency. All in I have spent the last 17 years in digital roles in agencies across the North of England.

Client side I am now the Head of Digital Marketing for a company who sell household goods, best known for ironing boards and covers. Within the organisation we have another brand that sell garden furniture and barbecues. I manage all websites, staff including customer services, all online marketing and for good measure am helping to push the brand and offering into mainland Europe, before we leave the EU.

Anyone who has worked in an agency with digital people / ecommerce managers within a client-side business and wondered what they do all day, because let’s face it we all (when I was agency) think client-side is an easy ride! Well it isn’t.

I haven’t worked this hard in a very, very long time.

Working in agency for so long has meant everything is basically second nature, yes things have moved on a hell of a lot since I started my digital career building Virgin Holidays websites using frames and tables back in the late 1990’s but the fundamentals of project management and working within a digital / advertising agency environment haven’t. It was easy and looking back now I think I was just a little bit bored.

Moving into client side digital marketing isn’t just about having to learn the business, the products, pricing strategies, online marketing and promotional strategies, new people, new ways of working, using a PC again or how to fill in your expenses using a different form. I am now a retailer, I run an online shop that turns over multiple millions of pounds across several platforms including Amazon and eBay, using technology that I no longer have my own internal development team to support. I am in the hands of the agency. The agency that don’t work in the same way that I have worked for the past 17 years.

We always used to say it’s a different pace in agency than in client side, agency is a million miles an hour, always chasing around getting things done for a client deadline that they made up to make you work faster. It’s true, things don’t get done at the same pace, because there truly is so much to do, so much to consider, more people to consider, more people to consult, it’s not just about the bit of work that we give to an agency to complete, even as an online business the website is only a small part of what I do because I now have to create the content brief, not just the content, I have to prioritise the photo shoots to the products that sell over those that maybe don’t. New products are arriving all the time, what do we do with those, how much will they sell for, do we put them in a promotion, the list goes on and on and on… Then there’s the new website.

OK so it might just be the company I have joined, the way I have decided to do things and some legacy things that just need sorting out, but next time you think client-side is the poor relation to agency remember that you only see a very, very small part of what goes on behind the scenes, there is so much more to this than you think!

I don’t think I would ever go back to agency, never say never and all that but I found myself in a quiet moment the other day asking myself why I didn’t do this earlier.

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Affiliate Marketing Review

I have been asked by a mutual friend to look at an affiliate website to see what I think of the way the site works in terms of making money. The website is called Best Bingo Apps and is nothing more than a website built with the sole aim of making money by sending people to other company’s websites.

This is the basis of affiliate marketing and is one of those things that I’m not sure I totally agree with, adding more content and websites to the internet just to make money from someone else. I guess the likes of Tombola, Sun Bingo, Foxy Bingo or Sky Bingo would mind, they get pre-qualified leads that they only pay for if the visitor signs up and deposits money to an account.

What bothers or worries me is why the companies themselves aren’t creating the right content to mop up these people themselves? Why don’t they cut out the middle man, let’s face it affiliate marketers are just that, middle men, and do it for themselves?

I think it is probably more to do with the time vs reward scenario, it takes a huge amount of time and effort to rank websites for high ranking keywords such as bingo, so the affiliate marketers will look to longer tail keywords to create traffic and rankings, for this example the website is targeting keywords including bingo apps as well as the company name followed by bingo apps.

I guess that this technique for an affiliate marketer will bring in traffic and allow users to look at a range of bingo apps. If a company such as Mecca Bingo tried the same tactic they may get the traffic but not the amount of sign ups that justify the cost and effort of going down a niche path rather than dedicating their SEO budgets to the main keywords including brand and full product specific keywords (Bingo not just bingo apps in this example).

There is a place for affiliate only websites in helping companies to attract more visitors and customers, but if the affiliate websites take over the internet to the determent of the main company websites I think there is a problem.

Like I said earlier, I think there is a place for affiliates and after all for companies it is a great way of knowing your cost per sale, but some industries and keywords are just saturated with affiliate based or comparison websites where we as customers should be searching for and getting results for the website that we ultimately end up at. That however, is down to the internal marketing team of those companies that the affiliates are targeting to do something about it and create an SEO strategy to keep their websites one step ahead of the affiliates. After all, if you get the customer yourself through your own SEO you don’t have to pay anything to the middle man affiliate.

To sum up, I think there is a place in the market for affiliate websites such as Best Bingo Apps, they provide a way of getting customers from niche or long tail keywords outside of the core SEO strategy of the companies that they target. It’s when the affiliate overtakes the companies in the market in which they operate that I have concerns.

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Why costing with an hourly rate undervalues your project

Over the years agencies, in particular advertising agencies, have used an hourly rate to charge for the work that they do. Hourly rates are usually based on the employee’s job and a mixture of overheads and profit.

The way some agencies work is to take the amount of time taken at the end of a job and multiply the time by the hourly rate.

The other way to get a cost for a job is to multiply the number of hours we estimate a job will take and times it by the hourly rate.

What this does is to make the hourly rate into a multiplier and time into a commodity, a bag of sugar as I call it. So then you have no differentiation based on your skills and experience, just an hourly rate based on overheads and time based on how long it took the last time you did the job. Of course you can change the hourly rate based on the experience and seniority of the people involved in the project, but it still doesn’t give you the results it should.

Using a bit of algebra I am going to demonstrate why what we have done, as an industry, is undervalue the work that we do, the skills that we have acquired and the experience that we have that makes us all good at what we do.

I know that my oldest daughter, who has in the past questioned why we learn things like algebra at school, will appreciate this, so this one is for you AJ!

Take time (t) and for any given project multiply it by the hourly rate (h) to give you a project cost (p). The first time you work on a specific type of project and I don’t mean when you first leave collage, I mean as a whole, a project or project type that you haven’t done before the amount of time you need to complete the project is determined by the amount of time the project takes (if you have no experience of a type of project the first time you do it will determine the base level of time required).

Obviously consideration will need to be made for the amount of time required to learn any new skills but basically we can say that:

The time taken for project 1 – t=t

But then undertake the same project again the time taken can be expressed as follows:

Project 2 – t=t-x

Where x is the amount of time saved because of your experience.

Undertake the same project again and you can further reduce the amount of time taken due to repetition. The time required for these projects can be expressed as

Project 3 – t=t-x-r

Where r is the time saved due to repetition.

If you use a job costing system, as the basis for collecting time on a project to multiply the time taken by the hourly rate you will only ever charge the time taken, not the net worth of the project.

What I mean by this is why do we charge less for a project because we are better at it and more experienced, rather than the other way around. Again you could argue that the hourly rate is increased to take into account the amount of time we reduce on a project because of the experience that we have, but does it really work?

In reality you are likely to have the project scenario above quite often within the lifetime of a client. Anything that requires repetition or you learn to do quickly or more efficiently, banner ads, emails and simple website changes spring to mind immediately.

The one true question shouldn’t be how long, therefore how much. It should always be what is the commercial value of this project. You could say that the value is the time taken the first time you undertook the project. Maybe as a project it should be more than that as it is worth more to the client than you are charging.

The danger is that we charge based on what we think clients will pay, not what they are worth – my dad would say anything is only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it – but this is kind of short sighted in the fact that in reality you get what you pay for as the adage goes, buy cheap buy twice.

Costing projects is never going to be an exact science but if you only use the time you spend multiplied by the hourly rate you are undervaluing not just what you do, but yourself and the experience you have gained over the years.

So the message is simple, stop basing project costs on an hourly rate and time taken, it’s a starting point, a guide if you will, but it shouldn’t be the be all and end all of the equation. Take into account previous iterations of the same job, look at what you charge other clients, what have you charged in the past. Only that way will you get a better picture of what a job is actually worth.

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, if your client won’t pay the costs you put forward are you prepared to work for a lesser hourly rate, do you reduce the amount of work done, or do you just accept that the commercial value of the project to your client is less than you believe it is?

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Why you can’t really break the internet

I’ve read a lot of articles recently and heard a few reporters comment that people like Kim Kardashian have ‘broken’ the internet. Of course they haven’t because for some of the reasons below it isn’t actually possible to ‘break the internet’.

I know that in the context of celebrities (and I use the term loosely when writing about anyone with the surname Kardashian) and the context of viral media content, ‘breaking the Internet’ means engineering a story to dominate Facebook and Twitter at the expense of more newsworthy things and not actually breaking it.

That’s basically because in the real world, you can’t break the internet, why? Because the internet isn’t a single entity that can be broken in the same way that you can break your smartphone, laptop or tablet device. The internet is a complex mix of elements, maintained and owned by multiple organisations across the globe. You may be able to break a website in the sense that you can take a website offline by using a DDOS attack (Distributed Denial of Service) in the same way that the BBC website and iPlayer were taken offline recently using the same technique. But you simply can’t break the internet, not all of it, not at the same time.

The simple reason is that the Internet is a collection of computers, servers, hardware, cables and the like – not to be confused with the World Wide Web (the WWW bit) which is all of the websites that sit on top of the Internet. Every website, email, e-commerce shop etc lives on a part of the internet that is situated in different places, in different countries across the world. So breaking this simultaneously would be virtually impossible.

Like anything that is getting old in a technology sense, (think how long your shinny new iPhone is going to last until Apple brings out another 2 updates), some parts of the Internet are getting on a bit. Routers that should have been retired years ago have failed, which can leave any website vulnerable to getting ‘lost’ as nothing on the internet either knows where it is or knows how to get it the site even if it does. Add to that regular shark attacks on the cables that run under the Atlantic connecting us to the USA and there is an very realistic possibility that some parts of the Internet will at some point break. For real.

The biggest cause of concern that is more worrying is that the Internet is running out of addresses. It’s like the Royal Mail running out of Postcodes or the changes we had to make in the UK to the phone system because we were running out of phone numbers, something that will happen again in the next few years if things don’t change. For the Internet the problem is IP addresses. An IP (Internet Protocol) address is the identifier for every device that goes online, so it follows that the more devices that there are online the more addresses we will need. Using the current 32-bit number, which gives around 4 billion IP addresses, will eventually run out, especially if you think there are around 6 billion people in the world who may all need an IP address at some point.

So can you break the Internet, no.

Will it break itself, possibly. But as it is made up of some many parts I doubt it will all break at once, or be broken for long if the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon to name but a few have anything to do with it.

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