Live reporting the WSOP with Matthew Parvis

Live reporting the WSOP with Matthew Parvis

Matt ParvisThis month PokerNews were announced as the official live updates partner of the World Series of Poker after a two year hiatus. I used to work for PokerNews but since leaving them have for the most part been out of the live updates game, it’s something I simultaneously miss and never want to do again because it’s very exciting and very hard work. I was really interested to learn about how the live updates industry has changed since I left PokerNews, most notably because I feel that the ubiquity of live streams may have proved a disruptive force, so I caught up with my old boss Matthew Parvis to learn more.

BC: Congratulations on PokerNews deservedly becoming the official WSOP live updates partner. What made the WSOP come back to you guys after trying to handle it themselves in-house?

MP: We maintained a conversation over the past two years. When the WSOP shifted from being just a live event to also an online operator, it changed the commercial dynamic around what we as PokerNews could and couldn’t do. It made it more difficult for us to find sponsors to sponsor coverage for a competing operator.

Clearly there are benefits to PokerNews in terms of traffic, but there are benefits to the WSOP in terms of taking the strain off them managing the teams both on the grounds, and behind the scenes making sure the user experience is top notch. That’s something we talked to the WSOP about, after having done it I saw the pains and hurdles you have to jump through. We put our heads together and think it will be a win-win for everybody in poker. [Read more…]

How to grow a YouTube poker audience with Thomas Keeling

How to grow a YouTube poker audience with Thomas Keeling

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-13-52-58As you will have already read, my interest in the poker industry this year is clearly going to be on YouTube poker, which I think is where we will see all the innovative content and marketing. When I discovered the man behind the Doug Polk YouTube account was Thomas ‘SrslySirius’ Keeling, I knew I had to speak to him because I have always respected his work and knew that Polk’s channel growth was no fluke. Normally for interviews I would do edited highlights but I think there is so much we can all learn from this I’ve decided to reproduce it verbatim.

I really have learned a huge amount from this short chat, I hope you do too:

BC: The reason I reached out to you was because I was really impressed with your headlines and thumbnails on Doug Polk’s channel, which mirror what I have tested works (on a smaller scale). Did you develop these through trial and error?

TK: For the most part we’ve come up with this stuff via trial and error, much of it from observation of what works for other channels on YouTube, but most of it has been testing, watching the results and seeing what happens.

BC: Other than views, what are the metrics that are allowing you to test what works and what doesn’t in YouTube analytics?

TK: The analytics available on YouTube are quite robust now. In addition to raw views you can look at things like average time the viewers spend watching, viewer retention, engagement, likes and comments.

Unfortunately you can’t see clickthrough rates on thumbnails, you can see how often they are coming up on these new end cards. We also look at velocity, how many views are coming in the first 24-72 hours when a video is released. We have seen that the videos with high velocity have come when we’ve had good thumbnail and title combinations. [Read more…]

Why ‘clicks’ are the stupidest metric for a poker business

Why ‘clicks’ are the stupidest metric for a poker business

downloadWhether you are an operator, media site or anything in-between, the one metric that should mean nothing to you in the poker industry is ‘clicks’. This is not to be confused with traffic, which is very important, but rather traffic for traffic’s sake.

I see so many people make this error, of overvaluing raw traffic and thus doing anything to bring that metric up without thinking about the type of traffic or the method for getting it. In the last few months I have seen a peer justify some sloppy content practices to ‘get the clicks’ and I myself was accused of clickbait for a headline (which ironically was a headline which literally described the whole story and didn’t even need clicking on). Last year an operator offered me some work (which I didn’t take) to specifically get clicks to a specific landing page they had created, without any idea when asked of whom they wanted to visit the page.

The last example should exemplify the wider problem with clicks as a goal. There is no impetus to create anything worthwhile, the click itself becomes the goal and thus could easily be gamed. We actually see this in poker (and other eSports) on Twitch where people use ‘view bots’ to fabricate real page views, to drive up ad revenue. You only have to look at the the shitty state of affairs in mainstream online journalism to see that many websites do not care if you make it to the end of the article, once the click happens the transaction is over and ideally you click onto the next story. This is why there is no shame with misleading headlines and why journalism these days is so outrage focussed. [Read more…]

Joey Ingram and quick poker books

Joey Ingram and quick poker books

516M9GnZZOLThis week Youtube poker star Joey Ingram wrote a 40,000 word poker book in five days as part of a prop bet. As an aside, this is a bet I should have made myself because I am a productive writer and, as my wife will confirm, my greatest strength is getting things over with quickly. The most impressive aspect of Ingram’s bet was he managed to get some contributions from several elite players in those five days, because with the greatest respect, trying to get professional poker players to commit to a deadline is a lofty goal in and of itself.

Given that he already has a substantial following on 2+2, YouTube and Twitter, plus the attention the prop bet generated, I think it will work out a very profitable five days for him. He has already earned $2,000 from the prop bet which already puts him in the higher echelons of royalties paid to a poker author and great for five days work by most peoples’ standards. From speaking with many poker authors over the years, 10,000 lifetime copies sold seems like a notable success with poker books, with 20,000 being outstanding and only a few very special titles getting 100,000+ in sales. [Read more…]

The rise of poker Vlogs

The rise of poker Vlogs

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-13-52-58Last year I wrote a series of articles about how I thought Twitch was going to change the poker industry, and I think for the most part I was right, though probably I didn’t comprehend how saturated it would become. Recently I have started to notice the next big trend in poker and that is the YouTube Vlog. In a short space of time we have seen professional poker players documenting their lives on YouTube much in the way that online stars like PewDiePie, Casey Neistat and Phillip De Franco do.

Poker tends to be behind the times with trends like this, but in this particular instance I think the game being allowed on Twitch really opened the door for the YouTube Vlog.

Triple Crown winner Jake Cody has launched a Vlog and it looks like it will be pretty popular. Doug Polk is currently the king of poker Youtube with a really good channel that seems to be pitched really well to serious and less so serious players alike, with a real gamer style to it. Joe Ingram has an interview podcast which is very revealing and feels like the Joe Rogan Podcast. We are also seeing organic YouTube poker stars emerge like TheTrooper97 and Andrew Neeme who quickly appear to have amassed a big following from nowhere (much in the way Jaime Staples did on Twitch). [Read more…]