STM Whistler, and STM London

March 16, 2015 in Conferences, Fitness, Gym, Travel

Soaring thousands of miles above the ground as I write this on a business class flight from London to Madrid, I once again find myself thinking of the best way to summarize my recent travel experiences into a short, fun to read blog post. After ASW in Vegas, I joined a group of guys and gals for a meetup organized in whistler by STM for some snowboarding and networking. It was a blasty blast.

STM

STM Whistler

It’s a pity the snow gods were cruel, as it rained pretty heavily for 2 out of the 3 days creating a mash-potato mountain to board down, but we all made the most of it – especially Jason Akatiff. That man can out-party me any day. I love these events, they’re a great opportunity to network in a fun environment as well as find some leisure time too.

Post whistler, I flew over to Calgary for a week to see some close friends, meet up with a friend who I helped get into affiliate marketing and managed to sneak in a day of snowboarding before flying back over to San Diego. I made it out to the A4D/Charles Ngo meetup which was a short, but cool little networking event, and I also stopped off in Irvine for a short business meeting.

Dodge Charger in San Diego

Dodge Charger in San Diego

I had to play a lot of catch-up with work whilst in SD, so the downtime I was given was a godsend. For those who travel a lot like me, get yourself a portable USB monitor! Best thing since Quest Bars. I recommend the ASUS MB168B+ HD if you can get your hands on one. They were pretty hard to find when I was on the hunt for one.  Here’s a link to the one I’m referring to.

I stopped off in Miami for 4 days and hung out with an advertiser who’s in the process of doing a soft-launch of his diet offer and then I flew over to New York for a week prior to getting over to London. I got downgraded from First Class to Coach on this flight due to an equipment change, to which American Airlines compensated me with a $500 voucher. Needless to say I was pretty cranky as I didn’t get the frequent flyer miles or status points for a First Class flight, nor was I provided lunch… but I guess the $500 voucher softens the blow? #firstworldproblems

Once in NYC, I caught up with my buddy Andrew from Melbourne who happened to be in town. We went to Williamsburg and ate at Café Mogador which was a really sweet spot to grab brunch. Recommended!

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I also caught up with one of my Affiliate Managers who works for Leadonomics over in Northport and discussed what was doing well on the network. Solar and Mortgage Refinancing are solid niche’s to focus on from what I am told. I’m yet to verify said claims, but hey, give it a go on Display traffic, you might get rich.

Moving on to STM London… oh my – what an awesome meetup. Over 600 people attended this year, the capacity was a total blowout. On the first night myself and a few friends couldn’t even get in to the first set of speeches as the conference room had completely filled up. I enjoyed a handful of the speeches, but some others could use improvement.

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There were 2 nights of speeches/talks and 3 nights of partying/networking. A large group of us decided to go for dinner instead of heading out for drinks the first night, but attended the 2nd night’s shenanigans, which was hosted a bowling alley with foosball tables and a full-service bar. The party was sponsored by Adsimilis (thanks Sean!) and was a shitload of fun.

Bowling / Foosball Party

Bowling / Foosball Party

The next night there was a party at Core Bar which was hosted by Advidi – great fun, but a little too loud and inappropriate for networking. I did derive a lot of value from this meetup, namely the push to hire virtual assistants / employees and build a team as opposed to flying solo. I am truly at a stage where the only way I can scale up to new heights is to get the help.

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Staying Fit Whilst Traveling:

  • In Miami, I went to Crunch Fitness. I had a friend hook-up 3 free days for me luckily, but normally it’s incredibly expensive. Average sized gym, not a tonne of equipment.
  • In Northport I went to Gold’s Gym. I paid $40 USD for a week pass, which only used 3-4 times, as one of the days the gym was closed due to snow outside. Decent enough if for some strange reason you’re out in Northport for a week. No idea why you would be (good friend of mine lives there and I wanted to avoid Manhattan).
  • In London, I went to YMCA Central a few times (3-day trial pass available online), Soho Gyms in Soho (free day pass on the website, they ask for 5 pounds, but I didn’t have to pay) and easyGym (10 pound day pass, pain in the ass to get in and register). YMCA gym is a large complex with a small weights room and mediocre machines room. I didn’t like the layout of this place but I guess it was good enough to get something done. Soho gyms was a small gym too, it wasn’t too crowded when I went and I had a good session there. Their regular drop in rates is ridiculous though. easyGym, was a decent sized complex, but you can tell they cut corners where they could (I mean, it’s the same company that owns easyJet). If you’re going to be in town for a week or more, you can sign up for a month I believe for 24-25 pounds which is reasonable, but for a drop in day pass, it’s 10 pounds (at the time, $20 AUD) which isn’t the cheapest. Gotta do what you gotta do.

 

I’m now on a flight over to Madrid / Valencia to spend time hanging out with some affiliate friends for about a week and check out the Las Fella’s Festival where they burn a bunch of trippy statues!

 

Til next time!

 

-Andy

 

Affiliate Summit West 2015 – Quick Recap

January 27, 2015 in Conferences, Gym, Travel

Early January saw to one of the largest conferences in the word for Affiliate Marketing, based in Las Vegas Nevada, the city of sin — the city of shame and regret. My liver has survived yet another Affiliate Summit! Woohoo! Every year that I attend these summits, they’re more and more productive, I network with more intention and confidence – I now know what I want. Experience is the biggest advantage as an affiliate marketer in all aspects. Having the ability to filter out the BS from the good (there’s plenty of both), knocking down the ditzy “affiliate managers” that are hired to look pretty and approach affiliates to recruit them for their network, yet they have no idea about the industry. Spare me.

Bellagio Fountains / Paris Hotel

Bellagio Fountains / Paris Hotel

I dropped by the floor all 3 days of the conference which was a new record. I was actually quite tame with my drinking this time around thankfully… minus perhaps the Saturday night where myself and some compadre’s got a table a Marquee, drank a little too much, and eventually got escorted out by security for ‘misconduct’.. #vegas ..

Table at Marquee

Table at Marquee w Adam/Jake/Mike/Joey

The summit this year was actually ridiculously busy. The line up to grab your pass on the first day was insanely large, leading me to leave twice and come back later to pick it up. If there were any piece of advice I could give to you for these summits, would be, get a really good set of business cards created – something memorable – and network like a beast. I made a simple, yet memorable set of cards with VistaPrint for ASE last year and had some people remember who I was from when they had asked for my card a second time. I saw some other affiliate cards, a handful of which were really well done but the majority were vanilla, black text on a white card style.

Busy line up for pass collection

Busy line up for pass collection

The first night prior to heading out, I had dinner with an advertiser who I’ve worked with for around 7 months at the Eiffel Tower restaurant. The food there was so damn good, I still have wet dreams about it. Much delicious.

The next night after the first Saturday night Marquee slosh-fest, a group of us attended the STM party at Ghost Bar. I caught up with a tonne of good industry friends whilst trying my very hardest to stay awake. Caffeine was consumed in copious amounts that day.

View from Ghost Bar

View from Ghost Bar

Myself and some others decided that if we were going to attend Convert2Media’s Tropic Beauty party at Hakkasan that night, that we’d need a pre-party nap. Yeah…. we all know that never works well. We all ended up ‘napping’ from 10pm-3am and decided to just skip partying that night and save our energy for Monday night. Unfortunately this meant we missed out on Dan Bilzerian making an appearance with his crew of 700 women.

Moving on to Monday night, a few of us attended the Adsimilis meetup at the Cosmo and mingled, then had dinner with F5Media and a bunch of their affiliates at Olives (Bellagio). Delicious… but very small portions…

A group of us then we ended up partying in a Bungalow in the Cosmopolitan which was hired out by some friends who are some of the bigger affiliates. in the industry. The bungalow opened up directly to Club Marquee which was pretty convenient, so the party went on into the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t make it back to my hotel until 5am and I somehow powered through the last day of the conference, meeting with several people on the floor and having about 10 impromptu meetings along the way back to my hotel with people I bumped into.

Exhibition Hall

Exhibition Hall

Afterwards  I went and chilled out with Sonny Palta and Todd Hebert from Affiliati and saw the legendary Josh Ogle for about an hour at the Chandalier bar at Cosmo talking shop, Facebook, offers and whatnot.  That night, I went over to gamble with Jordan  & Lorenzo from STM and Jaimmie & Georgia from F5 Media at the Cosmo.. A few of us won some money, which we exchanged for copious amounts of Sushi at Sushi Roku! Recommended!

Sushi Roku

Sushi Roku, Open your eyes Jordan

For my gym activities, I must admit, I only made it 3 times this trip for some relatively rushed workouts at the Aria Gym. A decently equipped gym — but nothing to write home about. No bench press/squat rack here.

Post workout mandatory elevator selfie

Post workout mandatory elevator selfie.. 

I forgot to mention, on my previous two stop overs in LA/SD, the gym’s I trained at Easton Gym (LA) and EOS Fitness (Previously Gold’s Gym) in San Diego. Easton is a small gym on Beverly Boulevard near the farmers market and is half-decent. They charge $20 drop in, or $10 if you know a member.

EOS Fitness let you train free if you train with a friend (which I did). The gym is very well equipped and has an indoor/outdoor training area where guests are allowed to workout shirtless. I did not participate in such shirtless-ness.

Post Vegas, saw me head to Whistler, Canada for the STM meetup, which has since concluded. I will write a short summary of that soon as I find a moment to recap. Lots of fun and a great opportunity to network.

Til next time.

-Andy

 


If you’re looking for further Affiliate Marketing Guidance, check out StackThatMoney. Best community of experienced marketers from around the globe, exclusive meetups, follow along’s, tutorials and the knowledge of a thousand sun-gods.

 

Can’t Decide on Tracking Software?

I’ve recently switched over to a new tracking platform called Thrive by the guys over at iPyxel which I love. It’s still in development, but is constantly improving and making strides, and the best part about it can be self-hosted. The offer a 30-day trial and it’s $99 a month thereafter which is well worth the investment.

Those on a smaller budget can still opt to go the CPVLab route, another favorite of mine but a little more outdated. It is, however, more suitable for PPV traffic if that’s your traffic of choice.

How I saved $18,000 traveling the world in Style and Comfort

January 22, 2015 in Simplifying Life, Travel

One World

Today I thought I’d dawn in on something I discovered whilst booking my latest excursion overseas, as well as many other tips on how I managed to obtain ~$30,000 worth of flights for $14,200.

The flights I am talking about included Business class long-hauls and First-Class on shorter flights where Business in not available.

How did I do this you may ask?

By utilising a Round the World Ticket offered by Oneworld Alliance.

Since my hometown is Australia, I’ve been chipping away for the past few months at boosting my point-balance with the one airline/alliance as opposed to have scattered points all over, and so I choose Qantas as my Frequent Flyer scheme. More on this in a bit.

There are two other alliances out there that I am aware of, Star-Alliance being the other major player, who offer RTW tickets, but for my travel needs, Oneworld was the best choice.

The reason I went with a RTW ticket is because I planned on attending Affiliate Summit West in January (Vegas), the STM Meetup in Whistler, the Conversion Summit in February in San Diego and the STM meetup in London. I’m also going to utilize my time in the US to meet with traffic sources and networks that I work with to see if there is any way we can make more money together.

Enough History, Give me the Goods

Business class tickets, especially for long-hauls, are notoriously expensive to purchase on a single ticket, however, from what I observed, you get immense value using a round-the-world ticket if you decide to go business-class. With OneWorld you get 16 segments. Date changes and flight changes in general are allowed once you take off from your original destination, so long as you return to you original port of entry within 12 months. Date changes are around $40 each time and anything such as flight cancellation or port change will cost most (I was quoted $125).

How does the math stack up here? Well, let’s take a look at the typical cost of the flights I am taking on my trip and compare it to the overall cost of my RTW ticket.

  • Melbourne to LAX (Qantas, Business): ~$7,000
  • LAX – Vegas (AA, First): ~$220
  • SD – NYC (AA, First): ~$700
  • NYC – Miami (Return) (AA, First): ~$765
  • NYC – London (British Air, Business): ~$9,500
  • London – Geneva (British Air, Business): $721
  • Paris – Amsterdam, via London (British Air, Business): $1,112
  • London – Bangkok, via Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific, Business): ~$11,000
  • Bangkok – Melbourne, via Sydney (Qantas, Business): $2000

 

Total Estimated Cost: $33,018
Difference: $18, 818

Now, as you can see, if you can afford to do this sort of trip, the value is obvious. Business / First class is a great way to fly. You get access to airport lounges, much more comfortable seating, better flight rewards, express transit through security and customs (some airports), and better food on-board, more liberal luggage allowances and overall better service.

Yes, it’s a bit of a tough thing to book your trip in an optimal fashion, but its well worth it once you figure out your route.

How I maximized my points

Simple, I found a credit card that was giving an introductory offer for free points and I took advantage. In this case, it was Citibank’s Signature card, who were offering a 30,000 sign up bonus as well as another 20,000 bonus points if you were to spend $10,000 within the first 3 months. Given the ticket was $14,200, I got all the bonus points, as well as 1 point per dollar spent on the card, totalling ~64,200 points just from the purchase of the ticket. Not to mention, I will acquire status points for all my travel and points along the way. I estimate I will obtain another 45,000 points. In essence, I managed to get around 100,000 points booking and participating in the trip which, if you take a look, is about 20,000 points shy of a one-way business flight from Melbourne to LA ($6,5000 AUD value). Not bad hey?

Getting back to Australia from my previous trip, I was told to take advantage and become a points whore given I travel so damn much. So I did. I’ve since discovered several ways you can maximise your points as an Affiliate Marketer operating out of Australia, and in day-to-day living.

The first challenge was to find a credit-card that has no foreign transaction fees and also obtains Frequent Flyer miles. The only one that fit the bill was Bankwest’s Platinum Mastercard.

I maxed out their point system, cashed in 400k points (only got $1,700 cash back) and then switched products over the phone to their Qantas FF scheme. The downside is you only get 0.75 points per dollar and you’re limited to 200,000 points per year. I’m not sure if this per calendar year, or relative to when you opened your account, either way, it’s a sucky restriction as 200,000 points is quite easy to obtain as a high-volume affiliate given ad-spend alone.

Other things you can do to get more points in your day to day life.

Apply for a Woolworths Everyday rewards cards, go onto their site and change your settings to include your Qantas FF mile number as well as ensure that filling up at a Safeway/Woolworths Petrol pump will shift points directly to you Qantas account. Make sure you use your rewards card for all your purchases, do your grocery shopping at a Woolworths/Safeway and try your best to put everything on a credit-card that gets FF points.

Another thing I just discovered is within the Qantas portal, if you log in to your Frequent Flyer dashboard, you are able to do some online shopping getting points for purchases, sometimes as high as 5 points per dollar spent.

I stumbled on this a little too late and to be honest, I’m still quite forgetful about it, but if you remember, you may as well take advantage.

For example, you can buy from the Apple Store and earn 2 points per $1. The same can be done with eBay purchases. Check it out – there’s a decent amount of online stores you can get some bonus points from. Unfortunately for me, I bought a MacBook Pro, iPhone 6 and some stuff off eBay without utilising this and missed the boat.

If you have any more tips for getting Qantas Points as an Australian Resident, or even overseas, drop them in the comments section below!

Safe Travels,

Andy D

 

 

 

Gym Review – Beach Fit Bondi Beach, Australia

January 8, 2015 in Fitness, Gym, Travel

Given one of my biggest passions in life currently (and has been for almost 13 years) is bodybuilding, I’ve decided it would make sense as part of my blog to incorporate reviews of Gym’s I use during my travels. In the past 3, going on 4 years, I’ve traveled quite a lot and always try to make an effort to get to a gym.

If this sort of information was available to me in places such as Japan, life would have been a helluva lot easier. My goal here is to help those who like to get in a few workouts on their trips, find a decent gym and know what to expect.

About Beach-Fit Bondi

This gym is quite compact yet close to the ocean making it a convenient spot for tourists to get a workout in before a swim in one of Australia’s most popular beaches. During my stay in Bondi, I hit this gym about 5 times, at different times of the day, with the gym having some odd hours due to the holiday season (right after Christmas and just before the new year). The staff are extremely friendly here, kudo’s to that – must be the location – I know I wouldn’t complain much! I noticed that this gym may or may not have a 7-day free trial but I can’t confirm that as I didn’t attempt to take advantage of it. I have a feeling they wouldn’t allow non-Bondi residents to take advantage of such an offer, otherwise there would be a flock of freeloading tourists inside.
There isn’t a lot of equipment here, it’s advised to try and hit the non-peak times that are typical with other places in the world if you don’t want to stand around waiting too much (it happened a couple times to me, but I managed to get most of my routines in).

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The short:

  • Drop in rate: $20 or $50 for a week. Given the holiday season, I was able to scoop up a ‘week’ pass for $35 (it was closed on the 1st, and closed earlier on certain days).
  • Heaviest dumbbell here is 57.5kg from what I saw – they have about two dumbbell racks – one with less weights however
  • Squat Rack — Yes
  • Bench Press — Yes
  • Leg Press — Yes
  • Kettle Bells —  Yes
  • Cable Machine —  Yes
  • Lockers? Yes – 4 Digit Pin, no padlock required
  • Food & shake bar? No, just a vending machine. However, lots of food around, as well as convenience stores. Nothing that really caters to getting a quick protein shake however.
  • For cardio, they have treadmills and Elliptical/Cross-Trainer machines as well as a row-machine from what I saw.

All in all,  a decent choice in Bondi, although I didn’t compare it to others in the area as this was the most convenient for me to visit from my AirBnb on Glenayr Avenue.

– Andy


If you’re looking for further Affiliate Marketing Guidance, check out StackThatMoney. Best community of experienced marketers from around the globe, exclusive meetups, follow along’s, tutorials and the knowledge of a thousand sun-gods.

Can’t Decide on Tracking Software?

I’ve recently switched over to a new tracking platform called Thrive by the guys over at iPyxel which I love. It’s still in development, but is constantly improving and making strides, and the best part about it can be self-hosted. The offer a 30-day trial and it’s $99 a month thereafter which is well worth the investment.

Those on a smaller budget can still opt to go the CPVLab route, another favorite of mine but a little more outdated. It is, however, more suitable for PPV traffic if that’s your traffic of choice.

ASE 2014, LeadsCon:NY and More Travel

December 8, 2014 in Conferences, Travel

WHOA! I finally found time to write again. I do have plans to really get this blog jamming out great posts and keeping my travels, fitness any affiliate marketing tips at the forefront.

So I recently returned from a 3-month stint around the US and Canada for mostly business purposes (and some pleasure, you can’t travel for 3 months without a little down time.. hey?)… The main objective initially was to get my butt out to ASE 2014 and LeadsCon:NY to see what it was all about.

F5Media

F5Media Booth

ASE was.. well.. like every other Affiliate Summit I’ve attended, albeit, this time it was a little less lively – nevertheless a great time. I got to meet managers I’d been working with for months face to face, team members of some new traffic sources I’d just begun using and walked the floors of both conferences discovering new businesses and learning more about the affiliate space and lead-gen space respectively.

An important takeaway from LeadsCon, was that, it’s not for everyone…it’s a VERY different vibe to ASE and much more slow-paced conference.

I myself in particular didn’t gain too much value this time around, however, the companies that operated largely organized centers for lead-gen companies is definitely something that opened my eyes up to some new opportunities, namely, Pay Per Call, call centres and insight into some of the cogs that spin the lead-gen wheel.

The STM meetup was once again quite fun, I got to meet a lot of great people, drink a little and most importantly, hand out quest bars to people like a total meathead.

You’re welcome, my newly addicted friends. If only quest had an affiliate program.. That paid in quest bars…

I spent about 2 weeks in New York total, then flew over to Vernon BC, Canada, to spend May long on the Okanagan lake, catching up on work and catching up with friends.

Jet Skiing on the Okanagan

Jet Skiing on the Okanagan

I then drove down to Calgary, had a few meetings, handled some online work, drove out to Edmonton for a meeting, and then continued over to Montreal.

I spent 5 days there with plans to have meetings with some traffic providers out there but nothing eventuated so I bounced off to Toronto shortly after for a more productive trip. I did however, luck out and get this rental for only $16 a day as I got just a basic, standard car and this was all they had left. Can’t argue with that! I recommend checking out Kayak, HotWire for rentals.

Dodge Charger Rental in Montreal

Dodge Charger Rental in Montreal

I spent time hanging out with the Good souls of F5Media, caught up with my Mundo Media rep (who resigned!) and got introduced to my new rep. Both networks are great and I recommend both as solid, reliable networks to deal with.

Toronto, Sunset

Toronto, Sunset

People ask me, “Andy, how do you keep fit when you travel? How do you maintain your size?”… You see, it’s simple. I make my fitness a priority.  I make sure I get to a gym as often as I can, that where I stay has a gym nearby that I can attend. In Toronto for instance, I found a gym down the road from my AirBnb called 99 Sudbury. Not a bad gym, definitely not cheap to attend in the short term, but not expensive enough to deter me either. The other thing is – if you struggle to get 3 or more days in, make the days you do go actually count! Bust your ass and make sure you EARN those days off. Regarding diet, I still stick to a basic, nutritional timing diet called Carb Backloading.

Cable Flies

Cable Flies @ 99 Sudbury, The Gym, Toronto

From Toronto, I packed my bags and flew down to South Beach, Miami Florida.

I met with the man in charge of business development for the Affiliati Network whilst out there, and had a meeting with an offer owner to discuss running traffic for an Identity Theft product. At this point in my trip, I had a sense of accomplishment overwhelm me – I finally felt like a real businessman, not some desk jockey. I was out networking, prospecting, attending conferences and acquiring a wealth of knowledge. To add to it, the beauty of travel.  I have always said that is one of the best educators we have as human beings, next to history. Travel is one of the most effective ways to obtain life-lessons, cultural understanding and immerse yourself into markets you’d otherwise have no direct experience in.

All in all Miami was fun. The gym I attended whilst there was Equinox. Miami is notoriously expensive when it comes to their Gyms. The only other option was Crunch fitness, which had a rather expensive drop in fee (Almost $40) and a ridiculously overpriced weekly rate too. Equinox, has a deal where you have to spend about $100 at their gift store, or on spa treatments and the lovely ladies there will allow you 3 days of free gym. You are however limited to going 3 consecutive days.

South Beach, Miami, Florida

South Beach, Miami, Florida

I then flew over to LA to talk business and chill with my great Affilifriend Alex who’s always motivating to catch up with. Always a good time. LA this time around grew on me, I enjoyed it much more this time around compared to my initial experience in 2012. Whilst there, I got a chance to check out W4‘s office in Santa Monica, one of the nicest offices I’ve seen in the Affiliate Space.

w4 Office

w4 Office

I also got to attend a networking event for marketers and startups as a Mentor. This meetup was a little strange for me as I didn’t quite understand the audience that would be there. I spent a lot of time giving out advice on performance marketing and learning a bit about running your own in-house lead generation team.

Marketing, Start Up, Tech, Meetup in LA

Alex of LeadGenDary and Myself @ Marketing, Start Up, Tech, Meetup in LA

From LA I drove through to San Diego, stopping along the way for a meeting with a traffic source and a friend who was wanting some tips on getting reinvovled with AM. I then caught Genji and Dalin,  2 more affiliates, in Ocean Side before checking into my lodging in University Heights, San Diego. It was long day! LA traffic is brutal!

Whilst in San Diego I met up with a few good friends in the the AM space. We met up several times and talked about the AM space a lot, and potential partnership ideas, where the space is going etc… etc… and lapping up the beautiful San Diego weather. I also got to Celebrate an early Halloween (my second American Halloween!) there, and a second one in Hawaii before I made it home.

Impromptu Workdesk

Impromptu Work Desk – Gotta make do with what you have sometimes!

The end of the journey saw me fly over to Honolulu for a few nights, seeing a friend, checking out the UFC gym, and just winding down before my long haul flight home to Melbourne.

In conclusion, I came back with a wealth of knowledge, some new connections and friends, a head full of ideas and a thirst to get to work and truly build an empire.

I encourage those who are in this amazing industry to try and make it out to conferences, meet ups and what not and be social..

More posts to come soon, and more frequently. I promise.

 

– Andy


If you’re looking for further Affiliate Marketing Guidance, check out StackThatMoney. Best community of experienced marketers from around the globe, exclusive meetups, follow along’s, tutorials and the knowledge of a thousand sun-gods.

 

Can’t Decide on Tracking Software?

I’ve recently switched over to a new tracking platform called Thrive by the guys over at iPyxel which I love. It’s still in development, but is constantly improving and making strides, and the best part about it can be self-hosted. The offer a 30-day trial and it’s $99 a month thereafter which is well worth the investment.

Those on a smaller budget can still opt to go the CPVLab route, another favorite of mine but a little more outdated. It is, however, more suitable for PPV traffic if that’s your traffic of choice.