How did Casinomeister get started?

Forum member ’zebedy’ asked:

hi, having not been here from day one of the 10 years you have been running i was just wondering how CM got started ?
did you start as an affiliate just to make some extra cash or was there something more, were you a player or affiliate that got ripped off by a casino and decided to do something about it, or were/are you just interested in the gaming industry as a whole.

The Casinomeister answered:

Long story. No I wasn’t a disgruntled affiliate or player – when Casinomeister was launched, there weren’t really any affiliates that I know of. :p

So grab a beer or put on a pot of tea, or grab a hot cup ‘o java and have a sit.

I was teaching English comp, Humanities, and Creative Writing in the San Diego community colleges (City, Mira Mesa, etc.) USIU and some part timing at SDSU. The Internet was in its fetal stage, and I was self-learning skills in graphics and HTML. I was trying to teach short stories and novels via HTML and Power Point presentations. This honed my basic webmastering skills. (I do all the HTML and graphic work here).

At the same time, my wife was teaching German and Linguistics at SDSU. She was approached by a couple of guys who were starting up their own translation company; a company that translated websites and software manuals. They needed a director of translations and someone to oversee the German translations. My wife accepted the job and they asked what I did. She told them and they saw some of my work. Some of my early work is still here:

Anyway they saw what I could do (graphic-wise) and they needed someone to assist in reworking the translations into graphics and proof-reading the translated HTML. No problem – they paid better than the teaching – but I still kept some of my teaching jobs since I enjoyed it (it was all part-time work.)

So I started working for these guys. After a few months, a couple of online casinos hired us to translate their websites. I took a look at them and thought, “What a joke. Why would anyone in their right mind give these guys their Credit Card information and gamble with it? What idiots!” We did the translations and I more or less forgot about it until we were contacted by a company associated with one of the big land based casinos in San Diego. They were launching a crypto casino, but they had reservations in investing money in translations. They wanted us to pitch our case. The thought there were too many crooks and cowboys out there. And that’s when the idea dawned on me – I could make a website, have lists of good casinos, bad casinos, news and info and call it Casinomeister. I could have it translated to German, so it would be a fun project to work with.

I was always looking for ideas to develop websites. I had a few: a beer guide for Southern California, a website dedicated to new babies (sharing photos etc.), a screen writer’s information portal, a creative writing website, but this one received the most responses.

Traffic was great! During the first few months I was getting on average 30 unique users a day. :p Which was exciting since it was all word of mouth, and there weren’t really any search engines yet. I had an old www html forum set up where people actually began posting – this was the beginning of an interactive web.

It wasn’t until a few months being online that I was contacted by a couple of casino groups who wanted to buy ad space – this opened up the idea f allowing only casinos that could meet a list of criteria. It was pretty exciting watching the site grow.

We moved to Germany in 1999 under the premise of opening an office to better manage the European translators. Oops – dot.bomb. Crash went the company, and I started searching for work in Germany. I found a couple of web-designer jobs that didn’t last. And it sucked. We had a baby on the way, and I was a foreigner. Casinomeister was making a little bit of money, but not enough to live on – but I thought, “If I put 100% of my effort into this website, I can make it work.” I did that and it has worked ever since.

Making money was not the core idea of the site; it was developing a site that provides valuable information, and that people find it interesting enough to just hang out. If I’m having fun with it, then a lot of people are having fun too. I’ve never strayed from this idea, and I think my approach has worked well.

You can read more about us here