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How Nadia Bullock Grew Her Music Agency to 7+ Figures/Year Without SEO



How Nadia Bullock Grew Her Music Agency to 7+ Figures/Year Without SEO

Nadia Bullock firmly believes that we have the power to “create our own masterpieces,” and that’s exactly what this ambitious and determined entrepreneur has been doing since she was 16. From hair stylist to content creator, she has worn many hats over the years.

Her biggest project is her music agency, Musos Entertainment, which she accidentally built while styling hair and helping her husband with his music career. Today Musos is making 7+ figures per year. But that’s not Nadia’s only project.

Covid convinced her of the importance of diversification, so today she has multiple ventures, including a pregnancy journal and a mentoring and coaching business.

Keep reading to find out:

  • The ins and outs of how Musos came to be
  • How the company operates
  • Why growing her Instagram account was important
  • Why she wrote a journal for pregnant women
  • How she’s helping women turn their passions into profit
  • What happened to her business during Covid
  • Her main marketing strategy
  • Her views on SEO
  • How much time she spends on her business
  • Her top resources and tools
  • Her biggest challenge
  • Her greatest accomplishment
  • Nadia’s main mistake
  • Her advice for other entrepreneurs

Meet Nadia Bullock

I’m Nadia. I’m from Vancouver, Canada, born into an Italian immigrant family but you can find me living with my husband and 2 little boys in sunny places like Byron Bay and Bali throughout our Canadian winters. 

I’m an author, award-winning entrepreneur, certified hairstylist, content creator, and mentor who lives by the belief that “Life is like a giant canvas, and it’s never too late to create your own masterpiece.” 

I have an obsession with travel, wellness, spontaneity, and helping others, and have spent my life intuitively pursuing my passions, creating multiple successful business ventures in different industries.

Where It All Began

My professional background started at 16 when I picked up my first pair of scissors. I quickly became a certified hairstylist and spent my 20s working behind the chair, styling hair at NYWF and MFW, and teaching other upcoming artists as an AVEDA educator. 

At 19, I took a break from hair and moved to Orlando, Florida, all alone, where I worked at Walt Disney World. The following year, I moved to Monaco, Monte Carlo where I worked 2 jobs: in a famous hair salon and at the Fairmont Monte Carlo. I loved both and found it hard to choose between the “corporate ladder of hospitality” and being a “beauty creative.” 

In 2010, I had the opportunity to join the opening team of the brand new hotel Fairmont Pacific Rim, which was opening just in time for the Vancouver Olympic Games, which hosted a majority of the athletes and groups for the games, and that experience was incredible!

I juggled the 2 careers for another few years until I met my husband, Colin, a musician from Australia. In 2011, we quickly started combining our services together, offering “music and hair” packages for weddings and events throughout Vancouver and BC. 

Over time, as we got busier with clients and we even started to get international opportunities from clients looking to book us for their destination events. Along with this, we’d plan our own independent music tours to fill in the gaps in our schedule, and because we wanted to be on the road as much as we could because we love to travel. We’d fill our schedules up to do anything to continue making money while traveling. 

As a natural planner and travel lover, I was the one to organize all of our trips, tours, logistics, and the administration side of things for both Colin and I. Little did I know this was organically turning me into a “music & tour manager,” as well as Colin’s manager, booking all of his music gigs, press/pr, and tours. At this time I was also taking a business management program and just loved to learn more about the business side of what we were doing. 

I booked us tours across Canada, Australia, Europe, and North America. We then started applying, writing, and winning Canadian music grants to help us with our touring, new music releases, publishing, and Colin’s new albums. We even got to record one of his albums at Sarah Macglauhin’s home studio. 

The Start of Musos Entertainment

As we got busier, we were finding ourselves having to say no to clients, which is something we didn’t want to do, so we started finding peers within our industry and network to offer to clients when we couldn’t take them ourselves. Little did we know, this was the start of building our agency. 

In 2012 we heard from one of the luxury hotels Colin was currently performing at, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, that they weren’t happy with the entertainment agency they were using to book their musicians. 

This gave me the idea to officially start our own agency. After all, it’s pretty much what we were doing anyways, and we pitched them the idea of us taking over. We got the contract and the rest was history… Musos Entertainment was born and co-founded with Colin. This was my first official business. 

How Nadia Bullock Grew Her Music Agency to 7 FiguresYear

Today, Musos Entertainment is a marketplace for live musicians and DJs for any occasion, serving Canada, and specializing in BC. We are a music agency providing live entertainment for corporate events and weddings as well as venues and establishments. 

We have a growing team of over 80+ artists and 5 in our administrative team. We‘ve won multiple awards, including Best Live Entertainment Agency in Canada, from CV Business Magazine and we were a finalist for Best Entertainment at the BC Wedding Awards. 

As our business often brings us on the road, I started sharing our digital nomad life on my Instagram page to keep up with family and friends. I fell in love with creating content and connecting with like-minded people from all walks of life all over the world, and starting growing an online following to 10k+. 

During this time, I started working with brands, creating content, and growing an organic online community. I fell in love with sharing tips from our journey to help others on their journey as I was getting so many questions on how to work from the road, etc. 

Nadia’s Journal

After becoming a mom in 2019, another creative idea came to me, which was creating a pregnancy journal. When Covid hit early 2020, we were in Bali, which then brought us to Australia where we were stuck for the remaining 6 months with pretty much no business, as we were in live events, etc. 

I took this time to do a creative project, and that’s when I went on to write Becoming Mama. I co-created Becoming Mama, a pregnancy journal that launched in 2022. 

It’s filled with journaling pages to fill in throughout your pregnancy, as well as educational interview pages from people such as Jillian Harris, Sarah of The Birds Papaya, Shanice Bodwell of The Black Mom’s Blog, holistic nutritionists, lactation consultants, and more people. 

1680812374 411 How Nadia Bullock Grew Her Music Agency to 7 FiguresYear

It’s truly something that I wish I had when I was pregnant and because I didn’t find it, I co-created it with a friend, Hanna from the Australian design and publishing house Axel and Ash. Becoming Mama can be found in over 500+ stores worldwide and online. 

Her Coaching Business

Also during Covid, I wanted to help others in any way I could, and as so many people lost their jobs I was determined to help them start something for themselves. I began offering mentoring and business coaching to my online community, helping women turn their passions into a profit. 

I co-created a women’s empowerment community offering a monthly women’s circle, workshops, and coaching programs to help other creatives turn their ideas into a business. 

I love supporting others on their path and continue to offer mentorship and coaching programs as well as workshops supporting other creatives—especially moms—to start their entrepreneurial journey from their passions. This can all be found on my personal website, Nadia Bullock

How Much Money She’s Making

To date, Musos has made over $5 million in sales, and we’re very proud to say that we have paid out over $4 million to musicians. Helping other musicians create a career out of their passion for performing is our biggest passion!

This year, Musos is projected to make $1.6 million. Aside from our services, we’re working on launching The Artist Academy, which will be mentorship and coaching opportunities for creative artists and musicians. This will be an additional income stream on top of our client services.  

We’re currently working on our first musician course to help other aspiring artists take their talents and become thriving professional working musicians. We’re also working on a course to teach service-based creatives to build their own 7+ figure agency as we did—social media managers, photographers, videographers, hair stylists, makeup artists, etc. 

We were pennies away from hitting $1 million in gross sales in February 2020. In March 2020, Covid hit and we pretty much lost our entire business for 18 months. We are now projected to do $1.6 million 3 years later. 

I strongly believe in having alternative income streams outside of our main business for so many reasons. When Covid struck, our main business was events and that brought our income to pretty much $0. This was a huge wake-up call to get an additional income stream fast!  

My book is a new release. I decided to co-create it with a small distribution company and self-publish, meaning that I own more rights to my book than going with a traditional publisher. 

My agreement for the book is a scaling system, starting from making a 10% to 20% commission on all book sales. Currently, the book has made around $30k in gross sales. 

Nadia’s Marketing Strategies

Something we’ve done since day one which has helped us grow to a 7+ figure business is offering free content. What I mean by that is, I offer a free musician or become a sponsor for any good exposure opportunity. This can include a high-profile event, wedding, fair, or a new potential client. 

1680812374 674 How Nadia Bullock Grew Her Music Agency to 7 FiguresYear

Performing live in front of someone is the best way to show off the roster I have and the customer service we provide. Aside from this, word of mouth has always been an effective growth strategy. 

If someone enjoyed their time with us, we always ask people to rate us on Google, which has helped our website traffic grow. We grew the business without using any social media or SEO. We invested in this in late 2022 and have noticed incredible returns already, and we’re excited to see that growth continue. 

Her Views on SEO

We’ve just implemented an SEO strategy with a professional now in 2023 that will be launching these strategies on our new website in April 2023.

Before this, we found that getting incredible 5-star reviews on Google has helped our website traffic grow, as well as putting all our awards and media publications on our website. 

Nadia’s Content Creation Process

We just put together a new strategy that includes our 3 main pillars: entertain, educate, and community. We want to be the place where both our clients and musicians can come to learn about everything from what’s happening in our industry and how to help them plan the music for their wedding to how an artist can grow their professional careers.    

Her Email List

We do have an email list that we did not focus on in the past decade. It’s a compilation of all our clients and community members within the last 10 years. Moving forward, we will be offering a new freebie on our new website to grow it, as we know how important this is for the future of any business. 

How Much Time She Spends on Her Business

Does a business owner ever shut off? I don’t think so. No matter what time of day it is, we’ll always have our business phones on and accidentally check emails in the evenings. Some of my best business ideas come after my baths at night, so while I’m trying hard to create strict boundaries around my work-life balance, family life, and self-care, I could never put a number on this.  

Nadia’s Favorite Resources

I am your self-growth BFF. I’m the friend that has every self-help, self-discovery, and growth mindset book on my bookshelf. I’m a self-discovery junkie that loves to learn more about myself and how I can be the best version of myself for me personally and my business. 

I have millions of books, YouTube videos, and TED Talks that I can share, and I hope to have a TED Talk of my own one day. For now, I can share these resources that I love for growth in any industry and business:

  • Strength Finders – I make every team member do this when they get hired as well as I re-take this assessment every few years. I believe we do our best work and build the best teams when we focus on our strengths (not our weaknesses).
  • Human Design – This is a New Age-inspired pseudo-scientific practice. Its proponents describe it as a holistic self-knowledge system. It may be a bit woo-woo for some but this was a life-changing self-assessment for me that helped me learn how to make decisions better. I’m a manifestor in Human Design. If you like self-growth/personality tests like the enneagram, you’d love this one! 
  • Marketplace Founders – This is a networking community platform where you can connect with other marketplace founders such as the founder of Airbnb, Uber, etc. It’s great for networking, finding resources, mentoring programs, support, etc. 

Her Top Tools

My go-to tools are:

  • Quickbooks online, for all things bookkeeping
  • Slack, for communicating no matter where our team is in the world
  • Dubsado, for supporting us with automated workflows, and
  • Scheduling System/Overture – This is the calendar software program we use for our clients and artists. While you could use Google Calendar in a similar capacity, this has so many bells and whistles that we couldn’t run our agency without it. 

Her Biggest Challenge

That would have to be staffing. There are so many factors when working in our industry and working remotely, especially prior to 2020 (because we have always been a remote team). 

Leading a team remotely has its challenges, as does working remotely as an employee if you love in-person social interaction daily. We’ve struggled with dishonesty, unloyalty, stealing, etc.

Since Covid, and with people having had a chance to experience remote work, they know now whether or not it’s for them, which has helped us rebuild our team with people who appreciate the benefits of a remote team and who understand the factors around this. 

Her Greatest Accomplishment

I had an employee recently say to me “I love my job, the company, its values, and working for you guys as leaders.” This is the most important accomplishment for me. 

What She Wishes She Knew When She Started

I wish I had known that as much as I am a people pleaser, you can’t please 100% of people 100% of the time. However, if you continue to try through hard work, excellent customer service, and being empathetic, it’s the best you can do. 

Nadia’s Main Mistake

I think trying to do everything on our own, especially in the beginning when we couldn’t afford to outsource, we tried to do everything ourselves in all areas, even the areas we were not strong in (e.g. bookkeeping). 

This led to big mistakes which, in the end, cost us more to fix than had we outsourced them in the beginning.

I do believe our mistakes make us stronger and give us an opportunity for growth.

I also believe that it’s extremely important as a business owner to know your numbers, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, ask for help. 

Her Advice for Other Entrepreneurs

Just start today. It won’t be perfect, but you will figure it out as you go along. Have passion, work hard, and make sure it’s something you love, as this will be your motivator on challenging days, and there will be many of those! 

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John Thornhills Ambassador Program Review: Unleashing Digital Prosperity



In the realm of online marketing, the pursuit of high-ticket commissions has become a focal point for many aspiring entrepreneurs. Among the various programs available, the John Thornhills Ambassador Program stands out as a proven system that offers a pathway to substantial earnings. This comprehensive review will delve into the core components, benefits, and earning potential of Thornhill’s program. By the end, you will have a clear understanding of how this program can empower you to achieve digital prosperity.

Understanding the John Thornhills Ambassador Program

Designed by the seasoned digital product expert himself, John Thornhill’s Ambassador Program presents a unique opportunity to generate significant commissions. This high-end affiliate marketing initiative revolves around promoting Thornhill’s flagship programs, providing participants with the chance to earn up to $3,493 per high-ticket sale. Notably, the program also offers a 50% profit share from the sales generated by referrals, creating a two-pronged income source.

John Thornhills Ambassador Program Affiliate (credit: PR)
John Thornhills Ambassador Program Affiliate (credit: PR)

Click here and start earning your commissions without doing any selling >

Core Components of the Program

To fully comprehend the Ambassador Program, let’s dissect its three core components:

  1. High-Ticket Webinar Funnel: As an Ambassador, you gain access to a personalized high-ticket webinar funnel, allowing you to effectively promote Thornhill’s flagship programs.

  2. 50/50 Profit Share: Any sales generated by your referrals entitle you to a 50% profit share, further augmenting your income potential.

  3. Email List Building: Building and leveraging your email list, which you solely own, is a fundamental skill that you will acquire through this program. This skill will result in consistent monthly revenue.

Click here and start earning your commissions without doing any selling >

Benefits of the John Thornhills Ambassador Program

The Ambassador Program offers several distinct advantages that set it apart from other online marketing programs:

  1. Earning Potential: With the Ambassador Program, your earning potential is substantial. Not only do you receive significant commissions from high-ticket sales, but you also benefit from the sales generated by your referrals, creating a dual revenue stream.

  2. Second-Tier Profits: The program provides an opportunity to earn second-tier profits through the success of your recruited ambassadors. This mutually beneficial arrangement enhances your overall income potential.

  3. Email List Building: Effective email list building is a critical aspect of online business. The Ambassador Program equips you with the skills to build and monetize your list effectively, ensuring consistent monthly revenue.

  4. Fast-Mover Bonuses: As a testament to Thornhill’s confidence in his program, he offers Fast-Mover Bonuses to those who take swift action. These bonuses typically include additional resources and tools that can jumpstart your affiliate marketing efforts.

  5. The Guarantee: Thornhill’s commitment to the success of his program is evident through his guarantee. If you don’t earn at least $2,000 within your first 60 days, he pledges to work with you until you do.

Success Stories

Numerous success stories from beginners to seasoned marketers exemplify the program’s effectiveness. These stories serve as a testament to the potential that the Ambassador Program unlocks, showcasing the real opportunities it offers. The program has empowered individuals to achieve their financial goals and build thriving online businesses.

Joining the John Thornhills Ambassador Program

Joining the Ambassador Program is a straightforward process. Once you sign up, you gain access to all essential resources, including the high-ticket webinar funnel, promotional materials, and comprehensive training modules. This all-inclusive package provides you with everything you need to start earning high-ticket commissions.

Click here and start earning your commissions without doing any selling >

A Deeper Look into The Ambassador Program

To truly maximize the benefits of the Ambassador Program, it is important to delve into its various aspects:

The Training

The program’s comprehensive training serves as the cornerstone of your success. It guides you through every step, from setting up your webinar funnel to driving traffic to your site, ensuring that you have the knowledge and tools necessary for success.

The Commission Model

The Ambassador Program employs a unique two-tiered commission model that allows you to earn from both your sales and the sales made by your recruited affiliates. This model enhances your income potential and provides additional revenue streams.

The Benefits of High-Ticket Commissions

Focusing on high-ticket items has the power to transform your income potential. Selling high-ticket items translates to higher commissions per sale, potentially catapulting your income to new heights.

 John Thornhills Ambassador Program Commission (credit: PR)
John Thornhills Ambassador Program Commission (credit: PR)

Click here and start earning your commissions without doing any selling >

Making the Most of The Ambassador Program

To truly capitalize on the Ambassador Program, you must take action and implement what you learn. While Thornhill provides the tools, resources, and knowledge, it is your commitment to applying them that will drive your success. The program offers several strategies to help you make the most of your journey:

Networking and Collaborations

The Ambassador Program is not solely about selling; it also emphasizes building valuable relationships. Networking with fellow ambassadors can lead to collaborations, idea sharing, and more commission opportunities. By fostering connections and engaging with the community, you open doors to new possibilities.

Continual Learning

In the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape, continuous learning is essential. The Ambassador Program provides consistent support and updates, ensuring that you stay ahead of the curve. By staying informed about industry trends and implementing new strategies, you can maintain a competitive edge.

The Power of Thornhill’s Proven Funnels

Leveraging Thornhill’s proven funnels is a game-changer. When you join the Ambassador Program, you gain access to his tried-and-tested strategies that have generated millions in sales. By utilizing these proven funnels, you eliminate the guesswork from your marketing efforts and increase your chances of success.

Click here and start earning your commissions without doing any selling >

Top 10 John Thornhill’s Ambassador Program FAQs:

1. What is the John Thornhill Ambassador Program?

The John Thornhill Ambassador Program is a program designed to help individuals build a profitable online business leveraging John Thornhill’s affiliate marketing resources and strategies.

2. Who is John Thornhill?

John Thornhill is an entrepreneur and online marketer known for his expertise in affiliate marketing and digital product creation. He has built a successful online empire and aims to empower others through his programs and courses.

3. What are the benefits of joining the program?

The program offers several benefits, including:

  • Access to John Thornhill’s proven affiliate marketing strategies and resources.
  • Done-for-you marketing materials and sales funnels.
  • Community support and mentorship from experienced online entrepreneurs.
  • Free training and resources on various online marketing topics.
  • Lifetime commissions on sales generated through your affiliate link.

4. Do I need any prior experience to join?

No, the program is designed for individuals of all experience levels, even those with no prior knowledge of online marketing.

5. How much time do I need to commit to the program?

The amount of time you need to commit will depend on your individual goals and desired level of success. However, the program recommends dedicating at least 10-15 hours per week to achieve significant results.

6. What are the payment options available?

The John Thornhill Ambassador Program offers three main payment options:

  • One-Time Payment: Pay the full program fee upfront through a secure online payment system for immediate access to the program’s resources. This option offers significant savings compared to monthly plans.
  • Flexible Payment Plans: Spread the cost over several months with convenient monthly installments. The program offers various plans with different durations and pricing. Choose the one that best fits your budget and financial situation.
  • Financing Options: Partner with third-party financing providers to extend your payment term and manage your cash flow. This option allows you to access the program and start generating income while making manageable monthly payments.

7. Is there a guarantee?

There is no money-back guarantee offered by the program. However, they offer a 30-day refund policy in case you are not satisfied with the program content.

8. What makes this program different from others?

The program emphasizes John Thornhill’s proven affiliate marketing strategies and provides access to his done-for-you marketing materials, which are designed to save participants time and effort. Additionally, the program offers personalized mentorship and support from experienced online entrepreneurs.

9. Who should consider joining this program?

This program is ideal for individuals who:

  • Want to learn proven affiliate marketing strategies from a successful entrepreneur.
  • Are looking for a step-by-step system to build a profitable online business.
  • Appreciate done-for-you marketing materials and resources.
  • Desire community support and mentorship.
  • Aim to earn lifetime commissions through affiliate marketing.

10. Where can I learn more about the program?

You can learn more about the John Thornhill Ambassador Program by visiting their website. They also offer free training sessions and webinars that provide further details about the program and its benefits.


In conclusion, John Thornhill’s Ambassador Program offers a comprehensive and proven model for earning high commissions online. With its focus on high-ticket products, a two-tiered commission structure, and proven funnels, it presents a compelling opportunity for anyone seeking substantial online income. Success in the program requires dedication, hard work, and a willingness to apply what you learn. By leveraging the training, support, and mentorship provided, you can embark on a journey towards achieving digital prosperity.

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Revolutionising affiliate marketing in the era of influencers, ET BrandEquity



Revolutionising affiliate marketing in the era of influencers, ET BrandEquity

Affiliate marketing spends in India are estimated to be Rs 2500 crore in FY 2023, constituting eight percent of the overall digital marketing spend, according to the State of Digital Marketing in India report. Despite the popularity of affiliate marketing, the model presents its own challenges, such as onboarding and managing affiliates, high commission fees, and vulnerability to fraudulent and malicious practices.

During a discussion at DigiPlus Fest 2023, marketers explored the evolving landscape of affiliate marketing and strategies to optimise return on investment (RoI). The session featured Nishant Jaiswal, VP – marketing, Zupee; Sachin Vashishtha, chief marketing officer, Paisabazaar, and was chaired by Saumya Jain,

Essentially, affiliate marketing involves incentivizing affiliates with a commission or payout to drive a business action, such as a click or purchase. The practice began with blogs, websites, and email but has since expanded to include social media and e-commerce platforms.

Vashishtha observed that while affiliate marketing was one of the most profitable and RoI-positive ways for online businesses to grow, it didn’t take long for bad actors to leverage it for fraud. Affiliates with malicious intent began generating traffic for brands using any means necessary to earn a commission.

The practice started losing its appeal until the explosion of the creator economy and the rise of influencers. Additionally, improvements in technology and the emergence of attribution models like multi-touch attribution or view-through attribution started bringing transparency into the affiliate marketing model.

Jaiswal remarked that affiliate marketing in India is still nascent compared to global platforms, where many end publishers are not directly accessible to advertisers. He said, “With technology, many fraud-related concerns like click hijacking, app install hijacking, and click spam can be controlled by your mobile measurement partner (MMP) or attribution partner.”

However, despite technological advancements, brands still run the risk of being visible in an unsafe environment due to the way affiliate marketing models are structured. While advertisers primarily engage with larger affiliate networks, campaigns might be outsourced to smaller publishers, networks, and individuals, making it challenging to map where conversions are coming from. Additionally, smaller publishers or creators may create clickbait content or reach out to irrelevant audiences simply to drive traffic or act with malicious intent, harming the brand’s reputation.

Vashishtha stated, “You can go back to the affiliate network and ban the publisher, but it is still very difficult to work with the ecosystem the way it is now. We prefer to work with large publishers or content creators directly.”

By working directly with publishers or creators, brands can see how content gets created and deployed to generate conversions. Jaiswal suggested that brands could share a high volume of assets with affiliates directly to test their effectiveness and ensure that the brand positioning and messaging remain consistent.

While it is not entirely avoidable to discourage malicious activity, Jaiswal opined that assigning realistic key performance indicators (KPIs) while designing the campaign can automatically rule out any fraud from the equation. He said, “Marketers could leverage a combination of hard KPIs and soft KPIs, where soft KPIs can be click-to-conversion rate, sign-up-to-purchase rate, and hard KPIs could be cost-to-purchase or cost-to-sign-up.”

Affiliate marketing has its fair share of challenges; however, the ecosystem is continuously evolving. With new technologies like AI, affiliate marketing initiatives will become sharper and more targeted.

  • Published On Dec 9, 2023 at 05:03 PM IST

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First, AI came for Sports Illustrated. Soon, it will want to give you sports betting advice



First, AI came for Sports Illustrated. Soon, it will want to give you sports betting advice

Open this photo in gallery:

Real Sports Bar and Grill in Toronto on Nov. 24, 2016.Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

When Sports Illustrated was outed last week for its alleged use of generative AI to create online articles – and, even worse, for topping them with fake bylines and AI author headshots – readers of the legendary glossy were appalled and disappointed at how the mighty had fallen.

But there was one element of the story that largely got lost amid the outrage, and it hints at an even darker prospect of what lies ahead for sports media and fans.

The SI pieces in question were product reviews: Inoffensive rankings of say, seven brands of volleyballs, which included links to Amazon that a reader could click on if they suddenly felt the urge to take up the sport. So, not only was the editorial copy generated by fake people, it was actually fake editorial copy. It was real advertising.

The practice of peppering editorial content with commercial links – known in the business as affiliate marketing – is a mainstay of Internet advertising, from movie reviews that direct readers to online ticketing sites, to podcasters and TikTok influencers giving out discount codes for listeners or viewers to buy merch from specific retailers.

But affiliate marketing has exploded in recent years in one notorious segment of the industry – sports betting, and its gush of ad dollars that are falling on a desperate media sector like rain on a parched prairie.

Affiliate sites that funnel new customers to online gambling operators are raking in the cash because of a quirk in that segment of the business – and they’re doing it on the backs of those new bettors.

In the spring of 2021, the Canadian sports media startup Playmaker Capital went public on the TSX Venture Exchange and quickly began scooping up digital properties with large followings that the company believed could be converted to bettors. When I interviewed Playmaker’s CEO, Jordan Gnat, shortly after shares began trading, he said he wanted to be in “the fan monetization business.”

There were tens of millions to monetize. The company began by buying soccer-focused sites in Latin America such as Bolavip, which targeted fans in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Central America and the United States, then expanded into the English-language North American market with the newsletter publisher and aggregator Yardbarker. Here in Canada it bought The Nation Network, which operates the hockey fantasy site, Daily Faceoff, and the Quebec-based La Poche Bleue.

But last month, Playmaker went from the hunter to the hunted when Better Collective, an affiliate-marketing giant based in Denmark that Gnat had cited to me as an inspiration for his company, gobbled it up for about $260-million.

The flurry of activity is partly because affiliate marketers who funnel customers to sportsbooks are an entirely different beast. They’re not just making one-time commissions, as they would if they were helping to sell concert tickets or tennis racquets or fly traps. Instead, they get a percentage of the sportsbook’s net revenue made from any new bettor.

“Net revenue” is another term for “total lifetime losses by a new bettor.”

Forget the pennies that digital ads are infamous for bringing in. If a site converts a reader or listener or viewer into a regular gambler – that is, a regular loser – the payday can be hundreds of dollars or more.

Here’s where it might occur to you that the incentives for a site to give you good betting advice might clash with that same site’s incentive to get you to sign up with a sports book and then lose a lot of money.

You would not be wrong.

In the social-media industry, there’s a saying that if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product. In the world of affiliate marketing, you are the product – the one that’s being sold to the sportsbooks. But boy, are you paying for it.

An academic paper published in January, 2020, in International Gambling Studies titled Affiliate Marketing of Sports Betting – A Cause for Concern? points out that many sites aren’t transparent about their duelling allegiances. It also notes that “people assign greater levels of trust to expert advice during decision-making tasks involving financial risk. This may be a particular concern for those who are just beginning to gamble upon sport, as they may be more inclined to rely on expert advice on bet choice due to their lack of experience.” Newbies may be especially susceptible, given that affiliates position themselves as being on the side of the bettor, when in fact they’re being paid by the sportsbook.

Which brings us full circle back to where we started. Generative AI is notoriously bad at a lot of things, including getting facts straight. But it’s very good at sounding confident, even as it bluffs its way through life.

And it’s about to use its charms to lull you into thinking you can beat the house.

Last May, Lloyd Danzig, the managing partner at the New York-based venture-capital company Sharp Alpha Advisors, noted in a piece for Sports Business Journal that publishers doing affiliate marketing for sportsbooks, “will soon leverage generative AI to instantly create thousands of SEO-optimized articles that discuss the current day’s calendar of games, betting trends, stories to follow, and sportsbook promotions. Pregame previews, postgame summaries, and highlight reels can be created on command without the use of specialized software or manual oversight. Articles, sportsbook reviews, and odds comparison pieces can be generated for any audience, with a fraction of the effort required from human writers.”

Think we’re already swamped with sports betting content? You haven’t seen anything yet.

Après ChatGPT, le déluge.

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