I just got back from Affiliate Summit West ’10, my first time attending a conference dominated by the performance marketing industry. I’m already getting asked left and right, was it worth going?
Let me first say this: there are a lot of people out there who chirp sunshine and rainbows at you every time you talk to them. Everything’s GREAT, they’re always SUPER excited, their business is doing AMAZING and you should TOTALLY buy that product because it’s soooo helpful!
I am not one of those people. I’d rather be credible than be Pollyanna.
So rest assured, if I recommend something on my site, I have a good reason for it other than trying to line my pockets with cash. (Not that I won’t sell you shit. I’ll sell you shit left and right. I AM a marketer, after all.)
With all that said, was Affiliate Summit worth going to?
Categorically, unequivocally, yes it was worth it. I think if you’re in the beginner/intermediate stages of affiliate marketing, you must go to Affiliate Summit at least once. If you’re an advanced affiliate marketer — well, you’ve probably already been.
Here’s why: if all you’re doing is sitting alone in front of your PC, IM’ing with a couple of your affiliate managers, posting to PPC Coach or AffiliIt, you’ll never understand the breadth and diversity of this industry.
PPC? CPV? SEO? Web site? No web site? CPA? CPS? Lead gen? Rev share? Everyone is here. In every category, there’s someone banking HARD.
I met a guy who sells pool cleaning equipment, for Christ’s sake. His company just rolled out an affiliate program, so there he was, at Affiliate Summit. How many businesses out there have affiliate programs you’ll never hear of unless you get to a conference like this and mingle with people? How many thousands of affiliate business models are represented at this conference, which you’ll never know exist unless you go? What if you’ve got an idea rolling around in your head, but you’re not sure it’ll work, while meanwhile someone out there has already made a million bucks off of it? What if the AM at your network is a dickhead, but you’re afraid to piss him off because you haven’t realized there are five hundred other networks out there begging for your business?
Seeing everything on offer at this conference removes the fear. It bolsters your resolve. It drives home the point that there a million and one ways to build a business online, and if these guys can do it, so can you.
Anyone who hasn’t been to Affiliate Summit should go at least once for that reason. There are great opportunities for networking and education, too, but this is the dealmaker.
The only person who maybe shouldn’t go to this conference is the guy who won’t take any action. If you’re not already launching campaigns, I’m not sure attending a conference will change his behavior. It’ll just feel weird because everyone around him is banking hard and he isn’t. I don’t know, maybe that would be a good kick in the pants. But it’s not really designed for people who are still at the stage of asking “Durr, can you really make money online?” Practically every one of the thousands of attendees is already doing it.