I just spent the past couple of days attending Affiliate Summit. This was the first time I attended an Affiliate Summit and it was an interesting experience with it's ups and downs to say the least. So I thought I'd write an Affiliate Summit Review letting people know what I thought of the event.
The conference has been quite a lot to absorb the past few days and I learned a lot. Mainly that people that particpate in affiliate marketing and go to affiliate marketing conferences, you know affiliate marketers, are unhelpful, selfish, annoying, and really kind of difficult to deal w.
To make understanding what Affiliate Summit is about and what you get when you go , I've broken it down into easy to understand sections. This will also help better share my review, recap, and thoughts about attending Affiliate Summit in this Affiliate Summit Review. (In case you were wondering this is not a positive review.)
Why attend Affiliate Summit?
The main benefit of attending Affiliate Summit, like most conferences, is networking and meeting new people and companies that can hopefully grow your online business and ventures and take them to the next level.
This is the main reason I spent my money to go Affiliate Summit. I wanted to connect with companies and people that could help me figure out different revenue streams besides what I've used before. The nice thing about Affialte Summit is that this is everyone else goal too, to make more money.
Affiliate Summit has a Meet Market to help facilitate this during the conference. This is where companies setup booths and hawk their programs to potential clients and affiliates. Think of it like “speed dating” but for making business contacts. While the Meet Market was a bit chaotic and I spent many hours talking with different people and companies before I found the right matches.
What is confusing about the Meet Market is that not all the companies that they list in the directory setup and display on the same day. This isn't clear and I was a bit annoyed when I realized this was the case. A few companies I wanted to go talk with on Sunday, when Affiliate Summit East started, were not there so I had to wait until Monday.
There are also talks and sessions during the day you can attend but you must have a VIP or All Access past to go all of them. If you have a Networking Plus Pass, like I did, technically you are only allowed to go to one a day. In addition if you are new to Affiliate Summit there is a Newbie Affiliate Marketing Lab (of course I didn't find that all that useful) and a “Meet the Experts” session which was good.
What Type of People attend Affiliate Summit?
A wide range of people show up, this includes;
- Companies looking to get into affiliate marketing and attract affiliates into their programs.
- People or companies looking to buy web traffic.
- People or companies looking to sell traffic.
- Online publishers and bloggers searching for partnerships.
- Affiliate marketing program managers trying to attract new affiliates.
- SEO (search engine optimization) specialists and SEM (search engine marketers).
- Media agencies that handle social media.
- and even more.
This year they were 4,500+ attendees at Affiliate Summit East 2013, so you can imagine a lot of different people went. I heard many people speaking foreign languages at Affiliate Summit. I met people from Israel, China, Canada, Spain, and Germany. So people come from all over the country and world to attend.
The majority of the age group that goes, from what I can tell, are in the 21-30 year old crowd. There are older people and executives that attend but the organizers seem to want to cater to a young and hip crowd. This was clear by some of the attractive girls working the front new attendee registration desk.
I met some interesting and helpful people at Affiliate Summit, but FYI there were few and far between. Do you have a bad opinion about affiliate and internet marketers? If you think attending Affiliate Summit will change your mind about them, it won't. It will only make you more jaded.
One guy that came up to me was trying to sell me on his payday loan affiliate network. Eck! Not only was I definitely not interested but I didn't even bother to use the energy to say I wasn't interested. I just walked away and didn't say anything. While this might be rude I don't want to associate myself with anything to do with payday loans.
There were several other companies there that work in that space too. Additionally a lot of the affiliate programs there were for other shady shit. For instance browser spyware downloads but… hey you earn $1.50 a download.
I personally don't' want to be involved with these companies. Clearly a lot of people at Affiliate Summit have absolutely no problem with it. And internet and affiliate marketers wonder why they have a bad reputation? Stop bitching! You let these assfucks into your affiliate marketing conference.
FYI I wasn't the only person there who thought this. Talking with a lot of other attendees they shared my views (and more importantly morals). Even other ad networks I had meetings with seem to be aware of the spammers, scammers, and trolls making the rounds at Affiliate Summit. They made it clear they have legitimate products and want to branch-out to more bloggers and online publishers.
It takes a lifetime to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. Affiliate Marketers reputation for me was ruined in less than 30 seconds while talking with some of these companies and people.
What will I learn at Affiliate Summit?
This really depends on you as a person and what you came to Affiliate Summit for. I wanted to learn about lead generation companies and how I could work with them. In addition I wanted to get a lot of advice about improving web traffic and SEO (search engine optimization).
The talks might fill some of your learning and education needs but some of them probably won't. I am pretty good at picking good talks to attend and luckily the 2 our of the 3 sessions I want to I felt were worth my time. Talking with some other attendees a lot of people said that wasn't the case, since they were more interested in detailed info which the presenter did not provide.
Really the learning comes back to networking. I learned more from having casual conversations with people. I meet a guy from the England who knows a lot about email list building and making money from these huge email lists. He has over 90,000+ subscribers and makes a full-time living doing it. He was telling me a lot about what he does with his list which was waaay more valuable than anything I heard heard at previous talks on email marketing.
His email lists are so profitable he bought a Cessna. In addition he bought and built a kit plane which he flew 15,000 hours around Europe. All working from home. How freakin awesome is that?
Also I hungout with a local SEO expert who used to work with SEER Interactive in Philadelphia. (He was moving back to Salt Lake City.) He taught me a couple things about local SEO that I did not know and we had some nice conversations about our web projects we want to launch, domain names, and topics related to the internet and web marketing.
There was still a lot I thought I would learn at Affiliate Summit though which I didn't get though. Hopefully they will work on improving that.
How is the Venue and Location?
What made the experience even less fun for me was I really don't like Philadelphia. Walking around I don't find it a particularly attractive city. It feels like the city planners forgot to consider whether certain buildings would mesh sitting next to each other. Also a good majority of the streets really smell which is big negative for me. On top of that the only friendly people from Philly I talked with was Ben, from SEER Interactive, and the workers at the hotel. Ben wasn't a native to Philly and of course the hotel staff will be nice, so that doesn't count. Also I hate the Eagles. (Ravens are the only birds I root for. )
Considering how much money they charge and how long the organizers have been doing Affiliate Summits I assumed they would have a lot more things nailed down. They did move Affiliate Summit East from New York City to Philadelphia this year. It seemed like they were not quite aware of how best to setup in the Philadelphia Convention Center most of the signs were not clear. The nice thing was there was a lot of open space for tables which facilitated networking and talking.
I think for next year it would be nice if they moved it out of Philadelphia. I noticed that Baltimore was a possibility and Charlotte were options. I think either city would be much more ideal as I prefer smaller cities but not Philly.
How are the Affiliate Summit Parites?
The parties are well planned, executed, and organized. Since the Affiliate Summit Parties seem to get pretty wild it seems that is why a lot of people attend. They have open bars which are taken advantage of readily. In addition Busta Rhymes and Evander Holyfield were at the party on Monday night. I guess this is important if you want to go to parties with celebrities.
When I was sitting down talking with an ad network that specializes in content locking the company rep told me, “Yeah I've never seen people get so wasted.” He mentioned that he went to the parties but had a lot of meetings, which were later cancelled due to people being hungover.
The thing is partying was not really my concern and why I showed up to Affiliate Summit East 2013. Sure, I had a few beers and fun but I wasn't going to get wasted. My main goal was learning and networking as much as possible. I'll have plenty of opportunities to get drunk if I want to in the future.
Would you Return to Affiliate Summit?
I talked with a lot of people, that I didn't want to, and overall it was NOT a positivie experience for me. What I wanted to get out of Affiliate Summit I didn't and I wouldn't see a reason to go back again unless I was invited to be a speaker. I doubt that will happen because of this honest Affiliate Summit review and recap. I believe too many people are hungover to actually realize it is not a a good conference.
They do charge a pretty good amount for these tickets and a lot of the people that bought VIP and All Access passes felt it was worth it.
Final Thoughts about Affiliate Summit
Bottom line for me is I thought Affiliate Summit was a huge waste of my time and money. I wouldn't use my resources on a Networking Plus Pass, airfare, hotels, and other expenses to attend again.
While you might read a lot of positive opinions about Affiliate Summit, keep in most of those people probably came to go to the parties. So of course they are going to write positive things about it… they were drunk.
When I spend my time and money to attend a conference I expect to learn A LOT I don't already know. From what I can tell a lot of people are regurgitating the same BS info which I don't need to hear. I need to hear the tricks they know, but probably don't want to share, to really take myself to the next level.
If you attended Affiliate Summit East, or another Affiliate Summit before, what do you think about it? Did you enjoy it or dislike it? Would you go again in the future or was once enough? Did you learn anything or find that you were teaching other people?