Affiliate Summit East 2011 Recap
Affiliate Summit East 2011 was the largest one to date with nearly 4,000 attendees. The show kicked off to a quick start and ended with what many attendees would consider the best Affiliate Summit theyâ€™ve experienced. A ton of new faces joined experienced webmasters, bloggers, and agencies from other industries ready to learn about affiliate marketing and whether itâ€™s an appropriate channel for their own companies. I think that almost everyone who attended would agree that Affiliate Summit is one show that they will continue to go to year after year.
The thing that I love about affiliate marketing and that Affiliate Summit always proves is that itâ€™s a growing channel. From watching events like the Buy.at party at the Kimberly Hotel or the ShareASale Under the Stars Barn Dance grow to hosting hundreds of people, or even just the sessions with amazing attendance compared to other shows, Affiliate Summit is a place where people go to learn. Attendees openly ask questions and other session attendees usually jump in to help answer questions. The panels give an overflow of advice, sometimes good and sometimes bad depending on your opinions of topics like adware or trademark bidding, and everyone walks away with information overload.
Affiliate Summit started on August 21 with the Meet Market and numerous sessions. The presentations started in the morning and continued throughout the day. My presentation,Â â€œAre Your Affiliates Adding Value?â€ went from 11 a.m. to noon and when it was over, I quickly headed over to the Meet Market.
The Meet Market is a smaller version of an expo hall, but on steroids. Itâ€™s like power dating in that you walk from table to table talking to merchants, CPA networks, affiliate networks, and everyone else for a couple minutes. Â You also get to pick up party and event tickets during the Meet Market for the rest of the show. Itâ€™s usually packed tight, but is also one of the top places to network since everyone is fresh and ready to go. After the Meet Market wrapped up, I went to meet with some affiliates to talk about my new programs and get ready for the ShareASale Barn Dance.
Monday started out with an extremely early white boarding session by Eric Nagel. Not only was this a great session because people could submit their websites for Ericâ€™s review, but they also got reviewed by the people in the room. This is pretty much like a giant site clinic but instead of only getting opinions from a panel, you get a ton of experts giving you advice and feedback for free. People like Todd Farmer, Sean Dolan, Tricia Meyers, and many others were in there basically consulting for free. The amount of money in advice you get for free is insane, and if you ever wanted to see what people thought of your site, this is one place to get it. After the white boarding session, I went to a few more meetings and got ready for lunch.
If you have ever met Missy Ward, then you know she will never settle for anything less than perfect when it comes to her show and the food. The food at Summit, compared to other shows, is 5-star trade show dining. That’s what I love about Affiliate Summit; Missy selects awesome food that puts other showsâ€™ meals to shame. This year we had bacon, eggs, and tons of other things for breakfast. A huge selection of salads, entrees, and even dim sum appeared for lunch. On one day they even organized an afternoon snack. The food compared to other shows is the best that Iâ€™ve had and itâ€™s because Missy and Shawn Collins really pay attention to every last detail.
What I enjoyed most about Affiliate Summit is that I set a goal to meet 20 new people each day. At some shows you can wander around all day and barely meet that goal. At Affiliate Summit you can wander around for an hour and meet 20 new people who have diverse backgrounds, experience levels, and are all willing and excited to talk to you. Not only was I able to make the 20 new people benchmark, but I completely surpassed it.
One last thing that stands out with Affiliate Summit are the amounts of people that attend sessions. One thing that makes Affiliate Summit unique is that Missy and Shawn have the attendees vote on the sessions and panels that they would like to see at the show. Not only does this help increase session attendance, but it also gets people excited to go and participate. The sessions are usually fuller than other shows I have been to and because you can text in questions anonymously as well as ask into a microphone, people are less intimidated to ask questions and you get a lot more participation.
Affiliate Summit is an excellent show and my brain is still in information overload. The amount of business cards and contacts you walk out with and want to follow up with is incredible. If you read the reviews each time a show ends and are always considering going but never commit to it, I highly recommend you put everything else aside and try to make the west show at Caesar’s Palace in January 2012. Affiliate Summit is a great place to learn about the good, the bad, and everything in-between in the affiliate industry.