Live Blogging the Jason Calacanis Keynote at Affiliate Summit
I’ll be live blogging the Jason Calacanis keynote from the Affiliate Summit here. Check back in for updates.
9:56am MC Jim Kukral is showing a “survival guide” video and doing intro’s.
10:05am Jim is reminding everyone of Jason Calacanis’ infamous “SEO is bullshit” incident.
10:06am “Affiliate marketing is bullshit. Thank you.” Calacanis
10:07am Calacanis is remarking about the first iterations of web spam in the mid 90’s. Looks like we’re going down the “affiliate spam is a problem and Mahalo will solve it path.”
10:08am “We’re polluting the pond. Are we going to pollute it so bad that we destroy it, like Usenet?”
10:10am Calacanis is invoking Seth Godin’s Squidoo service and remarking about the large amount of content on Squidoo that is stolen and is overpopulated with “affiliate spam“. Why does Squidoo even exists? It exists to pollute the internet. There is nothing of value there.”
10:13am “Anyone here from PayPerPost? You need to kill yourself. I’m kidding. Well, I wouldn’t mind it if you did.”
10:15am “Affiliate people doing spam can abuse these systems only so much before they collapse.”
10:15am “We’re tolerant of these people polluting the web. Affiliate companies are enabling the polluters of the well and turning a blind eye.”
10:15am Calacanis calls out Commission Junction for not doing enough to stop the spammers because turning a blind eye is good business.
10:17am Calacanis blows a kiss to an audience member who is from Angie’s List because he and his wife love it so much b/c of the absence of spam there due to the high barrier to entry.
10:18am Demonstrating the evolution of web content platforms from open to highly curated (Wikipedia, Facebook, etc)
10:20am “Long term hard work and investment makes you more money in the long term.” Duh. But still good advice.
10:20am “Truth is, much of this affiliate stuff is bullshit ponzi scheme where people got lucky and made a lot of money not doing much.”
10:22am “The internet has turned into a criminal mindset game.
10:22am Calacanis busting Shoemoney, Zac Johnson and the guys who post their earning checks.
10:24am “The good American way is through hard work, long hours and cultivation.”
10:25am Calacanis explaining how Engadget’s hard work and content cultivation led to their success instead of trying to game the system or use SEO. Gives example of how they ranked higher than companies they were reporting on.
10:27am “The semantic web is a way to confuse people by making them feel as if they are too stupid to build good sites.”
10:28am “Gamers are getting smarter and smarter.” True, but I think users are too.
10:28am “You guys think small. Holding up a 6 figure check is just pathetic. That’s your industry’s biggest success? Really?”
10:29am “SEO’s and affiliate gamers are some of the smartest, most resourceful people on the web.”
10:31am “What should affiliates do? Stay the course. Keep polluting the web. Increase the complexity of your gaming. Find new ways to covertly advertise. Be more creative in the use of malware and adware.” That’s Calacanis’ “selfish” version.
10:32am “But seriously, realize you’re at the bottom of the food chain and fight up. Create loving, long-term relationships with users based on high-quality content and services. Give up a life of crime and instead of holding up 100k checks hold up checks with 2 or 3 more zeroes. Realize that you guys are smarter than half the folks working at large internet companies.”
10:34am “Someone in this room could create the next digg, StumbleUpon, Flickr, etc.” Vinny Lingham says he already has with Synthasite.
10:35am “None of you probably will create these companies because you’re wired for the quick buck.”
10:37am “Human powered search failed until… next time.”
And that’s a wrap. Now it’s time for audience questions
10:40am First question was “Aren’t you a hypocrite because you spam your social graph with LinkedIn, Facebook, etc? What is your contribution?” Calacanis responds “I created weblogs, inc which now ranks high. I paid them well, let them have their voice and create top content without having to worry about advertising. I did Propeller which has a layer of curatorial. I evolved the social news space. Kevin Rose copied me by bringing in editors to help with Digg. Mahalo’s premise is to create spam free search results. I’ve made a career of building high quality sites.”
10:44am Calacanis explaining how they are outsourcing good content at Mahalo through the greenhouse.
10:45am Adam Viener asks what kind of affiliate stuff does Jason think is not spam. Jason responds “I’ve never been fond of the kind of advertising that isn’t disclosed like affiliate links. I’m an old school editor and if you make money about what you link to, then you’re going to write about things that make you more money. The fact that affiliate links are not disclosed is a big problem to me. And the fact that search engines are junked up with affiliate spam is a big problem to me.”
10:47am Guy who wrote a post about how awesome Mahalo is because his grandmother uses it gives Jason a softball.
I think he was a plant. I’ve never seen him before. Fluffer. Jason takes a swing and is explaining how Mahalo is bigger and better than Jesus because it’s so easy to find great content.
10:49am “If you run an affiliate site, you should be scared to death of me because we’re going to take your rank by making better content.” Fun point to consider!
10:51am “You guys have to start cleaning up the affiliate industry. I could care less what you do, b/c the more you screw up the better it will be for Mahalo. Please pollute the web because it only makes Mahalo a more desirable service. Make Google and Yahoo worse! Better for me!!”
10:53am Jay Berkowitz from Ten Golden Rules asks Jason how he’s built such a powerful personal brand. Jason says he creates discussions and that the best way to go is to be yourself. Engage other people and create dialogue. “I make myself ultimately accessible. I have an ego feed and I’ll see your post and check it out. If you’re in affiliate marketing, read their blogs, respond to them and all of a sudden you’re in the conversation. Contribute something positive and valuable and you’ll get noticed.” That’s completely true, btw. Best thing Jason’s said all morning, I believe. So, make sure to comment here so I’ll know who you are.
10:56am “Talk about other people more than yourself.” Tris Hussey sitting beside me almost died choking.
10:57am Someone in the back asks Jason how Mahalo makes money. Calacanis responds “The good content model combined with contextual ads. With 10,000 page views, we break even on creating a page which costs about $15 or $20.”
11:00am “I think this has been good for all of us. There was a lot of tension going in, but I think it’s gone well.”
11:01am “Build something and the capital will find you. Put some money on a credit card and build something good. Capital will find you.”
11:02am “It’s hard to do good work. It’s hard to make money. I’m not saying you have to buy into Silicon Valley hype, but you should try to build something of substance that people love.”Apologies to Jeremy Botter who had the Mahalo grandmother question earlier. He’s not a plant (see comments).
11:05 Wine Library TV’s Gary Vaynerchuk asks Jason when he will attempt to buy the Knicks after he sells Mahalo. Calacanis responds it’s in the cards and a dream.
11:06 Debbi from Market Leverage asks Jason what his problem is with people posting big affiliate checks. Calacanis responds “I want you to understand how your affiliate industry is looked at. It’s not looked at with high regards and these check guys reinforce that.”
“Those guys are smart, but holding a check up is just uncouth. There’s a huge disparity between the affiliate knowledge base and how you get paid. In the Valley, it’s the opposite. The difference is what you put on the plate. They are thinking about making great product. You are thinking about making great profit. If you guys tried to build better product, you would add 0’s to those checks. All you have to do is get 10 or 20 million people coming to your site every month. It’s such a waste. You guys are chasing your tails. Run the marathon, not the sprint.”
11:10am Someone asks Jason how he expects to compete with Google. Jason reinforces the mantra that Mahalo is not a Google competitor but is trying to build a high quality content site that isn’t a “life of crime” mentality platform like the search engines which turn blind eyes to spam.”
11:12am “If you have a great product that people love, they will buy it. Develop a relationship with advertisers that doesn’t involve the product. Get them involved without a hard sale.” True. That’s how I do sponsorship here, btw. So…
11:13am Jim Kukral has taken the stage and is pushing Jason off the stage. Glad b/c my Macbook has 1 min of battery left.
That’s a wrap… thanks for reading! Should be fun to see the responses from the affiliate community!