One of the biggest perks to being an Affiliate Manager is attending the affiliate conferences and Affiliate Summit is by far my favorite affiliate marketing conference. Each year there are usually two Affiliate Summit conferences. In January there’s Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas and in September there’s Affiliate Summit East in New York City. This year Shawn Collins, the founder of Affiliate Summit, decided to do another conference in his hometown of Austin, Texas and we decided at PeerFly that we needed to have a presence there so Davey and I flew out on Monday afternoon to see how it would go.
Affiliate Summit Central was small
The last Affiliate Summit, ASW12 in January, had over 5,000 attendees. Affiliate Summit Central I believe had about 400-500 people attending. It was about 10% the size of a normal Affiliate Summit. When I was walking around talking to people that I had met at previous Affiliate Summit conferences, it seemed like everyone said the same thing. It was “weird” for an Affiliate Summit to be so small. There was no large exhibit hall, but instead just some tables setup around a multipurpose room. I say multipurpose because it was the room they served breakfast/lunch in and also the room that everyone would hang out in between sessions. It definitely felt weird, but it was also pretty functional.
Image from Shawn Collin’s Facebook
The sessions were okay
We were not really sure what to expect as far as a turnout for Affiliate Summit Central so PeerFly decided not to exhibit. We have exhibited at the past three Affiliate Summit conferences, but for this one we decided to just get passes so we could network and go to the sessions. I don’t think I’ve gone to a session at Affiliate Summit since ASE10, but it was nice to be able to participate in the sessions at ASC. Some of the sessions were lame and didn’t have a lot of great content (or at least I wasn’t interested in the content), but there were a few that I really enjoyed. One that had a ton of value in my opinion was the Search Engine Optimization Q&A. There were three SEO experts who were basically taking questions from the audience. Now, because we are internet nerds and socially awkward, they had a system setup so you could text in your questions rather than having to ask in front of a room full of around 100 people. Nearly all the questions they took were from the text messages coming in (including two of my own. haha!) and it was a very interesting discussion.
The parties were great
Having graduated college about a year ago, I’ve attended a party or two. There is nothing that opens people up more than getting a little bit of alcohol in their system. That includes me. So, needless to say, I throughly enjoy the parties held at the different Affiliate Summit conferences. Even though Affiliate Summit Central was a lot smaller than the normal Affiliate Summit, there was no lack in the party experience. The parties were absolutely great and I had an awesome time hanging out and mingling with publishers, clients, and random people I don’t remember. Thankfully, I never forget to get a business card :)
One of the things Davey and I discussed on our flight back home was whether or not ASC12 was worth the money and if we should attend it again next year (if there is one). The decision…yes. Although the conference was a lot smaller than normal, there were many great contacts to be made and even without the contacts, just having a presence can be worth it. There were a lot of people there that we are already working with at PeerFly and meeting up with those people was great. Building a person relationship helps build trust and sometimes that’s all it takes to get the traffic or offer.
I am looking forward to Affiliate Summit East in August. If you’re a serious affiliate marketer I suggest you start saving now for airfare and a pass. If you have any questions or want to discuss conferences more feel free to contact me. Now, time to get back to work and make some money!