My Affiliate Summit wrap-up post is going to be a little different for ASW17 because this year I came home from Las Vegas with two awards including Affiliate Manager of the Year.
I have been writing Affiliate Summit wrap-up posts for years now. For example, the last one I wrote about ASW16 in New York or the time I almost died at Affiliate Summit in 2013. However, I have never left Affiliate Summit with an award. Here’s how it all happened…
ASW17 started out like most Affiliate Summits do. The PeerFly team and I strutted into McCarran International Airport to the exciting sounds of slot machines and people losing their hard earned money in those slot machines.
This year, our friends at Affiliate Summit had arranged for a limo to pick us up at the airport. This was really cool and a nice gesture from Shawn and Missy, the founders of Affiliate Summit.
We hopped in our limo and it took us to the Paris Hotel, which is where we were staying and also where the conference was being held.
I really like the Paris because the rooms are pretty nice, the food is fantastic (more on that below), and it’s a short distance from your room to area where the conference is being held, which is the main reason you’re there to begin with.
I’ve stayed at hotels outside of the conference hotel and it is a pain, especially when you’re exhibiting at the conference.
I lost some money at the Paris blackjack tables that night, but we all went to bed fairly early because we knew we had a big couple of days coming up and you do not want to start the conference tired.
We flew in to Vegas on Saturday and the first official day of the conference is Sunday. On Sunday, we had a nice breakfast, picked up our passes (the photo above), and setup the PeerFly booth in the Exhibit Hall.
Sunday afternoon is the Meet Market. PeerFly has had a table in the Meet Market before, but this year we decided to just do a booth in the Exhibit Hall.
The Meet Market is fun to walk around and I had some great conversations with friends in the industry. It’s typically really busy in the Meet Market, but it’s really the only thing going on during that time so grab a drink, walk around, and be patient.
After we were done at the Meet Market, the PeerFly team met up and we played some electronic blackjack and roulette. I am not sure most companies go to conferences like Affiliate Summit as a team building exercise, but we always have a great time together. There is a lot of value in growing together as a team (even while losing money doing it).
Once we had all lost enough money, we headed to the Eiffel Tower restaurant for dinner.
First, I apologize for the dark photo. I did not want to be “that guy” taking a photo with my flash on in the dimly lit fancy restaurant.
The Eiffel Tower restaurant has one of the best views I’ve seen in Vegas and really good food. I’m looking forward to taking my wife there on our next trip.
I highly recommend you try it and request a seat by the window so you have the best view possible of the strip and the Bellagio fountain show.
There was a party Sunday night that we like to go to, but our team decided to skip it this year and get to bed early again because Monday is the first day of the Exhibit Hall and we had a lot we needed to do.
The Exhibit Hall at Affiliate Summit is my favorite place to network with other people in the affiliate marketing industry.
Our PeerFly booth (picture above) was pretty simple this year. We had a backdrop with our traditional bird mascot, a tall banner with some information about what we do and why you should want to work with us, and a table full of shirts and other swag with PeerFly’s logo all over it.
Everyone that attends Affiliate Summit loves the shirts we give out at our booth. We are known for our shirts and people who have got one before will stop by to grab a new one and catch up. New people to the conference love the free swag that companies give out and there’s usually a crowd around our booth to talk to our team and get a free shirt.
Exhibiting at Affiliate Summit is a lot of work, but it’s well worth it. PeerFly consistently gets awesome new clients and publishers each time we attend. When we left, I had over 50 new business cards saved on my Evernote (a must use app next time you attend a conference) of people that I know are great leads and could bring a lot of business to PeerFly.
We survived the Exhibit Hall on Monday and Monday night we had dinner with a client we’ve been working with nearly since the beginning of PeerFly. They had not attended an Affiliate Summit in awhile and it was awesome to catch up with them at dinner. Our industry is full of amazing companies and it’s great to get to know the people behind those companies. If you want to have an awesome dinner, schedule one with a good company. Even with Vegas’ prices, it’ll be well worth it.
After dinner, we all headed to the Affiliate Ball. The Affiliate Ball is the “Official Party of Affiliate Summit” and they typically have someone cool headlining the party. For example, this year (and last) they had Snoop Dogg DJ. It’s cool, but I would honestly prefer some lame guy DJ and they use the sponsor’s money to have an open bar. The cost of drinks in Las Vegas is crazy!
During the Affiliate Ball, I was honored with an Affy award. Affiliate Ball gives out a few Affy awards each year “in recognition of outstanding internet achievement” and this year I was given one of the awards.
I appreciate the recognition. I received my award during the VIP hour of the Affiliate Ball and got to give a short “thank you” speech in front of the 1000 or so attendees at the time. Of course, I gave a shoutout to our team at PeerFly.
After I received my Affy, the PeerFly team split up and Travis and I went to play blackjack while everyone else went back to the hotel. After losing more money at the blackjack table and drinking a few too many cherry vodka + cokes, we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep before the final day of the conference.
(my friend Oscar and I during the final day of Affiliate Summit)
Okay, now we’re getting to the juicy part, when I win the Affiliate Manager of the Year!
Tuesday started out a little more groggy than the other days, but I was still ready to go and excited for the last day of the conference.
One of the easiest jobs in the world is working at an Affiliate Summit booth on Tuesday morning (assuming you can get out of bed). Everyone who attends the conference tends to drink too much on Monday night and hardly anyone shows up for the Exhibit Hall until after noon.
So, on Tuesday morning, the PeerFly team and I stood at our booth talking about how much fun the trip had been so far, how many great contacts we had made, all the great meetings we had, and whether or not I was going to win Affiliate Manager of the Year during the Pinnacle Award ceremony.
Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards
Affiliate Summit gives out the Pinnacle Awards once a year. They are described by Affiliate Summit as:
The Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards are most prestigious, competitive honor for the leaders in the affiliate marketing space. Award winners are recognized because they are innovative leaders with vision and influence.
I had been nominated for the Affiliate Manager of the Year Pinnacle Award a few years ago, but did not win. I was nominated again this year and was optimistic that this year was my year.
So, at 11am, Travis and I headed to the keynote where the Pinnacle Awards would be given out. I was nervous, but excited.
The first award given out was Affiliate of the Year and my friend Syed Balkhi won it.
Next, was Affiliate Manager of the Year. I can’t describe the feeling waiting to hear who the winner was and whether or not Shawn Collins was going to announce my name, but having done it twice now, I can say it doesn’t get any easier. Excruciating might be a good word for it, but I’m not sure it does the feeling justice.
Once you are announced the winner, it’s just pure joy.
I am not sure if the award is really the reason I was so happy. I have won awards before.
I believe the difference and the reason I was so happy is because of what the award means to me. I have literally spent nearly half of my 28 years alive working in the affiliate marketing industry and most of those have been managing affiliate accounts.
I’ll be honest, there is nothing sexy about being an Affiliate Manager. As an Affiliate Manager for a large network like PeerFly, you spend most of your day answering questions from people you will never meet and who are likely to never make a dollar for you.
But, I have spent most of my adult life building a great affiliate management program for PeerFly. PeerFly is recognized for our amazing affiliate management. It’s at the core of our business and a big reason why we have been so successful.
I am not saying that to brag. It’s my job to do it and there is a lot more behind-the-scenes than just answering affiliate emails that has caused PeerFly to reach the level of success that we have so far, but being recognized by an industry leader like Affiliate Summit for all of that hard work is a real honor.
After the keynote, we headed back to the Exhibit Hall, finished up the conference, and celebrated that night with an amazing dinner at my favorite restaurant in Las Vegas, Gordon Ramsay Steak in the Paris. Thanks PeerFly for such an awesome meal!
After losing a bit more money at the blackjack tables and getting a good night’s rest, it was finally time to head to the airport and fly back home.
Affiliate Summit West (ASW17) was a conference I will never forget. I appreciate the recognition I received and I could not thank our team at PeerFly enough for giving me the opportunity to do the things I’ve done.
I am really looking forward to Affiliate Summit East this summer and I’m considering speaking again at Affiliate Summit West next year. Hopefully, I’ll see you there!
Let’s make some money!
Speaking of which, here’s a photo I took at ASW17 of John Chow grabbing for money.