I attended Affcon 2010 several weeks ago and I’m finally getting around to putting my thoughts about it on my site. This is the first time I’ve ever been to an affiliate specific conference, but I have been to a couple of internet marketing conferences before such as SES and Pubcon.
The conference took place over three days, the first two being free for all affiliates and the third day being a paid workshop day. Affiliates are sponsored by the various affiliate networks at the show in order to attend but there was a page for people to pay for passes too. Everyone I talked to there got in free, so I’m not sure who would have had to pay to get in, but as long as I got in at no cost, that’s all that matters 🙂
I didn’t actually network with many people because I was still trying to work during the short breaks between sessions when I could so that I wouldn’t fall too far behind at my job, but it seemed to me like most of the attendees were actually small business owners or people who were just getting into affiliate marketing. The crowd seemed to be fairly basic, except for one guy who kept raising his hand to tell the crowd about Gary Vanerchuk and his huge success online. It was probably Gary himself, who knows.
The Sessions and the Presenters
The very first session of the conference started with a keynote from Joel Comm. I’m not normally a fan of keynotes and I had originally planned on skipping it, but I’m glad I didn’t because it was really good. Joel Comm is a great speaker and kept things interesting the entire time.
I was actually really excited for the keynote on the second day too, because I knew it was going to be Shoemoney talking. To my disappointment, it was Shoemoney asking questions of Aaron Baker of Atrinsic Interactive. It wasn’t bad, but I would have preferred it be the other way around. They covered a lot and answered a lot of interesting questions related to affiliate marketing. Aaron Baker kept getting really quiet at the end of each sentence so that kinda sucked. He starts loud and gets quieter and quieter as he speaks.
I saw Shoemoney out-and-about with other conference-goers after his keynote too, so that was really cool of him. That’s one affiliate marketer that you could learn a ton from, I’m sure.
Tim Ash also had a really good session about conversion optimization (his specialty) on the second day. He’s just as entertaining as Joel Comm was, so that session was a lot of fun. He also mentioned a whole bunch of really cool tools to use so I think everyone got a lot out of that one. One guy even got $20 just for answering one of Tim’s questions.
Jordan Kasteler of Search and Social (now Blueglass Media) had one of the best and most interesting presentations I’ve seen at any conference. He went through lots of ideas and tactics and wasn’t afraid to talk about black/grayhat stuff. That’s rare. Most people are afraid to let anyone know that they’ve even dabbled in the grey hat side of marketing.
I Would Have Liked to See…
While there was some talk about the Colorado affiliate tax (in Shoemoney’s keynote and various other sessions), nobody really seems to completely understand it yet. This is definitely something that affiliates need to gain knowledge on still, myself included. There actually was a session about this but from what I heard, even the CO. State Representative on the panel didn’t really get it. Sad 🙁
One session titled “Building The Best Model For Your Affiliate Business” was the best session I attended and was probably the first one that focused almost entirely on affiliate marketing. The discussed in-depth the various business models available to marketers such as membership sites, email marketing, review sites, etc. I really learned a lot from this one.
Too be completely honest, a lot of the sessions were pretty boring. Most of them were presentations that were about SEO and didn’t really relate to affiliate marketing at all. I understand that affiliates need to do SEO too, but I was really hoping for this conference to hit on advanced topics in the affiliate marketing industry. Maybe I just made bad choices in the sessions I attended.
There is one session that I really wish someone would have covered. I would’ve loved to see a session about managing taxes, payroll, income, etc. as an affiliate marketer. I’ve never seen one presentation on something like this, perhaps due to legalities of the topic, but I think even general info would be helpful to a lot of marketers.
One last gripe. There were no freakin’ plugins in the session rooms!
Anyway, I had a lot of fun at Affcon 2010 this year and hope to go again next year. I think I’ll choose sessions that are the opposite of my first choices. Just like George Costanza did to get his job at the Yankees.