I just touched down in Singapore earlier today and although the 14 hour time difference is causing major havoc to my body clock, I figured this is the perfect opportunity to reflect on Affiliate Summit West and the takeaways from having flown 20+ hours around the world to attend.
Thanks to Shawn Collins and Missy Ward who conceptualized Affiliate Summit and have been grown it from strength-to-strength at about 200 participants in the first AS in 2003 till more than 2,000 at the recently concluded ASW.
It was a great opportunity to meet up face-to-face with a number of the online marketers I’d been reading and talking with over the past few months like ShoeMoney, Scott Jangro, Kris Jones, PlanetAndrea, Jon Fisher from WickedFire and Joe Whyte.
Becky “Webmoxy” Ryan was a friendly and intelligent person to talk to (even though I was deep in thought and seemed to have unintentionally ignored her when she called out a few times).
Maura, Robyn, Andrew Wee at the Pepperjam booth
Shoemoney’s assistant Nicole
Webmoxy Becky Ryan
More surprising still was the fact that a number of affiliate managers and affiliates whom I hadn’t met prior to ASW mentioned they enjoyed reading this blog.
Blogging can be a solitary affair and it’s comforting to have face-to-face validation (which gives a human face to the otherwise clinical awstats’ 6000+ monthly uniques).
Although I missed them, perhaps I’ll have a chance to catch up with Super Affiliate Ros Gardner, BlogKits founder Jim Kukral, Sam Harrelson and SleepyBlogger Robyn Tippins at the next event. I heard Neil Patel and Cameron Olthuis had to leave Sunday evening for school, so I probably missed them by a hair.
What I greatly appreciated was the opportunity to meet Mike Krongel and his team over at Copeac. They threw a killer party for the WickedFire folks over at the Caramel Loung in the Bellagio.
It’s a great opportunity to have met up with WickedFire founders Jon and Brandon and WF members like John “I like c**k”, SEO_Mike, chrislingle, lerchmo, jDog, DruSam, Surly, Kaveman, Smaxor, Jon Warass, ExEngima, Rick.
Mike Peters from Software Projects had some interesting stories to tell too.
I’ve been listening to some of the post-ASW buzz and one of the issues I’ve heard is that the workshops didn’t provide good information.
I think the major element of a ‘summit’ is to share ideas. And given the time constraint of a 1.5 hour session, I’d doubt it’s fair to compare AS’ workshop sessions with Elite Retreat or other multiple day workshop focused on a single topic like SEO or list building.
I had the opportunity to speak to merchants making their first foray into affiliate marketing and they seemed to have got basic information to follow up on their efforts.
The biggest benefit of ASW is ‘being there’.
And ShoeMoney has rightly pointed out that the best exchange of ideas takes place after the workshop, in the bars and restaurants after the sessions end. In a more relaxed environment, you have an open exchange of ideas and trading information on what works and what doesn’t.
And herein lies the rub, Internet Marketing has more to do with relationship building and personal contact, than just the technology aspect that people generally get obsessed about.
Online marketing is more than composing the best Web copy, or optimizing your landing page or PPC campaign.
If you don’t have grassroot supports from your peers, whether it’s getting feedback on something you’re implementing, or even working together on a project, you can still succeed, it will just take a much longer time.
You can, of course, read about ASW and other events from this blog, though in the long run you’d be missing out on some great networking opportunities.
Affiliate Summit East will be coming up later this year.
Will you be there?