I just got back from Affiliate Summit West 2011 and it was the largest Affiliate Summit to date. I think this was my 10th or 11th Summit and I cannot believe how large it has grown. The thing that usually shocks me about Affiliate Summit is that in years where I start to give up on Affiliate Marketing, or want to leave it for Search Land again, something happens at Summit that brings me right back in and recharges me to want to stay with an industry I love. Here is what I learned at Affiliate Summit West 2011, who I met and who stood out. This post will be broken out into a few sections, Who inspired me, Which merchants stood out, Which Affiliates stood out and Which vendors I will be working more closely with.
Who inspired me.
The people that inspired me at this show are the people who came to my session. I wasn’t on the original lineup of speakers but at the last minute I ended up added to the ask the experts roundtables and had a great time. Because I was added on the same day and only a few hours before my session, I showed up at my table not expecting anyone else to come. The next thing I know I looked up and was surrounded by people. Then all of the sudden other people started pulling up chairs around the people at the already full table. Pretty soon we even had people standing around the two rows of chairs. It was awesome! What was even better about it was that instead of the normal questions, “How do I recruit?”, “How do I approve or why should I decline?”, etc… the first three questions were “What are toolbars and how do I get rid of them?”, “How can I get rid of adware and PPV?”, then there was one about fraud and what I thought of the Networks session on fraud. Not only was this amazing to hear from a bunch of people who had never been in Affiliate Marketing before, but they also had never been to a show before. Someone on the floor was talking about real issues instead of hiding them from the main stream like some OPMs and some of the Networks do.
We went over that Opt in is a load of crap and also showed live demos and video of adware that was stealing from companies that were at the show. (Thank you Kellie Stevens from AffiliateFairPlay.com and ABestWeb.com.) It always amazed me about the serious lack of ethics that a small part of this industry had shown and to have a bunch of new people bring up and want to take action on it was amazing! Thank you to the people who came and asked those questions. Because of you I am motivated to stay in Affiliate Marketing and continue to help educate on bad players, adware and helping people to find legit and good OPMs.
Which Merchants Stood Out.
There were tons of Merchants at the show. There were companies of all sizes there and each of them were learning different sides of the industry. Some wanted to find out if they should move into CPA Marketing and others wanted to find which Affiliate Network would be right for them. Each one was able to find a giant resource of information and here are a few that stood out to me that I am very excited to start working with.
Justin from Stupid.com on Share a Sale. Stupid.com is a program managed by Greg Hoffman Consulting and the store rep is Justin. Greg is a nice person who I have known for a couple of years now. After meeting Justin and Stupid.com at Think Tank 2010 last year and Justin remembering my love of Bacon, he has promised me a bacon products datafeed. This is something that I think almost anyone could make money with. Stupid Bacon Products at great price points will cause me to add them to my sites this year. Justin also took my recommendation and put quantity left in his datafeed. He also no longer includes products with under 30 units left as they sell out quickly and that creates a bad user experience for Affiliate’s traffic. This is a Merchant that listens to value adding Affiliates and Greg has always been responsive with me when I had questions. Greg is a good Affiliate Manager and will be getting exposure on my sites this year and you should definitely check out the products on Stupid.com. Greg also has a really cool program called FlirtyAprons.com which is also on Share a Sale.
Growth Spurt Media. Liz Gazer out of Toronto Ontario continued to impress me. If you go with Liz I will definitely be adding any program she manages to my sites where they have a good fit. Contact Liz directly if you need help with launching a program. She is aggressive and well connected.
Acceleration Partners. Robert Glazer is the sh*t. We share a lot of the same values and theories on how to manage a program. If he will personally be managing your program then you are in good hands. If you are looking for an OPM then write him asap! In my opinion he is trustworthy and ethical and I am going to focus on working on his programs this year. Waxing Poetic Jewelry on Share a Sale and his Tea program are the ones I can see having a ton of potential for my sites and that I will be adding. I also need to go to his site and see what else he has on his client list now.
Custom Tailored Marketing. Angel and Renee are incredible. If you want someone who doesn’t feed you a load of crap and uses solid judgment, Custom Tailored Marketing is that group. Angel has won the Affiliate Summit Manager of the Year award twice for his Affilliate Marketing Management Company and he definitely deserves it. Here’s to ethics and telling you the truth about what he thinks!
GTO Management. GTO is the company that does big things but keeps a low profile. The thing I love about them is they don’t put up with crap, they are innovative and don’t put up with adware theft. If you have a toolbar, couponware, loyaltyware, reminderware, etc… and they find it, you are gone. I haven’t worked with them much in the past but that will change this year. Check out their site for their list of seriously cool and niche merchants like BowlingShirts.com and their home brewery program.
GirlyChecks.com on Share a Sale – JillyBeans and Bill are amazing people. Their checks affiliate program is one that is absolutely amazing and being very well managed. They have an incredibly great mix of products and unique designs and I have to also commend Debbie from Team Loxly on her amazing photography skills. GirlyChecks.com is a program I will definitely be promoting a lot more heavily this year.
Which Affiliates Stood Out.
Tricia Meyers and Sunshine Rewards. Sunshine Rewards is above and beyond one of the best loyalty cash back websites out there. They have a ton of fraud control in place and do not use adware. Tricia Meyers is an incredible person that understands adding value to Merchants and helping to build a brand. Don’t let the blond hair and bubbly attitude fool you, she is also one of the smartest people I have ever met. If she is not in your programs then you are missing out.
Mark Silliman. Mark is someone that continues to amaze me. We had dinner at the Wynn Buffet and I actually shut up for a second to listen to him talk. Mark is amazingly smart and knows how to diversify his portfolio of companies and sites. Not only is he successful, but he does what he is passionate about then finds ways to incorporate it into his business. I’m not going to list his sites but he can come here and post a backlink if he wants to.
Eric Schwarzer – The thing that I love about him is that he loves a challenge and is a problem solver. He takes insane amounts of data, sorts it and creates revenue driving content sites that add tons of value to merchants. What I like even more is that his brain is always moving. He is a lesser known superstar Affiliate that you have to know as he can drive long term traffic and value to your company.
Kristi (Kikolani) – Smart and personable, Kristi is absolutely amazing. She is not only an extremely well connected Search and Social Media Blogger, but Kikolani is also a really cool and down to earth person. If you don’t subscribe to her blog you should really start. It was great meeting you in person!
Tim Ash – So I had already met Tim a bunch of times, but this time I got him laughing. How is that centerfold photo btw? Tim is just a cool person. If you know him then good for you, if you don’t then you are missing out on someone who is to smart for his own good.
Which Vendors I Will Be Working More Closely With.
Impact Radius – If you need multiple channel tracking with some of the smartest people on earth, Lisa Riolo and Todd Crawford of Impact Radius are the people who can do this for you. Their system not only tracks multiple channels in one place, but allows you to buy media and bid out competitive prices with large vendors and websites. Impact Radius is definitely something you will want to check out.
Ring Revenue – I have known about them for a while but never really incorporated their solution into my Client’s sites. Because of some people telling me about how much they love them I am definitely going to be calling them at some point in the next couple of weeks.
Affiliate Summit has grown into a massive show combining CPA Marketing with Affiliate Marketing. The attendees are a goldmine of knowledge, traffic and contacts that everyone could use. Affiliate Summit is a show that I highly recommend and think everyone should attend. Make sure to book your tickets early as they usually sell out. Thank you again Shawn and Missy for an incredible show and I cannot wait to see you at ASE11.
13 thoughts on “Affiliate Summit West 2011 Reviewed. Who I Met and Who Stood Out.”
Hey Adam – always fun to chat with you.
“95% of the OPMs are corrupt” is just a tiny bit hyperbolic. Come on!
One thing to point out there for some OPMs – when I was doing it, there were merchants who refused to take some of my advice, including which affiliates to not work with.
I am sure others have had the same experience.
.-= Shawn Collins´s last blog ..MediaTrust Launches PerformanceExchange CPC Bidding Platform =-.
You’re right, I am being dramatic, but like I responded back to Debbie. If you would talk to the ones I consider bad they would lower it further than that number I would have lowered it to. It depends on what your definition of a bad or corrupt OPM is.
Its true there are Merchant’s who refuse to take advice and listen, but there are more who will that you can work with. It is that OPM’s decision to keep working with the Merchant who won’t listen. I usually end up ending those relationships. It becomes a trade off. I can see continuing if you think you can help to educate and teach them, but at a certain point it becomes that OPM and their ethics on the line as well because they continue with them. That is just my opinion and many other people will feel different.
I love your show and consider it a second home for myself. It recharges me and reminds me of why I love Affiliate Marketing. I also see people who I respect there and that reminds me of why I continue to push for programs and that Affiliate Marketing is a great thing when done right. I went in and removed that paragraph because it wasn’t productive to the post.
You aren’t going to leave affiliate marketing ever because we won’t let you!!!
Thanks for the kinds words. And thanks for being a part of my great conference experience. 🙂
.-= Tricia Meyer´s last blog ..10 Things That Made Me Laugh at Affiliate Summit West =-.
LOL, I might for Cooking School, sort of one of my goals is to save up enough for tuition and learn to be a chef and open my own restaurant. Hopefully by 2015. =0)
Wow, if I had your attitude about affiliate marketing Adam I wouldn’t still be in it either. 95% of all OPMs are corrupt? Either you have a really long list or a very short list. I agree that there are a number of OPMs that choose to work with merchants that don’t want to remove adware from their programs, and there are OPMs that take money from merchants before their sites are ready, but there are also a number of very good, very ethical OPM firms.
And like Shawn said, some merchants don’t listen no matter how much they are educated, and the OPMs that work with them may keep working with them to keep trying.
I think that you are taking probably way too much at “face value” and not learning some of the real reasons people do what they do. Painting all OPMs with a wide brush, which includes yourself, is not a smart thing at all.
.-= Deborah Carney´s last blog ..Merchant ABCs 7 – Special Affiliate Summit ASW11 Edition =-.
So maybe 95% is a bit much. You’re right, I was sort of fed up with a lot of Affiliate Marketing which is why I go to these shows. It recharges me and makes me fall in love with the industry again. Talking to people like Shawn, Missy, You and Vinny, etc… always gets me right back into it and gets me passionate about being part of one of the best marketing channels available. My list of OPMs is fairly large. Probably around the 100 to 125 mark. At Think Tank someone had said they think there are roughly 200 now. Out of that, there are maybe 10 to 15 that I trust or would work with. I’m not painting all of them but just voicing my opinion. I have also removed that paragraph.
I’d like to make a comment. I removed a paragraph because it wasn’t the most productive part of the post and took away from the main copy. I’ll do another post later on about the topic from that paragraph. Thank you Shawn and Deborah for commenting.
You’re too kind Adam, I’m looking at the JobFox site as my next project, I’m psyched to see what can be done. (Also, no T In the name 😉
.-= Eric Schwarzer´s last blog ..schwarzer- @milesbaker Ill guess Credibility =-.
Heheheh, sorry about that. I’ll fix it right now. Happy to have you on board with the Jobfox program. Tons of potential with it.
It was great meeting you at ASW too! 🙂 Thanks for including me in this great roundup of the event.
.-= Adam´s last blog ..44 Blogging Questions and Answers =-.
No problem. I love reading you blog and it was great to get to meet you as well. Are you coming to ASE11?
For those who are curious he’s referring to http://www.spadout.com and http://www.kidcrawl.com
.-= Mark Silliman´s last blog ..A Guide to Gaiters =-.
No problem. Hope you had a great rest of your show.