News: My Affiliate Summit West 2014 Recap
Another Affiliate Summit West in the books.
It’s been a year since I’ve been to conference since I skipped the one in Philly. Going to do a brief walk-through of what I did, and share some thoughts on my experience at the end.
I flew in Saturday afternoon and checked into the Cosmopolitan hotel. It’s near the conference at Paris hotel, much nicer, and great for networking.
I didn’t have a dinner planned that night so I decided to organize a quick in-n-out meetup. I need my in-n-out fix every year.
That night I went to Hakkasan courtesy of Adsimilis.
I LOVE the story of Hakkasan. The rumor is there was a billionaire Saudi prince who loved going to XS at Wynn, and getting the center table. One night he came and they refused to give him that table because a celebrity was coming later. The prince got angry and the club kicked him out. On his way out he told them he was going to use his $ to build the best club in the world, and take away all their customers. The cost club over $100 million to build, and their exclusive DJ lineup is insane (Hardwell, Tiesto, Afrojack, Aoki, etc.)
Who knows if the story’s true, but I think Hakkasan is the best club in the world. If I were to rank Vegas clubs at the moment it would be
- Hakkasan at MGM Grand
- Marquee at The Cosmopolitan
- Tied: XS at Wynn / The Light at Mandalay Bay
Adsimilis had two sick tables next to the DJ booth. Dada life was playing that night.
Spent the day doing a few biz meetings and planning my party.
Sunday was super packed with events.
StackThatMoney “Breaks Bad”
Took place at the Hugh Hefner Sky Villa at Palms. They had a Breaking Bad theme going on – There were bags of rock candy and they served fried chicken (Los Pollos Hermanos).
I came late and all the Red Velvet cookies were gone. I always like going to this party because the vibe is laid back you can rest a bit.
More Pictures Here:
MVP Party by Convert2Media
The party took place at the same Hugh Hefner Sky Villa that STM’s was at a few hours earlier (wonder why…) Amazing party! They had girls running around in electrical tape which I’ve never seen before. Major props to whoever planned the party.
More Pictures Here (Not Safe for Work)
I left around midnight. A bunch of people were heading to the clubs, but I needed to save my energy for the next day.
The Ngo and BenPOF Lunch Mastermind
Picking the winners was quite weird. Literally 6 guys won, but none of them were at Vegas for the conference. In the end only one guy we picked was actually in Vegas. An hour before the lunch we still didn’t have the second winner so I e-mailed someone I knew was going to be at the Summit.
You would kick yourself in the ass for not going if you knew how much heat I dropped during the lunch.
It was an 1.5 hour Q & A where I answered every question. I seriously think that session with me and Ben cut their learning curve by months and potentially saved them thousands of dollars if they apply what we taught.
I know their story and it’s not easy to juggle a job, family life, and trying to do affiliate marketing. But that’s what I had to do, and that’s what everyone else had to do.
I can’t believe I forgot to take a group pic, but I do have a pic of Ben’s new Tattoo.
Adsimilis Happy Hour at Cosmopolitan Bungalow
Adsimilis had their meetups in one of the Bungalows at Cosmopolitan. Was great to see a lot of guys who I saw months earlier at their meetup in Ibiza. I was only here for like 10 minutes before I had to bounce and head to Nobu for my party.
Ngo / Clickdealer.com Party
I’m writing a separate post on it so I’m not gonna talk about it here, let me just say that it was fucking amazing on all levels.
There were a handful of photographers there so I’m waiting on the images to come out. We also had a film crew there and they are putting together the footage for the video! I can’t wait to talk about the party.
Party finished at 10:30pm. I was exhausted at this point and didn’t feel like going to Affiliate Ball / or the party at Tao.
I rested a bit and then headed to Marquee since so many people were going there. My friend Jim rented a sick Bungalow that had direct access to Marquee. You could entered back and forth from the club with no ID check or security.
Went home in the afternoon. I always leave conferences the day they end rather than linger around. After a conference I have so many ideas that I just want to start working immediately.
I think it’ll be a better idea in the future for me to come a day or two earlier. I jammed so many things into 2-3 days that I never got a chance to relax , or just hang out with friends.
I’ve been to maybe 15 conferences the past few years and this one was different from the rest. In the past I’d go as just an affiliate – I’d have business meetings, chill at parties, and I’d try to network / trade secrets with other super affiliates. This time I went more as Charles Ngo the blogger, rather than the affiliate marketer.
What’s the difference?
I didn’t attend the actual conference at all, half the time was spent doing things for my party, and I barely did any business meetings. My conversations were more focused on meeting fans and answering questions.
This was the first conference I’ve attended since my blog got big. I was always kinda known in the industry before, but at this conference I was blown away at the number of people who knew who recognized me. At parties I was getting approached pretty much every minute (is this what it feels like to be a hot girl with big tits?)
I’ll get comments on the blog or emails occasionally from people thanking me, but it’s so much more impactful when they’re telling you face to face. One guy showed me his stats on his phone, he’s doing $4k a day revenue in Adult now and he credits me for it. Another guy said I literally changed his life by introducing him to meditation and my productivity strategies.
The blog takes a lot of work – and it’s almost like a second job. Sometimes I wonder why I keep updating it, but knowing my writing makes a difference to some people is what keeps me going. I feel a lot of pressure now knowing so many people turn to me for advice. It’s like I force myself to keep learning and growing so I can help people out. I gotta go Super Saiyan 3.
Someone else I thought was funny is people mentioned how different I am online vs how I am in Person. Basically they expected me to be arrogant, douchey, etc. and I’m just normal and down to earth in person. You’ll actually find that with a lot of personalities in the industry. You gotta have a strong personality if you wanna stand out on the internet.
As the blog grows I’m sure I’ll get a lot of people who don’t like me, but it’s part of the game. You either ignore it and carry on, or be weak and let it affect you.
Trends in 2014
I talked to quite a few affiliates and picked up some trends as far as what people are doing these days.
Adult Dating’s not nearly as “hot” as in 2013. What I mean by that is last year maybe 80% of affiliates I talked to were doing Adult Dating in one form or another. This year it felt like maybe 30%? (note this is just an observation and not a scientific survey)
There is still a lot of money in adult dating, and always will be. The trend is that it’s top heavy as in the top 5% of affiliates are doing 95% of the revenue.
It’s a super competitive niche with not much barriers to entry. Making money on TrafficJunky? There’s nothing really preventing other affiliates from jacking your campaigns. There’s generally 3 broad categories of guys I see making money in adult dating:
- Silverback Gorillas – The guys who are owning self-serve traffic. Direct offers, and insane work ethic to keep the creatives fresh.
- The Opportunists – They go after the smaller placements and the smaller countries the Gorillas don’t pay much attention to. Check out my post on this approach.
- The Thinkers – Buying a lot of traffic direct, in places no one else is. Their strength is their out of the box thinking. Lets just say there are a bunch of traffic sources out there besides the big self-serve platforms.
If you recall, Facebook banned dating a month ago and it’s interesting to see how its affected affiliates.
The Facebook dating ban affected a lot of affiliates and they’re trying to adjust. It seems like there’s 3 paths people are taking: try to cloak and hope you don’t get caught, wait until February to see if you can somehow get whitelisted, or jump into mobile dating.
As far as mobile’s concerned, tons of affiliates these days are 100% mobile. Last year you had guys that were kinda trying out mobile and half-assing it, but now there are many affiliates who only do mobile.
Affiliate Summit Parties are crowded these days. Mine had a line forming downstairs of people who couldn’t get in, and I heard Affiliate Ball was packed like sardines.
The ASW conference is growing each year, and the Penthouse Suites in Vegas aren’t designed for parties of 300+ people. I think the trend will be more mega parties in clubs, or renting meeting / ballroom space to have a party.
Business or a Vacation?
There were a lot of newbie affiliates at the conference. It’s easy to tell who’s going to make it in this industry: are you treating conferences like you’re there for business or you’re there for a vacation?
At my first few conferences I was going hard with the networking. I was picking everyone’s brain and trying to make friends with everyone I saw. Some of the people I met back in 2008 made a huge difference in my career and I still keep in touch with to this day.
Then there are some guys who treat their first conference like a vacation: getting drunk, busy gambling, more focused on meeting the ladies than other affiliates. If it’s your first conference you need to treat it like work.
You can party anytime you want, but ASW only happens once a year. I sound like an old man but I’m like your big bro looking out for you.
2014 Will Be Tough
2014 will be the toughest year yet for affiliate marketing, and it’s only going to become harder for new affiliates to break in. You’re dealing with more competition, and more rules / regulations. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still money to be made and plenty of opportunity. I just think people need to set more realistic expectations.
In the past few years you could see a brand new affiliate marketer making a million profit their first year. Now I think it’ll probably take the average affiliate 1-2 years before they can make a full-time income, and that’s if they’re good. Don’t let shitty gurus ruin your expectations with their sales letters, fake screenshots, and fake testimonials.
Don’t waste emotions thinking you should’ve started a few years earlier. I guarantee you that 5 years from now the next generation is going to wish they were in your position and started in 2014.
It’s hard work, but I promise you it’s worth it.
I saw a few Facebook posts from people who were talking about how they rather stay home and work than go to Vegas. There’s 365 days a year, you can’t take 3 days off? Sounds like you have a job rather than a business. Not to mention that going to the conferences is $ if you network with the right guys.
The best part of ASW to me is seeing my friends. There are guys I talk to everyday on Skype, but I’ll only get to see once a year. I love seeing them and shooting the shit.
Hope everyone had a successful conference, lets crush it this year!