Affiliate Marketing: Thoughts & Conversations from Affiliate Summit East 2012
me before the affiliate dinner at Maison
My first conference ever was Affiliate Summit East in 08′. Back then I was still working full-time at my old job, while making some money with affiliate marketing on the side. I took a week vacation to go to the conference.
Looking back it’s hilarious what I was doing. I went around every booth collecting all the swag I could fit into my bag. I couldn’t believe that affiliate networks were taking me out to nice dinners. My boy Ian Fernando was showing me around and I was amazed at how everyone seemed to know him.
Looking around I saw all this guys my age making money and thought to myself, “If they can make money doing this, I sure as fuck can.”
The day I got back from the conference I put in my 2 weeks notice and the rest is history.
Anyways for my ASE wrap up post I’m going to share some conversations and thoughts I had. I don’t think anyone cares about where I stayed, the parties I went to, or pics of me with other dudes lol.
Affiliate Managers Hate the “GIIIVVVVVEEE MEEEEEE” Attitude
What are “give me” affiliates?
They’ll want affiliate managers to hand them everything on a silver platter: the offer to run, the landing page, the ads, and the traffic source to with. I love these affiliates as competitors because they’re already 5 steps behind. If someone does give you everything, how many other people do you think got the same e-mail?
What’s up with these guys? Their strategy probably worked in 2009 when any monkey could make money, and their expectations have carried over. Laziness of course, and fear of failure as well.
Start using your brain and have more faith in yourself. Don’t fight with 100 other guys for the same table scraps. There’s money in being creative. Don’t jack landing pages…be the affiliate that people jack landing pages from!
Me and Tom Fang (iPyxel Creations) were talking quite a bit about our analytical (and very Asian) approach to the business. I think most guys can’t even use a simple Pivot table in Excel to analyze their data. Develop a solid system for optimizing. There’s no right or wrong way as long as it makes money in the end. Just don’t use the launch a lot of shit and hope one of them works strategy.
I’m really excited about the growth of the industry. People aren’t making 2009 money, but man there’s still really good money to be made.
Most of the conversations I had were about Mobile – it’s no secret that mobile is where it’s at these days.
WAP offers, pay per call, adult offers, app installs, co-reg, ring tones, all do well. New traffic sources are popping up weekly. New tracking solutions are coming out. Thousands of smart phones are being activated daily. What excites me the most about it is the opportunity to get creative. My mind was being blown away by some of the stuff people shared with me.
On the web side there’s a lot of growth in international. Countries that no one were interested in a few years ago are now hotbeds – Netherland, South Africa, Germany, Belgium, etc. Some people are still doing rebill offers over there, however straight sale offers convert amazing as well.
Don’t forget the evergreen industries. As long as there’s people on the internet…dating, credit reports, penny auctions, gaming, insurance, financial lead gens, etc. will always be profitable.
What networks are telling me is that there’s more business and opportunity out there than there are quality publishers.
Being an Affiliate vs. Network Owner vs. Advertiser
I spoke with quite a few guys about where everyone is. I had some friends that remained affiliates, others that became advertisers, some owned affiliate networks, some went into something completely different, and some blew all their money.
- You get paid…for the most part
- Lowest Risk
- Ability to Pivot.
- Less stress
- Merchant processing is a pain in the ass.
- Legal heat.
- Dealing with fraud affiliates & traffic
- Shit advertisers that don’t pay. If the advertiser doesn’t pay that $100k, you still gotta pay your affiliates or face the wrath of a WickedFire thread lol.
- More overhead, more employees, & more time spent managing.
- Cashflow: everyone wants weekly payments
Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of guys that have gone from affiliates and found incredible success in being an advertiser (ForceFactor) or owning a network (c2m, a4d, ewa). However, I think most guys really underestimate the amount of work it takes, and how good it is to be an affiliate.
For every good network, there’s 300 guys with a HasOffers account that they think they have the “highest payouts, and exclusive offers”. They reality is most of them are one large payment away from being broke.
Affording Affiliate Summit
I was talking to a new affiliate and it was his first show.
The guy drove about 4 hours to get to New York City, packed his own food for 2 days, used couch surfing to stay at someone’s place for free, and bought his pass early for $99. The conference probably cost him around $200, but I’m sure he’ll get a lot more than that back.
NYC conferences are usually pricier because of the flights & hotels. If that’s the case then definitely go to the conferences in Vegas (Affiliate Summit West & LeadsCons). Everything’s much cheaper in Vegas even though everyone wants a tip there.
Getting the Most out of a Show
I’ve heard a few guys that they don’t really get anything out of attending conferences. You get what you put in basically. If you’re going to get a socially awkward nerd, then yea you’re not gonna get much
- Know exactly what you want. Do you want more traffic sources, meet affiliate managers, wanna meet other affiliate marketers, etc.
- Be proactive in talking to people
- Go to as many networking events as you can. If you’re going to a party, then meet people and network. It makes me lol when guys are at an affiliate party and complaining about the lack of women there. Most of these nerds would have an anxiety attack if they had to approach a hot girl so I don’t know why they’re acting so thirsty.
- Follow up with people as soon as you get back home.
- Give value first. No one’s going to give you tips & gems if you’ve just met them. Take the initiative to be open.
- Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. One of my friends is one of the largest publishers in the industry. He didn’t wear a watch, wore some hanes t-shirt, flip flops, etc. Some of the brokest guys try to look rich, some of the richest guys look poor.
The Death of Bloggers
I’ve always been a big fan of affiliate marketing blogs: Nickycakes, Uberaffiliate, Cashtactics, MrGreen, Nick Throlson (The boss) etc. It kinda sucks no one really blogs anymore and I don’t blame them; it’s a LOT of work, low return money wise, you run out of stuff to write about, you can’t give away too much information, etc.
I don’t really have too much time to dedicate to this blog, but I’m hoping it can help fill a void in this space.
Feels Good to Be Back
Living in Asia I never talk to anyone face to face about work, so it’s nice to be reminded of who I am.
I’m definitely going to make an effort to try to make it to a show at least once a year.
Thanks to Shawn & Missy for throwing a great show again. All the networks / companies that sponsored the parties. It was great to see old friends, and meet new ones. Please hit me up on Skype!
Off to work!