Vegas review: Chris got Sasha Grey to dance “the sprinkler”

Just when I’d recovered from Christmas, my birthday and New Years Eve celebrations it was time to pack and head to London Gatwick to meet up with some affiliate friends for our flight to Affiliate Summit West 2011, held in Las Vegas.

My ‘One Man Wolfpack’ quickly grew as Matthew Wood, Kieron Donoghue, Chris Clarkson and Chris Brown joined me for some civilised drinks at Gatwick Hilton before we were met in the Palazzo, Las Vegas by Chris Frost and then conference and party hoppers Duncan Pollard and Jim Banks.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you likely followed our experiences via Twitter and Facebook. We had a ball but it was a business trip after all.  I later caught up with Chris Clarkson, of Sunshine.co.uk, who kindly supplied the limo Airport Transfers to our hotel and who was an ever present during the 3 days of sessions from breakfast until close.

* I gave away one business card to a pretty lady, how much networking did you do?

In all honesty not as much as I would have liked. If you weren’t in “Lead Generation” no-one seemed that interested! I did get to meet a chap with the moniker “Danger Brown” which was kinda cool, sort of.

* If an American turned up at your lunch table with an empty notepad and a lot of questions, what one piece of advice would you give?

That Affiliate Marketing is not a get rich quick scheme. There is no short cut, stop reading bullshit bloggers.

* I found the opening keynote session interesting but it seemed to be targetted to a print audience. Did the sessions hit the spot for you?

The Doctor was in the house. The first 15 minutes were fairly interesting, but then he seemed to wander into the promotion of the infamous one page website, big headlines, lots of arrows, highlighting, adding a “notary seal” because it made the page look official, and obviously lots of head shots. The PC he was using for the presentation went into hibernate mode twice and a sharp wit in the audience tweeted “even his computer has gone to sleep”, which summed it up pretty well.

* The Wil Reynolds session seemed to be 10/10 for content. Anything to takeaway for your 2011 projects?
I think the Wil Reynolds session was worth the ticket price alone. One of the takeaways from that session – Social Linking currently accounts for no more than 5% of ranking influence, so he only spends 5% of his time on it. Dear UK conference organisers, please arrange for this man to be a speaker at your next conference, thank you.

* I fortunately got a Press Pass so avoided having to pay for expensive passes. Were the prices justified?

Flying from the UK and staying in a decent hotel meant the actual ticket price was fairly small in comparison. Was the Summit worth the price? As above, for Wil Reynolds and the Dave Taylor closing keynote I’d grudgingly say yes. Lots of other sessions that seemed to be fillers or self promotion. The most packed sessions seemed to be those involving the bullshit bloggers flogging their get-rich-like-me BS.

* I’m personally disappointed that I didn’t attend Matt’s EuroSphere event as I caught up with sleep. Any disappointments for you?

The first session we attended on the first day about “Mastermind Groups” held great promise, but was easily the worst conference session I’ve ever had the privilige to attend. The speaker spent 20 minutes telling us how successful he was and how cool his super secret Mastermind Group was. Then spent another 20 minutes encouraging the audience to start their own (“you can charge for it you know”). I left still none the wiser as to what a Mastermind Group was, but safe in the knowledge I could sign up to the speaker’s website for only a few bucks to find out more…

* Our tweets and images seemed to capture the imagination of our UK online followers. What was your favourite tweet and picture during ASW11?
My favourite tweet sadly was one of my own. Egotistical or what?

TwitterChrisClarkson

My favourite picture. The group sprinkler shot from the balcony of the Voodoo Lounge!

sprinkler

* The planning for our trip started four months prior with flights, hotels and show tickets. What should any UK affiliates prepare and watch out for if they’re attending in 2012?

I think the decision we made to get their earlier this year paid off. Also, bring lip balm and try and get outside every couple of days :)

* I could have spent all day in the new AllSaints store. I did spend all day at AVN Expo. Did you get to enjoy any other new sights whilst in Vegas?

Places that stick with me are the VooDoo Lounge balcony, Blue Man Group and of course iloveburger!

* I only walked away from the casino tables once with a profit. Did you get lucky?

I had one bet on roulette, $100 across 4 numbers. Didn’t come in but at least I had a go this year.

Thanks Chris. These are great answers and I hope the ‘Wolfpack’ will see you in Vegas again. In the meantime I look forward to seeing you in Leeds for ThinkVisibility.

Befuddled in Las Vegas

The Affiliate Summit West 2011 kicked off in style with Buy.at’s sponsored cocktail party at Mix nightclub on Saturday.

Meanwhile downstairs porn legend Ron Jeremy was hosting his own themed soiree.

ASW11 started a week earlier this year and hotels were full as all niche and mainstream stars of the adult film industry were in town for their annual Adult Video News Awards and plenty of geeks were here for the Consumer Electronics Show.

For many of the UK contingent of affiliates who made the trip over, this was the third back-to-back party. The previous two were hosted by adult stars Jessica Drake and Sasha Grey.

There’s plenty more parties to come over the next few nights but it is a business trip
after all so for the next three days we’ll be inside the Wynn listening to US speakers and doing a bit of networking.

So far the parties have been the highlights of the trip. This first session I
am sat in right now is very very dry.

I’m a UK affiliate. Get me outta here and bring on the Strawberry Daiquiri’s and
blackjack.

Joules is Cruel

No Joule-tide Christmas  joy from the Joules Affiliate manager, they’ve suspended ShopCodes for low sales.

Affiliate Window Darwin message

Affiliate Window Darwin message

Not another voucher code site for sale?

Prior to the London a4uexpo there was a lot of talk of it being a too expensive event to attend.  It appeared that many affiliates would be priced out of attending once the cost of a ticket, hotel and transport costs were factored in.

Even before I got to London I’d invested £900 in attending, with my half price affiliate ticket, 3-night stay at the Ramada hotel and first class train tickets.

I also had to take time off as holiday and so with working part-time it meant being away from the office for a week.

Whilst it is expensive, my business has grew year on year as a direct result of this networking. Meeting network account managers, agencies, merchants and competitor affiliates, sometimes for the first time, brings plenty of new opportunities and ideas.

I’ve previously blogged of how a chance ten minute conversation with a gambling site paid for my trip to a4uexpo Amsterdam 15 times over. I am still today benefitting from that meeting.

The twenty minute meeting I had in London with a Texan could drawf that.

He represented a US  company with over $30m of funding, with the purpose of acquiring profitable voucher code sites.

I’ve got to sit up and listen. This year Kieron sold his discount site, Pete Anderson wanted £171k for his and more recently a discount voucher domain was purchased by an affiliate to protect his brand for £100k.

I had a very detailed honest chat about my site, how I operate and my current turnover and traffic.

Whether I sell during 2011, 2012, or next week, I’d be looking at four times my annual profit.

Would someone pay £500,000? Could be an interesting journey to find out.

I’ve already purchased my a4uexpo Munich ticket for June 2011. Maybe some affiliates could speak on the practicalities of selling a website.

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