This is my review of the Internet marketing event known as Affiliate Summit West 2011, AKA ASW11. Affiliate Summit West was held January 9-11, 2011 at the Wynn in Las Vegas, NV. Due to scheduling conflicts, I had not attended Affiliate Summit since 2008 when it was held at the Rio. I was looking forward to this show to see how much things had changed over the last few years. Besides, in 2008 I only spent one day there and never ventured beyond the exhibit hall and a suite party.
I usually cover B2B trade shows where I already know a large percentage of the participants, or they at least know who I am. As a result, my coverage is usually limited to photos with a review based on my observations. When I obtained my press credentials for ASW11, I made a mental note to try and look at this through a “reporter’s” eyes, which resulted in my entering deeper conversations with some attendees and exhibitors. This review will take some of those conversations into consideration.
It is kind of funny, but I have a condo that is in the shadow of the Wynn. Although I watched it being built, and I often wondered what it was like inside, I had never ventured down the street to check it out. Now I had my excuse. As it turned out, everything I had to do at the Wynn was in one small corner of the resort. I think I saw the casino once, but I never ventured into it. We did walk down to La Cave to grab some lunch on Monday and were pleased with our choices.
A definite plus was the multiple coffee stations that were set up in the hallways outside the exhibit hall and seminar rooms. They seemed to always have a crowd of people around them. Maybe not as many people as the Patron bar provided by Saveology, but at least I was able to get some of the coffee.
After picking up my pass, I took a quick spin through the exhibit hall to see if there was anyone I knew and to see who I would want to follow up with the next day. Then I headed over to the Meet Market. As I stated above, I go to a lot of trade shows, but for the most part, everyone is friends or at least familiar with each other. I had a feeling that while some people would know each other, there would be a lot of first time participants at ASW11. The Meet Market would be an important introduction for many people.
I was happy to see that the Meet Market was bustling. The organizers of ASW11 made sure that everyone’s pass had their first name in big, bold lettering so that someone from across the room could read it. This enabled people to come up and introduce themselves, using first names, which seemed to make people more comfortable in entering conversations with people they did not know. By the time I left the Meet Market I knew this was going to be a great show and I looked forward to what the next few days would bring.
The Exhibit Hall
The exhibit hall was, in a word, impressive. Although it has been three years since my last Affiliate Summit, it seemed that there were more exhibitors this time around. Whether one was looking for new products to promote or an affiliate network to utilize, there seemed to be something for everyone. Many trade shows I have attended lately seemed to have fewer exhibitors, and as a result, fewer affiliates attending. ASW11 confirmed to me that Internet marketing is far from dead and that as long as you are willing to put forth the effort there are profits to be made.
In 2008, I did not take the time to attend any of the seminars. This year, I made time. Since I have been involved in Internet marketing since 1996 and I attend several trade shows every year, there was not anything particularly earth shattering that I heard in any of them. One seminar that I did enjoy was the SEO site review and clinic. I would venture to say that those that got reviews of their sites done enjoyed it as well. It is always nice to get input from experts and those reviewing the sites seemed to take the task seriously.
I did run into a friend that had never attended Affiliate Summit or any marketing event like this, even though she has had her own web site for at least seven years. She was giddy with the information she had garnered at the seminars. At one point of our conversation she had to excuse herself, as she did not want to miss even a minute of the next session.
If I had any criticism about the seminars I would have to suggest that the rooms were a little large. This made it difficult to hear at times. The seminars I attended all had respectable numbers of attendees, but I do not recall any that were standing room only. I think smaller rooms would make it easier to hear, thus encouraging more audience participation.
A new addition to Affiliate Summit was the inclusion of the Affiliate Ball. I have known Darren Blatt, the man behind Affiliate Ball, for several years and have attended many of the events he has organized. I knew that this was going to be a party unlike any other I have attended at previous shows. Starring Three 6 Mafia, with lead act the Black Rock City Allstars, this party was the party to attend. Judging by the huge attendance at the party and the smaller numbers the next morning at the exhibit hall, it appears I was not alone. There is no question that the Affiliate Ball was a nice addition to the Affiliate Summit. I fully expect that Mr. Blatt will be providing entertainment for years to come at future Affiliate Summit events.
I am glad I made time to attend ASW11. Many times, I look around the Internet marketing landscape and I wonder if it is too late for someone to become an affiliate and succeed. Attending ASW11 proved to me that there are not only plenty of marketable products out there, but if someone wants to apply themselves, they will succeed.
I mentioned one friend earlier, but I saw several business acquaintances at the Wynn that were making their first appearance at a show of this type. The overall impression that I received from each of them was utter amazement. Many of them have been involved in Internet marketing since the 90’s, but the fields they were involved in seemed to be falling to the wayside. Coming to Affiliate Summit gave them hope for the future. As one said, “The energy in that hall is way more palpable than most anything I have seen in recent times.” I have to agree.