Affiliate Summit West landed in Las Vegas last week and let me tell you, if you are thinking of attending the next one – do not hesitate!
It is the biggest affiliate conference on the planet, where you can meet your blogging heroes and party the night away – dot com style!
It was a blast and the contacts & connections I have made are priceless.
So let’s take a look at what makes Affiliate Summit awesome!
Extra Thanks To ShareASale
Without the ShareASale team I would never have attended the Affiliate Summit conference.
Brian Littleton (ShareASale CEO) reached out and offered to cover the cost of the flights and conference ticket.
This was down to how well the blog did in the Affiliate Summit Best Blog award votes which I eventually won taking 38% of the votes. You, the readers are responsible for that.
The entire ShareASale team pitched in to help plan my trip and took care of me while I was there. It is much appreciated!
Special mentions go out to Brian, David, Erica, Lindsey & Nick.
Flying To Affiliate Summit Las Vegas In Style
What I didn’t expect ShareASale to do is book first class flights from Manchester to Las Vegas.
My regular readers will know I travel a lot and I usually take the cheapest option, even if that does mean hanging off the side of a bus.
So you can imagine my reaction to find that Brian had splashed out over $8,000 on first class flights.
They had seats that turned into flat beds! The air hostesses would even ‘make the bed’ for you and pull out sheets, duvets and pillows!
I have never really being one for food on flights, I alway skip over it because lets face it – it’s disgusting. That was until they put this in front of me-
I turned that into poo quicker than you can blink!
They also slaughtered you with free booze, slippers, pyjamas – you name it!
You even got this little bag of shampoo, conditioner, a comb and this…
A Razor!!! After all the hassle of security they just handed me over a razor. That’s the sort of thing that can get you the rubber glove treatment at security!
Have I Sold My Soul?
I started to think, why would a company spend over $10,000 to get me there – had I sold my soul?
I asked Brian Littleton (ShareASale CEO) why they went to that trouble and it turns out ShareASale are not your average affiliate network.
Most networks just focus on landing the big money merchants, but Brian wants to be different. He wants to build relationships with bloggers & affiliates and get them in the same room as his merchants.
As someone that has worked on both the merchant side and the affiliate side that approach is really refreshing. Most networks are just interested in charging merchants extortionate setup fees and skimming the commission for the accounts lifetime.
But ShareASale are going that extra step to connect their affiliates with their merchants on a personal level. Rather than just blasting out the best offers this week.
So if you are a merchant looking to launch a successful affiliate program take a look at what ShareASale can offer you – as you can see, they are not your average affiliate network.
So I can safely say I haven’t sold my soul. If memes are to be believed, I didn’t have one in the first place anyway.
Affiliate Summit West Venue
Affiliate Summit was hosted at the Paris hotel which is slap bang in the middle of the strip and right opposite The Bellagio.
This was the view I had from my room in the hotel.
It was the perfect setting to get all of the best affiliates in the world in one place!
There were a bunch of different educational sessions running across Affiliate Summit hosted by some of the most experienced people in the industry.
We had sessions with John Chow, Jeremy ‘Shoemoney’ Schoemaker , Zac Johnson, Rae Hoffman & many many more.
You can check out the full list of sessions right here.
I only had time to check out a few of them though.
First Timers Orientation
As this was my first Affiliate Summit conference I hit the orientation hosted by co-founder Shawn Collins.
He takes you through everything you need to know and how to get the most out of the conference. He also handed out packs of treats and a couple of books!
If you do attend the Affiliate Summit conference for the first time I highly recommend you check it out!
Thanks to Shawn for sorting out access to the blogger lounge, I had some of the best conversations in there!
Writing Pages to Rank in the Search Engines
This session was a basic look at on page optimisation – there were some great tips for beginners-intermediate SEO’s.
Unfortunately I was called out half way through so had to make an exit.
Secrets of Top Six Figure Bloggers
John Chow, Zac Johnson, John Rampton, Syed Balkhi
This was one of the sessions I was more excited about – I have read John Chow & Zac Johnsons blogs for years and had crossed paths a couple of times online in the past.
The talk was great as each blogger shared their perspectives on a range of blogging related subjects.
Generating Affiliate Income with a Branded Blog
Rae Hoffman (sugarrae)
Another blogger I have follwed for a while is Rae Hoffman. I jumped into her talk without hesitation.
She shared her strategy for starting with a blank piece of paper to build a branded affiliate blog.
There were 3 awesome partys open to all Affiliate Summit West Las Vegas attendees with open bars and superstar performances.
ShareASale Superheroes VS. Supervillains
The first party to kick things off was ShareASale’s Superheroes VS. Supervillains – with optional fancy dress and an open bar it was a great opening.
They also had amazing tableside magician Joel Givens performing. I got up close and personal with him at dinner the next evening, I have never seen table side magic like he does it.
He is so good, he had to remove all his videos from YouTube because everyone was stealing his tricks!
The Affiliate Ball was hosted at the Chateau nightclub and again, the open bar ensured the drinks were flowing.
The night was hosted by Flavor Flav with performances by B Real (Cypress Hill) & Too $hort.
While it was an awesome party the jet lag got the better of me and I was falling asleep drink in hand so knocked it on the head early doors!
Last but not least was the Affilaite Nation party at club Tao. The same deal applied, open bar and awesome performances.
This year featured performances from Warren G, Tone Loc, 2 Live Crew, Young MC & V.I.C.
Affiliates certainly know how to thrown down the best partys! There is no doubt about that!
Never Meet Your Heroes
Whoever said you should never meet your heroes is an idiot.
I’ve been a long time follower of John Chow, Shoemoney, Zac Johnson, Missy Ward & Rae Hoffman to name a few. I’ve read their blogs for years and any books they have published.
Affiliate Summit gave me the opportunity to meet and network with my internet marketing heroes.
I bumped into Shoemoney, spent time with John Chow in the blogging lounge and went to dinner with Missy Ward, Rae Hoffman and the ShareASale team to name a few.
Each and everyone of them was open and approachable, it was great to finally meet everyone!
Hulk Hogan really stole the show at Affiliate Summit promoting HostAMania which offers 6 months free hosting!
The #ASW14 twitter hash tag was going absolutely crazy for the hulk!
They did a great job promoting the new company and blew HostGators crappy basketball game stand out of the water!
Not only that but the offer is great as well. You get your first 6 months hosting completely free!
Planting The Seed
The biggest value Affiliate Summit provides is the opportunity to network and form relationships. Don’t be scared to talk to strangers, if they have an Affiliate Summit badge they want to talk.
It’s easy to shy away from people but approach the conference with an open mind and speak to as many people as you can, you never know what might happen!
I have only being back for a few days but those new relationships are already opening some doors-
WPEngine have being testing my patience for the past few months now.
The backend of the site is awfully slow, it takes nearly 40 seconds to login, 30 seconds to approve a comment – all that extra time adds up. The front end is razor fast though!
Support used to be awesome and take ownership of issues, now it seems they just push them back on you.
They even deleted a bunch of data from the live database without my permission OR taking a backup first.
So when I spotted co-founder Ben Metcalfe we had a pretty direct conversation. Needless to say they now have their best talent looking to resolve the problem.
It’s just a shame I had to fly half way around the world for that to happen.
Your Legal Questions Answered
I spoke to Paula Brillson (DigitalLawGroup) who has agreed to answer all of your legal questions on the blog free of charge.
If you have a legal question you want an answer to, then just post them here.
I will get them all answered for you!
CDN Case Study
After speaking with a couple of guys from MaxCDN in the bloggers lounge I managed to hook up a special treat for you.
I use MaxCDN across most of my sites so I have spent this weekend collecting data for a new case study.
You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it makes!
Opt In Case Study
Off the back of his advice I’m going to deploy a new test this week to collect data and report back.
I spoke to Michael Geneles who is the co-founder of PitchBox about his outreach system. I grilled him very hard on the tool and he knocked everyone of my questions out of the park.
Expect an awesome case study off the back of this.
I’m not going to ruin any surprises here but I was able to secure a huge range of competition prizes for everyone.
I’ve given away thousands and thousands of dollars worth of tools and software the past year.
It looks like that trend is going to continue this year =D
See You At The Next Affiliate Summit
All in all the Affiliate Summit experience was an awesome one.
3 days of wild partys with the most talented and experienced people in the industry.
Whats not to love about that?
The connections and relationships you make will be priceless.
Affiliate Summit East takes place in New York on August 10th-12th. I will see you there!