Affiliate Summit East 2013 Summary

While there are a couple of sessions that I’ll be writing up detailed notes on, I wanted to write about my overall experience at Affiliate Summit East 2013 in Philadelphia, PA.

Saturday – Day 0


I probably had quite the unique travel experience, as Greg Hoffman and I did a Bro-d Trip (see what I did there?). Yes, Greg lives in Atlanta, but he flew to Buffalo only to be picked up and drive 400 miles to Philly. “A frog & a bear, seeing America

We hooked up a dashboard cam (nothing exciting happened) and Greg made a mix tape, and we spent Saturday driving into town.

Sightseeing in Philly

Kim Rowley suggested a nighttime bus tour of Philadelphia, so a group of us got together and saw the city, while ducking low tree limbs. Worth the experience, but pay attention or you’ll get a tree branch in your face.

Sunday – Day 1

Eric, Jen, WadeWhat better way to start Affiliate Summit than waking up for a 7am run to the Rocky stairs! It was a quick 1.7 miles to the stairs, and we were back within an hour.

Tip for Newbies

Run. I started running to get 1:1 time with my boss, and have both given and received priceless advice just because someone else was looking for someone to run with.

After the run, I had time to get over to St John The Evangelist for Mass before having breakfast with my partner and friend Tricia. The one on one time that Affiliate Summit creates for us is great time to strategize or to just strengthen relationships. Never eat alone! If you don’t have a meal scheduled, check Twitter to see who else is looking for someone to eat with, or post yourself so someone can join you.

This Summit was a bit different for me, as I was there with For Me To Coupon and helping to answer technical questions at their Meet Market table. Normally, I’m the one going table to table, collecting handouts, business cards, and other giveaways. I’m not sure if they’ll let me behind the table again, as I sent one individual to our competition and told him to try out both services. He’ll be back.

Blues BrothersSunday night was ShareASale’s party at Hard Rock, where dressing up was encouraged so Greg and I went as the Blues Brothers, Jake and Elwood. Although we didn’t win, we had a great time and ended the night at Crown Fried Chicken, where the kid behind the counter didn’t know what to do when I asked for “four fried chickens and a coke

Monday – Day 2

Monday’s festivities included meeting with clients, colleagues, and a few sessions. Honestly, some of the meetings with the various wine club merchants were the best I’ve had at Affiliate Summit. They listened to our feedback, gave us insight as to what’s working and information on what their upcoming plans are for Q4.

Speaking of wine clubs, Greg’s dinner Monday night featured wine from California Wine Club, and I met a guy who’s like my twin – he even has family in Buffalo! There are still so many great people to meet, so I need to go back and review my rules about meals at Affiliate Summit (for a few years, I always sat down with people I didn’t know. I met some jerks, but some great people, too).

Tuesday – Day 3

Usually, by Tuesday afternoon I’m done with the show and hang out in the Blogger’s Room. So this time, I booked meetings Tuesday afternoon, and I kept busy! Unfortunately, this meant missing some sessions, but I can catch them later on video.

I hit up Shake Shack, had my first Uber ride, met with a client from Boston and another from DC. *whew*

Tuesday night was the Philly’s game, another Uber experience, then hanging out at the hotel before packing up.

Wednesday – Day 4

Greg and I finally got over to Reading Market for breakfast on Wednesday and ran into a few conference attendees. I then took 45 minutes to get my car (Philly traffic / roads are the worst) and headed home.

Reading Market

Closing Thoughts

At one point, I was sitting in the blogger room and someone asked me how my show was going. I had to think for a moment, then realized: you get out of it what you put into it. Having a meeting with a merchant is one thing, but if you don’t follow up and push that merchant, it was a waste of time. All those business cards you exchanged, and all those flyers you picked up in the Meet Market? You need to act on them!

Each time when Affiliate Summit comes around, I find my pile of papers from the last show, and throw them out. If I didn’t act in 6 months, I’m not going to. But when Affiliate Summit West comes along in January, I won’t have any papers leftover. Let’s see what we can get done in 5 months.





Merchants: Why You Need To Partner With An Affiliate Network

For some reason, in one of the niche’s I’m in, over half of the merchants that have affiliate programs decided to use (or create) an in-house system, avoiding networks. While there may be some benefits to using an in-house system (such as avoiding network fees & overhead), I think in the long run, merchants will have greater success with their affiliate program if they use a network.

Networks not only handle the tracking and payments for an affiliate program, but they also act as the policemen, making sure affiliates are not defrauding merchants, and that merchants are not cheating affiliates out of their commissions.

But when an in-house program is used, affiliates must assume that what is reported in the tracking reports is accurate, and hope they get paid on time.

Affiliate Networks help manage the Circle of Trust

Lately, that hasn’t been the case for one particular merchant I’m promoting. Tracking is way off and completely inaccurate (for example, they tried to tell me I sold -40 subscriptions last month (that’s negative forty. When I questioned this, they sent over a new report with new numbers, but insisted the payment was not affected)). In addition, payment was late this month.



Affiliate Management e-Book Review

Affiliate Management e-Book

Affiliate Management e-Book

Greg Hoffman announced today the availability of his newest e-book, Affiliate Management for Ma, Pa and the Corporate Clueless. This 40-page PDF includes 5 steps to affiliate program success as well as a worksheets to help you complete your competitive analysis, a monthly reporting template, and a checklist to make sure your affiliate program has all of the necessary components to be competitive in your niche.