How To Destroy At Affiliate Summit West 2015

You should know by now that I regularly write about affiliate marketing on this site. That’s because it’s what I do for a living and has changed my entire life.

And this weekend, one of the largest gatherings of geeks and weirdos like me are coming together in Las Vegas for Affiliate Summit West 2015.

As I sit here writing this, I’m thinking about how much life has changed since the first time I flew to Vegas for this conference back in January 2009.

Affiliate Summit West 2009

I was still pretty much new to the game. I had discovered paid traffic in October 2008 and by January 2009 I was making more money than I had ever made in my life.

But I was working completely alone. I didn’t know anyone in the industry other than one or two affiliate managers that I talked to on instant messenger.

One of them told me about the conference. And with a lot of nervousness I booked a flight to Las Vegas to see what was going on.

What happened at that conference changed everything for me.

I was less than 1 year sober at the time (I’m was a sloppy drunk for years) and really didn’t want to go to any of the parties. I was terrified. But I forced myself to go to one.

At that party I met four guys who were just like me. They were doing the exact same things I was doing and we ended up talking and hanging out for hours. They treated me like a newbie until I told them exactly what I was doing and how big my campaigns were. After that, they treated me like an equal and started opening up about what they were doing too.

And as legend has it, I took a piece of advice from one of them and launched it that night in my hotel room. By the time I woke up I’d made enough money to pay for the entire trip.

The After Effects

We all worked together sharing ideas for the next 3 years. And we all made more money than we’d ever made in our lives. And six year later I still talk to two of them on a regular basis.

For me, Affiliate Summit West was game-changing. And if you’re doing this stuff, I highly recommend that you go. Not only can you pick up some inside information (there’s always a buzz about something), you might make some lifelong friends.

Don’t waste the opportunity. Too many affiliates go to the conference, drink and gamble for 3 days straight and then go home without learning jack shit. To avoid being that guy/gal – here are a few pieces of advice that can help you make the most of the trip.

Affiliate Summit West 2015

  • Don’t go to the actual conference. Really. You don’t need to attend the actual speakers and panels. Most of us meet up at the trade show floor, at dinners or at parties. That’s where the real magic happens.
  • Walk the trade show floor. The trade show floor is normally packed with traffic sources and affiliate networks. Borrow a pass from someone if you have to and walk around and look for new traffic and offers.
  • Meet people face to face. Arrange meetings with affiliate managers and online friends. A quick face to face conversation with people can totally change your relationship with them. You’ll become a real person, and not just a userid on Skype.
  • Go to a few parties. The parties are going to be full of the kinds of people you need to meet. Super affiliates, network owners, affiliate managers and ad network reps. They’re all going to be there having a good time, and talking LOTS of shop. Here is a list of parties.
  • Listen. If you want to gather intel while you’re there, talk Less and listen more. Most people in the industry work alone and don’t talk to a lot of people. So when they get to Vegas and start drinking, they love to talk about what they’re doing. If you’re listening – you can grab some great ideas.
  • Openly share what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to tell people what you’re up to. You don’t have to give away all the details, but don’t be too tight lipped either. The guys I met only became interested in me after I told them what I was doing and how much money I was making. I went from being “the new guy” to being looked at as a real player who they probably needed to know.
  • Don’t get sh#tfaced drunk. There’s nothing more annoying than a drunk person slurring and spitting all over your face right? So don’t be that person. It’s fine to have a few drinks to take the edge off – but don’t go nuts. If you’re there to get information you need a clear(ish) head anyway. So instead of Jaegermeister shots, have a Red Bull (or Monster Ultra Zero) instead.
  • Take notes. You’re going to be meeting alot of new people and hearing alot of new ideas. Write or type that stuff down as soon as you can. During my conference I carried my phone around and filled my notes app with ideas, names, phone numbers and traffic sources that I came across.
  • Implement what you learn immediately. If you get some great ideas, put them to use right away. It’s pointless to go to the conference, meet new people and get new ideas and then go home and go back to what you were doing before. If you hear a great idea, make it happen as soon as you can.

If you’re going the conference, use this advice and have a great trip. If you’re not able to go, you definitely should try to attend some sort of meetup or get together this year. Being around people that understand what you’re doing is a really big help.

I’m as introverted as the next guy, but by forcing myself to go to the Summit in 2009 I was able to pick up some great intel and make a few really good friends.

You can do the same.

And if you see me at the conference feel free to come up and say hi. I’m pretty sure I’ll be at the StackThatMoney party and the Adsimilis happy hour. So if you’re around, I’ll see you there.

  • Zach

    First monster zero is on me next weekend bud!

    • Malan Darras

      Sucralose shots for everyone…

  • Marcos W.

    Nice one Malan

    If I see you I`ll make sure to say hi

    Enjoy vegas

    • Malan Darras

      Cool Marcos – see you there.

  • John Crestani

    Awesome stuff. See you at stm!

  • Jez

    Great post Malan.

    How do you network with more successful affiliates if you’re new. You don’t want to sound like a leech, right? How can you offer value if you don’t have anything that great to share?

    • Malan Darras

      just do your best to give something to them. surely you’ve had some kind of success with SOMETHING at some point. share that. a little CTR trick, or a great headline you used. anything you contribute.

      and if you have absolutely nothing to contribute. just be cool. and don’t try to connect with Mark Zuckerberg — just find someone who is just slightly better than you.

  • Tomer Algrably

    Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend this time:( But enjoy it for me too!

  • Renatas Andrejevas

    You still talk to 2 of them. Where did the other 2 guys go? They left the industry?

    • Malan Darras

      one guy burned out and took a job at a startup, another guy decided to become a singer

  • Willy Enrione

    Great advices Malan, thank you. Will for sure remember this post!

  • Ryan Dinz

    Great advice. I had no idea what I was doing when I went to ASW16, but got lucky and ran into someone who I only knew from online who invited me to the STM party and I met some people who gave me killer advice. I learned more at that party then I learned at the entire 3 days at the conference.