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Affiliate Summit East 2013 Summary

by Jonathan Goodman on August 27, 2013

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Hi everyone. It’s Jonathan Goodman. Welcome to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. It’s great to have you with us. Today’s episode is “Affiliate Summit East Summary.” The Google Algorithm forecast from MozCast.com today is a comfortable 70 degrees. The high for the week was a hot and stormy 103 degrees on Tuesday; the low for the week immediately followed on Wednesday at 69 degrees, so something big happened with the Goggle Algorithm. And now the news….

Social Media

Data from AgoraPulse shows the average Facebook engagement level for a page with less than 10,000 fans is 6.1%. For pages with over 100,000 fans, it is 4.9%. The NBA was listed as one of the most popular brands to have a fan page based on the ‘people talking about this’ metric. Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart and Disney also made the top 10 list.

“My List,” a new service from Netflix, is going to soon replace its old “Instant Queue” feature. Users will be able to click on a title to add to their list to watch later. Unlike the old version, this option will appear as a tab at the top of the home screen. A direct quote from Dino Grandoni of the Huffington Post: “Netflix is now confident that it knows what you would prefer to watch, even from a list of movies and TV shows that you’re already said you want to watch.”

DirecTV could soon lose its heralded NFL Sunday Ticket package. Goggle has apparently been in talks with the NFL about potentially purchasing the option. DirecTV currently pays 1 billion dollars for the rights and will hold them until the end of the 2014 season. A direct quote from Amy Gusenhues: “…NFL delegates are courting ‘multiple Silicon Valley companies’ and the conversation with Google is by no means anything other than a starting conversation. Goggle declined to comment on the story…”

Your Sematic Minute

Tech startup Wibbitz has created an application that reads and analyzes articles for the user. It then turns the information into a short video. A direct quote from Oliva Solon from Wired.co.uk: Wibbitz “…uses algorithms to extract text from an article, then analyses it using natural language processing and artificial intelligence to understand what the text is talking about. It then summarizes the article, and hunts for relevant imagery through various image licensing sites.” Wibbitz is currently searching for ways to monetize its operations.

Now a story from the crazy train. Yahoo topped Goggle last month as having the most unique visitors with 196 million to Goggle’s 192 million. The last time Yahoo held the top spot was in 2011 when 139 million unique visitors clicked on the site. Goggle has almost always held the top spot since 2008. The ranking does not include visitors to Tumblr, the newly acquired Yahoo site. Hmm, I wonder if this means all the optimization nuts will take down their shrines to Matt Cutts, the head of Goggle’s search quality team, will now start praying to the Yahoo gods. Google will probably say this week was just an anomaly – well, until next week.

Hacker News

Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Manning will be eligible for her first parole after serving 10 years of the sentence, but her lawyer believes she could be eligible for parole after seven years because of the 1,294 days credited by the judge toward her sentence. Manning has announced that he would like to go forward with the name Chelsea. I know people who have gone through transgender issues and I do respect their decisions, although this is not something I clearly understand. So out of respect for his decision, I will refer to him using the female pronoun and the Chelsea Manning name going forward. With regard to the 35 year sentence, I would just like to say that I believe this was a fair ruling.

Some people feel that Manning is a hero and that what she did is noble and for a good cause. Manning has acknowledged that she didn’t really understand the impact of what she was doing and the fact that it hurt her, the people around her, and the United States in general, which unfortunately it did. I think that a 90-year sentence as a maximum would have been extreme. The 35-year sentence is a fair trade knowing that most likely with good behavior, she will get out within 7 to 15 years. She’s probably not going to do the full 35 years. I think it would be extreme if she did. Even if you see the information she presented and pushed to Wikileaks as something that is noble and courageous, you still do have to serve the time according to the law. I think the judge was right in giving her a 35-year sentence. At the maximum, when she’s 60, she’ll get out. Most likely, though, she’ll be released when she’s in her 40s.

What’s going to be very interesting is the transgender issue because she may now fight to have sex reassignment surgery, which is complicated in itself. I’ve known people who have gone through it and I’ve seen the process. It’s difficult to watch and emotionally scarring either way, I would assume, for the individuals who are going through it. But my understanding is that currently, the Army does not have any provision that allows for sex reassignment surgery for people being detained in an Army jail. I believe the issue is that for most of the people in these jails, this is their first offense so they’ve really never had a long-term engagement like this. Most people are in for a drug offense, fighting offense or something of that nature, and they’ve just never had this issue I guess come up.

If Chelsea Manning is now going to fight to have sex reassignment surgery, which may or may not even be something that she wants because she may just want to live as a woman with male gender parts, but if she does decide to go through with the whole operation during the 10 to 15 years that she’s going to be in prison that might actually be a whole other court battle that we’re going to be watching.

App Highlight

Why Conservatives Should Watch Al Jazeera Why Conservatives Should Watch Al Jazeera (Photo credit: KAZVorpal)

While not exactly an App, I wanted to take this moment to follow up on last week’s Main Event talking about the safety of photojournalists and ability to use cellphone footage from people on the streets in the middle of a conflict. Wednesday, I was having lunch and watching CNN when a commercial came on announcing the Aljazeera America channel. If you want to look it up on the web, it’s http://america.aljazeera.com). The advertisement said it could be found on channel 107. So I immediately turned to it because first of all I despise CNN. It’s just one of the station numbers I can remember. I don’t like MSNBC either. I don’t like any American broadcast news. I think it’s whitewashed and politically motivated. So I wanted to see what Aljazeera America had to say.

It’s not perfect. They’re not using the best quality cameras. They haven’t hired the top camera men, but they use unedited cellphone footage from conflicts around the world, which you will never see on an American news media station or channel or show. They are horrifically graphic. There is footage of dead people. There is footage of dying people. There is footage of blood. There is footage of explosions and people whose shirts have been burned. It’s incredible hard to watch some of the footage. Now some of the footage is very choppy and very low quality, but I commend them for going ahead and putting that up. It’s in the now. It’s far more in the now than being filtered through an edited version. This is footage from beginning to end, and you see what’s going on.

The cameras are shaky, so yes, it’s not beautiful. But war is not beautiful. Unfortunately, in American news, we tend to beautify everything. Everything has to be glossed and perfect. The newscasters are up high on their hotel balconies presenting footage. I’m thinking of NBC right now when they had some of the reporters up on their hotel balconies looking down at Tahrir Square. This was about a year and a half or two years ago. You’re not going to see conversations about Kim Kardashian or Britany Spears and things that are not news on Aljazeera. I really hope that they stick with this kind of coverage. I hope that they can really find an audience of people concerned about world views.

The other thing that is very interesting. If you look at, let’s just take any half hour news program on any of the major channels, not CNN. CNN is just regurgitating the same information all the time. But take Nightly News with Brian Williams, for example. Break that program down to the amount of minutes that they’re talking about foreign issues, right? You look at what’s going on in Iran, what’s going on in Iraq, what’s going on in Lebanon, what’s going on in Syria, and they’re talking about such a minuscule part of the overall broadcast for that show. It’s tragic. I would urge you to watch Aljazeera America.

I feel awkward saying that as an American, but it is the only news station out there that is giving you a global perspective. BBC America tries to. There is a show on BBC that I watch called Broadchurch, which has nothing to do with news, but there is a journalist who has come down to cover this story. They asked her why she has come down and she said, “I should have never made the move to major broadcasting and major newspapers. All it is regurgitating press releases.” And that’s essentially what you have on a daily basis at all the major networks. They’re just regurgitating daily press releases that are sent to them. Instead, Aljazeera had an excellent piece about some type of environmental activist in the Amazon who was murdered because he was trying to live off the land that was promised to him.

So it’s in-depth reporting like that. Now they’ve done a very smart thing. They’ve hired some top-quality reporters from American news agencies. People who are probably fed up with the whitewashing and the screening by the American political machine that happens on other television news shows. If you don’t think that they’re screening by the American political machine as to what goes into the nightly news broadcast, then you are fooling yourself. Believe me, the United States tried very hard to make sure Aljazeera wasn’t going to have a spot anywhere as a television station, but they finally got one. They’ve set up and it’s an excellent show. I believe the station is 24/7, although they take the previous night’s coverage and put it on the next morning. I hope that they have a morning show.

I am desperately trying to move away from all of the NBC, CBS, ABC morning shows. On the Today Show this morning, One Direction was on. Talking to them, the girls screaming, and them playing the music took up such a huge amount of time. Then they said, “Let’s now go to your local news.” Think about that. The Today Show is now 4 hours or maybe 5 hours, and they can’t do in-depth journalism? Please. Do yourself a favor and tune into Aljazeera one night this week at 7 o’clock or 8 o’clock. Just watch it for half an hour. That’s all I’m asking. Just take a half hour and you’ll see that it is completely different news than what you’re getting fed by the major U.S. networks. I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.

The Main Event

Scott Jangro and Frank Luntz at Affiliate Summ... Scott Jangro and Frank Luntz at Affiliate Summit East 2010 (Photo credit: Affiliate)

I returned from Affiliate Summit East 2013 just this past week. I was there Sunday through Tuesday. I spoke and it was very interesting, so I wanted to give you a summary. A lot of different people who go to this conference. There are companies looking to get into affiliate marketing and work with companies like Share-A-Sale, which had a very big presence at the conference. I know that in the affiliate marketing stream, there’s also LinkShare. There’s Impact Radius. There’s ClickBank. There’s just a slew of affiliate management companies. What they’re trying to do is attract affiliates into their programs.

There were also online publishers and bloggers, like myself, at the conference. In addition to owning Halyard Consulting, an Internet marketing firm, I’m trying to understand the affiliate space. So as a hobby, I’ve created some websites and I’m just testing things out and trying to understand how that all works. And they’re searching for partnerships. For instance, I was talking to Share-A-Sale and explaining to them what my hobby website was and what the niche was. They made some suggestions. They’re going to do a full analysis. Very interesting stuff. Then there are affiliate program managers who are trying to attract new affiliates like Share-A-Sale. So you’ve got those segments.

Then there were people who were trying to buy web traffic for their company and people who were selling their web traffic, which I still don’t completely understand. I may just be naive, but I always thought there were essentially two ways to gain more visitors. The first is organic. The second is pay-per-click. But in talking to some of these people, I learned a lot. I’m not knowledgeable about this and I really should be obviously because all my clients can use more traffic if there are other ways to do it. But I did find some of the conversations very sketchy. I couldn’t really put my finger on exactly how they were getting that traffic and if it was legitimate traffic. And to me, I’d rather have 10 quality visitors than 100 or 1,000 people looking at the site and then turning away because they have no interest in it. But maybe there is something to this. Maybe I need to do a little bit more research and figure all this out.

Then there were email companies. Email marketing companies are very last decade. My focus is social media, twitter, Facebook, gaining an audience that you’re always going to market to. Grow those numbers and you’re doing pretty well. But to them, and some of the people I spoke to, they praised email marketing still to this day. I find it interesting that all I have to do to get people to the site is put a 140-character tweet out about some type of news or something like that. I increase my traffic. Or I put that out on Facebook and I increase the traffic that way. But there are people out there that have tens of thousands of emails listed for their email newsletter or something like that. And they market to these people on a daily or weekly or monthly basis. They have a following. They have email lists. And they are able to market to these people.

From everybody that I spoke to there, my impression was their hope was to get a 50% open rate. That’s extremely low to me, but that’s what they were hoping for. They’re really only seeing probably a 20% open rate. But they spend all this time writing emails, writing these email newsletters and putting quality information into it; it’s not regurgitated information from articles you’ve already written, it’s quality pieces they’re writing specifically for that. First of all, I don’t have time to read an email that is 3 paragraphs long. I certainly don’t have the time to read some random email that someone is sending me either about a specific news piece of a specific item they think I should purchase. Of course, all of these emails are really just advertising platforms. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just ignorant.

One of the great things about going to Affiliate Summit East is that you hear about all these different methods, such as the buying web traffic, the selling web traffic, the email marketing still being a viable alternatives or viable marketing tactics. I think that’s amazing. To put your money in and go somewhere for a couple of days and be open to a completely new idea that could change your business model is fantastic. I went to one of the sessions where they mentioned something that I’m actually going to talk about in the App Highlight next week. I’ve installed it. I’m going to use it for a week. I’m going to see if it really is successful. Then I’m going to talk about it in next week’s podcast. I’m not even going to give you a hint about what it actually is.

Then there were some very dark territories. I’m in the optimization business and if I now get into the affiliate marketing business, I can legitimately say that I am in two areas that the average individual may think about negatively. But it’s really things, like this, that I call dark territories that come to the top, like Payday loans and advertising for Payday, which is a horrific credit that compounds itself almost on a daily basis. It can ruin anyone who gets involved with that. There are affiliate marketers that promote this stuff.

On the last day of the conference, I was completely exhausted. The people in my industry generally don’t sleep much anyway, and I’ve always only needed about 6 hours of sleep a night. Coming back from an event like this where I’m only sleeping two or three hours a night, it’s hard for me to get up because I’m just catching up on those hours I’ve missed. We work extremely hard at this conference and we party extremely hard. There’s nothing wrong with that. There are other industries where you don’t go to parties and you simply go to the conference. I’m thinking of a dental conferences or similar events where people just have one beer while schmoozing around.

For both the SEO optimization and the affiliate marketing – and I think it’s true for any Internet marketing conference – there’s the sessions and there’s the networking. The parties are incredibly critical to all aspects of what you’re doing there. First of all, after three beers, you’re much more willing to have a conversation with somebody who might have had their defenses up before. We as humans tend to have our defenses up and alcohol relaxes us, so going to one of these parties and being able to have a conversation with somebody you wouldn’t have the opportunity to talk with before really helps. I was exhausted. It was the third night. I had already basically stayed up 48 hours with maybe two hours of a nap here and there.

So I positioned myself at a table and tweeted out to everybody that my Ask the Experts session went incredibly well. That was immediately after my presentation, which didn’t go well unfortunately, but still people followed me down to the Ask the Experts table. You were really only supposed to be there for about 40 minutes and I was there for 2 and a half hours answering questions. So I felt really felt good about that. People still even at 7:30 had questions for me and asked if they could come back tomorrow and ask me a couple of questions. I said, “Sure, I’ll set myself up at a table down at the exhibit hall and you can stop by to ask questions.” I’m always up for anything. I don’t hold back on my opinions if I think your idea is garbage, and I’m always willing to talk about strategy and technology.

I don’t really have a veil where I think maybe I shouldn’t give this information out. I will answer any question about technology, even if it gives away my secrets. I feel that it just adds to the conversation and helps me be the expert I am. If the expert never answers any questions and just gives ideas about what to do, that doesn’t help anybody. So I’m sitting at this table. People had already pinged me that they were going to stop by to ask questions. A guy sat down at the end of the table, and later on another guy sat down. They got into a conversation. I included myself in the conversation occasionally, but I was doing work and listening to what they had to say.

Well, he started talking about something to the other guy to see if they could work together. I found myself paying more and more attention to the conversation until I finally looked at them and said, “I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about, but it sounds very dark.” The guy who was being pitched to work with the other guy looked at me and nodded. Later the other guy left and the guy who’d nodded to me was still there. I said to him again, “I have absolutely no clue what he was talking about.” The guy explained it to me, but I still can’t even explain it to you. That’s how little I understood what was being said.

It had to do with setting up domains, putting in iframes, co-registration, making it look like it was part of the page, and then getting people as they were signing up for things to bring these other co-registration pieces in. It was so sketchy that it was scary. As much as I want to know how that all works, it also frightens me terribly. But the all in all, Affiliate Summit East was so successful for me and it was so exciting meeting such great people, aside from the dark conversations I overheard, that I think I might go to Affiliate Summit West. We’ll have to see.

Rant of the Week

An empty booth is bad for everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running the conference or you’ve bought into a booth. So I wanted to talk about something that happened at Affiliate Summit East that I found to be a problem. I don’t want to call out a specific individual or a specific company. I’m not going to use anyone’s name and I’m not going to talk about the name of the company involved in this situation. This is a high-profile company within the industry. In fact, my understanding is that they built their reputation on the relationships they made at Affiliate Summit. They were a keynote speaker at the conference and they bought a booth.

But that booth sat empty with nothing but a placard with the name of the company. I walked past it once not really noticing what was going on, and a couple of hours later, I walked past it again. I looked at the name of the company. I knew that that person, so I tweeted the individual and said, “Is everything okay? Why is your booth empty?” The response came back that said, “I’m speaking tomorrow and afterwards I’ll make myself available to answer questions.” I thought to myself, “American Express is a billion dollar company and they don’t necessarily need anybody’s business, but they still had a booth there and we still trying to sign people up.” Maybe the company that had a booth without anyone present had reached max capacity. Maybe they’ve decided they don’t want to grow anymore.

However, I know how expensive that booth was. That’s a lot of money being thrown away. All they had to do was have a banner that said, “This person is going to speak and then sit down and talk to people. Sign your name on the pad to reserve a specific time after the speech and that person will be available for your questions and comments.” I was a speaker and I had an Ask the Experts session. That session, which didn’t cost me a thing, was two and a half hours followed up the next day by an hour and a half. So I got four hours of speaking to potential clients or just people interested in hearing what I have to say for free. I promoted it all day long through social media for days before. Come to my Ask the Experts session. That wasn’t the case here. There was so little information.

It was an empty, blank booth next to everyone else who had a booth. It’s a marketing issue. Either you want to represent your company or you want to represent you. If you’re solely representing you, then you do your speech and sit down for questions and comments afterward. That’s free, but if you want to get clients by having a booth, you need to have a banner. You need to have a table. You need to have some material. We’re talking thousands of dollars spent on securing that booth. To use it in the hope that after you speak, somebody wants to talk to you? Well, maybe you have a ton of money you’ve made from this business and you can just flush that money down the toilet, but everybody who walked past that booth and looked at the sign saw that it was empty. That is really bad marketing.

Speaking Gigs

I have another speaking gig coming up in a few months. I’ll be speaking at PubCon Las Vegas on October 21-25 at the Las Vegas Convention Center South Halls. You can follow me @HalyardConsult on Twitter. New episodes of the World of Internet Marketing can be heard every Friday. You can access the archives of my previous shows on Spreaker.com – user name Jonathan Goodman. The podcast is also available with transcription at halyardconsulting.com and geekcast.fm one week after the episode airs.

Again, this is Jonathan Goodman. Thank you all for listening to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. Don’t forget to pick up my book The World of Internet Marketing on Amazon, and if you like this podcast please share it with your network of friends and family. Have a great week.

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