Cause You’ve Got to Have Friends – Conference Networking

by Jonathan Goodman on June 4, 2013

Jonathan Goodman
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This is Jonathan Goodman, Welcome to another episode of The World of Internet Marketing. It’s great to have you with us. Today’s topic is titled “Cause You’ve Got to Have Friends.” Not the Bette Midler song, but instead one of the most important things you can do for your career: networking.

Oops of the Week

As always, let’s start off with the Social Media Oops of the week. We The People is a White House petition that asks the administration to support the treaty of the blind, making it easier to access creative works for the blind. The interesting thing here is that some blind advocacy groups discovered that the blind and visually impaired were actually locked out from signing the petition on the White House website because visitors to the site had to type a CAPTCHA; a CAPTCHA is a set of numbers or letters that proves the visitor to the website is actually a human. The audio version of the CAPTCHA was also completely incomprehensible. So that’s the major oops of the week. And that’s actually from the White House.

English: Extract from Raspberry Pi board at Tr... English: Extract from Raspberry Pi board at TransferSummit 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Semantic Minute

Let’s take a Semantic Minute. Google added a new tool to allow webmasters to visually mark up their web pages and then download the HTML mark-up code and it to their website page. Structure Data Markup is what that website page is. The actual URL is google.com/webmasters/markup-helper. The Structured Data Markup helps a web page enhance its search listings by adding rich snippets to the search results page. The tool that you click on the various content and images on the page and then mark up with semantic schema data.

Hacker News

Let’s look at Hacker News for a second. There was an interesting story coming out of Reddit for the popular Raspberry Pi, which is essentially one of the smallest computers that you can build yourself. There is a thread on there for the Raspberry Pi where somebody on that thread said that they were using it to circumvent the Chinese internet firewalls and to get censor-free Wi-Fi. And he explains how he did this. He connects the Raspberry Pi to a Wi-Fi dongle and then connects it to his own VPN server, OpenVPN. Once connected, he instantly has censor-free Wi-Fi.

Now VPNs are common in China because of the government trying to block certain websites. What I thought was interesting was that the thread actually mentioned that China is purposely slowing down anything with a Google product, like AdWords or Analytics. That’s an attempt to kind of get back at Google. Now Google still has an office in China. But I think it’s interesting that the Chinese government’s main focus in blocking and censoring data is anything that has a Google product like AdWords or Analytics. So a lot of people have these VPNS where they connect into the VPN. This one Reddit thread mentioned that this user tries to attach himself to a VPN coming from France. He says that even though it takes a very long time, once the connection has been made, it’s actually stable.

Image representing Danny Dover as depicted in ... Image via CrunchBase

Cause You’ve Got to Have Friends

So let’s get to the main crux of what I wanted to talk about: Cause You’ve Got to Have Friends. When I graduated college, I really didn’t understand the importance of connections. No professors said, “Look around you and see who you’re connected with now. When you graduate, everybody is going to go off on their own. Is this the last time you’re going to have contact with them?” No one ever said that. That was back in the ‘90s. Now of course, everybody is connected to everyone else through Facebook, Twitter and social media. But before it was the situation where you graduated, you left college and you went on with your life. There wasn’t really much interaction. You might meet up with somebody or you might as a group go and work for a company, one or two of you. Or as you’re moving through an industry, you might meet up with people that you knew from college. But now through Facebook and social media, you’re really able to tie into those people. And sometimes just an off-chance meeting can lead to new business, a new job, a new career path. So the connections that we make  – even from a very early age because now we’re all connected from high school on through – are incredibly important.

But I’m not going to talk about high school and college connections and networking. What I’m going to talk about is industry networking. I go to a lot of conferences and I’ve found over the years that the most important part of the conference is actually the parties that occur afterwards. There are a couple of different ones that I’m going to get into. The three types that I qualify as having different segments to different parties.

First of all, the parties at conventions are incredibly important because you meet people in a social environment that either if you went to the sessions and you’re sitting there and taking notes, you don’t really have that interaction with people. Of course, there is alcohol at a lot of these events and that does tend to loosen people up and make them friendlier and everybody wants to have a good time. Sometimes there are headliners. There are performers. Sometimes it’s just a get-together and that leads to conversations that you wouldn’t necessarily have as you were moving from session to session and trying to take in the data from the day.

I’ll tell you two very interesting stories. The first, is how I met Danny Dover. Now Danny Dover at the time that I met him worked for SEOmoz. He’s since gone out and he wrote a book about search engine optimization. It’s a very good book. He then went off to do his own consulting. He during the process kind of created a bucket list of things that he wanted to do. He lived in Brazil. These are all after the point where I met him. How I met him was that I was invited – I’ll explain how you get into these private parties – but I got into one of these private parties. I was talking to some people at the party and I was walking down the hall and I mentioned to somebody that I really liked his shirt. He said, “You want my shirt? I’ll make a trade.” So we both took off our shirts, we switched shirts and I walked around with an SEOmoz shirt on for the rest of the night.

And it was at the SEOmoz party. As soon as I did that and I walked into the room where there was a bar and a DJ, somebody came to me and said, “You don’t work for SEOmoz.” I said, “No, I don’t.” They said, “How did you get that T-shirt?” I said, “Oh, I met this guy in the hall and I told him I liked his T-shirt and he said that he’d switch with me. I took my shirt off and he took his shirt off and we switched shirts.” And he said, “Was that Danny Dover?” I said, “I don’t know who anyone is here, but maybe.” And over the course of the night, Danny moved around and I was talking to these people. He came over and he was obviously wearing my shirt and I was wearing his shirt.

And we became – I wouldn’t say very good friends – but we became industry friends. I follow what he does on his life list and his new gigs. Anything that he has going on, I always promote. He was very supportive when I was writing my first book. Originally the book was going to be much bigger. Now of course I’ve split the book into three segments. The first book is out and I’m working on the second book. But originally, he was going to write the introduction, the foreword, but as we kind of decided to break the book into three books, I asked him to wait until all three books are done. Then we’ll compile it and it would be great if you could write the foreword for that. So he’s somebody who I’ve kept in contact with from the point of switching a T-shirt all the way to today, where I’m able to email him and ask him a question and he responds pretty quickly.

The other story is a great story as well. It’s how I met James Martell. James Martell is a very famous affiliate marketer. He’s been in the industry for a very long time. He has the longest running podcast on affiliate marketing. Years ahead of everybody, he was doing the Affiliate Buzz, which is on Webmaster Radio.FM. It’s also I believe on GeekCast.FM, as well as Spreaker. I’m pretty sure it’s on Spreaker, as well. He has an incredible following. He’s written several books and he is the owner of the School of Internet Marketing, which I’m affiliated with.

How I met James is I went to Pubcon and I went to the party called – and I’m going to get this wrong and you’ll all know the answer to this – but it’s either called Moon or Midnight. That’s the name of the club. It’s on the top of the Palms. It’s an absolutely beautiful club. If you ever get an opportunity to get in there, do so. Obviously I was part of the event and I had a pass, so I was able to get in there. I think it’s pretty exclusive. Anyway, it has a beautiful balcony overlooking Las Vegas. Absolutely stunning views. Helicopters flying back and forth. You can take that helicopter trip over Las Vegas that’s absolutely beautiful. They fly right past the Palms Hotel. Really beautiful.

So I was chatting with a couple of people who I had met during the conference that day and the day before. And this guy was in that circle of people talking. So I started talking to him. He was talking about affiliate marketing and I said, “I don’t even know what that is. It’s not part of what I do.” So we got to chatting and he told me about the books he’s written and the courses that he does and how long he’s been doing it. I was really so incredibly impressed. I took his business card. I went back and listened to every single Affiliate Buzz that he had ever produced. It was basically 10 years worth of material, or however long he’d been doing it. I know it took several months until I got up to that week’s podcast. So I was completely knowledgeable about everything that he was talking about, and the closer that I got to that week’s show, I would email and just say, “This was a great interview. You really highlighted this, this and this.” And just have kind of a casual conversation with him about all of the information and data that was in his podcast. That kind of started the relationship.

The amazing thing is that that relationship has now included me being a professor at the School of Internet Marketing. Every time that I have a question about conferences or this or that contact, he knows everybody. And I feel like I’m part of his inner circle. Now I could be completely wrong. I might be on the outer circle. Who knows? But I feel like because of that one meeting that I had in a relaxed environment with all of the industry leaders, it really allowed me to build these relationships with both Danny Dover and James Martell.

Now at least in the industry that I’m in, which is Internet, there are three types of parties in our conferences. I want to explain at least how I perceive them. I mean, everybody else who goes might have a better understanding as to how all this works. But in my mind, there are three types of parties. First is the events that are put on – basically it’s an after-day cocktail party where everyone is invited, including those who have booths, the companies that have booths that are trying to sell you stuff. Everyone can get in. It generally happens on the conference room floor. They tend to be boring. People are still in business mode. They’re still in note-taking mode and they kind of have their cliques and don’t really break out of that.

The next type of party is the event party. Event parties are critically important to go to. They’re attended by anybody who has a full conference pass. Depending on the size of the convention, they can range from the local bar to the nightclub. I’ll give you an example. The SFIMA conference that I just came back from in South Florida, the speakers were invited to go have a drink. Unfortunately, as you all know because you’ve been listening to this podcast, I flew to Florida and immediately started coming down with a cold. So when I was done with my presentation, I was exhausted and I had to go back and lie down. Otherwise, I really had intended to go to that. I believe that one was open to anyone who wanted to go. I specifically was asked to go, but I was unable to. So you have those parties. In fact, I believe that Midnight was an open party, and I’ve been to so many of these. Pubcon by far has the best parties. Now that being said, this is the first year that I’m speaking at Affiliate Summit East and I just found out the headliner for the party is Busta Rhymes, which is insane. I’m not a big rap fan, but to get a large star like that is incredible.

The other type of party is the private party, and private parties are extremely exclusive. There are two ways to get into these parties. Either find people at the event parties, who are everybody who has a full conference pass. You find people at the event parties, who you’re hanging out with and they know where the private parties are. And then you go with them. Make sure that you’re tied to them as they’re leaving. The other option is obviously to be someone important. While I’m trying to build up my street cred and a lot of people say that I look like Matt Cutts, I certainly do not have an easy access pass to these private events. But that’s actually where I met Danny Dover, at the SEOmoz private party. I did get into that one via the first way, which was I was hanging with a couple of people at the full pass conference party. I hung out with them and they were going to this private party. So I went with them.

Rant of the Week

Now I want to have a Rant of the Week. Every week I have a Rant of the Week where I complain about somebody, something or some corporation. This week, I’m terribly frustrated with LinkShare.com. You know, I’m trying to build my affiliate business aside from all the work that I do running Halyard Consulting, the internet marketing firm that I own, and running a podcast. And of course, writing the book. But I’m trying to build a couple of affiliate websites. And so I’ve had great experience with Share-a-Sale. I’ve had great experience with Impact Radius. I’ve had moderate experiences with some of the other lesser known ones. And I’m really excited to go to Affiliate Summit East because I’m going to be able to meet these people. Meeting really kind of breaks down that barrier of sending an email and talking about something. These are people who you’ve met face-to-face. In fact, I met the rep for Vonage at one of these parties and got to know her and decided to become a part of the Vonage affiliate marketing.

But I’ve just recently gotten into LinkShare.com. Here’s the surprising thing. I’m running a million miles a minute so I might be wrong about this, but I follow Rae Hoffman, who I believe is a headline speaker at the Affiliate Summit East. I’ve followed her for years. I think that she’s an incredible affiliate marketer. She’s also an incredible optimization specialist. She’s a great speaker as well, although if you read her blogs, she says that she’s not a great speaker. But she actually is. She brings a lot of New Jersey chutzpah to an otherwise dull and boring conference. But I believe that something I was reading or something she was saying online was her kind of promoting LinkShare.com. And so that got me into LinkShare.com and that’s why I wanted to do that.

But the website is such a disaster. The pages load terribly slowly. Search doesn’t work at all. It’s really a nightmare. Then the other thing is, what I’m finding amazing about affiliate marketing is these advertisers. Here’s the premise of affiliate marketing: I’m an advertiser. I’m a Vonage or I’m a Caesar’s or I’m a MyUndies.com, which is an underwear site selling men’s underwear. It’s a whole affiliate side that I’m trying to build out on one of my websites. They are trying to get affiliate marketers to advertise and promote their product. That is what affiliate marketing is. The number one thing that I would think, at least in my infancy of understanding how this all works, the number one thing that I’m looking for is great banner ads. I want to run banner ads on my website, on my affiliate websites.

Now I realize that there are some affiliates out there that probably aren’t even running affiliate banner ads. That they’ve created affiliate pages and web sites that are specifically branded to an advertiser. But for me, I build affiliate sites that are content related sites, so I’m constantly building content around a specific niche. And I’m running advertising in the hopes that people who are coming to that site will click on the advertising. So I’ll gain the affiliate percentage of sale that way. Maybe I’m doing it wrong. Maybe I’ll find something out at the Affiliate Summit, a better way to do it. But that’s how I’ve decided to move forward with my stuff.

So I don’t understand why they can’t have just a tremendous amount of banners really, really designed well in all different sizes. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve signed up with an affiliate only to find that they have a handful of banner ads that were presented to me before I got affiliate accessibility. They say more banners will come after you become an affiliate, only to find out that those five that were being presented to me in the test was it. That was all the banners that they have. And if it doesn’t fit into the way my website is designed, I’m not going to be able to use any of those banners. You got a twofer there because those are my rants of the week. It started with LinkShare and it went into affiliate banner marketing.

App Highlight

Now let’s go into the App Highlight. I always like to highlight one app per episode. And this one is very, very cool. It’s called Kuler. Funny how that worked, right? But it’s spelled kuler, not cooler. You can go to Kuler.adobe.com. And it’s actually an iPhone app. It’s really cool and it’s really fun. All you do is open up that app and just find a scenario. Maybe you’re walking in the supermarket and it’s a ton of different cans and different colors. You take your phone, take the camera and just hold it against a swatch of the colors that you’re looking at. So if I have a couch that has pillows on it, I’ll put my camera up to that. And it gives me a complete and entire theme of color just simply by having that camera. It tells me the RGB number and the HEX data for that. It’s a really cool app, especially for designers because they might go to the zoo and they might go to a show and there is some kind of really cool coloring being done. So you simply put the app on, hold the phone up with the camera and it tells you exactly the five different colors that are being used in that image. It’s really awesome. Check it out. It’s Kuler.adobe.com. Or you can go to the iPhone marketplace, and hopefully they have one for Android as well, but you can go to the iPhone marketplace and search for Kuler.

Well, we’re almost out of time today. You can follow me @HalyardConsult on Twitter. New episodes of the World of Internet Marketing can be heard every Friday. I’m mixing up the time right now because normally I would religiously do it at 4:30, but because of summer hours and everything, I’m trying to get ahead of myself. I’d like to have a great weekend instead of 4:30 going to 5:00 and then I already want to be outside having a nice drink. You can access the archives for my previous shows on Spreaker.com. You can do the search for Jonathan Goodman. The podcast is also available with transcription at halyardconsulting.com and GeekCast.FM one week after the episode airs. And I’ll be speaking at Affiliate Summit East on August 18-20 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA. And also Pubcon Las Vegas on October 21-25 at the Las Vegas Convention Center South Halls. Thank you all for listening to another episode of the World of Internet Marketing. Don’t forget to pick up my book 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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