Most all of the networks have at least one annual event where their affiliates, merchants and network personnel can meet, network and work on relationships. In an industry where everyone is so scattered out over the entire world these conferences can prove to be quite fruitful in developing relationships with people you work with regularly.
One problem I have found is that for me to attend every network’s event requires extensive travel and time away from the office, not to mention the cost. What it comes down to for me is a matter of how much headway can I make at a given event at the cost of the time and money I spend to attend a given event.
Considering all affiliate events, I have to say that Affiliate Summit is the one event you should attend if you are limited in time and resources and not able to attend them all. Affiliate Summit has gotten huge in the past few years with more and more affiliates, merchants, networks and those who provide services to the affiliate marketing industry attending. At Summit you will be able to mingle with the people at the networks, your favorite affiliate managers and OPMs, other affiliates and a slew of those who provide services of all types to our industry.
Summit is scheduled as a 3-day event, but I would recommend travelling at least one day prior to and one day after the event is scheduled to end. My experiences have taught me that there is always something going on at either end of Summit, be it a party, networking session or something else that might not be officially sanctioned by Affiliate Summit but is worth attending. The hotel has always been accomodating in honoring their special rate for an additional night on either end of the scheduled dates.
The cost to attend Affiliate Summit is usually heavily discounted in the months prior to the show and is discounted even more at the previous show. In a word, it is worth every cent. Shawn Collins and Missy Ward are very aggressive in getting affiliates to attend the show so if you are an affiliate there is a chance that you will be able to get either a discounted admission or even a free pass. Summit is actually having a contest in April for free passes to those who create a video detailing why they should get a free pass. Not all videos are guaranteed a pass, but it looks to me like turnout is not real high and your chances would be pretty good.
My only suggestion to someone attending Summit for the first time is to dress comfortably including comfortable shoes. You will no doubt end up going who knows where but there will always be plenty of walking involved so make sure you are set for that.