I just got back from Affiliate Summit in Orlando. Good links to coverage at AffiliateTip.com.
Some quick thoughts on different sessions:
Jim Bouton: Funny stories from the Yankees. Nothing to do with affiliate marketing, although the message that you must enjoy the process, and the importance of persistence seemed to resonate with the crowd.
Intro to Affiliate Marketing for Merchants: Lived up to its title. Basic info on affiliate marketing. It might have been a nice touch to have an affiliate give a quick overview on their side of the world.
SUPER Affiliate strategies. Rosalind Gardner. One of the highlights of the conference. Not so much for the "I made 400k in a year message", as for the messages about maintaining a dialog with your customers on an ongoing basis, and the importance of credibility. Lesson for big marketers? Maintain an actual dialog with your customers, and it'll greatly improve your results.
Benefits and Liabilites of Coupon Affiliates - Everyone seemed to come down firmly in the middle :) The open questions seemed to be, do you really need discounting, as people may be going to your site anyway, and does it devalue your brand?
Bingo networking: aka, get 25 people to sing your card as quickly as possible, and then have actual conversations :) Got some very useful insights, including tips on qualities needed in affiliate managers, so this was definitely worthwhile.
Roundtables: Chaotic, but very useful -- Noteworthy speakers:
Mark Widawer - 6 useful, actionable tips on landing pages. And kudos to him for speaking up, and avoiding the whole rotating tables thing turning into a fiasco
Joe Agliozzo - Glad I sat here. Neat tool on testing Adwords copy.
Brian Littleton - 10 things merchants and affiliates don't know about each other. Hopefully, this presentation will be widely available.
Benchmarking - like many other presentations I've seen, the net on this seemed to be to make sure to measure things... handled in a much better way in the next session..
Lessons from the Adult industry, via LobsterGram.com. Jim Lillig was a great speaker. Some really different ideas. Keys were the idea of shelf space (multiple domains) and testing vs. your competitors (comparison sites) and co-opetition (when all else fails, and people leave your site, send them to your competitors.
Seeds to stalks - Mike Catania - key takeaway - increased commissions aren't going to have any sort of linear corelation at all to increase revenues.
Overall, I'd give the conference high marks for cramming a lot into 2 days. My only complaint would be the cost of registration was steep, and probably excluded a significant number of affiliates from attending.