End of Year Report Card: A-

Like every year, I like to reflect on the various accomplishments from this year. 2008 was quite a good year, but I was also very busy as well. Here are some interesting metrics  from this year:

  • Attended 26 events – a combination of conferences, workshops, and training classes.
  • Launched another startup.
  • Built several applications that are in use by many today.
  • Last year’s startup is gaining more traction.
  • Traveled 12 times, being on the road for 46 days.

Hopefully next year will be just as productive, with less time on the road. Thanks to all that helped and supported me through all my various projects.

Affiliate Summit West Booth Babes and SWAG

I usually attend technical trade shows and conferences, so I was expecting a similar environment when going to the Affiliate Summit. Was I wrong in that one! I was amazed when I hit the exhibitors hall to see so many booth babes and everyone giving out free stuff.


And I didn’t get to any of the bigger SWAG items like a snowboard, skateboard, or RC car because I didn’t want to lug it back home. But even of the smaller SWAG items I got, they were of good quality. Why isn’t it like this in computer security industry? RSA is coming up, so we will see.

Affiliate Summit West Day 2 Notes

Ask the Experts – Large Site SEO

  • Truncated rss feeds
  • Protection from scrapers
  • Given content is 500 words, 50-100 words excerpt is sweet spot
  • Get a free SES pass so you can visit the Googleplex at night
  • Video does not help in making conversation, just traffic
  • Super Affiliate Strategies that Work

    • John Chow’s website started in Sept 2006, and 12 months later he makes 12k/month. Now he makes 30k/month.
    • Amit – Selectively find a niche and build a site around it for the long term.
    • Amit – PPC Landing pages – Only links are on the bottom in 10pt font, top has none.
    • A keyword is a problem the person has, and the landing page is the solution. Describe and provide value.
    • Trademarked terms – Lots of restriction on using them already.
    • John Chow’s method of countering scrapers is to put ads on there so he still makes money from them.
    • Amit – build a system so even if they scraped, they could only make a tiny percentage of what he normally makes.
    • Make a little money from a bunch of small sites, and it all adds up
    • Tons of money in social networks
    • Amit – Best conversion rate – msn, yahoo, THEN google.
    • For him, the target demographics is in msn.
    • Google is more savvy users than msn/yahoo
  • Amit – MSN has their own content network
    • Not a lot of traffic, but good conversions.
  • Amit – Sweet spot on google ads is positions 3 and 5.
    • Each ad needs to be optimized for the position its in.
  • Winneralert – a/b test – delete your loosing ad and create a new winner
  • Efficient PPC
  • AdWords Editor
  • Date parting on ads
    • Determine what days work and done
    • Lower costs on dead times, max later

    Tris and J. Botter both gave good recaps of this panel as well.


    Affiliate Summit West Day 1 Recap


    First off was Jim Kukral MC’ing the event, and then Jason Calacanis had his keynote. His keynote generated a lot of controversy, as he basically said everyone in the room is a spammer. Some other takeaways from his keynote were to build quality sites for the long term, that you shouldn’t settle for $300k checks, and to reach for the stars. Gary Lee posted his thoughts on the keynote, and even Jason Calacanis has some post-keynote thoughts. You can listen to the keynote yourself at Webmaster Radio.

    Update: Amit Mehta posted his thoughts on Jason’s keynote.

    How to Futureproof Your SEO Efforts

    Here are my notes from Wil Reynolds talk on SEO.

    • Meta tags
      • Keywords aren’t useful to Google and others anymore
        • He doesn’t even use them
        • But a reason to keep them is for Google adsense
      • Use sentences in the description tag
    • Build up your asset inventory
      • Some will strike out, but some will catch on
    • Don’t chase Google
    • Watch out for Google co-op and widgets
    • How-to videos are the best

    Moniker’s Live Domain Auctions

    This was my first time at a domain auction, and it was quite interesting. There was a nice bidding war between a guy in the room and someone on the internet bidding for chinesenoodles.com. I think it ended up selling for $4,750. But the most expensive domain sold was temp.com to someone in the room for $400,000! And most of the people bidding didn’t seem to care how much they were paying too! I guess I have a lot to learn about the domaining game.

    Deal Site Meetup

    I organized a meetup for people that ran a deal site and was in Vegas for the Affiliate Summit. We had a good turnout, with Alan from dealtaker.com, Jeff and associate from dealnews.com, Ben from bensbargains.net, Barry from dealhunting.com, and of course me from dealoco.com. And had I known Danielle was with pinkdeals.net, I would have invited her as well (she is totally cute too).

    We ended up eating at Tao, as we deemed it easier to just walk upstairs to the Affiliate Bash party right after. It was great to meet everyone, and I hope we can keep the communication lines open, and get together more often. Perhaps ad:tech?

    Affiliate Bash at Tao

    This was the only party open to everyone at Affiliate Summit, and it was a good party. The Blue Man Group did a special performance there to kick off their new affiliate program. There were a few recaps of this event from John Chow and Zac Johnson. Here is the video I took from their performance.





    One good long day filled with people to see, sessions to attend, and free drinks at night. Gary Lee posted a summary of his day 1 events.

    Affiliate Summit West Day 0 Recap

    I was invited to cover Affiliate Summit West, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, as this was my first time to this event, and really my first experience going to a affiliate and marketing conference. But it was very enlightening experience, and I got to meet some great people in the affiliate scene.

    However, my trip to Las Vegas didn’t start off well as my flight was rain delayed, so I missed the Meet Market and the ShareASale party at the Palms. But John Chow took video and gave a tour of the suite so I feel a little bit better on that subject.