Day one has been somewhat of a disappointment. Maybe I chose the wrong sessions? Should've gone to Wil Reynolds. Should've gone to Jake Bailey. I heard a panel of super affiliates (all search affiliates) talk. Vinny Lingham, Adam Veiner (wish he was on the panel not the moderator) and a few others. There's so much noise outside the room and the sound system is poor it's tough to hear it all. The message was clear: we don't like changes in policies or our advertiser's web sites. Also: don't waste our time if your program isn't going to make us $50-100k. They also talked about working in niches with thousands of keywords (the long tail). My wish: other types of affiliates represented.
In another panel with Wayne Porter it seemed like he was always on a soapbox about his ideas. A mumbled, emphatic set of ideas, at that. A bit eccentric. I know he's a legend but this is the first time I've heard him speak. The panel was just not that well organized. They tried to cover too many sweeping topics in one session veering from topics like defining web 2.0 to defining and discussing the long tail, etc without really getting to any point. What I wanted: a panel about how to suck up to or recruit a super affiliate.
Then there was a session about a viral video by TaxBrain. It was sort of gee whiz look what we did. The marketing tactic they used was too gray hat for my taste. Faking a crime. Yes, it worked but people will now be more skeptical. Marketers would be stupid to use a technique like this. There was little take away for the audience so it seemed like a brag session. There were hints at real information (how to slice & dice a commercial for different purposes and how to build on it) that could've made a better presentation.
In general on panels: tell the people on the panel what you will ask them ahead of time and get their input about the direction of the discussion. People skills and presentation skills are vital. Just because someone has worked from home making millions doesn't mean they can effectively speak to a crowd.
No internet access in the sessions made me grouchy, since I like to blog. Maybe they could set up a blogger's corner so as not to be rude to the speaker but giving us a place (maybe towards the back). We couldn't possibly be more annoying than all the clanging around from the hotel staff right outside the doors.
Now for the good: the party at the Wynn (Tryst) was lots of fun.
I missed ya…you better say hello in Miami!