Following the theme of the recent reprint of my affiliate marketing year end recap from 2000, here is some similarly vintage coverage of the once thriving Affiliate Force conference. This summary is from the first of these events back in the spring of 2000 in Miami.
I was talking to a friend of mine recently about Internet advertising and marketing. She works at one of the big advertising agencies, and she was telling me about this new account that was very unhappy with the traffic being generated by a recent banner buy.
This company was paying a $40 CPM and getting a quarter of a percent click-through rate. Let me save you a few seconds of calculating that in your head – they were paying $16 per click to their site.
The advertising people have a name for this… it’s called branding. I doubt P.T. Barnum could have devised a better name for ineffective service. Affiliate programs have been around for years, but the revolutionary concept of performance marketing is still a secret for too many companies.
Revolution in Miami
An April 1999 Forrester Research survey of marketing executives, “Driving Site Traffic,” ranked affiliate programs number one in effectiveness, ahead of email, PR, television, and all other marketing methods. Merchants know they should have an affiliate program, and webmasters want to make money from the concept, but how?
Herby Olschewski, president of ICCWorldWide, created the AffiliateForce/2000 conference, where the affiliate marketing concept met Woodstock over three days of networking, sunning, learning, partying and making new friends in the industry.
AffiliateForce/2000 was founded to meet the demand for educational seminars and training in affiliate marketing. The conference, held March 15-17 in Miami Beach, featured a diverse itinerary and a virtual all-star team of affiliate marketing experts: Brian Clark, Dane Arden, Declan Dunn, Fox Tucker, Glenn Sobel, Joel Gehman, Jonathan Ezor, Ola Edvardsson, Patrick Anderson, Chad LaFreniere, Rick Bier, Riyaj Shaik, Ryan Adams, William Sutjiadi, and yours truly.
Due to advance interest in AffiliateForce/2000, logistics efforts were bolstered for the event to accommodate 3,500 delegates and more than 70 showcase merchant booths in 117,000 square feet of space at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Three Days of Peace and Affiliate Programs
AffiliateForce/2000 was a marathon of affiliate marketing that began early on the morning of Wednesday, March 15, and culminated late on the evening of Friday, March 17, with AffiliateParty/2000.
Highlights of day one of the conference included a workshop on the basics and essentials of affiliate marketing, a presentation by Declan Dunn, CEO of Active Marketplace, and a special roundtable that was convened to discuss the broad patent related to affiliate programs recently granted to Amazon.
Day two of AffiliateForce/2000 featured a presentation by Jonathan Ezor, director of legal affairs for Mimeo.com; a panel of the affiliate solution providers; and a panel of successful merchants, such as E-Commerce Exchange and ep.com, that have developed their affiliate solutions in-house.
Day three of AffiliateForce/2000 kicked off with a presentation by Patrick Anderson, COO of Active Marketplace. Other highlights from the final day included a panel discussing the use of storefronts in affiliate marketing, a presentation by Corey Rudl, president of the Internet Marketing Center, and a panel of affiliate analysts, editors and proprietors of affiliate program directories.
Affiliate Knowledge Is Power
In addition to the panels, programs and presentations at AffiliateForce/2000, there were also educational sessions hosted by Commission Junction and Virtualis.
Commission Junction University was first held earlier this year in Santa Barbara. CJU was brought to AffiliateForce/2000 so that affiliates on the East Coast and in Europe could take advantage of the course to learn more about affiliate marketing education and strategies.
Virtualis offered Virtualis University, where they lined up three of the industry’s most respected affiliate marketing gurus (Patrick Anderson, Declan Dunn, and Corey Rudl) to instruct affiliates on how to improve their results with affiliate programs.
Drink Our Commissions
Some of the most brilliant minds in affiliate marketing pooled their talents to throw AffiliateParty/2000 on the final evening of the conference.
The publishers of AffiliateWire (Brian Clark, Glenn Sobel, Ola Edvardsson, Rick Bier and Ryan Adams) participated in the AffiliateForce/2000 affiliate program and used their commission money to host a free party at Penrod’s in South Beach. (Bigstar.com, Commission Junction, and ePod.com were co-sponsors.)
The party featured BBQ, drinks and dancing on the beach, plus a chance to catch up and relax with new and old friends in the industry. A class act.
On the Road
What’s next in affiliate marketing? AffiliateForce/2000 has tentatively announced plans to go on the road. For the merchants and affiliates not able, for whatever reason, to go to AffiliateForce/2000, there are plans to offer smaller, one-day AffiliateForce events in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Seattle.
[editor note: unfortunately, the dream of the road show never quite materialized]