Was A4UExpo 2008 any good? My review

Just got back from a packed few days at the A4U Expo, my first year there (albeit it only their 2nd year anyway!). I went for the full conference/exhibition pass and glad I did as the exhibition area was pretty small and full of companies I already knew plenty about (think CJ, Affiliate Window, etc) - i.e. not really worth coming just for that to be honest.

I know people (including myself) have short attention spans and love lists, so here are some quick highs and lows from the event.

Good things...

  1. Met some great new people and caught up with some familiar faces from other recent events, including Mike Green who runs a popular pre-ordering affiliate site, James Little who I pestered to introduce pool 468x60 ads on Affiliate Future, Darren, Mick and few others. It's a great place to meet new people that's for sure.
  2. While it might sounds a bit 'American' or show-off, Al Carlton's million dollar blogging seminar was really excellent, probably the best one over the 2 days. His down to earth style and practical advice was great - I just hope he sends me those Wordpress plugins list as I gave him my business card at the end!
  3. Affiliate Doctors Live was an interesting session where you could put forward your site and have it reviewed by Chris Garrett, David Naylor, Marcus Tandler and, standing in for 'el Presidente' Bob Rains (where's my 'urgh' smilie?!), we had Joost De Valk. I was particularly impressed with the generosity of advice given by David - not to say the others weren't good, but he seemed to lay off some of the "wooah, when the heck was this site made" or the "this site is crappy" from Marcus - true as it was!! :D
  4. The 'Meet the Super Affiliates' session was at the end of day 2 and started off with a typically British approach from the various panel members who denied that they were super affiliates. I really do prefer this kind of self-deprecating attitude over that of the 'look at me, look at me' that you tend to get over the pond. Anyway it was a great session, no massive secrets revealed, but they made it clear that you can still make money even in a saturated market providing you can build a page that converts. I was also impressed by Doug Scott who, despite his sometimes 'in your face' style (in the nicest possible way, lol!) provided some great advice and generally motivated me and others I think.
A few bad things...
  1. Food. I know it's not an affiliate show and not all about the food, but it seemed to be a problem. At the launch party the food had run out within an hour which, as I like to avoid blame, was clearly the reason I had a hangover the next morning... drinking on an empty stomach, urgh. Also the river cruise was really lacking in food and it all got a bit silly with people literally raiding the poor waitresses as they came out the kitchen with tiny bowls of food. To his credit Matt Wood of A4U did sort out some extra chips back at the Novotel Bar :)
  2. Moderation. As much as I enjoyed the Affiliate Doctors Live session, it could have done with a moderator to keep things moving along. At some point the audience was left sitting there as the panel browsed the 'target' site on their laptops. Also the Effective Voucher Code session was moderated, but not particularly well (sorry!). In the end Kieron even called out from the audience to point out that we were running out of time - in the end we finished about 10 minutes late. One guy I thought did a really good job was Ciaran Norris who moderated the Extreme SEO Strategies conference.
So there you go, I hope that's of use to anyone who stumbles across this blog. As you can see from my post history I'm not about to win any awards for content, but having been to such a great event I thought it deserved my longest post to date!


Anonymous said…
Many thanks Geoff.

All the best and good luck....I am generally very happy and smiling:)

Anonymous said…
Hi Geoff,
Thanks for your comments on the voucher code session; sorry to hear that you felt it wasn't moderated well.

The plan was to have a 30 mins presentation, around 10 mins discussion with the panel and then 20 mins Q&A. We had permission to overrun by around 10 mins as well, if we had a lot of questions. When Kieron shouted over at 11.40, we were wrapping up and about to get started with the Q&A part.

Ideally we would have dedicated the whole session to questions from the audience, since it's one of the hot topics at the moment. However, we felt that this would put the focus on specific topics only and potentially only on the current issues, rather than shed light on its effectiveness, which is what the session was all about afterall.

Thanks again for attending, hope you found it useful.
Geoff said…
Hi Hero, thanks for posting a comment. The voucher session wasn't too bad, it's just that I felt the first half was covering a lot of basics for a speciality event. I appreciate though that a Q&A session could have just turned in to a massive debate about "click to reveal". :)
Anonymous said…
yeah, I know what you mean about the session - it's very hard to decide how advanced the content should be, when you don't know what attendance you'll have, and you have to start with the basics to ensure everyone is on the same par. A lot of the sessions I attended were like that, but for plenty of people this was good as they are newbies.

My suggestion is that the seminars for next year should be split and marked "introduction" and "advanced", so we know how to approach a subject.
Anonymous said…
Hi Geoff,

Thanks for the kind words: it's always difficult moderating that sort of session as I'm worried that I'll stop the guys when they're about to give out a gem of knowledge - glad it wasn't too bad!

Anonymous said…
Hi Geoff,

Glad you enjoyed the conference, it was a cool few days. I'm really pleased you enjoyed my presentation and thank you for the very kind words, I kind of feel like I should be paying you.


YUM - Repository base is listed more than once

PayPal UK telephone number

"PC Not Listed" XBox 360 - Solution

Including random number (timestamp) in vBulletin

Hiding Thunderbird "Sending Messages" dialogue