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Jason Calacanis is Bulls**t during Affiliate Summit?

by Missy Ward in Affiliate Marketing, For The Heck of It   &  , , , ,   3 Comments

I say not.

You know, there were a number of Affiliate Summit attendees that came up to me immediately following Jason Calacanis’ keynote last week furious with Shawn and I for inviting Calacanis to speak at the conference. 

Their initial reaction was one of shock and bewilderment.  WTF was this guy coming into our hood, smack-talkin’ directly at the audience who paid good money to see him?  More importantly, why would Shawn and I invite him to do so?

Well, as my Dad always said, “humbling experiences can open the door to life’s greatest insights, if we are willing to learn from them.”  And yes, Jason humbled us.

We as affiliate marketers, sing the praises about folks that have grown the profile of our industry – the white hats, if you will – the ones who have cultivated their businesses by being innovative and by doing the right thing.  Yet, I don’t believe we spend as much time working on ways to shut down the ones that give affiliate marketing a bad name.

If you were an attendee and peeked into your Attendee Guide, you will see that Shawn and I (interviewed separately) still believe that the largest obstacle to the growth of affiliate marketing is the fact that we are unable to squash the black hats who still continue to piss on our reputation and feed the opinions like the one that Jason has about us.

But, is his way of thinking a way in which I want to live my life?  Absolutely not.

He’s got that typical 30-something Silicon Valley attitude.  I dated guys like him.. zzzz. Boring.  Dude wants to own gazillion dollar companies, where I’m at my happiest working for myself, making a comfortable living, hanging out with my kids, going to the gym when I want, and goofing off on AIM with the rest of my affiliate marketing friends.  He wants to pay hundreds of people, have huge infrastructures, deal with investors and all that crap.  I’m happy with my 800-foot commute where the only things I worry about is whether I can find a pen on my cluttered desk and whether my dog will get off my lap in enough time for me to answer my phone.

I’ve been where Jason is. I once spent a lifetime there during my 20’s and 30’s and as G-d is my witness, there is no amount of money or fame that would ever send me back to that hell again. There is no pricetag for the peace and freedom that affiliates have and cherish. Maybe when he grows a little older, he’ll realize that.

While I didn’t agree with his delivery, there were pearls of wisdom and shining moments in his gig.  I did relish in the fact that he recognizes that affiliate marketers are likely the smartest marketers around.  (For the folks who are still letting me know that they felt that Jason was degrading an entire industry, I urge you to re-listen to his schpiel if you still feel that way.)

That said, there’s a whole lot of things we can teach him if he sticks around – and it looks like he is given the fact that I’ve seen him post several comments on blogs and forums including ABestWeb.  I give him props for this.  He could have simply cleaned his pipes and ran.  After all, he doesn’t owe us anything.

So here it is in a nutshell.  As an industry, I refuse to let Calacanis view this as a case of Hit Dog, Hollar.  Let’s use his comments (although somewhat skewed based on his admitted ignorance of the industry as a whole), to motivate us into doing better and continue to grow this former red-headed-step-child of the online advertising industry to the Prom Queen that it can be.

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Missy Ward

Co-Founder & President at Affiliate Summit, Inc.
Missy Ward has been in affiliate marketing since 1999. She is the Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit, FeedFront Magazine, GeekCast.fm, itsaWAHMthing.com; the Co-Publisher of Revenews.com, Founder of AffiliateMarketersGiveBack.com and manages many of her own affiliate sites. If she's not making money through affiliate links on the post you're currently reading, it's an oversight on her part and it will be corrected soon.

Comment & Add Your Voice

1 affiliatetip March 3, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Jason doesn’t get the culture of affiliate marketers, but I think his message was useful.

I saw plenty of people on forums saying he didn’t say anything new, and they already were aware of the problem.

To that, I’ve got to wonder what they’ve done to fix it.

There is a pretty finite group of people in the industry who have fought the underbelly.

Apparently, the majority are content to sit there and smile until the Federal government CAN-SPAMS affiliate marketing.

So hopefully, this is a catalyst for change.

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2 Jim March 3, 2008 at 3:35 pm

The issue with Calacanis is he is buying into his own hype that because he built a low seven figure revenue business (who knows about profits) and sold it within the Web 2.0 blogosphere echo chamber that is really quit accomplished.

We all know the superstars of our industry that created the bigger $100m+ companies did so based on their own profits don’t publicize their success through blogs or twitter. Therefore Jason has no clue about them. Even the smaller affiliate marketers are doing something that SV people don’t really get: start a profitable business and grow it. Then when it has reached max profitability, start another one. There were many one or two person shops in that audience that have built bigger businesses then Jason. Maybe they didnt get the hyped valuation he did, but in terms of money actually made from the business he cannot compare.

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