Shawn Collins

Disclosure: If I'm not making money through affiliate links on the post you're currently reading, it's an oversight on my part and will be corrected soon.

There are a handful of different types of people who head out to conferences.

FeedFront Magazine, Issue 22Some are looking solely to network, while others want to both attend sessions and network with their fellow conference attendees.

And then there are the folks looking for a free ride.

Well, not exactly.

These characters pay for airfare, a hotel room, restaurants, cabs, drinks, etc. but, they don’t bother to get a pass for the conference – the reason they ostensibly made the trip.

Sounds pretty spot on with one of the definitions of a parasite:

          “a person who receives support, advantage, or the like, from another or others without giving any useful or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others.”

I am not talking about the people who hang out in the hotel lobby and try to meet up with attendees without registering for the show.

Those people doing “lobbycon” are outside of the conference area (the space designated on the maps for the conference – not just the exhibit hall, Meet Market and sessions), and in a public part of the hotel.

However, the “lobbycon men” sneak into the actual conference without a badge, and that’s a problem.

Not only are they interlopers, but they’re also criminals.

Yes, criminals. They are committing theft of service and trespassing.

Others who go through the trouble of creating falsified badges are committing theft of service, trespassing, and fraud.

Ballers on a Budget

I totally get that there are plenty of ballers on a budget, and they have a hard time affording a conference trip.

But if you’re in such dire financial straits, you’re better off staying at home and working than coming out and acting as a parasite.

However, if you are tight, but still want to attend, we provide lots of ways to get a free pass.

Opportunities include a large allocation of passes for attendees to give away in their own promotions; our Pay It Forward scholarships; the Race to Affiliate Summit contest; our sweepstakes for passes on Twitter and Facebook; free passes at our meetups; and press passes.

Also, we offer Early Bird rates where passes start at $99. These rates were open a full four months (January 17 to May 17) for Affiliate Summit East 2013.

Are You a Pro or Con?

We’re all marketers, and as Seth Godin once wrote, “All Marketers are Liars.”

But that was rhetoric, and anybody who read the book understands that the book was actually about the power of marketing an authentic story.

But I’m guessing the guys that get a suite and bottle service and limos, but then sneak around the conference without a pass didn’t read beyond the title of the book.

The same guys working their confidence trick in the registration area, as they look over their shoulder to see how soon they’ll be asked to leave again.

By the way, you might have noticed that all of the references to these charlatans, cheats, and swindlers are male. Well, it’s no accident. We catch lots of them at each show, and they’ve been 100% guys.

Anyhow, if you’re a con who doesn’t see value in getting a pass for the show, please stay home.

The folks who think it’s a good thing to have a thriving industry conference and who support it, we love y’all and look forward to seeing you in Philly this August and back in Vegas in January 2014.

Shawn is a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine and you can follow him @affiliatetip on Twitter.

Performance marketing technology provider Impact Radius announced the publication of a “Top 25 Performance Marketing Influencers” list.  Here is the infographic they provided in their press release:

Top 25 Performance Marketing Influencers List Infographic from

According to their release,

“Designed to help advertisers, agencies and media companies seeking expert guidance in improving their revenue from performance marketing, the list, based on an Impact Radius independent analysis of the influence of more than 400 prominent performance marketing thought leaders, identifies the top people whose blogs, tweets and social metrics provide the most influential insights and advice for the industry.”

While I appreciate being included in the list, I'd like to go on record with my thoughts about this list, and lists such as this. This is not meant to be disrespectful to the folks at Impact Radius (and I know that they won't take it as such) but in my opinion, it's lists such as these which can lead to confusion, especially to those outside of the performance marketing/affiliate marketing industry, as well as to folks new to the industry itself. And, the last thing we need is more confusion.

Heck, we still can't even agree on what we call ourselves in our own industry.

As I've been an affiliate marketer since the late '90's, I've been around the block a few times, so I'd like to share some points that I strongly believe should be taken into consideration when interpreting this list.

Caveat Emptor When it Comes to Folks that have “Made the List”.

I do not mean this as an insult, but there are people on this list that are simply NOT influential in the affiliate marketing/performance marketing space. They know who they are and they are likely wondering to themselves why they've been included.  That does not mean to say that they are not impressive in their respective areas of expertise; it's just not affiliate marketing.  Just do your due diligence. OK?

Ranking People Using Social Scoring Does Not Give You the Whole Picture

Sadly, this list only used online social metrics to determine authority ranking.  Big mistake for many reasons:

  1. Using social scoring immediately discounts the long term effects that the truly influential people have had for many years before Twitter, Klout and Peer Index existed.  And trust me, when these leaders do speak, their message is not only heard, it's respected.
  2. This list does not take into account a person's offline influence or authority in alternative online sharing platforms, such as forums.  Just because these people do not choose to participate in Twitter, etc. does not mean that their influence is any less powerful.  
  3. Klout, Twitter and PeerIndex can all be manipulated — easily. [Bots, frequency of posting instead of quality of posting, etc.)
  4. Social scoring does not segment a person's ability to influence within an industry, but rather provides just a single number to rank them across the board. So folks with large Twitter followings, high Klout Scores and PeerIndex scores in general, will likely outrank people that are truly influential in a specific industry.

For the reasons above, I'd like to recognize a few people who should have been included in this “Top 25” list, as they actually have driven action and continue to drive the affiliate marketing / performance marketing industry.

  • Brian Littleton,
  • Kellie Stevens,
  • Todd Farmer,
  • Scott Jangro,
  • Pat Grady,
  • Eric Nagel,
  • Todd Crawford,  (Yes, the Co-Founder of the company that put this list out, who has propelled this industry for many years, didn't even make the list.)

Who do you think is missing from this list?

Shawn Collins and I will be manning the Affiliate Summit booth (#1455) during ad:tech New York on November 4-5 at Javits Center.

In addition, we’ve partnered with Murray Newlands of (interviewer extraordinaire) to conduct video interviews during the event that we will host on the Affiliate Summit Blog as well as on

Murray will be roaming the ad:tech floor looking for folks to talk about affiliate marketing, social media, search marketing and more and would love to interview you. So, if you see him, flag him down!

Additionally, you can swing by the Affiliate Summit booth to pick up some Purell®, eat some of our leftover Halloween candy and schedule a time to interview with Murray. 🙂

Murray NewlandsThis is a great opportunity to share your insights on the industry with the rest of the Affiliate Summit audience.

We look forward to seeing you. Oh… and this is Murray. He's not hard to miss.