Magical-Disney-GuideTimothy Jones is an Internet marketer with a passion for Mickey Mouse and Politics.  Most would think these two diverging topics would not be found easily co-existing within the same person, but Tim Jones is an exception among many rules. Tim is passionate about conservative politics and at the same time exuberant as he can be about the artistic and creative land of Disney. Tim has found the best of both worlds merging them into a lifestyle and career.

Many of my regular readers may remember an article I wrote about Tim’s eBay business and how it was effected by the digital download reversal at eBay in the Trading Assistant Journal. Digital Delivery on eBay – A Crime or Just Bad Wording?

Tim has moved onward and upward with his business since eBay put a very major kink is his previous digital delivery information marketing business plan.  We chat almost daily on Twitter and since Tim was able to attend Affiliate Summit 2008 in Boston I put aside my obvious jealousy and asked him if he wouldn’t mind bringing back a report for our readers about the event?  Of course Tim jumped at the chance to bring our readers news from his travels, as he is a travel based writer of some renown…

Without further adieu, here is Timothy Jones Guest Blog report on Affiliate Summit 2008 – Boston

Guest Blog ProfileAffiliate Summit Recap

My first Affiliate Summit started as a long, full-day sprint.  Things definitely slowed down after the first day, but this conference requires an amazing amount of energy and stamina.  During the day, you have two or three sessions going on at any one time.  Choosing the appropriate session sometimes created a dilemma for me, however, knowing that videos of all the presentations would be on the Affiliate Summit site gave me comfort.  At night, there are dinners, parties, and social events that go on into the hours of the next morning.  Then, you get up early to start the process over, again.  This goes on for at least three days, after which you need three more to recover and process everything you encountered on the previous three.

The sessions covered all aspects of the affiliate marketing business to appeal to all members of this wide and varied industry, including publishers, advertisers, and networks.  Additionally, the Meet Market and Exhibit Hall provided voluminous possibilities for networking.

My goal for the conference was to learn as much as possible, so networking was not one of my focuses, however I did get to meet an amazing number of people that I’d only spoken to online, prior to this event.  It’s always interesting to meet people face-to-face that you’ve only “seen” online, before.  For those attending the conference in the future, I feel this may have been one of the mistakes or “lessons learned” from this conference; take advantage of every opportunity to meet and network with everyone.  Nothing will jump-start or expand your business like knowing the right people to help you along or make that introduction to the right person for your business.

A couple of the more interesting sessions were the Performance Marketing Alliance session and the Ethics in Affiliate Marketing session.  Both of these sessions sparked significant emotions and vehement opinions from both the panels and the audience.  As the affiliate industry grows, both the need for an association and adherence to ethical standards will become more apparent and necessary.

One of the issues that concerned me going into the conference was the number of merchants, vendors, and businesses presenting information at the Summit.  Oftentimes, when businesses present at conferences (especially a conference for marketers), you tend to hear sales pitch after sales pitch.  This was definitely not the case for Affiliate Summit.  While there were a couple of exceptions, I was impressed with the quality of the information presented, without a hint of a sales pitch.  Some presenters even went so far as to ask for discussions about their own business to take place outside the session, to avoid any impropriety.  One of the founders of the conference, Shawn Collins, told me they do not tolerate presentations that are nothing more than sales pitches.  I think this policy is invaluable and separates Affiliate Summit from the crowd.

Overall, the conference was very laid-back and enjoyable, but also very informative.  I am still processing through the lessons learned and action items from the conference, even weeks later.  A couple tips for future attendees that I took away from my experiences:

  • Arrive the day before the conference.  I tried to come in the first day of the conference and while I did not miss anything, it just caused too much stress and worry to make it worthwhile.
  • Go with goals in mind.  As I noted, I wanted to soak up as much information as possible.  You may have an idea to pitch, certain people you want to meet, an idea you want to develop.  Don’t just float aimlessly down the river – paddle and make a difference.
  • Give and take business cards, but most importantly, follow-up with those people when you get home.  Most people never follow-up with the people they meet at a conference and the connection is lost.  I am looking forward to Affiliate Summit West 2009 in Las Vegas to build on these lessons and the friendships I made at Affiliate Summit East 2008.
  • Tim is the owner and publisher of  He also specializes in selling and marketing Disney travel on

    .  He has been an affiliate marketer and e-commerce seller since 2000.  You can also hear him on the weekly political podcast RedHatBlueHat

    , part of the podcast network.  You can reach Tim at