Affiliate Summit Rocks Las Vegas With Kick Ass Parties
Earlier this week, Affiliate Summit held its West conference in Las Vegas. With over 3,300 people in attendance, the organization's largest yet, the conference stuck its middle finger up at the so-called recession everyone's screaming about these days. For those in the dark, affiliate marketing is most simply described as "an Internet-based marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate's marketing efforts."
But this story is about the parties that occurred during the conference.
The first major party during the conference was hosted by Buy.at at Moon Nightclub atop the Palms Casino. Moon is the shit. It's a giant, multi-level nightclub with dance platforms on which way too drunk women in way too short skirts showing way too much (wait, what? that's all good!) pranced for all to see. Apparently David Hasselhoff was in the house that night as well. But no one seemed to care.
Buy.at grabbed the top balcony area for their party (pictures here). It overlooked the dance floor and had a balcony outdoors which offered a killer view of the The Las Vegas Strip. It's where most people hung out. It's where there were lots of familiar faces and lots of new ones. Inside had it's own defining qualities. It's where the privileged could view the commoners on the dance floor below. It's where drinks flowed freely. It's where the entire roof opened each hour to reveal, yes, the moon...and to let out all that dry ice fog that swirled around the dance floor. It's also where I met Buy.at's Missy Barnstein, the coolest
affiliate marketing manager, oops...extra super awesome, amazing Senior Marketing Manager I know.
When the party was over, I convinced Missy and Buy.at's Amy Ely that, really, it's just a short half mile walk back to the Rio. I walked to the party with Krista Neher and Joe Morin so it couldn't be that far, right? Well, with heels on and lots of drinks, it's longer than you think but Missy and Amy did fine. And I think only one lamp post got in my way.
Late night dining, drinking and amateur gambling followed. Suddenly, it was 6:30AM. Damn, it's today already! It was fun and with four hours of sleep, day two of Affiliate Summit began.
On Saturday there was a "war" between the A party and the B party. Of course, which party was which was a matter of perspective. TheBizOppNetwork, Advaliant, GMB Direct, YourDegree.com, AdLinkr, EmailDirect.com, and WickedFire held their Wicked Funhouse II party at the Red Rock Mansion, a big ass house a few miles from the strip. A shuttle bus took people to and from the Rio. Reports varied as to its A status.
The other party, hosted by ShareASale, was 80's themed and held right at the Rio in one of the big meeting rooms - not exactly the best place for a party but it work well enough. And it was close. All manner of 80's music flowed. Half the people dressed up in eighties garb. Affiliate Summit's Missy Ward showed up as Madonna. Also in the house was a Tom Cruise look-a-like.
There were ripped sweatshirts, muscle shirts, rapper chic, dark sunglasses...and the rest of us who decided to leave the eighties behind, a distant Flock of Seagulls-filled memory best left in the past observed. OK, OK, it was fun. People had a good time. Lots of people showed up. It worked.
Viable Marketing and Partner Weekly also had a party at Wasted in the Hard Rock Hotel. We don't know how that went but we're sure someone will let us know. Glam Interactive Group held a small cocktail party as did oneNetworkDirect.
Also that night was the Affiliate Summit Hospitality Event, a non-nightclub-style party where people could have a drink, sit, meet and talk about business. Or whatever they wanted to talk about. Sorry but we were too busy at the real...oh sorry...parties to figure out what went on at this one.
Breath. Eat. Nap. OK.
On Monday night, Affiliate Summit commandeered The Palms Casino with no less than five different parties. We made it to four. AsSeenOnTVNetwork did a small thing at The Lounge. AdStation held their party at the Playboy Club. CX Digital and Copeac held their parties in suites with hot tubs overlooking The Strip. And Leadflash held their party in The Hardwood Suite.
UnsubCentral also hosted a wine tasting at The Wine Bar inside the Rio right after the sessions ended and before the debauchery began.
We have to admit, the string bikined babe who appeared early during the Copeac party was a plus. Had a nice chat with her (pics) and, despite what friends insisted, the girl was smart, intelligent and, just like the rest of us...except with an impossibly hot body, was a perfectly nice person. Though even at a party like this it was weird to see someone walking around in a bikini. Oh and then there was Krista who navigated her way to the outer edge of the hot tub for a photo op. It's just her thing:)
The CX Digital party kicked with random table top dancing but it was the Leadflash party that turned out to be the most fun. Held in what could be described as half bar, half basketball court, it was the most well attended party and had all the necessary elements of a good party; great bartenders, hot dancers, a pool table, really really pretty people and a hoop-shooting hottie.
Funniest thing of the night? So Krista and I just get into a cab to go to our respective hotels when right before the door dude closes the door, UnsubCentral's Brian Ambrose, who had been out with us all night but was nowhere to be found when we left, jumps in the back of the minivan cab. It was the freakiest thing. Like WTF freaky as in who the F just got in *our* cab. Anyway, nights in Vegas tend to have interesting and unsuspected endings all the time so we really shouldn't have been all that surprised.
Breath. Order room service. Fall asleep before it arrives. Seriously.
So the last night of Affiliate Summit West arrives. And it turns out to be a very interesting one ranging from the reserved to the full on Irish bar drunkfest. There were no parties planned but that doesn't mean everyone's was going to sit in their hotel rooms and Twitter all night. Well, OK, some probably did but not us. When in Vegas, the action isn't in the hotel room (OK, for some, maybe it is at times but come on...stay with us here). It's out on the Strip...which is where we all went.
A group about 15 went to the Wynn for dinner at Wing Lei. It was pretty good. The Wynn, and neighboring Encore, are the Maserati of The Strip. Ornate. Elegant. Fancy. After having been stuck at the Rio for four days, it was nice to go somewhere else. There's nothing wrong with the Rio but there's only so many time you can take the Masquerade Show in the Sky.
After dinner, at the suggestion of Joe, we headed down to Parasol Down, a very cool outdoor patio bar that overlooks a pond and a wall of water. Every half hour, there's a show with lights and video and giant heads rising from the water. Oh, and frogs. But we didn't see the frogs that night due to technical difficulties.
Whatever. It's an amazing place.
Oh and that Irish bar drunkfest we referred to? Oh yea. Seriously. There's no walking through the Rio late at night without some sudden, unplanned thing happening. If it wasn't the marathon gambling session Leadflash was into, it'd be the random insanity that beckoned from McFadden's.
The bar was packed. And there was a reason for that. There weren't drinks on the bar. There were hot bartenders and waitresses shaking their asses for the amusement (teasing?) of the crowd.
Apparently, a camera was amused as well and started snapping image after image of the dancers. Apparently, they liked having their pictures taken because they wanted to know where they could find them and after the dancing slowed, one of the girls tossed her terrycloth tennis bracelet to me as some sort of thanks. Perhaps her business card? Yea. I kept it.
Breath. Check Twitter. Edit all those McFadden's pictures.
Rock on Affiliate Summit.
UPDATE: Check this story about a stolen (but ultimately returned) rug from the Red Rock Mansion during the Advaliant party, the PPZ.bz crew who stole it, bowling and Ric Flair. Sweet.