Just nicely arrived home from the very first a4uexpo, now I expected it to be good, but it was more than that it truly was phenomenal, organizer Matthew Wood and his team from Existem responsible for Affiliates4u Forum certainly raised the bar and put on the greatest event that the UK affiliate marketing arena has ever seen, never having been to a US event I can’t draw comparisons with them, so I will have to rely on people posting comments to see how ‘the expo’ measured up against them.
I think the key behind the success was the relaxed atmosphere of the whole 2 days (and three nights) right from the first sip of beer at the Buy.at pre-a4uexpo networking party, this event was going to be not only about forging professional relationships, education and networking, no this event was also about making friends and having fun, by the way this has been the central theme running through the UK affiliate industry for as long as I can remember, this is the only industry (I know of) where you can be friends with and get help from competitors, and do business with folks you like, respect and have partied with.
I’m not going to do a full review of a4uexpo it has been blogged about by Lee McCoy, Kieron Donoghue, Paul Wheatley, Markus Jalmerot, Joe Connor, Nadeem Azam, Stephen Pratley, Jess Luthi, Kirsty McCubbin, Dan Morley and even from over the pond Linda Buquet and no doubt several more excellent word smiths will have their say over the next few days.
Highlights for me over the duration of the event include not only the party that I mentioned above, but also the many great sessions that I attended, the quality of these was very good in the main and some were outstanding, most memorable for me were Lets Get Social by Ciaran Norris and Lee McCoy (Lee has a sideshow of part of this on his blog see the link above), Conversion Rate Optimisation presented by Dr Karl Blanks and Ben Jesson of Conversion Rate Experts had me scribbling furiously, I got so many ideas from this session I don’t know where to start implementing them. On day 2 I particularly enjoyed The Changing Nature of Search by Dixon Jones of Receptional (and for those of you who attended, no it wasn’t just because of the giant picture of the Maxim cover girl that can be found on Google Earth).
The evening of day one of the conference was dominated by the inaugural a4uawards, presented by a David Brent lookalike, a full list of all the deserving winners can be found here, couple of surprises however it would have been a travesty if Matthew Wood had missed out on the Industry Champion award. Congratulations to everyone who received an award.
As I said at the start “Matt Wood and his team from Existem … certainly raised the bar”, however I am confident that with a4uexpo 2008 they will rise to the challenge and put on an event that is even bigger and better than this masterpiece.
a4uexpo 2008 is penciled in for the 14th and 15th of October 2008 at Excel London. It’s your industry get involved.