When I last left off day 1 had come to a finish. Let me continue now with the rest of the report:
Friday, January 25th, 2008
After waking up with a bit of a headache from the previous nights’ celebrations and an extreme bout of dehydration (the temperature in our room must have been around 25 degrees celcius even with the window open), Kyle and I made our way over to the conference. We missed the first super affiliates panel as we could not find the main sessions room, but decided to walk around and check out some of the booths.
Our first mission was to find the Affiliate Speedpay booth to check out the lambo and the girls that we voted for. We ended up finding a sweet Ferrari done up with Affiliate Speedpay decals, and later found the ASP girls wandering around. Our first thoughts were “those aren’t the girls we voted for”. I have to say that the girls kinda looked like escorts that decided getting paid to wander around a convention was better than having to put out for cash, but after all, who cared… they filled those ASP shorts nicely. I think some other people must have thought similar things because on the next day there were 2 different and much hotter models walking around. We went to a couple more booths, then I had to go to one of my scheduled meetings.
After waiting about 5 minutes for someone that I had no clue what they looked like, I decided to give up. In future, I am never going to arrange to meet anyone that doesn’t have a booth at the show, it just doesn’t work out. Next meeting went well and I accomplished everything I wanted to do. Only problem was it ran longer than expected and I missed the first bit of Neil Patel‘s session on Social Media and Web 2.0. Fortunately I did not miss too much, and got there in time for him to share a couple of cool tips near the end.
The next session was the panel of CEO’s. Speaking at this session were: Mark Blandford (former CEO of Sportingbet), Peter Nylander (CEO UniBet), and Malcolm Graeme (CEO of PKR). It was neat to get the perspective from the top people in several of the key players in this industry and to hear their thoughts on all sorts of subjects from mobile gaming to gaming legislation. Peter even mentioned the time he was arrested by Dutch Authorities, which was a very entertaining story. Mid way through the session I had to step out and meet with Henrik from Gnuf poker. Before I left for London I had entered my name for a free dinner to the CAP Awards paid for by the guys at Gnuf. I ended up getting selected so we planned to meet on the Friday at the show. We exchanged contact info, and planned to meet just before the awards at my hotel.
After spending most of the day at the conference Kyle, John, Greg, Jeremy, BRANDON and I decided to head over to he local pub for some drinks and food before getting ready for the awards. This worked out quite well because I had arranged for another meeting at this pub (pubs are probably the best place for meetings as its much more casual and you can have a drink to calm the nerves). Thinking the guy wasn’t going to show, I decided to call him from my phone at the $5/min rate that I am sure I will be faced with when I get the bill. Looking around the bar for someone with a ringing phone, I see the guy directly beside me answer his phone… sure enough it was him.
I met in the lobby bar with the Gnuf crew before heading on over to the awards. They seemed like a cool group of guys, so my initial worries that this would be a very akward night were quickly turned positive. We arrive at the awards to be greeted by a bunch of almost naked girls painted gold and lots of free booze. I was seated next to Johan (the head of marketing from Gnuf) for the dinner which was an awsome experience. He had so much industry experience and gave me a lot of REALLY good advice about online marketing in general which was awsome because lately I have been very seriously deciding if this is the kind of job I want to persue full-time. The dinner was great and the comedian was really funny. The only thing that I found really weird about the awards was that Rake the Rake won poker affiliate of the year, but who am I to judge.
Warren from CAP
After dinner the partying began. I met Beanie from PAP and heard some great stories about his times as a poker affiliate. I started a little debate with one of the guys from Bluff magazine about the effectiveness of print advertising. Frankly I am not sure how I could get any ROI from advertising in Bluff, but I am sure that the right product could. It was a good convo though, and nice to hear another point of view on the subject.
We left the awards only to find that there were probably 100 other people all looking for a taxi at the same time. After a little waiting we got a cab and were on our way to Paper Nightclub. Fortunately we were with Warren from CAP and Neil Patel (both black amex cardholders) so we did not have to wait in line and went straight in. The club was pretty cool… if you wanted you could get a massage, and it had this Hawaiian style theme to it.
Me and Neil Patel
Nick, Andreas (Darko) and Jeremy
After quickly polishing off a bottle of Grey Goose and bottle of Champagne we decided to head out and find a strip club. A bunch of Nigerian cab drivers were clearly trying to roll us, but since it was late and night and we wanted to get to the strip club, we paid their ridculous prices. After about $100 in cabs and 2 strip clubs that were at capacity we decided to head back to the hotel. Another Nigerian scammer was about to take us back to the hotel at another ridiculous price (about $60) but as he approached the car he went to pick up some clothes off the street and did a little drunken stumble. This set off a huge flag, so we broke out of the car at record speed as we weren’t willing to play chicken that night. He even tried to hold my door shut, but I just pushed it even harder and got the hell out of his car. The guys in the other cab also did the same thing as their driver was trying to get them to pay around $140 to take them back to the hotel.
Nigerian Cabbie Scammers
We decided enough was enough and headed back to the hotel to call it a night. Stay tuned for the rest of the trip in Part 3.