Prior to the A4UAwards this week, I was in London at the 5th Annual Online Bingo Summit. This is a conference organised for online bingo operators, software platforms and a smattering of affiliates and affiliate mangers. To be honest it’s a bit of a confused event in affiliate terms and I even overheard one person this year say it wasn’t really for affiliates despite there being an affiliate ticket option!
Perhaps this event isn’t for affiliates! But if that’s so why is there an award, within the proceedings, for best portal and another one for best affiliate programme? And how can anyone who’s not an affiliate vote for best affiliate programme anyway? You can understand the confusion!
I’m hoping I overheard things out of context. Affiliates have a role in online bingo and the affiliate space shouldn’t be confined to a handful “super affiliates”, who let’s face it are still affiliates even if they want to pretend to be something else. There should be a place for them at an online bingo event and their presence should be encouraged.
However, this isn’t a cheap conference. An affiliate pass costs upwards from £595+VAT and that does restrict affiliate numbers considerably, especially when you include hotel costs, travel etc. The question is then, is there value in an affiliate attending?
In a direct comparison to say A4UExpo then it’s a big fat “no” – simple as! However, this is a more niche event and it’s useful to pick up a few “insider” tips, get yourself known especially to those at the end of an email, and do a few meetings without the hustle and bustle of a large conference.
Day one was mainly spent in talks, chatting and networking – all good. The evening of the first day concluded with an awards ceremony. It was good to see some worthy winners this year, like Tombola and Bingo Port, but the whole thing was incredibly cringe worthy thanks to the presentation skills of Gregg Scott.
Never have I seen someone die on their backside on stage so quickly and then so often.
A top tip for Gregg, and indeed any stand up, do not come on stage and introduce yourself as a cross between Jonathan King and Christopher Biggins! Biggins, no problem – but with King then you’re on dodgy ground from the off!
Another top tip for Gregg, and indeed any awards presenter: when you complete your set and it’s been a disaster then leave. Do not go from table to table and hand out business cards! It’s embarrassing.
In some ways Gregg was a highlight of the event. It was so bad that you wished you weren’t there, but also so bad that you were glad to be there to witness it. For that to be a highlight perhaps gives you an idea of my overall view of the conference.
Once I’d caught up with people I needed to see in a business capacity on day one then that was it for me and I gave the second day a wide berth. The talks I attended were ok, but nothing really generated a buzz in the way A4UExpo does. The social and networking aspects were good (although the after party didn’t get rave reviews – thankfully I went to Nandos instead) plus I had a couple of productive and encouraging meetings.
All in all it was OK. In fact it was pretty much like the last time I attended in 2008. Sadly I don’t think the Bingo Summit has moved on well enough in affiliate terms, not just for affiliates but also marketing operations within online bingo, which in my opinion is simply a missed opportunity.
Maybe things will change in 2011? If not at least I hope they don’t ask Gregg Scott back!