We’re continuing our “5 Questions With…” series today with Affiliate Summit co-founder Shawn Collins.
1. Without repeating your online bio word for word, tell the NMX community who you are and why you're so good at what you do.
I’ve been an affiliate marketer since 1997. Some might call me a dinosaur, but I prefer to say that I am a veteran or early adopter. Back then, it was such uncharted territory, and there were no blogs, podcasts, videos, newsletters, or events. We had to make it up as we went along. After a few years of being an affiliate and an affiliate manager, as well as writing on affiliate marketing for ClickZ, I got a book deal to write how to manager an affiliate program. That book, “Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants” is way outdated now (it came out in 2001), but it was a chronicle of the ways I made up to start and manage an affiliate program. In 2003, I partnered up with Missy Ward to start the Affiliate Summit conference. It didn’t really make any sense, because we were both broke and clueless about events, but we made it happen with passion and patience. What started as a very small investment (the cost of the affiliatesummit.com domain) has grown to be the largest affiliate marketing tradeshow in the world.
2. What are you speaking about at NMX? Why is this an important topic?
Missy Ward and I will be discussing the best kind of affiliate programs for bloggers, how to figure out what their visitors want to buy, and the most effective implementation strategies. Then, we will do some live site reviews to give candid advice to bloggers in the audience. This session will be very timely, because there is a big shift of bloggers from the old sponsorship model to performance marketing, and it’s a topic that many bloggers are anxious to learn more about.
3. Who are you most looking forward to see speak at NMX and why?
So many of the breakouts look great, but I’m most excited about Dennis Miller. I’ve loved his stuff dating back to SNL and I saw him in concert in either the late 80s or early 90s when I was in college. I’ve enjoyed his work and brand of comedy ever since then.
4. Beyond work...what is your passion?
I really enjoy writing. I get to indulge that side of me to a degree with my work, but I prefer fiction writing. I am currently about 30,000 words in on the next “Great American Novel”. Before I got into marketing, and even before I had any sort of paying job, I really wanted to be a writer. I knocked on lots of doors in NYC in the 90s and the only paying gig I ever got was to write one piece for the New York Press, which was an alternative to the Village Voice back then. I earned $100, so I guess that makes me a professional writer. Well, I have written business books, too, and we just wrapped the 30th issue of our magazine, FeedFront. I’ve been writing for school newspapers, zines, ezines, magazines, websites, etc. since elementary school. Yeah, writing is my passion.
5. What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
Back when current U.S. Senator Cory Booker ran for Mayor of Newark, NJ for the first time in 2002, I ran his website for him. We were introduced by a mutual friend, and I offered up the right combination of site design and marketing, as well as a low rate (free). The was the campaign featured in the Oscar nominated documentary, “Street Fight.” It was a fascinating experience that convinced me I’d never want to work in politics.
Shawn’s co-presentation with Missy Ward is called “Monetizing Your Blog Using Affiliate Marketing. ” As of this writing they are scheduled to present Monday, April 13, 2015 at 1:45 p.m. Register today!