For me there are 2 can't miss conferences for the affiliate world - Affiliate Summit and Commission Junction University (CJU). This year's CJU is only 2 weeks away, running from 9/17 - 9/19 in Santa Barbara. This will be the 5th consecutive CJU I've attended, and every one has been an extremely well run and rewarding event. I'm anticipating a good event and I have a strong feeling that this year's CJU will be interesting and different in a few ways:
1. The departure of several key CJ employees. Jeff Pullen, Todd Crawford, Lisa Riolo, Elizabeth Cholawsky, and several other of the most tenured and respected people have left CJ in the past year. I am anxious to meet the new leaders of CJ and what their roadmap for the future is.
2. LMI (Link Management Initiative). I'm shocked that this issue is not being addressed through any topic on the current agenda, but I have no doubt that the audience will make this a hot topic. Even though CJ backed down from forcing this change on everyone, LMI was the the most contriversial affiliate issue we've seen in years. Shouldn't CJ be demonstrating all the reasons they wanted LMI and give affiliates the forum to voice their concerns?
3. The BeFree chopping block. This year Valueclick made the first moves towards forcing the BFAST platform into extinction by not renewing BeFree contracts and forcing merchants to move to the CJ platform when they expired. Most noteably, companies like The Gap, Brooks Brothers and Dicks Sporting Goods have all switched to Linkshare.
The real power of this event for me is in the networking and meeting with the people we do business with on a daily basis. Because our industry is spread across the globe, we only get a few chances a year to sit down and meet with our key partners face to face. Santa Barbara couldn't offer a more perfect setting, and NETexponent will be bringing 3 people besides myself to represent our clients.
Planning on going and want to meet? drop me a line at Chris at NETexponent.com.