Shawn: How did Affiliate Ball get started?
Darren: I started throwing internet marketing parties at business to business trade shows dating back to 1998. I was working for a technology based company called WebSideStory
When I left WebSideStory, I decided to throw my own parties with a completely different format with legendary artists performing. Over a year ago I decided it was time to expand into as many digital marketing trade shows as possible with my formula. I created the Affiliate Ball for the Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas and had Three 6 Mafia as the headlining act. Over the past year I’ve thrown the biggest parties at the Affiliate Summit, Ad Tech and Leadscon.
Shawn: What is your background?
Darren: I was a student at Ohio State working for a big concert club on campus. I worked with Nirvana, Sound Garden, Digital Underground back when Tupac was in the group and more. After college I went a different direction and was in sales and marketing with a passion for learning how to “close the deal”. I built my career by being a “Marketing Firm” for internet companies.
Shawn: Are you an affiliate marketer?
Darren: I am an affiliate marketer. Been doing it since the very beginning and have had the honor to work with many of the very first successful affiliate programs. These days I’ve shifted my efforts into sending the affiliates to the affiliate programs either for the referral fee or as a sponsor of my events. I’m sure I pre-date 99% of our industry doing affiliate marketing in 1998.
Shawn: Who has been your favorite performer at an Affiliate Ball so far?
Darren: My favorite performer at an Affiliate Ball so far was Nelly. He was named by Billboard as a “Top 3 Artist of The Decade”. I like to mix things up and have old school legends and every once in a while get a huge current artist. Since I’ve been throwing parties at internet marketing shows, my favorite artists so far were Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube.
Shawn: If you could get any act, who would it be?
Darren: I’m working my way up to Jay-Z. Will it ever happen is another question. I always shoot my goals very high and the reality is based upon sponsor support. The Affiliate Ball isn’t only about doing hip hop by the way. I also try for big name rock acts and huge DJ’s. I’d love to have the Foo Fighters, LMFAO or Deadmau5 as well. Everything is situational depending on whether the artist is available on that date and at what price. Let’s cross our fingers we get great sponsor support so we can get to that level soon.
Shawn: What is your goal with Affiliate Ball / Marketers Ball?
Darren: The goal is always to provide the best social environment for our industry to network while providing an alternative marketing angle for our sponsors. We all know that sponsors get great branding from big parties but I try to help them see a return on their money. Our massive RSVP list of over 7,000 guests also receives our newsletter. This year we have plans to throw parties the Affiliate Summit, Leadscon, Ad Tech and also the BlogWorldExpo.
Shawn is a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine and you can follow him @affiliatetip on Twitter.
Download the entire FeedFront issue 18 here – http://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-18
FeedFront issue 18 articles can be found here as well: http://feedfront.com/archives/article00date/2012/4