Affiliate marketing as a business concept makes complete sense to me, especially for someone who has or wants to have a home-based business. That doesn’t mean that my attempts to earn income from affiliate marketing have been successful. On the contrary.

I do make a little money from affiliate links and a couple of services I used to pay for each month are now covered in advance – and will be for as long as the people who signed up for them via my links continue to be customers of those services.

But we’re not talking serious income. And definitely not in the millionaire league.

There are, however, some people who can talk very serious income from affiliate marketing – as in “millionaire” and even “multi-millionaire” income – as evidenced by a very interesting blog post by my friend, SEO wizard Stephan Spencer.

In A Conference for Self-Made Internet Millionaires Stephan – a thoughtful, analytical guy who is in my experience not given to exaggerated utterances – writes glowingly of a conference at which he spoke earlier this year, where a number of participants were, he reports, Internet millionaires.

The Elite Retreat is organized by Jeremy Schoemaker – a.k.a. Shoemoney – who I can’t actually say I’ve *met*, but I was *that* close to him in a group of people chatting at the first BlogWorld Expo in 2007 and he seemed a very happy chap: Stephan says Shoemoney is a multi-millionaire, so even though money isn’t everything I guess that helps. 🙂

The next event is in New York in October and the speaker lineup (including one of my heroes Gary Vaynerchuk and also Stephan Spencer himself) looks very impressive. At $5,000 a pop it ain’t a cheap outing, but Stephan reckons that this “truly remarkable” event is worth the money. If you are inclined to be skeptical of praise for an event at which the praiser is to speak, I reiterate that Stephan is a very considered guy and no smoke-blower. But the information on the event website seems to bear out Stephan’s depiction of the quality of the presenters and style of event.

A couple of things which, in the value for money stakes, impressed me in Stephan’s account were:

  • cap of 35 attendees, with apparently the opportunity to get some one-on-one time with presenters
  • an alumni system with weekly phone calls – a mastermind group

They look to me like elements of a good value proposition. Personally, I still don’t know if affiliate marketing is an area I want to put a lot of energy into and if I were to consider going to an event like this I’d surely get more value from having put in some hard yards in the field than just going as a virtual newbie. Those who run the event may disagree.

But for someone who has already learnt at least the basics and is looking for a turbo charge in the company of some high achievers, this event sounds like it’s worth some due diligence.

By the way, the event is described on the website as “very exclusive” and “by invitation only”.

I have to say that, as I was about to save this post, I went to the event website to check a couple of details and noticed a few items there which gave me pause, and which would surely be in the organizers’ interest to clear up:

  • on the About page there are two different figures for the cap on attendee numbers – 50 and 35 (some old copy not completely updated?)
  • the Contact page (I was going to let them know about the previous point) produces an Uh oh! “404 page not found” type page
  • the statement is made on the About page that “We will only have ONE retreat each year” (emphasis and caps original); as there was an Elite Retreat 2009 in San Francisco in February this year I assume that is – in corporate speak – a “forward-looking statement”, but it is potentially confusing, wouldn’t you say?

Nevertheless, the Elite Retreat still looks like a very interesting proposition for someone looking for a quality event in this field.

I’d love to hear from anyone who has attended or presented at one of these events or is thinking of attending the one in New York later in the year.

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