Yesterday was the final day for CJ University, Commission Junction’s conference in Santa Barbara, CA. It was our first time at the conference, so we attended most of the lectures to get a better feel for the kind of information that these folks were willing to share. Patti Evans from JupiterResearch, an internet marketing and research company, gave a presentation that included numerous forecasts for the growth of online advertising and retail sales, but, given the unprecedented failures in the financial industry that were occurring simultaneously with this presentation, I’m of the opinion that some of these figures will need to be revised.
It was interesting to hear firsthand the impact that the current financial bedlam is having on the businesses of other affiliate marketers. With the exception of mortgage and similar industries, most of us are actually fairing quite well. In fact, when one of the speakers asked the audience to raise their hands if they had been significantly hurt by recent economic conditions, very few people raised their hands. It’s not 100% clear why this may be the case, but I suppose it has to do with the fact that leads generated through CPA relationships are fairly low risk, so advertisers aren’t cutting those budgets.
One industry that is clearly counter-cyclical to the rest of the economy is the credit repair and monitoring industry. We talked to some of these folks, and they have seen huge increases in signups, quoting numbers like a 75% increase in volume in August 2008 over August 2009. Facts like that make me want to diversify into things like bankruptcy and strong liquor.
Overall, it was a very good conference. We were one of the few B2B publishers at the conference, so lots of advertisers and CJ employees went out of their way to talk with us and help us come up with ways to work together. We met lots of cool people, and the party on Wednesday night was pretty amazing. I ordered Herradura for all our new friends, and my business partner rocked the party with his amazing Michael Jackson dance moves. I’ll definitely attend next year.