Adsimilis 2014 Meetup in Dubai, Affiliate is a Bad Word

By Ian Fernando

Just a couple days ago I was given the opportunity to speak at the Adsimilis Meetup 2014 in Dubai. I went to their 2nd Amsterdam meetup back in 2012 and I enjoyed it. The topics of discussion from then to now is way different and you can easily notice how the industry changed in just 2 years.

First Dubai, I always wanted to go to this place of luxury and epic engineering of buildings. Given the opportunity to speak next to Mr FinchSells himself, why not. I was going to head to the meetup anyways just being I never been to Dubai.

When I landed, I saw Robert and Bartek from Voluum and headed out to find our drivers, thanks Adsimilis. The long 18 hour flight was tiring but I was glad I had a bed on flight. It makes the biggest difference when flying more than 6 hours. Anyways, I got to the hotel and I pinged the group late notice to see if anyone wanted to grab something quick to eat.

I met up with Dragos an affiliate and we went to get some late night shisha and food. We exchanged thoughts and processes in our business and talked about life and business in general.

The following day, I basically tried to explore Dubai. Big mistake, desert heat is one of the worst feelings in the world. I gave up after about 3 hours just walking around. Later that night, Adsimilis took us out to a beach area and prior to dinner we had open bar and relaxed. This was a great opportunity to talk with Sean, Eleah, Michael, and meet some new people I never met before.

One great topic of discussion me and Eleah, one of their amazing director of DQ&A's LA office (once was my affiliate manager in the years past so long ago), is how old we are in the industry for so long. Sighs. Especially seeing how the evolution of affiliate marketing changed over the years. It is just an interesting cycle to see from when I went to my first affiliate summit to now.


The session and topic of discussion at this meetup was about having a business and treating it as such. Speakers such as Justin Barr, Robert Grynn, and Jim Stark shared their experiences about why your business is important and why you need to treat it as a legit business. Others talked about strategy such as KJ Rocker and Alex Loh.

Back in the wild west of affiliate marketing, affiliates were affiliates. Most not having an LLC and just taking weekly payments to their name. Affiliate over time started to hurt the name and the industry, thus putting a bad stamp on the term affiliate. Though there are good affiliates but if you describe what an affiliate does, he does performance marketing or direct response marketing. Both mean you are an affiliate because technically you are promoting a "client" (offer) base on performance. Plus these 2 words sounds better.

When someone as me what I do, I either say I am in advertising or I own a performance marketing agency. Anyways, this would make for a good blog topic sometime.

The speakers were mostly first time speakers, all did a great job at sharing their experiences. Two speakers I want to give credit to is Jim Stark and Alex Loh.

First Alex Loh, this guy needs to be a motivational speaker. His main topic was unity among thieves. I say thieves because in this performance industry we tend to not use our own creative minds. We copy what others have out there to use for our own. Taking the motto, why fix whats broken to a new level. Our industry has a ton of copy cats, LP stealers, and Ad copiers.

Hell, I admit to doing these things as well. If it works, copy it. Alex took it to a new level, showing that success can be done with out copying and without creating too much of a competition by simply helping others out. It was both a talk about karma and being the best.


His speech definitely grab you and shows that by helping others, your return is far greater. I believe in this so much because I have created meetups in NJ and saw multiple members make millions in a short amount of time and now, we are all partners in one way or another. Alex told us that by forming a unity and sharing, it doesn't create competition it just creates wealth.

Jim Stark also touch on this topic a tiny bit by having his team not mimic another ones strategy. If one strategy is creating crazy wealth, another member on his team can not replicate. But one excerpt he said was "Innovate through Obsession."


This was a great start of the day talk because he spoke from experience and explained how there is no difference from 1million dollars to 10 million dollars and I agree. Funny part is we were having this discussion prior at dinner with Adsimilis. Stating that lifestyle doesn't really change much, desires, wants, etc. Not much difference besides another zero.

Anyways, he did a great job speaking about traffic and making sure to take advantage the wave of trends that happens all the time in the industry, especially when it comes to new traffic.

My topic with Finch wasn't really a topic it was more Q&A, which i tend to like to do more. It basically challenges my knowledge and shows great transparency. There were questions from the group about traffic, mobile vs desktop, how to work with employees, the shift in the industry, dating, adult dating, etc.


The topic of questions varied and it was a good amount of questions for open discussion. It even showed the growth in the industry. From wanting to know the secrets to success to now running an absolute business.

Overall, Adsimilis did a great job. Sean and Michael treated us to a great experience in Dubai and as well as provided great insight from actual affiliates performace marketers they work with. I definitely created lasting friends in this meetup. Great to talk, discuss, and just shoot the shit with everyone.

Thanks Adsimilis for giving me the opportunity to be part of their meetup.

Ian Fernando
Involved in the internet space since 2002 and have been through the ups and downs of this online industry. I am a traveling digital nomad, media buyer, online strategist, and many more online titles.

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