The CalvinAyre.com crew spent the past three days at the Scandinavian Affiliate Super Summit in Stockholm…and pretty much froze our asses off. Regardless of the freezing cold, we conferenced and interviewed for two days at the Ambassedeur with about 50 other delegates, hit the SASS After Party at White Room, and sailed around Stockholm to taste traditional Swedish food and drink.
Overall everyone who attended had a lot of fun, but the small turnout was frustrating for those who had traveled from far and wide. The concept was a good one though, very casual, clubbish, informal, and intimate. The venue is an actual nightclub and the conference organizers arranged a DJ and beers throughout the day, a creative way to spice up the networking time frames in between speakers.
The majority of the conference attendees were local affiliates who dropped in and out of the Ambassedeur throughout the day, grabbed a drink, had a chat, and caught a session or two. As per usual, many of the larger affiliates who were in town decided to skip the conference and made appearances at night for dinners and large nights out in Stockholm, but that’s nothing new! The handful of operators who made the trip did stick around the venue all day to meet affiliates and of course, Michael Caselli was in fine form as he MC’d the sessions with tons of energy and wore a blinking santa hat.
The conference sessions were not bad considering that many of the scheduled speakers bailed last minute due to Visa issues, sickness, and general flakiness, but the conference organizers used their good relationships with local operators and affiliates to fill the gaps and provide value for attendees.
My favorite session was the CEO panel featuring Betsson CEO Pontus Lindwall, Nordic Gaming CEO Per Hellberg and Betsafe CEO Henrik Persson. All three CEOs agree that “innovation” is the way of the future when it comes to affiliate marketing and that its extremely important for both parties- the affiliate and the operator- to work together and support each other in order to create campaigns that are fresh, new and successful. Another interesting session was led by Stefan Helgesson, the Conversion Specialist for Pokerlistings.com, a very influential site in the poker affiliate industry. Stefan walked us through a conversion index and emphasized the importance of optimizing a landing page, providing a good incentive for visitors and making sure that the incentive outweighs the friction.
The Official SASS After Party at White Room was a gong show as expected, and even though I did not love the 18 year old Swedes crawling around the club, the industry guys certainly did! About 25 attendees managed to make The SASS archipelago boat tour the following day and every single one of them had an excellent time. Glögg, Snapps shots, Julbord, and the Ayre Heads were enjoyed by all and after a few cocktails, team ComeOn! got pretty rowdy and everyone started singing, “I’m on a boat, I’m on a boat mother f*$&^cker!” as the boat broke through the ice in the water. Welcome to the Swedish Christmas season!