Some time ago, we shared our thoughts on the AGS conference in Dubai, and today we are going back to the heart of Russia where the World Affiliate Show conference was held recently. This was the first WAS conference and we are delighted to share our impressions!
The World Affiliate Show took place in Moscow on June 10. This was the first WAS event, though the hosts have plenty of experience — they have such conferences as CPA Life, IGCONF, and Blockchain Life under their belt. The main idea of the conference was letting people network and communicate, attend round tables and speeches, and have fun and relax during the breaks.
The venue was perfect for relaxed communication: spacious Loft Hall has outdoor terraces and chill-out zones. The attendees could smoke a hookah while having a nice chat with their colleagues from the industry. The only hitch was the weather — pouring rain made being outdoors rather unpleasant.
But seeing that no one can control the weather we don't complain. We received our portion of the rain while standing in the queue to enter but soon we were free to explore the venue. Same as AGS Dubai, instead of one huge hall this conference had many rooms and spaces scattered across two floors and the outdoor patio.
All the attendees were really creative in preparing and decorating their stands. It was a relief to see after the dull and strict conferences. And I must add that the relaxed atmosphere only spurred the networking: a flow of leads, new partnerships, and acquaintances that will be useful for cross-marketing. Even if affiliate marketing is not your main business, WAS would still be useful and enjoyable.
If it's your first time at a Russian affiliate conference, it may come as a surprise. The exhibitors here attract attention to their stands by making them extravagant: sports cars, a bath full of money (not real money, of course), poker competitions, and much more right on the venue. Booth girls have very little clothes on but sport bright body art while handing out promotional material and telling about the strong points of the company. Aside from promo materials, many stands will be happy to treat you to some alcohol. They don't really care if it's 10 AM. So yes, after one visit to a Russian conference you will find all the rest boring.
We noticed that the major part of the booths was presented by gambling and crypto companies and affiliate networks specializing in these verticals. Reports concerning these two verticals were also very interesting: attracting Facebook traffic to gambling offers, working with In-App traffic, influence marketing in crypto vertical, etc.
There were a lot of people scattered across different rooms and areas. This was especially cool as we often had to team up to find the way to the necessary location. Like a quest of sorts. It was easier to start talking to people and get to know each other while on a "quest". We had a branded stand and there were some difficulties as it was very difficult to communicate with the organizers. There were no utility rooms, no centralized garbage disposal, and no separate conference rooms. It was difficult for the attendees to navigate through the venue so many of them did not make it to our stand and photo zone.
The organizers have announced that WAS'21 was attended by about 3,600 people, while the after party in the largest nightclub in Moscow gathered about 3,000 people.
The conference was great. We were really happy to listen to the speakers, to meet our old friends and to make some new ones. And of course it was nice to finally get out and have some fun! I was somewhat taken aback by the loft style of the venue, I think a classic one-big-hall venue would be better for networking. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if it were not raining though. I want to thank the hosts for organizing such a huge affiliate marketing conference. It was a real treat and a breath of fresh air after months of COVID restrictions.
WAS/21 also had many complementary events as almost all big conferences do:
The conference gathered people from different sides of our industry: media buyers, application developers, representatives of affiliate networks, and many others. The after party was huge and very active. Many people to talk business to, beautiful girls, and lots of quality alcohol (VIP guests enjoyed it for sure).
The CIS affiliates and webmasters are rather experienced in working in gray-hat verticals. During the conference you will learn different tips and approaches that you wouldn't know otherwise. For example, the intricacies of working with gray-hat SEO or launching In-App ads for gambling offers.
All the lectures and master classes are held in Russian, so it would be difficult to attend them without an interpreter. But networking is still possible as most exhibitors have a decent command of English. Most CIS affiliates speak English to some degree and you can always use this little trick: every big conference has a Telegram chat, so you can arrange meetings in advance and discuss everything in English.
Seeing that the conference was held at the same time as the UEFA Euro, the hosts assisted international guests in getting a Fan ID and arranging an easier entry to the Russian Federation as a football fan. Before crossing the border the attendees had to pass a PCR-test necessary to get on the plane and also to apply for a Russian visa. However, all these preparations are definitely worth it as the conference is an invaluable source of useful information and new contacts. And don't forget about the pre- and afterparties: you will forget all the troubles once you are there!