Well, we just got back from Barcelona after attending the CAP Euro 2008 and GPWA conferences. What are these, I hear you ask? Well, it´s a gathering of webmasters- basically people running websites- and online betting companies who all pile into town for a 3 day fest of networking, lectures, meetings and the odd party. The idea is that the webmasters learn a little bit more about how to run better websites, and the casino and poker companies get to meet the people behind the websites just in case they were thinking of featuring their brands on them.
All the webmasters are given yellow wristbands to wear and a big badge that says “affiliate”. This is so that teams of scantily clad promotional girls can spot their targets from afar and swoop in to thrust promotional flyers and ipod raffles into the right faces, before melting away to chat with their pals again in a mixture of Catalan and Russian. The design of the show is based around a Las Vegas casino- there are ten levels underground furnished in exactly the same way, with no clocks on show.
To create a more unified branding experience, you may also notice that many of the companies employ twins, so that you will get the spooky feeling that the guy you just met on the top floor is now passing you on the stairs coming up from the 3rd basement. There are maps if you are determined to find your way around, but this is actively discouraged- and rightly so to encourage networking and “impulse meetings”. The maps are generally located behind the 3rd post on the right under the stairs leading to the toilet.
So if you wake up one day, and find yourself in the middle of a casino affiliate conference, chances are you´ll be feeling a little bewildered with all of the silver branding and sparkly bikinis glittering in the spotlights. But don´t worry- we´ve compiled a bluffer´s guide to an event, so that you can look like a seasoned pro and not a rabbit caught in headlights. Read on.
1. Wear a long sleeve shirt so that you can hide your yellow affiliate wristband from the hot promotional girls. This will save you using your sidestep manouevres on the stairs.
2. Alternatively, wear a vest with your yellow affiliate wristband proudly on show, and using a flourescent pen marker, colour your whole arm yellow. This way, you´ll get hit on every 27 seconds by hot promo girls- but be realistic. After 3 or 4 circuits of the show word will start to get out that you´re the sad git who just likes looking at breasts. Try and keep your tongue in and act interested and you´ll spin this pastime out a little longer.
3. If your aim is to actually get some work done (see 1), you can also turn your affiliate badge upside down so that the word “AFFILIATE” isn´t tucked behind the yellow plastic sleeve.
4. If your aim is simply to oggle, (see 2), you could also use a permanent ink marker and tidily write “AFFILIATE” across your forehead.
5. When it comes to lunchtime, remember that you will be loaded down with promotional material from the hot chicks in the case of 2 and 4, and promotional material from casino and poker representatives in the case of 1 and 3. The lunch will be of the finger food variety on small plates- and so it should be as this encourages top drawer off the cuff meeting events and networking scenarios. So forget balancing a plate with one hand and your promotional material with the other. The best policy is to break off mid-sentence during your meeting and bend from the waist. Scoop down and grab those puppies with your mouth, swallow and resume the conversation. Fancy a drink? Easy. Just remember to tuck a straw into your top left pocket at the beginning of the day. Use your tongue to manouevre the straw into your mouth with a licking motion and then proceed as above, bending at the waist, either by slurping from a newly opened drink or by “minesweeping” unfinished glasses from the suckers who forgot their straws.
6. If at any stage, you start to feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume and hard sales tactics being employed, take a leaf out of Sun Tzu´s manual. Rock forward from your position on the ropes and go on the offensive by making up an entirely fictitous casino room and selling it back to your seller. Take no prisoners, and don´t allow your opponent a chance to speak. Ramble on and explain the rev. share model, design, fantastic range of games and superior customer service, payment mechanism options, oh did I forget that we have translated the site into Bikya, which is spoken by an 87-year-old woman living close to the Cameroon/Nigerian border. etc etc before glancing at your watch, apologising profusely about meeting clashes and exiting stage left.
7. Just on that point, it´s worth asking a friend or your mum to phone you every 5 minutes so that you have an exit strategy from any unwanted impromtu networking incidences.
8. An alternative way of doing this, is to spend the first day handing out your business cards to all and sundry with a pay as you go mobile number on it. With a cursory “must dash, need a poo- let´s do breakfast/lunch/dinner/grab a coffee tomorrow”, you´ll be all set up the following day with hundreds of people phoning you in the middle of meetings. Perfect.
9. The best way to leave the show is to be methodical about it. Start at the lowest level and work your way around the perimeter, checking all of the doors along the way. If none lead you to natural light, then go up one level and repeat. If you don´t find the exit by the time you have reached the top, repeat the process, but this time going down. Sooner or later you´ll fluke it- just a matter of persistance and time.
All in all a great conference and we think you would it enjoy it too- but you´ll enjoy it more with our handy casino affiliate convention tips, so next time you head to one, print this article out and slip it into your back pocket.