After investigation, it has come to my attention that Pubcon is not launching a competive event to Affiliate Summit; they are in no way larger than Affiliate Summit; and it is impossible for Affiliate Summit to black-ball any speaker since they have a public vote for sessions.
WebMaster World, the Owners of the PubCon have announced that they are launching as part of the PubCon Las Vegas, a new affiliate conference to directly compete with Affiliate Summit. The conference which will be a sub-conference of PubCon will be in Las Vegas, November 8-10th several months before the Affiliate Summit conference, also in Las Vegas.
The PubCon new affiliate track seems to be a possible serious competitor to Affiliate Summit as the convention features many famous executives and industry leaders as speakers. Matt Cutts, the head of Google Compliance aka Search Quality group is slated to be one of the top speakers at the PubCon Affiliate Conference. Past speakers include major money makers such as Tony Hsieh, Guy Kawasaki and Craig Newmark, giving PubCon a level of Gravitas needed to compete with Affiliate Summit.
Several companies have attempted to compete with Affiliate Summit in the last few years, including AffCon, owned by Webmaster Radio. While AffCon seemed to initially be successful, with two canceled events, the event seems to be completely gone from the radar. The owners of AffCon were however faced with significant issues from the start, including claims that speakers of their event were told that they would be banned from Affiliate Summit if they spoke at AffCon. Whether or not this is true, the two conventions have not had a friendly relationship.
Neil Marshal, a spokesperson for PubCon, told PMi that they find the Affiliate and CPA industry, “Outstanding. All the forms of advertising are good for the industry. We need diversification from simple advertising models that can help us also pursue alternative sources of traffic. We rely too much on singular SEO as the end-all/be-all of traffic acquisition. Affiliate marketing makes the industry think differently.”
Whether or not this will become a serious competitor to Affiliate Summit, is to be seen. Affiliate Summit has been mainstay in the industry, and seems to attract affiliates from all circles. While PubCon is much larger (correction: read comments below), the targeted audience of experts at Affiliate Summit keeps people coming year after year. Perhaps this is just a play to address issues that the publishers have been asking, while getting more sponsors and into the growing Affiliate marketplace.