Affiliate Summit West was one of the best-attended and diverse shows of the last few years. It left me reflecting upon several industry trends. On the positive side, there seems to be a shift toward proprietary technology development and also a focus on internal traffic sources as a value-add for advertisers. On the technology side, many companies are investing in building their own tracking platforms, specifically education portals. Couple that with the development of internal media buying teams for social, contextual and display and it makes for a steady and scalable product suite.

Holding Affiliate Summit West at a high class establishment like the Wynn definitely helped attract a wider audience. There was a real buzz all the way through from the Meet Market on Sunday to Tuesday’s 4pm close. Of course, there is an entirely different kind of buzz that often prevents people from showing up on Tuesday morning. Personally I met a lot of great new partners at the show and as a group of internet trailblazers they were united in their passion and enthusiasm for our industry.

I think there was certainly a level of panic about continued government intervention in the industry. First and foremost, I continued to hear about companies going out of business, consolidating, or having general cash flow issues. This is nothing new but it definitely seems to be reaching all-time high levels. In addition, many people are concerned about the new “data pass” bill enacted by Congress on December 29, 2010 (S. 3386 Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act). A lot of companies in the subprime space leverage data pass to help make incremental revenue from their traffic, and potentially this Act could put a significant dent in revenue forecasts. Fortunately MediaWhiz has a solution already in place to help partners monetize their traffic in a compliant manner without missing a penny of revenue.

In summary, I think we see a shift occurring towards increased professionalism, accountability and brand offerings. More dollars continue to pour into the performance space and those who successfully provide results will continue to prosper.