Reflecting on the a4u expo experience (and a few session notes)

I experienced my first ever UK Internet conference last week, the a4u expo, a conference dedicated to affiliate marketing with a heavy leaning to SEO. I was invited to speak there by Kieron Donoghue and after a fair bit of umming and arring I accepted and I’m really pleased I did, so thanks again Kieron for putting my name forward.

The expo itself was a really well organised event (dk you could learn something from this 🙂 ) and ram packed with talks and presentations, if anything there were a few too many as a number overlapped so you had to pick and choose which to attend. I won’t go into all the talks here as many have already spoken about them (I’ll post links at the end).

I saw the same presentations as Patrick Altoft (well not exactly as Patrick managed to sleep through the hour long keynote on Day 1, quite amusing when you’re sat/laid in the middle on the second row). I’ve known Patrick online for a number of years and it was great to finally meet face to face. Also met up and had the pleasure of spending time with Chris Garret, who calmed me down more than he’ll ever know.

I spent much of day 1 shitting bricks about my presentation on the day 2, even tried a practice session in front of the mirror in my hotel room but felt like an absolute twonk so gave that one a miss and practised drinking at the bar instead.

After waking later than planned on the Wednesday, had time to read through my script again and calm nerves with a can of Grolsh for breakfast. Headed over to the presentation room that I would be speaking in to see people crowding round the door to listen to an earlier speaker, this did nothing for my nerves and at this point I was thinking of many different ways to cause physical pain to Kieron for getting me into this.

Once my presentation began (did think about bolting when the room filled up) I ended up sacking the script and making it up as I went along from the slides (thanks Tim Nash for advising me that this is the normal approach). I reckon it was the combination of a cool audience and “The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women (2nd Edition)” slide that helped calm my nerves and the presentation seemed to go pretty well, there were loads of intelligent questions afterwards which I’m told is a good sign. So thanks everyone that witnessed and helped with my first speaking gig, it was an awesome experience and I was on a real high for the rest of the day (though that may of been down to alcohol too).

Many people asked about which WordPress plug-ins I used, I had a brain fart blank at the time as I’ve actually written about this before, New Blog Plug-In Check List. Joost also recommended a collection of plug-ins in his SEO for WordPress Presentation, well worth checking out.

Another item that came up was using Chitika as another source of income. I’d agreed a special deal with Ryan (my rep at Chitika) to give new sign-ups a bonus:

Chitika Promotion:
The bonus will be on a 50% match – for example:
If the user earns $30, we will give them an additional $15 bonus
The max amount of the bonus will be $50, so if they earn over $100, they will receive the max bonus of $50

To be eligible sign up under my referral, if you recently signed up before seeing this let me know and I’ll see if they can back date it somehow (sorry Ryan).

If anybody has any other questions let me know by commenting here and I’ll do my best to answer them.

At the end of the second day I had the pleasure of being taken out for a Thai meal with Becky and Dave Naylor, there was a somewhat motley bunch of Anthony Shapley, Mel Carson, Todd Crawford, Joost De Valk, Marcus Tandler, Patrick and myself. It was a great end to the expo (until my second wind came later on and I ended up at a casino at 7am) so thanks again Becky and Dave.

There are plenty more posts about the expo and other sessions, check out:
Kierons wrapup post – with a gazzillion links to other people experiences.
Peter Anderson – Why a4u sucked (link bait if ever I saw it).
Geoff’s Review – I think I owe him money or a job for that review

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. Hi Al,

    thanks for the link! It was a lame attempt at linkbait i know, and i nearly re-wrote the whole post afterwards… but hey.

    I thought your session was excellent! One of the best that i attended during the 2 days, and i think the number of questions at the end showed how you captivated the audience!
    I have been reading your blog for a while now, so it was great to finally see you in person.

    thanks again!


    • Thanks Peter. I wouldn’t call your attempt lame, there were so many other similar titled blog posts yours certainly grabbed attention.

  2. Good coverage of the expo there, I need to be more organised and get myself to some of these events. Glad to hear that your presentation was well received and hope to hear again at the next Northern meet-up.

    I’ll now spend the rest of my Sunday afternoon reading through all those links! Cheers! 🙂

    Zath@Tech Blog’s last blog post..Bourne’s Back 4 More!

  3. I am looking forward to seeing this awe inspiring presentation 🙂 and when in doubt go with the flow 🙂 some of the best presentations I have ever seen is when the person stops reading the script and starts to engage with their audience and from all the reviews you did a swell job!

    oh and it never gets easier 😉

    Tim Nash’s last blog post..Want advice on StumbleUpon?

  4. Speaking at larger event can be terrifying until it’s over. I’m glad to hear that it went well and I can tell you that it can become an addiction (speaking) pretty fast 🙂

    Mikael’s last blog post..Create Your Own Incoming Links While Still Providing Good Value

  5. Hey Al, I was in the room when you gave your talk. Thought it was great – nice to see your a normal bloke too. The show felt like a big family and your talk was the most inspirational as in many ways you were the most open about your business which is really really good. Thanks again, Johnny

  6. Been reading your blog for a while Al, and was looking forward to your session. I thought it was a great session, really well done. I am sure you will find it a lot less scary next time.

  7. Thanks for the comments everybody. I never expected the presentation to be inspiring but very pleased some of you thought it was. I don’t think I’ll be hitting the speaking circuit just yet though, too much money to be made elsewhere 🙂

  8. Oh great. nice wrapup of a4uexpo!! and yes.thanks for that chitika bonus news.

  9. While I understand that public speaking can be tough, in your case there is one simple trick – remember that you know far more about the topic than most in the audience, and they are all very eager to hear what you have to say. That, and it can also really help them in their businesses.

    Keeping that in mind can have an enormous impact on your presentation skills.

    Justin Cook’s last blog post..What to do when you’re dropped from Google’s index

    • Thanks Justin, I’ll bear that in mind for my next one. Knowing the subject certainly helped in the Q&A session afterwards which was probably more useful than the presentation as the audience could actually get the answers to their questions rather than what I thought they wanted to ask (if that makes sense).

  10. I think that’s a great point Justin, if you’re talking about something that you know really well, then it makes a big difference to your confidence – I remember doing presentations at university about stuff we really didn’t know that well, in those cases the presentations didn’t go that well and you HAD to stick to a script which didn’t help!

    Zath@Tech News Blog’s last blog post..WiFi Detector T-Shirt

  11. Hey Al!

    Thanks for one of the most interesting presentations on A4UExpo! You were nervous at start – that’s true – but I think everyone understands as everyone in the audience would feel the same way. I am still amazed how you talk openly about all the aspects of your online business, not many people do – and that’s the courage you have.

  12. Hi Al

    I was also one of the folks crammed into that room last week. I hope you don’t mind me saying it was not the slickest presentation of the conference – but, for me, it was easily the most inspiring, interesting, amusing and useful presentation! Who needs slick?

    It has all got me fired up to crack affiliate marketing and I have just started to blog on my progress at MeanOldScene – only 2 posts so far so have some way to go but hope to build up to a successful business.

    Thanks again for the presentation and hope to see you do another soon.

    Mark’s last blog post..A4U Expo 2008 – the most important thing I learned

  13. Hi Al

    Thanks for your review of the A4u conference. Unfortunately I wasn;t able to make it as I had to be on jury duty last week. Is there any chance you might post up your presentation here to allow regular readers to this blog who couldn’t make the conference a chance to hear your thoughts?

  14. Al,

    Really enjoyed your session and you had the look of a best man about to deliver a speech at the start, and like you say once the “Ultimate Guide” story came out and you got a big laugh you were onto a winner!

    It was also funny at the end when you had 5 or 6 late entrants who had missed the earlier story behind the book and you referenced it again. A couple of girls looked at each other as if to say “WTF, did I hear that right?!”.

    Good work.


    Neil’s last blog post..5 Things I Learnt at the A4U Expo

  15. Thanks for giving your session again at the Northern UK Bloggers meet-up tonight, following on from what you said about Chitika, I’ve now submitted my application. Cheers!

    Zath’s last blog post..PS3 Hard Disk Upgrade

  16. Great piece of presentation Al; this can only get better. Giving presentation to an audience is just like talking to people who will not response to you until the end of the presentation, or perhaps sometimes in the middle of the conversation. So, there is nothing much to fear about, which I’m happy to know that you managed that over the practice at the bar and via the Anal Sex Guide. The latter is definitely quite catchy to wake up the audience.

    Last but not least, great work!

    Keith’s last blog post..Top 5 Drupal 6 Modules

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