Las Vegas: Designed To Confuse And Abuse

Take a bunch of testosterone-driven young entrepreneurs, shove them off the jetway in Vegas, and there’s only one likely outcome. “I don’t care if we kill somebody…

So, how many affiliates blew their entire January budgets in the casinos at ASW? For the sake of my own business, I’d be happy to hear of a busy weekend.

Did you learn a lot from the networking experience? Was the conference worth the trip?

I find it a little strange that affiliates will fork out hundreds of dollars for seminars, key-notes and Q&A sessions when perhaps the biggest inspiration is Vegas itself.

If ever you wanted to learn from a well oiled moneymaking machine, you would be advised to tear your head away from the Meet Market and consider the windowless, clockless micro-economy that is Sin City in the middle of the night.

Nickycakes wrote a piece several years ago that summed it up well. Vegas is one of the most fitting metaphors for a Landing Page. Everything about it is designed to creep in your pocket, carress the balls, and expose your wallet. All, of course, without shaking the drunken smile from your face.

In many ways, Vegas is untouchable as a sales funnel. Not only does it skillfully and rapidly relieve us of our finances, but it does so in a way that we doggedly admire. Somehow, the art of cataclysmically gambling the night away, has been turned in to pop culture that is part of the experience. You go to Vegas expecting to come home lighter than you left, in every sense but the hangover.

So how can we improve our own marketing efforts to create the same free spending escapism? How can we build landing pages as positively badass as The Strip in the dead of night?

Perhaps the best guidance is to determine your goal first. Vegas gives the impression of a city built around a slot machine. From the ground up, it weaves a gigantic web where every road leads back to the desired action – you spending money. It’s difficult to avoid spending money because the execution is so consistent. When you get off the plane, make no mistake: ‘Vegas has you now‘. Opt-outs are hard to come by. The message is loud and clear.

How loud and clear is your marketing? Is your message being scrambled by half-baked execution? The slightest slip of bad copy, or conflicting calls-to-action, and you’ll suffer the equivalent of daylight pouring through a gorged window in the Palace casino. The user slips away and doesn’t look back.

Our job when we’re creating sales funnels is to fully immerse users; to guide them to a state where we have their full and undivided attention. Once we’ve taken away their sense of daylight, their sense of time, their sense of financial good footing, we have to decorate that world with a brighter proposition. Be that an illustration of rapid weight loss, of finding love, or even the freedom of a new career at home; our job is to channel the force of desire and guide it to an action before the moment of escapism has passed.

I think, as Nick suggested, the pull of Vegas is the claustrophobia: a bombardment of the senses that monetizes your confusion whichever way you turn.

It’s difficult to recreate the same psychological experience on a web page. It’s even more challenging to recreate the justification that stalks you towards the departure gate, ably excusing the $3000 dent in your bank balance, as if it were money well spent.

Well, was it?

I hope, for the sake of the affiliates who flew out to ASW on shoestring budgets, that it was a great conference and not simply a Tour De Force in young, rich and infamous binge showboating.

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About the author


A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.


Leave a comment
  • Did I learn much? No, not much (but didn’t attend any sessions either)

    Was it worth it? Yes. I did nothing but wander around and talk to people each day and found doing so to be quite worthwhile. Met lots of cool people including (for the first time) the infamous NickyCakes who you mentioned.

    From my limited perspective, the ratio of affiliates to networks/merchants seems to be changing (less affiliates, more networks/merchants/other).

    Also from my perspective, Affiliate Summits are becoming more “professional” – I can no longer feel comfortable walking through the exhibit hall in sandals & a t-shirt. Alas!

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