July 11, 2018


WHAT THE AFF at Affiliate World Europe

As many of you know, Affiliate World Europe is just around the corner. One of the most important conferences of the year has moved its location from Berlin to Barcelona.

The conference first took place in 2016, and after the crew attended it, Manu wrote a review of it. Here’s a quote:

“The best way I could summarize Berlin was that it looks like the most communist city I’ve ever seen. Depressing atmosphere, it looked like the people were very poor, the buses used were worse than old Romanian buses, mediocre or bad service in restaurants and cafes, etc. I really hope the STM team consider organizing future conferences in a better city, given that Europe is full of amazing cities.”

Now, this is strictly about the city – the conference itself was super high quality and we’d recommend attending it in any city it takes place really. But having a great city helps 😉

And the feedback from us and others has been heard, so 2018 means sunny Barcelona!

To speak for the quality of this conference, just check out this panel from the very first Affiliate World, in 2015 in Bangkok. A panel discussing “How To Grow And Sell Your Affiliate Business for 8+ Figures”.

This place basically puts together 3000 of the most successful affiliates on the planet, and that’s why everyone loves it!

As always, the conference will have many side-events and luckily the community crowdsourced a spreadsheet with all affiliate events and some useful info about the city.

You can check it right here.

WHAT THE AFF are we doing there?

Well, not much – even though Barcelona is a quick flight from Vienna, only Manu is attending. Someone has to stay in Vienna and work, right?

But if you see him at the conference or the side events, don’t be shy in saying “Hello!”. He’ll have some WHAT THE AFF stickers to share.

If you’re attending for the first time, don’t go overboard with the booze, don’t be secretive and if you’ve shared some good info, don’t be shy in asking others about their secrets.

Then take notes of the most important stuff, don’t rely on your memory. Things can escalate in the evenings, and you might not remember everything the following day.

Nos vemos en Barcelona!


Facebook fined £500K by UK’s Information Commissioner

The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO, but not the crypto get-rich-quick type) announced that it would be issuing the social network with its maximum fine, £500,000 ($662,000) after it concluded that it “contravened the law by failing to safeguard people’s information.”

The critical point the ICO is addressing is that Facebook broke the law by failing to keep user data safe when their systems allowed app developers to scrape the data of up to 87 million people.

The ICO also has some uncomfortable follow-up questions for Facebook, like:

“Facebook says that Mark Zuckerberg did not know about it until it was reported in the press this year. In which case, given that it concerns a breach of the law, they should state who was the most senior person in the company to know, why they decided people like Mark Zuckerberg didn’t need to know, and why they didn’t inform users at the time about the data breach.”

While Facebook is not off the hook yet in the UK, we got some leaked footage how the FB HQ is handling the enormous fine, which will take them roughly 1.5 hours to make up for.

Facebook is testing AR ads in News Feed 

At its F8 developer conference earlier this year, Facebook announced that it was working with businesses to use AR in messenger.

Now a selected group of advertisers is also showing AR ads in the News Feed.

These ads allow shoppers to see how virtual sunglasses or makeup would look on their own faces.

AR ads look like normal in-feed ads at first, but they include a “Tap to try it on” option, which opens up the AR capabilities.

In addition, Facebook announced a new Video Creation Kit, which will allow advertisers to incorporate existing images into templates for mobile video ads.

Facebook is also expanding its support for shopping in Instagram stories. After rolling out shopping tags in Stories to selected brands last month, it will now be available to all brands that have enabled shopping on Instagram.


WHAT THE AFF interviews – where we bring you short and sweet interviews with the top online marketers on this side of the Milky Way.

Today we have one of AWE Barcelona speakers, Kelly Sheffield.

Kelly’s been an affiliate for over 6 years and is more known on the STM Forum as TheDudeAbides. He’s currently enjoying success with native ads, so we took the chance to squeeze out a few good tips for succeeding on native.

WTAFF Crew: Describe yourself in 20 words or less (focus on personality, not affiliate experience).

Kelly: If I can’t make you laugh, we’re in trouble. Just focused on enjoying the journey. And this is already starting to sound like a dating profile…

WTAFF Crew: No worries, we heard there’s a Tinder group setup for AWE you can join! Haha, but back to the interview, one question we always ask: How would you explain what you do for a living to your grandmother?

Kelly:I usually say something along the lines of “I help businesses sell stuff online in exchange for a commission”

WTAFF Crew: We know you are mainly focused on native, and that you’ll speak on the topic at AWE 2018, in Barcelona. What are the pros and cons of native in your opinion, looking at the whole industry today?



  • Huge scale + can scale fast
  • Very affiliate-friendly compared to other options for doing big volume
  • Campaigns (and ads) can last a long time without much tinkering
  • Beer factor – awesome reps can help you every step of the way
  • Barrier to entry scares off many


  • Lots of moving parts
  • Expensive to learn, and still expensive after
  • Competitive, as it’s super easy to spy on someones entire funnel

WTAFF Crew: What tip would you give people starting out with native ads today? What are the biggest mistakes beginners make there?

Kelly: Oh man, everything under the sun when it comes to native. Mindset is a big one. You have to be able to weather the storm of losing money while trying to lock down winners in your funnel. 

With native, there can be a lot of data to sift through, and few conversions to start. Beginners often try to do too much, which can result in poor decisions being made with the data they’ve got. 

Trying to “make an offer work” on native as a beginner is really dumb. Learn the ropes first then experiment.

WTAFF Crew: What verticals have you found work best on native?

Kelly: The big evergreen ones work best eg: nutra, dating, refi, and other leadgen. Ecom lists are definitely huge too.

WTAFF Crew: Where do you stand on the very common mantra that native ads require a relatively high budget to test?

Kelly: Relative to other sources it’s definitely true – there’s just so much traffic to sift through, that if you’re starting out with broad targeting on a big geo you’re likely going to get crushed unless you’ve got an amazing offer.

WTAFF Crew: How can you become more efficient with testing and your budgets? Your top 2-3 tips.


  1. Start with a small subset of traffic like a whitelist, or singular topic + blacklist, or just a smaller geo. Ask your rep for guidance there.
  2. Cut widgets based off effective cost per click to the offer, not 2-3x payout. Eg if you’re a running a $50 offer, and you’ve established it does around a $2 EPC, then a widget that’s spent $50 with say $5 eCPC is just not going to work – cut it. $15 and 0 clicks? ez
  3. Offer is the #1 priority – lock that down first and limit tests to 2 at a time.

WTAFF Crew: What software / online service can you absolutely not live without for your operations and why?

Kelly:I guess I’m pretty attached to Voluum as I’ve tried to jump ship twice now in the last 6 months and came back to it. 

I’ve also grown fond of Netlify.com + Hugo static CMS and all its bells and whistles, but honestly good ol WordPress + a solid CDN plugin is still likely the way to go. 

A good CRM is the next piece of the puzzle for me.

WTAFF Crew: Top 3 forums/blogs/newsletters/groups to follow to stay ahead of the game.

Kelly: Aside from this newsletter!? STM Forum. 

Madsociety I hear is also good if you run native. Personally, I really enjoy reading Hacker News via the Materialistic app. 

Would love to see a good app for WHAT THE AFF!

WTAFF Crew: Affiliates and online marketers like to show off sometimes. We want to switch it around so we ask what’s the purchase you are least proud of?

Kelly: That’s a great question – there’s no big purchase that comes to mind, but I imagine if I were to actually look through all the purchases I’ve made on Amazon over the years it would add up to an amount I would find unsettling.

WTAFF Crew: Thanks for the time, Kelly. Looking forward to your speech in Barcelona. Getting really close now! 

Got some good questions we should ask future guests? Do you want to suggest a guest? Any feedback you have, let us know! 


Cool tech, (funny) business, lifestyle and all the other things affiliates like to chat about while sipping cocktails by the pool.

The things Apple does for that Chinese market… 

Apple is known to be quite strict with their ecosystem.

They don’t let you, as a consumer, tinker with devices much, you need special tools if you want to open them up, etc. Apple’s known very much for being very closed.

So much so that they even rejected the FBI’s request to unlock a certain iPhone.

Well, the Chinese Government seems to have a good amount of influence in how Apple shapes its ecosystem for that market.

So much so that Apple censors the Taiwanese flag when the location of the iPhone is set to China.

The problem? There’s a bug that sometimes crashes the device. All you have to do is send a text message with the Taiwanese flag.

Sturdy code there, Apple. Bravo!

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