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BAC 2012: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Question: What is with the Spanish definition of a shot of vodka?

Network, network, network!

I ask this on behalf of myself and hundreds of others who fell victim to the free-pour frenzy at the Barcelona Affiliate Conference, which kicked off on the 11th of October. Thursday was supposed to a light day with registration and the official opening party, but somewhere between warning ourselves that it was only the first night of a four-day bender (it’s all about pacing yourself) and the ridiculous fishbowl-sized drinks at the open bar, we lost sight of the fact that tomorrow’s back-to-back meeting schedule started at 9am.

Such was the amount of accidental partying done on Thursday night that the alarm on Friday morning was very nearly ignored entirely. I congratulated myself on the heroic feat of not being ill in the bathroom and then dragged my wretched self to the venue.

The Conference

There was an excellent turnout at the conference and despite the notable absence of the Bodog stand, operators were determined to impress with fantastically flashy bars, well-lit booths, branded merchandise and bright and chipper affiliate managers. Interestingly, there were many more trading booths this year than last and they did very well from the show.

A lot of delegates use the conference exclusively for meetings, but if you haven’t been to one of the sessions before, they’re an excellent source of information. Even experienced affiliates use them to find out about new developments in the industry and spend a little time learning how to select the appropriate staff member to offer as a sacrifice to please Google. Many thanks go to the speakers for sharing their knowledge with us.

Delegate badges have a convenient pouch and nearly everyone uses them to store business cards, wearing the increasingly weighty thing around their neck like a medal. The furious exchange continued throughout the day, with cards being flung across tables faster than Greenpeace can plot to take us all down.

All in all, the conference was tremendously successful, with lots of people reporting that they had packed more business into the two days than two months.

The Official Parties

Could we talk about the BAC without mentioning the parties? The official opening party was a hit with the crowd, with an open bar, scantily-clad showgirls and a DJ who was keen to channel the groovy soul of Heart FM. At two o’clock in the morning, you could look across a sea of dancing people to the couches, where several delegates had already passed out. If this was you, you’d better hope the roving photographer had gone home by this point.

The brave and energetic amongst us went from a 9am start at the Friday conference and a full day of meetings straight into dinner and the networking party at Otto Zutz. The music was less than inspiring (clearly last night’s DJ was unavailable, so they got his techno-beats grandson to do the honours instead) but people took to the dance floor in droves anyway. If you didn’t know what Gangam style was before, you certainly knew by the end of the night, or perhaps you just thought an enthusiastic bunch of Kiwis were pretending to ride sheep in an odd manner.

Elephant Nightclub, Barcelona

The official closing party is always a night to remember (or not, as the case may be). It was a sophisticated affair held at a gorgeous nightclub called Elephant, and everyone was there to go all-out before heading home the next day.

Best lines overheard at BAC

‘Oh, God. I’m too old for this.’

The most common line of the show, uttered by 20-year-old affiliates, 60-year-old affiliate managers and everyone in between. Generally delivered after realising you’re still in the grips of a fierce hangover and you’ve got to start drinking again in about two hours.

‘This is the closest thing to not-working that work can get.’

Ahh. Remember when you were that young and naive? The people saying this did so on the first night. Don’t worry, by the last night they were back to groaning about being too old for this like the rest of us.

‘FFS, Google is not God.’

No, but SEO is a little bit like a religion where you try to do the right thing and pray it works out for you in the end.

‘The Gaming in Spain stand is not open. Now there’s a metaphor.’

Isn’t it just? Spanish delegates enjoyed their own conference track, with plenty of speakers offering learning sessions that were specifically focused on the Spanish market. Perhaps one of them can tell us why a shot in Spain is well over 100ml.

‘I’m going to the bathroom for five minutes and if I don’t come back, I’ve necked myself.’

A common sentiment for people who didn’t get home until 5am and had to take a 9am meeting. Some days, not even a bocadillo will save you.

Despite all of these awesome one-liners, the conference really was a success! iGB announced that BAC had a record amount of registrants, making it the biggest BAC ever!

Thanks for another great conference, Barcelona. You’ve certainly given London something to live up to!

 About Kahmen Lai

Hailing from Australia, Kahmen Lai worked as an executive for broadcast network The Seven Media Group before joining affiliate company Big Gains No Pains as Director of Content and Social Media, where she focuses on online casinos and bingo sites.