Joe Handicaps the Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards

Editor’s Note: Usually we don’t reprint articles from other sites but this one, written by Joe Sousa on his blog What Does Joe Think, was so well done and funny we had to share, with Joe’s permission of course.  Enjoy!

The finalists for the Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards which will be presented on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 at Affiliate Summit West 2010, have been announced and it looks like a very good crop of contenders this year. Some of these people I know very well, some I have only briefly met, and some I have heard of but that is about it. I sent in my nominations a couple months ago and it looks like 3 out of my 6 nominations made the cut.

So just for fun I thought I would handicap the finalist and give you some odds on who should win. I will be breaking down the competition, letting you know what I know about the different contenders and I will also give you my picks and let you know who I think should take the awards. Also just so you know I have no say whatsoever in who wins. The people who choose that are much more qualified than me.  And remember, these picks are for entertainment purposes only. Please, no wagering:

Affiliate Of The Year

Nicholas Koscianski – I don’t know too much about Nickycakes. I have read his blog a few times but as far as I know I have never met him. Just from looking at his blog it looks like he does a lot of CPA stuff but other than that he is kind of a wild card in this contest. I do really like his Newbie Guide on his blog and think it is a pretty good place to start. The guide gives a good introduction into CPA and PPC marketing and will give someone just getting into the industry a good place to start.

Odds on winning? I think Nicholas is a longshot for this one. 20-1

Eric Nagel – I might have met Eric briefly before but the first time I really met him or talked to him for any length of time was at ASE09 in New York. Eric seems to strive for excellence in everything he does from his business cards to his Christmas light displays and I would assume that would transfer over to his business as well. This is Eric’s first time being a Pinnacle finalist and either the lack of post-season experience will get to him or he will rise up and show his true brilliance.

Odds on winning? Eric has a good shot here. I think the rookie has a good shot of going all the way. 3-1

Kim Rowley – Like Eric I first really met Kim at ASE09 but got to spend more time with her at the ShareASale ThinkTank09. She had the unfortunate pleasure of sitting next to me while I devoured 2 pounds of chicken wings and a plate of fried pickles. Kim runs many different shopping sites and also does consulting work as well. This is Kim’s second straight finals appearance for Affiliate of the Year. Will she be like the Buffalo Bills and go 4 straight without winning? Will she eventually break Jangro’s mark of 3 nominations before winning on the 4th try? Will she go 0-2 and join other people like Jamie Birch and Stephanie Harris with nothing to show for their multiple nominations?

Odds on winning? Kim is very deserving of this award and I think would be a very good value bet at 4.5-1

So who is gonna win?  Sorry Nick. This isn’t your year. I like Eric’s chances (he was my nomination) but I think Kim will end up taking this one in a close race.

Affiliate Manager of the Year

Jamie Birch – Jamie is approaching Jangro territory with this being his third nomination and he needs a win here to avoid the dreaded 0-3. I have had the pleasure of having lunch with Jamie, visiting him in his office, and getting to know him more over the past year or so. His office is only about 45 minutes away from here so he does have the home field advantage going in my mind at least. Jamie’s client list is very impressive and he does a great job working with his merchants and affiliate to make them both mutually successful.

Odds on winning? Jamie has the experience edge here having been to the dance before so that can only help. 3-1

Stephanie Harris – This will be Stephanie’s second straight nomination for Affiliate Manager of the Year and while I have never worked with her or really met her other than just saying hello she must be deserving if she can get to the finals two years in a row.  But since I don’t really know her it is hard for me to comment much on her chances. It is kind of like a Heisman candidate that while they might be deserving they just weren’t visible enough to the voters.

Odds on winning? I wish I could give a more educated guess on this one: 8-1

Matt McWilliams – I first met Matt at the ShareASale ThinkTank09 this year. I had exchanged some message with him before but had never met him in person. All I can say is I was VERY impressed. He is very good at what he does and knows how to help out his affiliates. I detailed him more a couple months ago in this post and he hasn’t let up since then. If I ever need anything he is very quick to get it to me. This Pinnacle Awards rookie has made a very strong showing so far.

Odds on winning? Matt has a very good chance here. I don’t think the rookie wall will bother him too much. 4-1

So who is gonna win? It is hard to ignore what Matt has done this year. Jamie has a bigger overall body of work though. I am gonna go with Matt on this one.

Exceptional Merchant – Not too much to say here. They are like the Yankees in that they have a great chance to win every year and this is their 4th straight finals.

Odds on winning? Just based on their size their odds are pretty good. 2-1 – It is like David fighting two Goliath’s here. They are like the small market team that puts it all together and makes a run at the title. Wade, Karen, and Joel at GTO Management have done a great job with the affiliate program.  And they also bribed me by giving me an awesome bowling shirt and taking me bowling in NY. Bribery does wonderful things!

Odds on winning? They are a long shot here. 25-1

eBay Partner Network – If Amazon is like the Yankees then eBay is like the Red Sox. Just based on their payroll and size they are a consistant contender

Odds on winning? Just a step behind Amazon. 3-1

So who is gonna win? You gotta take a chance if you wanna win any money. And I got a bowling shirt and bowling out of the deal. pulls the upset here.

Affiliate Marketing Advocate

I am gonna be honest here. I don’t keep up on industry issues as much as I really should. Whether it is the affiliate tax issues, parasites, unethical merchants, or whatever I always seem to have the unfortunate mindset of “let someone else deal with it” or “I don’t really know enough about the issues to do anything”. So because of that I am very thankful for all three of the nominees in this category. Angel Djambazov, Karen Garcia, and Rebecca Madigan have all spent many hours working on industry issues so lame people like me don’t have to. And I am very thankful to all three of them and many others as well.

Angel is a 2 time winner but this is Karen and Rebecca’s first time in the finals. Will Angel go 3 for 3 or will one of the rookies take it? I don’t want to give odds on a category as important as this one but I will go ahead and pick a winner:  Gonna go with Karen Garcia on this one.

Best Blogger

Murray Newlands – Sorry Murray. I really know nothing about you. I have seen your picture out there, I am aware of you, I see tweets and the like but I have never really take the time to find out much more. Hopefully you don’t take it personally.

Odds on winning? I am gonna have to take these odds off the board due to my lack of information. N/A

Jeremy Schoemaker – This will be Jeremy’s second Best Blogger nomination. There are a lot of Shoemoney haters out there and a lot of people who really respect him and like what he does. Personally I like his blog and I think he shares a lot of solid information there. I have only met Jeremy briefly a couple times, mostly in passing but I have never had a bad experience dealing with him.

Odds on winning? Will politics get in the way or will the voters be objective? 4-1

Geno Prussakov – From what I can see Geno seems to be the most consistent affiliate blogger out there and his posts almost always contain great information. Geno seems to post something good every day and he never runs out of good stuff. This will be Geno’s first finals apperance but he is a seasoned veteran who should be taken lightly.

Odds on winning? Lots of quality to support him for this award. 3-1

So who is gonna win? Sorry Murray. I wish I knew more. Sorry Jeremy. The politics and drama might hurt you here. Kind of like what happened to Micky Rourke at the Oscars last year. Gonna give this award to Geno.

Wayne Porter Affiliate Marketing Legend Award

Brad Waller – Unfortunately I will have to claim a bit of ignorance on this one again. I have heard of Brad before but have never really met him or dealt with him before. I do know he works with the PMA and from what I can see he likes cars. Other than that I don’t know a whole heck of a lot but if he is a finalist of the Legend award he must be deserving.

Odds on winning? Very tough to properly handicap this one. 8-1

Heather Paulson – Yet another person I have never met that I probably should have by now. Heather is the president of the Paulson Management Group and they currently manage a large number of different affiliate programs. I have seen her name around for years and if she was nominated for this award she must know her stuff when it comes to affiliate management.

Odds on winning? Gonna be tough for a rookie to take this award. 5-1

Scott Jangro – 5 nominations for Scott? That alone shows you why he deserves to be on this list. He has a chance to join Brian Littleton and Angel Djambazov as the only multiple winners of the Pinnacle Award. Scott finally broke through last year with the Best Blogger award and this is his second straight year being a finalist for the Legend award. I have know Scott for years, been golfing with him many times, and there are few (if any) people in this industry I respect as much as Jangro. He knows his stuff when it comes to affiliate marketing but even more important than that he is a great guy and one of the nicest people you will meet.

Odds on winning? Easily the favorite: 1-2

So who is gonna win? Scott Jangro will take home a much deserved Legend award here.

Well, hopefully I didn’t hurt too many feelings here. For those of you I didn’t pick to win? Just use this as motivation to step your game up next year and take home some of the coveted hardware. If you made the finals you should feel very honored since there are so many people who are deserving of these awards. If you were lucky enough to make this list I will even pick up the tab for dinner or drinks at Affiliate Summit West in January. Just hit me up while we are there.

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