I've recently started a start-up in the poker sector and will be launching a product we've been working on for around 8 months this coming week. I am going to be contacting bloggers, and other businesses in the sector via email. Are business will be very consumer focused but there are opportunities to work with other companies in the industry as we (hopefully) we will be drawing a lot more traffic than most other sites in the space.
There is a large conference for affiliates in the industry in September and I want to know how important / valuable people feel events like these are. I have never 'networked' or been to any events like this so am really in the dark on whether its worth the $1,100 air-fare and 4 day commitment (we've been qualified for free tickets). I also wouldn't know where to start when I get there with networking.
Any advice appreciated.
I'd recommend that you go to that conference.
Here are a few good reasons. You indicate that you have never been to a conference or networked. So you are clearly behind. If you had said that you already have attended all conferences in your space and know everyone, then you probably could skip that one.
The other point that worries me is that you sound like you worked hard for 8 months without comfronting your ideas with real people. So going out and engaging with as many people in the industry as you can is a must.