All the time. I'm a member of a Few Meet-ups "meetup.com" focused on SEO, SEM, and Affiliate Marking that meet monthly. I actually run a meet-up around niche marketing.
Every once in a will someone "probably a new person" will try and duplicate "but a person who has to duplicate will not last long"
But without those connection I doubt i would be where i am today.
Being able to share tips about software, systems, affiliate programs, earnings, problems, networks, etc is great.
Unlike this site which seem to more rigged and politically correct these meet-ups can help you learn what really helps instead of generic recommendations advice.
I mean imagine trying to tell someone how to fix their car over a internet forum and the person is to scared to tell you what make and model his car is LMAO. You can only give Generic Advice LMAO
In Person you can also "people online who you don't know will steal, but people you meet in person each month, exchange business card, probably wont". matter of fact I have shared tons of secrets, and people share secret with me. We even share software and tools we that we built.
Each month someone presents and gives Tips, Trick. Last Month topic was Back links and Panda LMAO
i found one of my best earning sources from the meetups.
We also gather to test programs and networks "Even buying stuff from each other affiliate offers to validate that networks where giving credits "and shocked at some of the outcome".
and yea we have engage in click each other ads "testing purposes not earning, and not adsense"
We are not the types that take a networks Word when it come to money LMAO We have seen a lot of bad networks, affiliate programs etc over the years and we do our due diligences.
Unlike this group we know what each other is doing, we are open, we don't censor, and we are willing to share.
We even Joint ventured on a few site concepts "didn't work but we learned a lot from it"
If you have Meetp.com for you area i would def consider hosting one. As a tip, keep newbies out, don't make it a place for get rich quicks wanna to come waste you time with a million basic questions. use technique term for the name so only people who know will come Adsense RPM Increase meetup, etc"