eComXpo: Does Lower Cost Mean Better?

So I am listening to eComXpo. Unlike the usual conferences I attend eComXpo only requires that you fire up your browser. Some of the hidden or secondary costs improve the quality of some conferences. Examples:

  • Crowd: Sure there is the annoying guy with the cell phone, but the crowds help vote for what topics are interesting when we are unsure.

    Right now there are so many presentations that it is hard for me to decide which one I would want to go to.

  • Noise / questions within the crowd: I always get a kick out of learning from or answering questions near by people ask. Sometimes that which is important is reinforced by the comments from those around us. Also sometimes speakers are not entirely correct, and the crowd can help correct any wrong info which has recently changed and whatnot.
  • You Have to Pay for Food & Travel: This puts most people in a foreign environment, but also means that they will likely do things like eat in groups. Marketing conferences over the web are going to be a low trust medium. The biggest value in conferences for me have not come from listening to the speeches, but from listening to guys like Greg Boser or DaveN chat after hours.
  • Expensive Ticket Prices: I usually go to search conferences. Some of these eComXpo affiliate speeches seem to be advertorials more than educational speeches. I think affiliate marketing tends to be more that way though from my limited exposure. I meant to go to CJU but had too much going on to be able to go.

    If people are paying a grand and a half for conference tickets then most speakers understand that it is not appropriate to give advertorials.

  • Just Hanging Out: Many people who go to speak at conferences go entirely for self promo. Others who are passionate about their topics & really in the know sometimes go because they like to hang out with their buddies. Missing out on Greg Boser and DaveN speaking and making up for that with a few more advertorials does not IMHO make it better.

There are a bunch of other example I can think of, but in general the eComXpo still has a long way to go. Some of this stuff could be made up for with technology, but the human interaction stuff is going to be hard to make up for with technology. Lots of the random little errors in how we are programmed and random crossing paths make up the most interesting and most or least memorable bits of conferences.

There are some killer speakers on eComXpo, but it is hard to know who is who if you are new...the noise of the crowds can sometimes help make conferences better. Seeing a few opening advertorials may push people away from a Seth Godin, John Battelle, or Doc Searls speech, which IMHO would be an unfortunate trade off.

Published: October 6, 2005 by Aaron Wall in marketing


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