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Are you kidding me?

Pepcom, a conference company, manages to piss off reporters, bloggers, and customers in one moment of suicidal greed and selfishness by banning a reporter from having a party.

Read this story from CNET’s David Berlind:

Pepcom to CNET: If you organize any get-togethers after our events, we’ll ban you

Jon Pepper, Chris O’Malley (proprietors) and the rest of the crew at Pepcom can take their stinkin’ events like Digital Experience and, well {fill in the blank}. Not only do Pepcom events deserve to be boycotted by journalists, writers, and bloggers, I’m suggesting that exhibitors such as Nokia, Lenovo, Belkin, Palm, Skype, Kodak, HP, Nikon, Casio, Brookstone, Plantronics, Sandisk, Sharp, GE, Toshiba, Kingston and the many others who pay good money to exhibit at Pepcom’s events think hard about the sort of behavior they’re endorsing. Pepcom has unjustifiably come down on me and my company (CNET Networks) like a ton of bricks for doing something as simple as hosting a post-event gathering after one of their events. It’ll be a cold day in hell before I ever come to its events to cover the vendors and technologies exhibiting at them again. …

Read the rest:

Recommendation for Pepcom: Grovel.

I produce a lot of conferences, and I speak at 1-2 each week. Here’s an important lesson for all event producers:

  1. Attendees are your customers.  Make them happy. Attendees are not property to be rented to sponsors and exhibitors –they are the reason you have an event and a business. They come first.
  2. Press are your friends – reporters and bloggers.  They are what validate your event as relevant and important.  They make your customers (attendees and exhibitors) very very happy.  Kiss their ass with style, grace, and generosity.
  3. Speakers are your soul.  Very busy executives volunteer many hours to provide the essential content that attracts attendees.  Yes, they can be overzealous and need to be managed. But far too few event managers show the basic courtesy to the army of volunteers that provide 99% of their content for free. (If you’re a paid speaker like me, that’s a different story. Abuse me! I’m here to serve.)

Lesson:  Great events are about making everyone happy, not milking one group to profit from another. Successful events build an ecosystem of enthusiastic participants who all feel like they got great value from their role and investment.

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  1. Jeffrey Eisenberg August 10, 2007 at 12:59 pm #

    You are so right Andy. I’m reading this during a lunch break at one of the seminars we put on (Call To Action – for marketing optimization) and people are telling their colleagues by cell phone about lunch. We did only what we expect from other conferences. We served people who spent their hard earned money a hot catered lunch. The comments being made by the people at our seminar are about how other conferences take advantage of attendees by offering the cheapest sandwich with a bag of chips. The prevalent expectation is that “milking one group” is the job of conference organizers. This is really unfortunate.

  2. ddvelin August 10, 2007 at 1:03 pm #

    Thanks for the info Andy! It will be very interesting to see if/how Pepcom responds to this, or how much traction the ZDNET post gets. I hope you’ll keep us informed on the happenings.

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