Archive for the 'Sys-Con' Category

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Why you won’t see me at Ajax World

Friday, July 13th, 2007

Although you will indeed see me at the Ajax Experience show in SFO at the end of the month, I’m afraid you won’t find me in Santa Clara in September.

Today I received yet another in a series of communications asking me to be a sponsor for the Ajax World conference hosted by Sys-Con Media.

I first had contact with Sys-Con when Jeremy Geelan asked me to participate in an expert survey in 2005 [addendum: Jeremy is no longer with Sys-Con, having left to found Social Computing Magazine][addendum2: Jeremy is back with Sys-Con - whether he actually left or not is unknown, but it's clear he's not been entirely frank with me]. I freely gave a bit of my time to come up with a series of responses which were quoted and which apparently were helpful in making it a successful article, ostensibly generating interest or revenue for them.

Based on the success of that interaction, Jeremy invited me to speak at Ajax World in Santa Clara, but it soon became clear I was expected to pay my own travel and accomodation and displace 3+travel=4 days of client business, altogether a significant cost to me – greater than $5000. I said that as an independent with no product to pitch, I would require travel, accomodation and compensation. I was told that expenses were my responsibility and all I could expect in return for speaking would be to get into the conference – a $1595 “value” to me.

Some time after declining this “generous” offer, I started receiving emails and even couriered packages filled with glossies and CD media from Carmen Gonzales, Sr. VP of Sales & Marketing, entreating me to pay big bucks to sponsor the show and get myself a speaking slot.

Jeremy later sent me an email inviting me to submit my presentation for the NYC show last fall. I did so, and reminded him of my requirements, wondering aloud whether his position had changed since he was asking me again. I never received a response.

After receiving further unsolicited emails [from Carmen] about sponsorship, I wrote to Carmen, copying Jeremy, to make it clear that not only had I no such interest, but that their continued efforts were beginning to wear on me.

Since that time I have received numerous messages and even packages via courier, entreating me to spend up to multiple tens of thousands of dollars to become a sponsor. It’s apparent that your business model consists of charging people to attend conferences to hear vendor representatives who have bought keynote and speaking slots and other speakers who have paid their own way and given their time for free, all sponsored by other companies who pay you handsomely for the privilege. It’s abundantly clear that any disinclination to budget for speakers has nothing to do with a lack of available funds.

Obviously there are many speakers whose situations differ from mine, and I salute you for your ability to maintain a cash cow with such a lopsided balance sheet, however, I’m not the least bit inclined to spend any of my own time and effort to further enrich your gain with no recompense to me, and your continued misdirected effort is doing nothing but alienating me from any desire to be supportive of your organization in any way.

For what it’s worth, I presented and participated on panels at both of the Ajax Experience shows last year with no such issues and was made to feel that my time and contribution were very much appreciated.

I was nearly knocked over when in response to my email direct to Carmen a customer service rep contacted me and I was offered a Gold Pass Badge to the NYC show.

Brent,

Our apologies for the oversight and mixup. We would love to invite you to AJAXWorld as our guest with a complimentary Gold Pass badge.

SYS-CON Events Customer Services Team

P.S. Jeremy and/or Carmen will reply to your email. Our apologies again!

In order to use this “complimentary” pass of course, I would have to fly from Toronto to NYC, pay for a hotel, taxi, etc, and of course jerk around my clients on short notice to realign my schedule.

I never received an email from either Carmen or Jeremy as promised by the Customer Service rep. I figured whatever, that’s the end of that.

So, today I start receiving the sponsorship emails [from Carmen] again.

Platinum Sponsorship: $30,000:
10×20 Exhibit Space & 50 minute vendor presentation

Gold Sponsorship: $20,000:
10×10 Exhibit Space & 30 minute vendor presentation

Silver Sponsorship: $15,000 8×10 Exhibit Space & power panel spot

Exhibitor Packages: Plus package $10,000 / standard $5,500

The entrance fee for the conference ranges from $1500 to $1900 depending on when you sign up.

It’s too bad they can’t afford to compensate their speakers or even pay their expenses.

It’s also a shame that their disinterest in stopping the mailings and their lack of response (even when promised) would lead me to moan publicly about it.