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November 17, 2008

PubCon Las Vegas – A Show in Decline

Based on reports I’ve read at various SEO/SEM/Blog sites, it would be easy to conclude that the PubCon show in Las Vegas was a  major success. All the attendees must have been attending the speaker sessions because they certainly were not in evidence at the exhibit hall. The number of exhibitors appeared to be down from previous years and frankly, given this year’s attendance, I’d be surprised if 10 – 15 showed up next year.  On Thursday, there were more Exhibit Booth personnel on the floor than attendees. A sad turnout and obviously disappointing for exhibitors.

Pubcon, like many similar shows, comes across as a show for industry experts by industry experts. As a draw for newbies, webmasters and netpreneurs, it definitely tanked. Here are a couple of reasons why:

1. Poor site information. I registered online and expected to receive my badge by mail. Nothing I saw online indicated that badges would be sent by mail, but if they had been, it would have saved the time I spent at the registration booth. It took me 5 minutes to find any information at the Pubcon site on where to complete registration: http://www.pubcon.com/registration-notes.htm . The site indicated badges could be picked up at the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. I stood in line for 20 minutes at the South Hall only to find out badges could only be obtained in the North Hall – about a quarter mile away for those unfamilar with the Hilton. I pointed this mis-information out when I reached the North Hall but no one seemed particularly interested.

2. No signage. Yes, Pubcon was in the North Convention Hall of the Hilton, but the Hilton convention complex is massive and a sign outside would have been helpful and might even have attracted some people off the street.

3. Promotion. I find it hard to believe this show was promoted in any significant way. I’ve seen wakes that were better attended. Time to bring in the dancing showgirls.

Bottom line is that unless there are some major changes by the show’s organizers, Pubcon will be following Comdex and similar shows to the geek conference graveyard.

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