As another TC50 conference comes and goes Tom Foremski at Silicon Valley Watcher makes an interesting point in a post yesterday. As he notes much of the major tech conference circuit is put on by the same media that covers them ala TechCrunch, GigaOM and VentureBeat.
This is great from the conference participants because there is an unspoken guarantee that everything during the conference will be well covered. Which is easy to see with the nonstop blanket coverage on TechCrunch. Other than a couple of other major blogs though everyone is off talking about other things. For the media company putting on the conference it can amount to a huge cash injection for the company.
In some cases this kind of arrangement could raise the ugly specter of pay-per-post speculation which is a point Tom makes in his post
The attraction for companies participating in these conferences is good because it guarantees that each media organization will cover its own conference. This brings up a potential issue that this is a pay-per-post scheme.
Techcrunch avoids such criticism by charging the conference audience and not the main 50 companies that are presenting. However, it does charge exhibition fees of $3,000 for each of the 100 companies in the "Demo Pit."
Much of this gets glossed over as everyone seems to be benefitting from the arrangement but there is one other aspect of this that bothers me – especially with this year’s TC50. I was always under the impression that TC50 was a conference for Web 2.0 startups but this year we have had both Microsoft and Google making product announcements. Since when were they considered startups?
On top of that we have Melissa Meyer from Google making a product announcement – Fast Flip – and then turning around and being a judge on the TC50 panels – huh?
Am I the only one that sees anything slightly wrong with this?
Not only did startups that launched today potentially have their day in the sun upstaged by an established giant on the web but then they are being judged by that person doing the announcing. Sorry but that doesn’t sound very kosher.
Note: this is one of the things Sean and I talk about on today’s CobWEBs Daily Edition that I will be posting shortly.