There are a handful of different types of people who head out to conferences.
Some are looking solely to network, while others want to both attend sessions and network with their fellow conference attendees.
And then there are the folks looking for a free ride.
Well, not exactly.
These characters pay for airfare, a hotel room, restaurants, cabs, drinks, etc. but, they don’t bother to get a pass for the conference – the reason they ostensibly made the trip.
Sounds pretty spot on with one of the definitions of a parasite:
a person who receives support, advantage, or the like, from another or others without giving any useful or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others.
I am not talking about the people who hang out in the hotel lobby and try to meet up with attendees without registering for the show.
Those people doing “lobbycon” are outside of the conference area (the space designated on the maps for the conference – not just the exhibit hall, Meet Market and sessions), and in a public part of the hotel.
However, the “lobbycon men” sneak into the actual conference without a badge, and that’s a problem.
Not only are they interlopers, but they’re also criminals.
Yes, criminals. They are committing theft of service and trespassing.
Others who go through the trouble of creating falsified badges are committing theft of service, trespassing, and fraud.
Ballers on a Budget
I totally get that there are plenty of ballers on a budget, and they have a hard time affording a conference trip.
But if you’re in such dire financial straits, you’re better off staying at home and working than coming out and acting as a parasite.
However, if you are tight, but still want to attend, we provide lots of ways to get a free pass.
Opportunities include a large allocation of passes for attendees to give away in their own promotions; our Pay It Forward scholarships; the Race to Affiliate Summit contest; our sweepstakes for passes on Twitter and Facebook; free passes at our meetups; and press passes.
Also, we offer Early Bird rates where passes start at $99. These rates were open a full four months (January 17 to May 17) for Affiliate Summit East 2013.
Are You a Pro or Con?
We’re all marketers, and as Seth Godin once wrote, “All Marketers are Liars.”
But that was rhetoric, and anybody who read the book understands that the book was actually about the power of marketing an authentic story.
But I’m guessing the guys that get a suite and bottle service and limos, but then sneak around the conference without a pass didn’t read beyond the title of the book.
The same guys working their confidence trick in the registration area, as they look over their shoulder to see how soon they’ll be asked to leave again.
By the way, you might have noticed that all of the references to these charlatans, cheats, and swindlers are male. Well, it’s no accident. We catch lots of them at each show, and they’ve been 100% guys.
Anyhow, if you’re a con who doesn’t see value in getting a pass for the show, please stay home.
The folks who think it’s a good thing to have a thriving industry conference and who support it, we love y’all and look forward to seeing you in Philly this August and back in Vegas in January 2014.
Shawn is a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit and Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine and you can follow him @affiliatetip on Twitter.
This article appeared in isse 22 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2013. Read issue 22 of FeedFront Magazine.