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Why not just give it away?

What a novel concept--give away your conference's content on you Web site for free. That's what the Pop! Tech 2004 Conference did recently, and this unnamed association exec loved the idea. As do I.

I agree with her that attendance will only grow as more people get a taste of what they offer. As she says:

    This is an excellent example of the concept first expressed by Esther Dyson during the explosion of information in the early days of the web: give the information away. It's not about "owning" the information, it's about creatively aggregating and disaggregating it in a way that draws people in. Just because I can (happily, delightedly) listen in on the entire conference and even participate, I would easily part with the $1,500 or $2,000 to be there in person. As a matter of fact, I almost did attend but my schedule is always complicated this time of year. To cruise to their site and discover that I can still reap the benefits blows me away and reinforces Dyson's dictum.

    I think association executives should pay attention to the Pop! Tech conference model. We are so concerned about corralling our intellectual property that we lose sight of this new world in which we operate. When Pop! Tech gives their conference away I don't think they will lose attendees next year. I think (predict) the number will grow. By listening in in real time and by being able to participate at least remotely only whets my appetite to be there in person, to meet fellow delegates, and to experience the richness of community that any well produced conference of like minds (especially these minds!) generates.

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