Blogging conferences

It seems that some conferences still aren’t plugged into the blogosphere as a PR engine, including some from surprising quarters. I applied for a press pass to next week’s O’Reilly’s ETech back in January via the press link on their site, and after a couple of weeks received the following reply from a Maureen Jennings, their conference publicist:

Press credentials for our conferences are limited and intended for journalists from established technical publications with significant readership. Therefore, I’m unable to issue you media credentials for the conference. Thanks for your interest in ETech.

Ouch! I understand that they have a limited number of press passes, but I’ve been writing this technical blog (that would be a “publication”, Maureen) for three years, and see a readership of around 1,200 unique visitors per day on my own site, plus I’m syndicated on Intelligent Enterprise and the FASTforward blog. I know, hardly Scoble numbers, but it’s not insignificant.

Regular readers also know that I have a long track record of prolific live-blogging coverage of more than 20 technology conferences dating back to 2005; at the recent FASTforward conference, I wrote over 10,000 words about the conference in two days.

I responded to Maureen:

Just to clarify, do you mean that you don’t consider a technically-focused blog about of 3 years to be an “established technical publication”?

After a pause of several days, she came back with:

As I’m sure you understand, we have a limited number of passes that we can issue for each conference. So we sometimes have to make hard calls, based on getting the news the widest possible readership. Sorry about that, and thanks for your understanding.

Yes, I understand that there are limited press passes, and that I might not get one. What I don’t understand is why your initial email to me would suggest that my blog is not an established technical publication, and doesn’t have significant readership. Someone needs to attend a remedial class in blogger relations.

4 thoughts on “Blogging conferences

  1. Good story. I think we should start a charityfund “Help Sandy to all relevant conferences”! ;-).
    Seriously, in the BPM field we are all very very busy, and your converage of the major conferences gives us a great update on what’s going on in the field of the thoughleaders. Significant input. And your own added views and opinions are a great read and put things in a good (and often nice funny no-nonsenses) context!

    Regards,
    Roeland

  2. That’s par for the course for the O’Reilly people. With my former pub, we tried covering the Web 2.0 conferences and both times were turned away.

    Since then, I’ve made sure never to cover any O’Reilly-related announcement or pretend-event.

  3. Tony, I’ve heard from other people that O’Reilly press passes are hard to get. I don’t have a problem with being turned down due to limited supply, my problem is the apparent lack of respect (or lack of research) that they have for well-established bloggers.

    I also don’t use being turned down for a press pass as a basis for a vendetta against the company — if they do have something good to say, I don’t want to punish them for the stupidity of one person, although I’m likely to keep the topic of that person’s stupidity alive in references to them as long as I feel that it’s relevant.

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