June 2004 Archives
I dearly wanted to stop writing about Comdex. I think this is the last of my posts about this turkey. But I had to comment on how the press took the "postponement" story hook, line and sinker.
I doubt there has ever been a trade show that was postponed and then was resurrected. It just does not happen. Perhaps a reader might know of such a situation, but I doubt it.
There is no way Comdex is ever running again. Postponement really means the show is over. And since it is over, I wonder what the folks at Thomas Wiesel think of their $130 million investment in MediaLive? Perhaps their crack investment team can now invest in Business4Site and save that baby.
Comdex died today. But it really has been dead for years. I wrote extensively about all of these issues last year and posted on 17 June yet another prediction about Comdex and the death of a certain type of tech trade show such as Comdex, CEBIT, Business4Site (oddest name in history!) and TechX (formerly PC EXPO).
I admitted my failure with cdXpo. It is hard to admit failure. But sometimes one has to face reality. Read the attached press release from the MediaLive people and you will see a lack of reality. Who are these guys trying to kid. Face it people -- the show was dead and is dead. Forming an advisory committee is window dressing for wasting time.
Here is a little history. I went to the head of MediaLive last December and told him that if we joined forces and let Jupitermedia run Comdex we could save the show. Of course Mr. Priest-Heck was incredulous and turned me down stating that he had more ambitious plans and telling me how he was going to start an East Coast show to go along with his Las Vegas event. What a fool. Just like the army of people who ran Comdex into the ground before him.
The trade show industry needs originality. We tried to do that with cdXpo -- we failed, but we sure did try and took a significant financial loss. Fortunately our company has originality and has created the best new trade show in America: Search Engine Strategies. It is vertical and on the money (and makes big money).
I have no regrets about cdXpo. We did a great job. Success was not in the cards. But we were correct in our message that Comdex was deader than a doornail.
Here's the MediaLive release:
IT Industry Leaders Commit to Participate on Advisory Board to Reshape Future of Event
SAN FRANCISCO - June 23, 2004 - MediaLive International, Inc. today announced that COMDEXÂ® Las Vegas 2004 has been postponed in order to reshape the event with the cooperation of information technology (IT) industry leaders. COMDEXÂ® 2004 had been scheduled to open November 14, 2004, in Las Vegas. The company has established a COMDEX Advisory Board representing the IT industry's foremost companies to determine how COMDEXÂ® can best meet the future needs of the industry.
One year ago, MediaLive's new management team took ownership of the COMDEX brand and began the process of repositioning COMDEXÂ® as a focused, business-to-business IT event. COMDEXÂ® 2003 attracted more than 40,000 qualified technology buyers, 550 exhibiting companies and more than 900 journalists.
"In the year since we assumed the responsibility of managing the technology industry's largest annual event, we have sought to reposition COMDEX and rebuild the market's trust," said Robert W. Priest-Heck, president and chief executive officer of MediaLive. "While we could still run a profitable COMDEX this year, it does not benefit the industry to do so without broader support of the leading technology companies. In order to give the Advisory Board the time and opportunity necessary to partake in the redesign of COMDEX, we thought it best to postpone this year's show."
"We firmly believe the $915 billion information technology industry needs an event where the leading technology companies can speak to their global customers on neutral ground, buyers can compare all their options at one time, and thought leaders can discuss and debate the industry's future," said Eric Faurot, vice president and general manager for COMDEX. "The participation on the Advisory Board of the IT industry's leading companies and thought leaders demonstrates that the industry feels it needs COMDEX as well. We are anxious to work with the industry to build the best event."
The COMDEX Advisory Board will immediately begin assessing the value of an industry event from the perspective of vendors, buyers, media and others stakeholders; and to recommend modifications to COMDEX that suit the needs of the industry. MediaLive has received commitments to join its COMDEX Advisory Board from: John Volkmann, vice president, strategic communications, AMD; George Paolini, vice president, general manager of developer tools, Borland Software; Mark Fredrickson, vice president corporate communications, EMC; Timothy J. Curran, chief executive officer, Global Technology Distribution Council; Jeff Singsaas, director of events, Microsoft Corp.; Robert Shimp, vice president technology marketing, Oracle Corp.; and Peter Weedfald, senior vice president, strategic marketing and new media, Samsung Electronics. Executives from Cisco, Dell and Intel have also agreed to join the Advisory Board and invitations have been extended to other industry leading companies.
"In the one year that MediaLive has had to rebuild COMDEX into a focused IT event they've made great strides," said Weedfald. "COMDEX has always been a critical channel destination and we firmly believe that our industry needs an event of its own - COMDEX is it."
COMDEX staff will be contacting all confirmed sponsors, partners, exhibitors, speakers, vendors and attendees individually to inform them of the postponement. All other scheduled MediaLive produced events, seminars and programs will be convening as planned, including COMDEX Brazil, COMDEX Korea, COMDEX Scandinavia, COMDEX Saudi Arabia and COMDEX Greece. The next COMDEX Las Vegas is scheduled for November 13 - 17, 2005, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
About MediaLive International, Inc.
MediaLive International is a media and marketing company that drives the advancement of technology in business. MediaLive International's products and services encompass the IT industry's largest exhibitions, including COMDEXÂ® and NetWorldSM+InteropÂ®, such highly focused educational programs as Next Generation NetworksÂ®, custom seminars including JavaOneSM, respected publications including Business Communications Review, the industry's leading end-to-end event management software solution provided by WingateWeb, and specialized vendor marketing programs. MediaLive International is a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco, with offices throughout the world. For more information about MediaLive International, visit www.medialiveinternational.com.
MediaLive International, Seybold, Seybold Seminars, COMDEX, NetWorld+Interop, Next Generation Networks, Business Communications Review, and associated design marks and logos are trademarks or service marks owned or used under license by MediaLive International, Inc., and may or may not be registered in the United States and other countries. Other names mentioned may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners. JavaOne is a registered trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc
I am writing this in Tucson. Just arrived in town from New York via Phoenix. Tucson is where our photos.com operation resides and is a place I visit once a month to meet with the people who are making photos.com one of the great e-commerce sites on the net.
This post, however, is about a great blog resource. Check out the analyst blog home page for JupiterResearch. From David Card in New York to Ian Fogg in London, there is lots to offer. And the posts are not just about Internet business. Many of these bloggers could make it as magazine journalists.
This is a great resource.
I did not attend Ziff Davis' inaugural Business4Site trade show in Los Angeles this week, but I did have several people attending who emailed reports back to the east coast. Ziff promised a new kind of show that would captivate the Enterprise IT audience. About 40 companies were on the floor, but to paraphrase Gertrude Stein (and Cringley) "there was no them there."
Ziff, according to attendees, apparently was giving away seminar passes and those few that did pay were obviously angry that free passes were being offered to attempt to gain attendance. Reports also indicate that the keynotes were sparsely attended and that keynote speakers were irked by the empty seats.
The Business4Site experience was somewhat similar to Jupitermedia's rough experience with cdXpo last November in Las Vegas. At the conclusion of that show I suggested that there was no need for an Enterprise IT show in Las Vegas --- now I can add Los Angeles to the list. And more recently I suggested that Gartner's Itxpo now fills the void of the "needed" Enterprise IT trade show. Gartner garners all the key exhibitors and gets high quality attendance. I am not sure why Ziff Davis thought they could pull this off with a team of hired execs who were short on creativity or market savvy.
As stated, Gartner is the winner in the category of Enterprise IT trade shows. Jupitermedia failed, CEBIT failed, Comdex is practically dead and now Ziff Davis has failed. Hail to the victor, Hail to Gartner!
Our company has had lots of experience with running chat and discussion sites on a variety of topics. Our newest effort deals with search engine topics. In a matter of a few hours from launch almost 500 readers became members.
This is another example of the reach of online publishing. Think of the cost of trying to launch a print publication. One would have promotion concerns, printing concerns and of course distribution concerns.
An online launch was simple for SearchEngineForums other than constructing the home page for the new site. By linking the forums area from the home page of searchenginewatch.com we were able to generate readership immediately.
Now we have another solid service in the Search area to go with our Web site, SES trade shows and search research practice. All in all almost complete domination for information for the Search field. And the beauty of the model is the Internet and its ability to cross market efficiently and effectively at a very low cost.
Technology Crossover Ventures and Polaris Venture Partners just pumped $70 million into TechTarget. TechTarget opeates Web sites and a few magazines in the technology space. TechTarget also competes with Jupitermedia (Jupitermedia's JupiterWeb division operates Web sites dealing with IT issues and also runs tech events as does TechTarget).
Based on a story in yesterday's WALL STREET JOURNAL, the $70 million investment gives TechTarget a post money valuation of over $135 million (and most likely the valuation is closer to $200 million since both of these firms invested funds in earlier VC rounds).
TechTarget claims revenues of $50 million and profitability and in the WSJ article forecasts revenues hitting $100 million within three years with profit margins of more than 30%. Very admirable.
A few thoughts from one who has been in the tech magazine, trade show and Web site business for many years:
1. If I owned TechTarget and was profitable and felt growth was unlimited, why would I ever give up so much of the company at this point? Presumably cash flow is great, profits are rolling in and growth is in the bag. Very strange?!
2. As one expands coverage in tech publishing, it becomes increasingly difficult to match earlier growth and profitability. The main reason for this problem is that it becomes increasingly difficult to create areas in which the "revenue opportunities" are easy to grab. For example, we at Jupitermedia are raking in the revenue and profits in the Search Engine arena, but finding another "Search" area is not easy and finding dozens is impossible. Tech publishing online is a great business, but without lots of acquisitions it is very difficult and near impossible to achieve the growth rates that TechTarget is predicting. Twenty percent growth for three consecutive years would be a great victory.
3. I note that Alan Spoon is behind Polaris Venture Partners (one of the VC firms behind this investment). I believe that while at the Washington Post Mr. Spoon lost about $50 million or more betting on CD-ROM at exactly the wrong time. The TechTarget investment could well prove to be brilliant for Mr. Spoon, but I would bet otherwise for the reasons mentioned above.
TechTarget is a great company. The management is first-rate. It will be interesting to see where it all goes. Finally, if TechTarget does hit the projected numbers we will be more than pleased at Jupitermedia as it will mean that our JupiterWeb division will also have sales off all the charts and all the projections that are now public. May the VCs be correct!
I was interviewed (via blog) by Steve Rubel yesterday. I have known Steve for years (as an aside know that Steve lost about 100 pounds on Weight Watchers!). Steve has been at the PR game and associated with tech and online media for years. Check it out.
There is no stopping the Jupitermedia SES trade shows.
The England version opened today at the Novotel West, London. The show has more than doubled from last year's show. We outgrew our facility from last year and have already outgrown our facility for the present show!
Many of you know I created Internet World in 1993 and ran it until late 1998. I never thought I would be associated with another powerful show with huge growth for several years. Fortunately SES is another trade show wonder.
A bit of history. SES started a few years ago with about 8 exhibitors and 120 paid seminar attendees. It now runs three times per annum in the USA (NYC, San Jose, Chicago). It also has run succesfully in Japan, Germany, England, and Canada, and will have an inaugural launch in October in Sweden.
Part of the success is due to the paid search tsunami. And part is due to our long-term association with editors Danny Sullivan and Chris Sherman. These stalwarts write the must-read searchenginewatch.com. All of these assets add up to powerful coverage of the search field (and do not forget our crack JupiterResearch coverage of online search.
While Jupitermedia dominates the search field editorially, I would suggest reading John Battelles's blog.
Jupitermedia is about to launch a chat and discussion site devoted to search. This will be under the supervision of Danny Sullivan. I will have more info on the launch -- only days away. Together with our searchenginewatch, our shows, our research and now this soon-to-be-thriving discussion community, Jupitermedia will keep everyone in the pink in the search arena.