The story to far…
1. Around the end of last year, I got word that BotCon, the Hasbro sponsored official Transformers convention, would be coming to Orlando, Florida. My friend Joey Snackpants and I became as giddy as schoolgirls at a Twilight movie premiere.
2. We contacted the convention offering to bring a “local flavor” to the show with the copyrighted trademarked patent pending universal awesomeness of “DARE! The Transformers Panel Ultimate”… our uniquely unique Transformers fan panel that has been featured at dozens of conventions in the Florida/Georgia area.
3. After a number of “please stand by” emails – we finally heard back with “no thank you” less than six weeks before the show.
4. Since we weren’t performing at BotCon, we took up an offer from the pop culture website You Bent My Wookie to go as press and write a review of our experience.
5. Joey Snackpants drove south. I drove north. We went to BotCon. We wrote this.
6. Not happy with our less than stellar review of thier show, BotCon fans found the YBMW review AND my original post criticizing BotCon regarding #4 (above.) Arguments ensued on my blog in this post.
7. Using the power of the Interwebz, I found the source of people finding my old blog post… it seems it was born out of this thread on the All Spark forums. (subsequent digging have also tracked that the blog post has been linked in member messages to and from folks at TransformersClub.com)
So there we are. I took some time to read some of the forum posts on the All Spark forums – and I found this gem from a BotCon STAFF member:
Registered attendees always will take priority. It is all of you who support the convention, the local hotels, the eateries and so on and thus help us continue to churn out conventions and toys.
It reminds me of a scene from The Wedding Singer…
One of our first class passengers would like to sing you a song inspired by one of our coach passengers. And since we let our first class passengers do, pretty much whatever they want, here he is…
A lot of the BotCon attendees have started to freak out and take offense to my insinuation that there is an air of elitism in the BotCon ranks and that the show doesn’t really cater to the “off the street” casual Transformers non-toy collecting fans. HELLO. (See above quotes.)
People keep resorting to diversionary Internet argument styles reminiscent of LiveJournal circa 2004… that is, they are trying to hinge their “argument” off of opinions OR facts that have nothing to do with what is presented while AVOIDING the key things that were brought up. Or they just post idiotic shit like this loser so his Twitter so his five followers can read it. FAIL.
So for all of you posting in this thread on my blog and visiting lurkers from AllSpark.com and TransformersClub.com… this is for you.
FACT: In the YBMW review (and related blog posts) we are talking about BotCon 2010. A number of you keep telling me how great the other BotCon conventions have been for years and (quite bluntly) I DON’T GIVE A SHIT. I reviewed BotCon 2010… not 2009, not 2008, and none of the years previous. The more you tell me how great the other years truly were, the more you are helping justify my opinion that this year’s show was WEAK.
FACT: BotCon only provided two rooms of entertainment for attendees – a dealers room and a panels room. This is BELOW AVERAGE for a fandom convention, thus the formultion of my opinion that BotCon presents itself as more of a TRADE SHOW.
FACT: BotCon did not have tickets on sale for their event online until (approximately) May 18th – which is barely a month out from June 24th (the start of BotCon) – a mere 36 days from the show… and not ALL the tickets. General admission was only available at the door. BotCon has been doing conventions for YEARS and yet the local “mom and pop” amateur shows seem to be able to get their act together sooner than that.
FACT: Speaking of tickets online, BotCon failed to disclose ALL of their pricing information in advance. Nowhere on the site did it state that there is an additional fee of $25 for an autograph AFTER paying $50 for an early admission ticket. Hence the perception of gouging attendees for money!
FACT: Speaking of information in advance, the BotCon schedule of events wasn’t announced until less than an month from the show. (See my comment a couple of facts back about the whole “amateur shows in Florida have been doing it better for years!” comments.) BotCon isn’t San Diego Comic Con; they’re not juggling 125,000 people – thus a schedule in advance shouldn’t be this hard!
FACT: Approximately 35% of the event schedule posted by BotCon was merely “autograph sessions.” Add in the fact that they list the load in times for dealers and related non-attendee useful information and it is EASY to come to the conclusion that the schedule is PADDED to look busier that it was.
Face it folks… those of you who spend the money you do on the BotCon trade show do so for collecting toys – NOT for a convention experience. I don’t know who is to blame in the end: Hasbro, the Convention promotors, or the complacency of the fans who keep handing over their money year after year.
In the end, though, Joey said it right: BotCon was BotFAIL this year.