2350 Beach Blvd
Biloxi, MS 39531
December 11, 2015 - December 13, 2015 | Table Cost: $200
Before I begin what happened at the show I would like to mention that I bought my booths within a few weeks of the show. I received no correspondence in reference to anything about the show until Wednesday of the convention. Fearful that somehow my tables were lost I asked if there were any issues and I was assured that my tables were fine and given the load in times for Thursday and Friday.
Thursday - I arrived to other vendors scrambling to unload and was greeted by another vendor who informed me that tables were being offered first come first serve. I entered the building looking for registration and found someone who ushered me to someone else, who then ushered me to someone else before finally figuring out there was no layout, no map nothing and that they were just plugging in holes as they went. I was given a spot on the outside of an alcove that would be called the pit as no light was ever turned on in the pit of any real significance. After beginning setup I realized that I was too far back and moved my booths forward to be even with a large cylindrical pole. This actually ended up working out as the vendor beside me did the same and in doing so created 4 - 5 more spaces for people to setup behind us that the convention would not otherwise have had.
Friday - I would like to point out I did the show the year before and knew it was a small show. So when I came in excited as I saw several buses turning into the convention center for Disney on Ice. I thought great if they even managed to convince them to work with the show and offer a discount on tickets or something we could see a lot of traffic. Color me hopeful at this point. While finishing set up all the vendors are told to come out into the lobby to get their exhibitor badges. We all stand in line only to be told that never mind the badges would be handed out at our booths. I returned to the booth and did not receive my badge and would eventually hours later have to go back to the front to obtain my badges.
The day begins... and crickets. No worries, this is Friday and most small cons do not have a lot of traffic. I start meandering around the convention and think to myself how much bigger the vendor hall seems this year from the prior year. I had been informed that a hack had occurred on the page which is why they had difficulty sending out information about the show. Sales for Friday almost non-existent.
Saturday - money day.. well I guess it was for someone. Not really sure who as I was able to walk around the vendor halls speaking to a great majority of vendors. I start getting informed that vendors were told that there was a glitch in the system and vendors had been overbooked. At this point I get concerned as I had been told it was a hack. I keep working my way through the vendor area and now am told. It wasn't a hack that happened the year before instead it was the person who was running the vendors had quit two weeks prior to the show. Then told later by another vendor who had spoken to staff and was told that no this vendor booking was intentional as it was designed to draw double attendance. Double vendors + double celebs = double attendance. Say what? Then I speak with the sword vendors and am told by them that they were all told that they would be the only exclusive sword vendor there. Hence the reason they all came. All? What how can their be more than one when it is only supposed to be one. But I counted 5. At least my sales made up for it ... wait no they didn't and neither did anyone elses. Some are already packing up before the day ends. I did manage to escape to my childhood as I spent several hours playing Mystic Quest. I mean why not, it's not like customers were at my booth. Also, vendors tell me that they either didn't get booths they paid for or are sharing booths so that they have some place to vend. I asked if they received refunds, they were told no. How do you not get a refund when you prepay for something and aren't given it by the convention?
Sunday - I decide to peruse some more and take not of how big the artist alley was and how it had spilled into another room. I also notice at this point that the vending hall was never secured. Merely some chairs and a sign that said do not cross or you might loss your pass to the show. Well I feel better about that already. Its not like it wasn't supposed to be secured.... Still talking to vendors and the common theme is way too many vendors for this show and not nearly enough attendance to support the amount of people there. ALMOST EVERY VENDOR made the majority of their sales from other vendors. That's bad. I end the show with my worst take home ever.
A few days later, I recommend that no one go back to the show. Here is where it starts to get fascinating. After commenting my review on another page, I see a response from the convention stating some unscrupulous vendors had taken extra tables in the hall and others had brought falsified paypal invoices to get refunds back from the show. Say what? So a small convention in Biloxi is going to have vendors from different locales descend upon them to get a couple of hundred dollars in refunds. That doesn't make sense. Also if people took additional tables, why were they not caught and asked to give up the extra space they took or be thrown out. Vendors were coming to get tables but didn't get them so it could have been easily addressed. So despite all the different stories being told to vendors, now it becomes the acts of vendors themselves as to why there was such a debacle.
Fast forward a week and I receive some information from another vendor about things being said in a Geekonomicon forum. Appalled as I saw it, I posted it not only on the original page I left my review on but also on Artist Alley International. I do this not to inflame or irritate a situation but because I could not believe the attitude of the convention and wanted to call them out for it so that others might be able to make a more informed decision for attending the show next year. Instead of it being viewed as helpful, I get accused of trying to incite some sort of animosity towards Geekonomicon. Some who were there, agreed and were not surprised by the actions of the staff but others were quick to try and make me out to be some liar, as if there is some ulterior motive on my part.
In the middle of the night I received a text message on Facebook from Charles Alan Clampett and felt the need to share the exchange on here. This is the full exchange, nothing deleted, edited or filtered on the part of either party. The only thing that will be done here is to differentiate who is making which statements and before you ask YES I HAVE SCREEN CAPPED EVERYTHING and will gladly make it available to anyone who asks so that they can compare the veracity of my claims.
Charles Alan Clampett:
Mr Wilson. I am writing to you because you have fabricated a lie. I am not sure where you received your information regarding "replies" to inquiries to the Geekonomicon staff, but not only were these NOT replies to any inquiries, but were taken from discussions by individuals and after-action reports from department heads on the staff page. This fabrication may be found on the Artist International Facebook page. Furthermore, you have fashioned them in such a way as to create a false narrative. One part is taken from a departmental report of the con overall and one is from the security report. The one on the security report is trying to make a point THAT THE WHOLE THING NEEDS TO BE HANDLED BETTER next year. I am trying to make it better for the artists, vendors, and guests. NONE of these were responses to any inquiry that anyone made. Your slapdash hodgepodge cut-n-paste horror has just made that more difficult for us. I am trying to foster goodwill and make things better and this seems like a blatant attempt to make things worse. I would appreciate it if you could forward me the source of this disinformation so that I may challenge its veracity.
I am confused. You start off your message by claiming that I fabricated things and that I created a false narrative. Then you state that this information was found in two separate places either internally or on your page. As far as I know I had no ability to access either area where this was mentioned but yet you confirm that it was said. So if this was indeed said, regardless of context, how is it that I am then being accused of creating the verbage? By your own admission you are acknowledging that I did not create this hodge podge and I am in no way the author. I am merely someone who took the information that was given to me by another source and let others know so that they could make an informed decision about future involvement with your show. If they choose to do business with your show that is their right and I wish them nothing but the best of luck.
Charles Alan Clampett:
A majority of the "response to an inquiry" which I have told you was not, was taken from someone's opinion piece (who isn't even on staff and was expressing his views on competition) when it had been suggested by other staff that we limit the number and kind of vendor to make it more "vendor friendly" and the other section that was cut and pasted was from a critique on someone's perception of how vendor/artist registration and load-in had gone. It was reported it was disorganized and the person was criticizing the con for it. That section was being used as an example of how IT SHOULD be to make it smoother for the vendors to get in and set up. However, cut-and-pasted like it is, as well as creating a story that this was somehow a response to some inquiry, is incorrect. It is false. It serves absolutely no purpose other than to attempt to paint the convention in a bad light when we have already taken steps to correct the bad procedures and missteps from this year, of which there were many, we admit.
I see... so if those were reviews then what was your take on them and how did you tell your staffers to respond
Charles Alan Clampett:
Many of the staffers and department heads were super-critical of several aspects of the con. I thought there too many vendors (in contradiction to the other attendee's sentiments who was "quoted" as an "inquiry" in your post) but we aren't here to suppress opinions. I welcome any input. My critique of the con ruffled a lot of feathers. Some parts seemed disorganized. That HAS to be corrected.
I see so would you then tell your staffers to respond to welcoming any input or critiques from vendors or others who had voiced a concern with you and take those concerns under advisement and take the time to thank them for their input?
Charles Alan Clampett:
The FIRST thing I do when I get input is thank the person. Then take the concern and address it. If it's something we can do something about, we should. However, everything is situational. There are many factors and variables in any situation. Some things we have no control over. The slow wifi, the parking, the no outside food or drink, etc. that was the venue. We have no control over that. Each and every vendor and artist should have been visited personally at the con to get their input, especially when it was discovered that there were issues. That would have gone a long way to smoothing the difficulties over. It didn't happen and I can't change that. I know that I can make sure that things are better for next year.
Really that sounds like a solid foundation. I am not familiar with what you do are you the PR for Geek?
Charles Alan Clampett:
Nope. I was the Security director the last two years. There was nobody more critical of our shortcomings than me. It's why I have such a problem with what you posted. It isn't real and it serves only to place us in a false light. I don't have an issue with criticism. I can live with that but to take what a staffer and an attendee posted out of context and pass it off as how we would respond to a legit inquiry is wrong.
So a staffers opinion on the convention isn't relevant?
Charles Alan Clampett:
Of course it is. We wouldn't have solicited after-action reports and opinions if it wasn't only relevant, but important.
So if it was something that a staffer stated in response to the convention then how was what was said wrong.. if it is the opinion of one of the people involved in the show
Charles Alan Clampett:
Because it is taking different reports out of context and posting it as a response to someone's concern when it was not. I highly suspect you know and understand this. If I write something to fellow department heads as a critique and I use certain verbiage for effect to elicit a response or to drive home a point it is not necessarily how I would respond if someone wrote to me and expressed a concern regarding an aspect of the convention. That post was manufactured to serve one purpose and one purpose only. To irritate and and inflame.
Regardless, if you had a bad experience at the convention, I am happy to address your concerns. Otherwise, I hope you would consider coming to Geek3 next year. I've made it a personal mission to make sure things go smoother.
Despite your belief I did not post that to irritate or inflame. As I said before they were not my words and I did not create them. I merely copied and posted what was said to me. Though I am very confused about a portion of what you have been saying. You are telling me that you make it your personal mission to respond when someone has an issue with what was said correct?
Charles Alan Clampett:
I am happy to address any complaints, grievances, or concerns.
Suggestions are appreciated and feedback is welcome.
And this is Charles Alan Clampett?
Charles Alan Clampett:
Then I guess my question is this Charles, if you are so interested in what people have to say and you are more than happy to speak with vendors, listen to their opinions and respond... why would you make a statement contrary to that?
Charles Alan Clampett:
In the end, you are going to do what you want to. I have informed you that what you posted (forwarded) to the Artist page was not only taken out of context but also not a response to an inquiry. It was an amalgam that was contrived for whatever purpose. I have told you that I am open to hearing concerns and suggestions. I have organized and run very successful large-scale events and know how to address people's concerns. Nothing I have said here is contradictory. Thank you for discussing the matter with me.
(Yes you would be right... but I was referring to this actually
Jessica McClammy Ok. If we are seeing this we need to respond to it. Here is a polite professional response to this entire bitch fit. "I am sorry to hear that you were unable to break even this year, and had such a poor experience with us. We will take your concerns and criticisms into advisement. Thank you for your honest review."
Charles Alan Clampett We ABSOLUTELY do not respond to it. Anything we say will look like we are making excuses! I cannot stress this enough. That's one of the first things I learned in PR. If we've done a good enough job and left enough people with a positive experience, they will speak for us. If we respond, we look embittered, defensive, and look like we are making excuses. Let the sleeping dog lie, as it is said.) (This entire section is copied and pasted by me and should be noted that it was actually at the conclusion of the initial post I was being criticized for)
Charles Alan Clampett:
She was referring to someone named "White elk" I believe and her posting of her bad experience and poor revenue at the con. I can't help what she said. All I can offer is my advise in not responding publicly to it. When people are upset, a lot of what you say in response will seem like excuses. It is better not to respond publicly but instead privately and address their issues one-on-one.
So your saying.. that your advice to ignore the issue, do not respond and let sleeping dogs lie.. is in line with talking to someone one on one. Charles I am just going to say this to you... it appears that everything that has been said to not only me but everyone else I have encountered has been nothing but double talk. You tell me I have gone out of my way to diminish corrective steps being taken by posting something that was in fact said by a staffer of the show. Then tell me you are more than agreeable and want to correct problems with the show and in response to a complaint lodged by someone you tell one of the people within your organization to ignore them. It seems more than apparent to me that you are more interested in salvaging the reputation of the convention than you are of actually making it better for those involved. Continued deceit and indifference does not pang to me of someone who is hoping to make something better.
Earlier you state that you guys have admitted to mistakes being made but then in the same conversation with me blame the convention hall for things that occurred there. In reference to tables being sold your organization blamed it on deceitful vendors either trying to make a quick buck or pick up extra tables. You attributed the debacle to a glitch, a hack, a person quitting right before the show, and oh one staffer even told us you had done it on purpose to attempt to double attendance. It seems like the truth is more of a convenience for this show.
In all that was said I see nothing where you take any accountability. All I have seen are excuses. When I was young I was always told you shouldn't lie because when you do it becomes to hard to keep up with your lies. I believe this is the perfect example of that
Lastly, and Ill leave you with this.. it seems obvious to me that you are more interested in finding out how I know what I know and who told me. I guess it does make for egg on your face when someone from your own inner circle is so disenfranchised by it that they felt the need to reach outside to someone else
(THIS IS THE END OF THE CONVO AND NO RESPONSE HAS BEEN GIVEN SINCE)
My opinion has been shared as my responses to him. Maybe I am mistaken, maybe not. I will let you decide. But if you were to ask me, I would never in a million years want to vend or have any association with a convention who makes it a point to outright lie to people. They got greedy. Plain and simple. They wanted the money and didn't care where it came from. Unfortunately, the source of the revenue came from all of the vendors and artist alley members. I am told they want to expand even more next year. I hope that is not the case. As it would take that many more people to be fooled into doing this show. The people of Biloxi and its surrounding areas deserve a better show than this. Hopefully they will get it.
I feel like not saying anything about this experience would be a disservice to my fellow artists and creators.
I arrive at the con about an hour before opening. For once, I’m by myself, and have unfortunate discovery of just how heavy all of my stuff is; display, art bag, art, banner. Yikes. I struggle to get in to the convention center, and make a beeline for the registration table.
Error 1: There is no packet, map, or record keeping.
I ask the woman behind the table for a badge: telling her my name, and that I’m for Artist Alley. I’m told that she recognizes me name, but that they’re having trouble getting enough tables for artists so I might be in the hall. This displeases me. She has no documentation of anyone coming in; no checklist, no map, nothing. Just an armful of badges.
I get into Artist Alley, wandering aimlessly with the full weight of my stuff. No map means I have no clue where I’m supposed to be. Neither does the staff. I find a few who are being given stern words by an upset vendor. The story I hear is that someone somehow hacked their website and ‘bought’ spaces without paying. As it turns out, there was no hacking and they simply failed to close registration on their website. And happened to not notice until SATURDAY.
To this I would saying having a real map and a real list of everyone who has paid from the beginning would’ve largely taken care of it. I got very tired of this excuse as the weekend progressed.
I have to stand and wait (15~20 minutes) while that issue is sorted and, not wanting to be difficult, agree to be placed in the celebrity area, which is in the hall beside Artist Alley and also contained a large gaming area. My immediate concern is how dim that hall was. I’m told to pick a table. Many are empty, and I select one that seems to be under a good spotlight compared to the rest of the area. I realize at this point that I’ve injured my back.
Friday, I was surrounded by empty tables.
The only bright spot is that the neighbors I did have, behind me, were the best neighbors a gal could ask for. Helpful, kind, friendly; you name it. Best part of the con were the other vendors and artists.
At 2PM (the con opened at noon), I begin to wonder if the con has been opened. There’s no one here. Nearly everyone I see has a vendor, volunteer, or staff badge. Energy was low and, honestly, sad.
(Another pro was there was never a line in the bathroom, I guess.)
In all eight hours of Friday, I sell 4 prints. Not good.
Error 2: Slapdash layout.
Optimally, you arrange Artist Alley in such a way that attendees can easily navigate it and each aisle is full. My aisle was bookended by a perpendicular section of tables, giving the appearance from one end that it was actually a dead end. Again, again, I had empty tables around me. In fact, despite the space issue, I noticed empty tables in Artist Alley, too. Odd. Traffic on my aisle was significantly lower than the one behind me. Additionally, the artists that were relocated outside of Artist Alley were already at a big disadvantage. Signage was never changed to reflect our location; thus no one knew we were actually out there.
I’m near the celebrities; they all seem very nice and down-to-earth. Lots of voice actors and whatnot. While they were all great, the staff showed enormous favoritism towards them. While I know this happens at other cons, certainly, we’re not just talking fetching drinks and food. I overhead information about things that were changing, being rearranged, and explained that was relevant to everyone. I was never told any of it, despite being nearby.
When I did have a staff member come up to me Saturday afternoon and ask if I was having fun, I was honest. I told him no, I really wasn’t; I hadn’t made any sales that day. His response was well it could be worse.
Angry and upset and trying not to show it, my answer was “No, it really can’t be.”
He has nothing to say to this.
Error 3: Staff arguing in the aisles.
More than once, the staff converged at the end of my aisle and bickered with one another about this and that. They were clearly stressed and there was a obviously some trouble with communication overall. However, this should’ve been taken elsewhere: not done in front of the vendors of attendees. It was really unprofessional and left a bad taste in my mouth.
Saturday continues to progress, and it’s not better than Friday. In fact, it’s worse. There are people, but not what you what expect given the massive space that had been rented out. My aunt conveyed that the ads she saw were worded in a confusing way that made it seems as though the con wasn’t open to the general public. I’m assuming other outreach and advertising efforts were minimal or flawed given the sorry turnout.
Error 4: REARRANGING TABLES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CON
In the middle of Saturday, tables start to get moved from the celebrity area to the main aisle (behind me), creating an entirely new row for celebrities. This caused a ton of commotion and confusion, though I overheard a staff member mentioned it was being down to “improve traffic flow.” Again, something that should’ve been done before midway through the con. I talked to several vendors and artists; all of whom were ranging from disappointed to upset to downright angry. Some even asked for refunds (and I don’t blame them) and were denied.
Again, traffic is a big problem.
In any case, by the end of Saturday (a 10-hour day) I’d only sold another 4 prints. 8 total. That’s $160 dollars.
That’s not even breaking even. $100 table, $30~ gas, $20~ paper, $50~ food and snacks...I didn’t even have to worry about a hotel and I still didn’t break even. That makes this con officially financially the worst I've been to.
I decide not to stay for Sunday. I know it won’t be worth it, and I’m honestly too fed up to deal. Apparently a lot of vendors made this same decision. I was so ready to be done with the whole thing that I even left that night and drove the 3 hours straight home.
So in short, Geekonomicon suffered from:
Lackluster outreach and advertising
(Which resulted in low turn out)
Unprofessional (and even rude) staff
Insufficient communication (both before and during the con)
I know managing a con is tough. I know things weren’t going how they wanted it to, either. I know. I get it. That said, there’s no excuse for what happened. Even if the excuses were valid, that doesn’t mean how things were handled in response were done well. Especially when so many problems could’ve been fixed or mitigated with a little organization and I don't know...actual planning?
The venue itself was fine. Nice, even, and the food more reasonably priced than some convention centers I've been to. Layout, awful and disorganize. Attendance pitiful for its promises and number of vendors. Table price was about what I expected for a second-year con. Not bad, but still bad when you take into account how many people still lost money.
Staff gets points only because bless them, they still tried even with all of their missteps. I also had a sweet volunteer reach out to me after I posted my review on my Facebook page. The volunteers in particular seemed diligent. However, I had staff members complaining about vendors right in front of me, and generally treating us like it was a burden that we were there.
I would like to highlight the absolutely inexcusable events that transpired at Geekonomicon this weekend towards their vendors and artists.
NEVER in my 7 years of selling in Artist Alley have I ever experienced an abomination such as this convention.
NEVER have I had such a displeasing experience at a con that I packed my merchandise and left in the middle of a convention.
NEVER do I wish for any vendor or artist to experience this in the future.
---I strongly encourage anyone who was negatively affected by this convention to write a review.---
I am a professional artist that sells at conventions full-time. I’ve done numerous shows over the last 7 years and have done 14 this year alone across various states. Events small and large.
I’m forgiving like most Vendors or Artists. Invariably there will be little hiccups during any convention. With Geekonomicon, it was the sheer number of mess ups and the manner in which they handled that has been absolutely deplorable and forever tarnished their name for me.
I arrived at 7:55am on Friday for 8am-12pm set up.
The registration table wasn’t set up. I spoke with a couple of staff who said the badges hadn’t arrived yet. They were waiting on the UPS store to open and had no idea when that was.
I explained that I was an artist. They had no information for me other than the Dealer’s Room coordinator hadn’t arrived yet. I asked where the artist area was and they replied that they were unsure but it was probably in one of the halls. After meandering through 3 halls I find where the dealers are setting up and what I think is Artist Alley. Some of the tables had names on them so I looked around but didn’t find mine. There are no identifiable staff people to be found. I exit the hall and see my friend Kenneth Kidder sitting in the lobby also waiting for the dealer’s room coordinator to arrive.
It was nearly 8:40 when we found Cory – The Coordinator. We follow him into the dealer’s room as multiple venders/artists trail after him seeking the same information. He has no idea where people are supposed to be set up. He tells us to wait as he runs back to the office to get his list. We waited another 10 er so minutes for him.
Upon his return we all come to realize he has no idea what’s going on. His sheet lists vendors/artists but there is no layout or table assignments next to the names. Another staff member comes up to take Cory’s attention and we overhear that they need to condense tables as much as possible to make room for more tables.
The room configuration wasn’t complete... It wasn’t complete and it’s 3 Hours until doors open. Upon this new information Cory disappears. We’re all STILL waiting for some indication that we’ll have our tables sometime before the con is over.
Finally I found two tables with my friends name on them. By this point it’s after 9am when he starts setting up. I still haven’t received my table so he offers to let me use one of his tables until they can figure out where mine is. We don’t see Cory again as we start setting up.
As a business person I needed to get my display up ASAP because my purpose is to make money. I’m there to do business.
During our set up we hear two altercations between staff and vendors about booths that are missing. The staff consistently says that they’ll make any space that they can but they cannot give these vendors the spaces they paid for.
Throughout the convention I received numerous accounts from various vendors, artists, and writers that they had experienced the same inconvenience.
Come Saturday even more information has rolled in and the rumor of a glitch or hack began to circulate. I still hadn’t been properly checked in and sought compensation for my lack of table or at the minimum compensation for my friends second table (of which he wasn’t not using because I was)
Either way, a total of 3 tables had been paid for and only 2 were in use. Thus, refund for the one missing table.
Upon talking with one of the owners, Ian McRae, on Saturday afternoon about my refund for the table I never received and this is what I was told:
Me: I need to see about a refund.
Ian McRae: Unfortunately we can’t give refunds after 30 days of purchase.
Me: Do you have that anywhere in writing?
Ian McRae: On our website. (No they don’t, I checked)
Me: So for these people who’ve come in expecting a table, who’ve paid and you have no table for them, what do you do?
Ian McRae: We try to make room.
Me: Have you posted a public announcement addressing this ‘Glitch’?
Ian McRae: I haven’t yet but I can.
Me: Good. I’ll need that Link for my Review.
Ian McRae: o__o;
Upon the birth of this cluster of awful, I heard rumor from attendees, vendors, and staff alike that there was a glitch or a hack in their web software that left the portal for registration open despite the notice that they put at the top of the page stating that tables were SOLD OUT.
This resulted in (assumedly) multiple people purchasing tables after the sold out notice thus overbooking their venue.
• a.) Why is it that you didn’t notice that people were still purchasing tables? Don’t you receive a notice on your bank statement saying that you’ve received a payment? You also receive an email conformation that someone has booked a booth or table. (I know I received one the day I paid.) I also received a confirmation less than two weeks later directly from the convention thanking me for my purchase.
• b.) If registration was closed why didn’t you contact the person(s) who had purchased tables/booths after the deadline? Refund their money and apologize for the mix up? (I would love to hear from anyone if this was the case and even the time frame in which you purchased your table)
• c.) A software glitch? A hack?? If so why haven’t you made a PSA addressing the error and WHY can I still go to your website at this very moment (December 13th 2015) and PURCHASE a table or a booth??
• d.) How is it that the day of the convention you discover that you suddenly have over booked the vendors and artists to the point that you can’t account for the spaces purchased? How do you not notice until the DAY OF THE CONVENTION??
Sounds like an oddly convenient way to steal people’s money and not follow through on your obligations. Oh wait, that’s exactly what happened!
Amidst all Geekonomicon social media and website I have not seen any PSA’s about this incident.
Regardless of it being a Glitch/Hack, Geekonomicon still took money from vendors/artists and then failed to give them their goods equal to the terms of the initial purchase. This is in breach of a paid purchase agreement.
Failure to follow through on your contracted obligation is an act of theft.
I would also like to add that spaces are supposed to come with 2 badges and 2 chairs. Many only received one badge and one chair (I among many of the people around me experienced this.)
CHECK IN - WHAT CHECK IN?
Another large concern about this convention is check in security. I never formally spoke to anyone with a list who checked off that I had received my space.
• No ID check
• No Name check
• No Printed registration validation
Anyone could walk in, claim that they had a space, and they were taken at their word.
There was no accountability. Badges were passed out well after set up and at random.
This is highly unacceptable
Due to all of the above events, lack of ownership on the part of the convention staff, and the abysmal sales, I packed my display and left the convention at 4pm that Saturday.
I see no value in assisting a convention that doesn’t care about it’s vendors, artists, or writers. Refusing to take ownership and to go as far as to rob people and sheepishly blame a (false) software glitch for it is inexcusable.
My experience with Geekonomicon is the most unprofessional I have ever encountered.
I will forever advise people against selling at this convention.
Additional Convention Experience Review
Parking – Parking was free or cost $5 depending on what time you arrived at the convention. What??
Venue – Gulf Coast Coliseum & Convention Center. A nice venue. Was held on the back side of the convention center. Where a loading dock area is usually located. Not easy to know where to go.
Layout – Very strange layout. Halls A and B were separated from Hall C by a wall partition but a hall made them accessible to one another. You could enter or Exit through Hall A, B, or C. Bad traffic flow. Separation of Artist Area across two sections.
As I was viewing it as an attendee.
• Hall A Main Stage, Fan Booths
• Hall B Gaming, Artists
• Hall C Artists, Writers, Vendors
Artist Table –
Advertised: 8ft Table, 2 Chairs, 2 Badges $100
Received: 8ft Table, 1 Chair, 1 Badge
Tables were horse shoe. Ends were butted up against each other elimination crucial sitting space.
No assigned table placement.
Vendor Table -
Advertised: 8ft Table, 2 Chairs, 2 Badges $200
Received: Uncertain. Some didn’t receive booths at all.
Vendor’s get the exact space of an artist but pay double?? It was not stated explicitly that there were certain dimensions.
Placement – Tables were Horse Shoe (Image)
Lighting – Halls A and B were very dark. Ballroom Dancing dark. Hall C was well lite.
Set Up –
Hours: Thursday 12-8pm; Friday 8am-12pm
Staff were not ready to receive artists and vendors on either day. The layout was not finalized. Vendors and artists reportedly helping the convention set up Tables Thursday Evening. Many people waited an hour and a half or more on Friday to be told where their space was to begin set up.
Dealer’s Room –
Hours: Friday 12-8pm; Saturday 10am-8pm; Sunday 10am-8pm
Too many vendors for such a small attendance. The dollars didn’t stretch. Many artists and writers didn’t come close to breaking even. Unsure about vendors. Too many vendors selling the same things. Lack variety.
Food – No outside food policy. Only one food vendor. Sold fast food, concession items. Overpriced.
Sales - Dismal. Reviews I heard said that the average sales were between 50-100.
Traffic – Dismal.
Friday 25-30 People pass the booth in 8 Hours
Saturday 25-30 People pass the booth in 6 Hours
NEVER SELL AT GEEKONOMICON
Score: 0 out of 5
PS - The only positive feedback I can give to Geekonomicon is that their badge quality is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Righto on that.
2. Organization. Wow. This was bad. Guys, really bad. Vendors arrived to a hall filled with tables. There were no assigned tables, not master plan, no roll call. Simply walk in a grab a table. Those arriving on Thursday afternoon got first pick. Those arriving on Friday morning got the royal romp. In addition, the Registration Site was never turned off. The convention was overbooked with no regard to number of attendees vs vendors.
3. Attendance was grossly exaggerated. I was told there were 3,000 preregistered. Either a huge number of people decided not to attend or the number was fabricated.
4. Commitments were not fulfilled. I was told I would have a vendor space in the gaming area. I am a game company and that is where my customer base is located. Julie-Anne assured me I would have the location without problems. If the location wasn't available, I simply was going to schedule into a different convention. When I arrived, not only was my space not available for me, but they placed several other vendors in the location who wanted to be on the vendor floor. When I approached the co-coordinator about switching, he told me it was too late. The tables were allocated.
The only plus to the whole fiasco was the fact that the staff seemed loyal to the convention and tried to compensate when possible. Upon realize the madness on the convention floor, the convention lead vanished. Convention staff said she was overreacting and simply wasn't approachable. She did not make another appearance until Sunday afternoon when vendors were packing up.