Businesses Used ISPCON to Do Business
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According to show founder Jack Rickard, the Internet industry used the ISPCON Fall 1998 show as a place to do business.
In the booths and aisles of the McEnery Convention Center and in various after-hours parties in San Jose's restaurants, museums and art galleries, deals were being made.
"I wish I could tell you specific numbers, but these guys don't tell me how much business they did," said Rickard. "I'm a publisher. They know I'll publish it."
The players and exhibitors themselves were pleased to talk about the pace of business. With a record 7,014 attendees walking the show floor, business for many was brisk.
"This is the best trade show we've been to," said Brad Duffy, president and CEO of Kidznet, a kid-friendly content provider. "We were knocked out by the people who physically came to do business, not just to take a look."
Some attributed the transactions occurring at the show to the caliber of the attendees, who ranged from the corporate brass of Fortune 500 companies to the entrepreneurial founders of local ISPs. Most came to hunt for new items to improve their product lines, not for promotional T-shirts and giveaways.
"I have been to [end-user] trade shows where a bunch of little old ladies in white sneakers descended upon my booth like locusts and grabbed any freebie they could. They didn't know what the Internet was. Many of them didn't even have a computer," said Dave McClure with the Association of Online Professionals. "But [at ISPCON] I have been impressed with the professionals coming by my booth and the questions they've been asking."
According to Trade Show Director Ron Fippinger, this is because ISPCON appeals to the integral niche market of Internet access rather than the Internet industry as a whole. "It's usually these more focused shows where businesses send their better people to come and cut deals," he said.
Rickard agreed, suspects that at least a few people's fortunes were made at the show.
"I bet you nine guys came out to San Jose without enough money to buy a pizza, and left millionaires," he joked.