This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2004-07-19 at 12:00 p.m.
The permanent URL for this article is: http://tidbits.com/article/7747
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Rating Macworld Expo Boston 2004

by Adam C. Engst

A few weeks ago I wrote an article proposing a way that industry conferences could be rated (though it was also a subtle nudge to conference organizers). Now that I've spent three days at Macworld Expo in Boston, let's see how the rating system works, and how Macworld Expo rated this year.

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Attendee Ratings -- Obviously, I can't speak for everyone, so my ratings here reflect my experiences and those of people I talked with during the show.

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Exhibitors -- I can't legitimately rate Macworld Expo from the point of an exhibitor, but if I were to go on hearsay, I'd rate down somewhat for booth cost, since the prices were reportedly near what companies paid in San Francisco for a much larger audience. On the upside, even though there weren't that many attendees compared to previous years, vendors I spoke with said that people were much more interested than normal, and for those exhibitors who were selling products, sales were good.

Speakers -- Roughly the same people speak at every Macworld Expo, so over the years, the speaker room has acquired the comfortable feel of a neighborhood watering hole. It doesn't matter where the show is held, it's always the same round tables with white tablecloths, and the wireless Internet access and food are always welcome before dashing off to give a session.

Press -- It wasn't a great year to be a journalist at Macworld Expo. Some ratings:

Totals -- As I work through this rating system for real, rather than purely as a thought exercise, the more it seems to me that totals don't make sense. In large part that's because I can't see the totals being a legitimate way to compare completely different conferences; I think the scores are more useful as a way of evaluating how successful any given conference was, perhaps in comparison to previous instances of the same conference.

I also hope the ratings in different categories will help people decide if attending some conference in the future is worthwhile. The fact that Macworld picked up points for fun and community might be irrelevant if your desire was to see as many Mac vendors as possible, and that in turn would be irrelevant if you were more interested in attending presentations than traipsing around the show floor.