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Opportunities for Small Fry at Macworld Expo

Our periodic examinations of how a Macworld Expo represents the state of the Macintosh industry usually involve analyzing the number of attendees and their mood, the number of exhibitors, and the range of products shown. For the upcoming Macworld Expo in New York City 17-Jul-02 through 19-Jul-02, two recent events could help improve these last two parts of the show.


Under One Tent — Often the companies with the most interesting products are small firms that can’t afford booths, given the astronomical costs of exhibiting at Macworld Expo. These companies, when they come at all, often end up with a station in a special-interest pavilion. Station space is less of an outlay than a full booth, the company doesn’t have to buy booth furniture, and there’s almost no setup. Plus, pavilions group companies in the same industry, providing opportunities for making contacts and improving the likelihood of attracting interested attendees.

That the’s theory, anyway, and it has worked well for the developer-oriented MacTech Central pavilion for the last eight years. That pavilion, run by MacTech Magazine’s parent company Xplain Corporation, expanded to include small Internet companies when MacTech subsumed the Internet-centric NeTProfessional magazine. Other pavilions haven’t been as successful, and at this year’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco, MacTech Central was larger than all the other pavilions put together.

Now however, IDG World Expo, organizers of Macworld Expo, has handed over the task of managing all the pavilions to Xplain. (A few areas like gaming, the music and audio theatre, and Apple’s business solutions area remain unaffected by this move.) For Macworld Expo 2002 in New York, Xplain will be adding a number of new pavilions that focus on a variety of markets.

Station packages start at $3,000. If you’re a small company interested in exhibiting at Macworld Expo, visit the Web page below for details and reservation information.


Consumer Feeding Frenzy — To a small company, $3,000 is still a lot of money, especially once you add the costs of travel, food, and lodging. Many companies offset the costs of exhibiting with product sales – companies like Aladdin, Peachpit Press, Connectix, and Power On Software all sell a lot of their products at the show. That’s been difficult for small companies though, since either they don’t command enough presence, lack the staff and resources to handle on-site sales, or are in a pavilion, where the focus is on demonstrations, so sales aren’t allowed.

This year IDG World Expo has named DevDepot as producer of the official store of Macworld Expo. Thus, any exhibitor – even those in the pavilions – will be able to sell through DevDepot, which has long maintained a presence on the Macworld Expo show floor with a 45-foot-long tractor trailer-based warehouse. Although companies that can sell on their own may clear more profit per sale when doing so, having a single, coherent place where attendees can buy hardware, software, or accessories is highly worthwhile. Though it may not seem so, it does cost a company money to make a sale, and working with resellers does increase sales volume. Any company interested in selling through DevDepot should contact them at <[email protected]> for details.


Proving Grounds — My introduction to our Top Mac OS X Utilities series about how Apple values tiny utility developers over all others was intentionally sarcastic, but it is important for the industry to nurture smaller companies. It may not happen in every case or quickly, but some small companies do grow to become stalwarts of the industry. Quite a number of firms have moved from MacTech Central to the main show floor at Macworld over the years. If Xplain taking over the pavilion organization duties and DevDepot providing a sales outlet for all exhibitors can encourage the growth of more small Macintosh companies, we all benefit.


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