I’d attended the Newspaper Association of America’s Connections newspaper website conference during each of the past ten years (it was originally and is again a side conference held during the NAA’s annual NEXPO newspaper exposition). However, I let my membership lapse during the past few years because I no longer saw sufficient value in NAA membership.
As a non-member, I paid a higher registration fee to attend Connections during the past few years. Members paid about about $650 (NAA New Media Federation members paid $575) and non-members paid about $1,100.
Not so coincidentally, the NAA annual membership fee for a company the size of mine was $500. So, during the first few of those years, I’d purchase a new annual membership for $500 and pay the $650 member registration fee, thereby saving $50 over simply paying the non-member registration fee. The NAA was obviously setting its non-member registration fees to increase its membership.
But nowadays, the NAA is charging each member $885 (New Media Federation members $795) and non-members a whopping $3,220 to attend the conference. The NAA’s membership fee for a company the size of Digital Deliverance is $700.
I don’t mind an association conference that charge non-members 1.5 or 2 times higher registration rates. But 4 times the member’s rate!
I thought of paying the $700 for an annual membership and paying the $885 member rate for conference registration, a total of $1,585 rather than paying the $3,220 non-member registration rate. But I’d then feel taken — forced into a membership — which shouldn’t be what membership is about. So, I won’t attend the conference.
If the NAA truly wants to increase it membership, it should charge non-member registration fees that aren’t extortionate. It should charge non-member registration fees that are low enough to incent non-members to attend the conference and thereby discover whatever real value (besides savings money on the conference registration fee) that NAA membership might have As NAA rates are now, the non-member registration fee for the conference is a deterrent against potential new (or even former) members attending.
That bad marketing, particularly for a conference whose focus is on marketing and whose number of membership is no longer at its peak.
Meanwhile, Ifra is providing a moblog of the conference. It won’t concentrate on NAA newspaper new-media but at least provides a free alternative to paying outrageous non-member registration fees (Hint to NAA: if the non-member registration fee were less than 3 times the member fee, I’d likely attend in person).