A Decline in Media Coverage
Given the distinct absence of a good number of hardware media at Computex I started asking my hardware partners why that was. Come to find out when many sites setup their meetings they also setup a payment plan. If the company doesn’t pay then they don’t visit the booth nor get an article. When you think about it the arraignment is genius not only is the company guaranteed an article but the website helps offset their cost to attend a trade show.
Of course on the moral side of things they are now required to write something favorable about some hardware that might totally suck and stick to a schedule dictated by their editor that was determined by the highest bidder. In reality it’s no different than creating a story based on a press release but at least you get paid meals.
I have always paid my way to Computex and I have done that for a couple reasons. First, I never want to be obligated to write anything about anyone I meet at a trade show. The intent here is that I write about what I see and what I think my readers would enjoy. Truth is I see lots of really cool stuff and sometimes I run out of time. Second, and maybe the most painful, is that the few times I did ask for “help” getting to (CES:Computex) I was turned down. Likely because they know I’m going anyway so why spend the money.
Of course an interesting “exception” are the YouTube channels. The three I know who attended Computex all did so with very prominent sponsorships and got maybe the most comfortable trade show experience ever. Most simply did a vLog of what they saw at Computex and videos for their sponsors. Read into that whatever you want.
I have said this many times, as a hardware editor and website owner you get out what you put in. The difficult to part is when sites paid to be at an event get better coverage than the sites that genuinely want to be there. These sites are looking to be included and what to make the most of the visit, they want the industry contacts and ultimately want their readers to be happy.
These are the people/sites that PR departments should be paying attention to and also the people they should be making happy. Make it worth their time to be there, share the coverage they post and don’t get mad when a site says something negative because the PR department wasn’t doing their job.
It’s no wonder trade shows have transformed into a branding vehicle with no agenda. If you look at the effort companies put into their booth you have to wonder what they are trying to accomplish. Back in 2007 XFX spent considerable transforming their booth into a “Party RV” complete with a gaming room where you could play roulette for XFX prizes.
This is an example of a booth designed to attract attention and engage visitors. These days Show Girls and Overclocking seem to be the draw and once the show if over people leave and nobody learned anything about the products they build.
Overall I still think Computex is relevant for a hardware review site even with the BS you can’t put a price on shaking someone’s hand and letting them know you are committed to what you do. Of course looking back Computex was a good time and it will remain to be however from a business perspective of making new contacts and being guaranteed to see something new and exciting the relevance is gone.