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NEWS: Anime Expo Hires 3rd-Party Company for Registration




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Superflyz



Joined: 10 Aug 2002
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Location: Long Beach, CA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 8:44 pm Reply with quote
I guess I'll be the first to say IT'S ABOUT TIME
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dormcat
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:53 pm Reply with quote
I can never understand the purpose of registration of American cons. Activities, such as panels and screenings, are usually held on a first come, first serve basis and seldom (if not never) require separate reservation or identity check, so what's the point of wasting everyone's time? It's like enforcing security procedures of international commercial flights on subways.
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LydiaDianne



Joined: 28 Jan 2006
Posts: 5629
Location: Support Breast Cancer Research

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:05 pm Reply with quote
dormcat, I didn't see where they were saying that we'd have to pre-register for panels and screenings. Where'd they say that? I've never had to register for one - when I've gone it has been first come, first served.

I have to say that if this company is able to streamline the registration process for those who have pre-paid and for those who are "walk-ins" that in and of itself will be a blessing.

Speaking as someone who has pre-paid every time she's gone, waiting 2+ hours in the same line as the hoypoloi ( Wink ) is rather annoying. I'm sorry, but I knew I was coming and took care of it months before so that I wouldn't have to wait in line!
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dormcat
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:35 pm Reply with quote
LydiaDianne wrote:
dormcat, I didn't see where they were saying that we'd have to pre-register for panels and screenings. Where'd they say that? I've never had to register for one - when I've gone it has been first come, first served.

Which was exactly what I meant: my "wasting everyone's time" was about the entire registration process, NOT on (nonexistent) pre-register for panels and screenings.

Let me rephrase it: if panels and screenings do NOT need pre-registration, why bother to do so for every single attendee when most of them just want to enter the convention hall? Take Comiket for example: regular attendees enter with anonymous tickets, not badges with names. That's why I compared them with the analogy of international flights and subways: imagine every subway taker from Manhattan to Upper East Side has to pre-register for a boarding pass.
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LydiaDianne



Joined: 28 Jan 2006
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Location: Support Breast Cancer Research

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:12 pm Reply with quote
Ah, okay. I get what you're saying now...sorry, I was slow!
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Roy9076



Joined: 06 Jan 2006
Posts: 286
Location: California

PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 11:24 pm Reply with quote
Well this is the perfect news for Anime Expo. Plenty of people hated how it was handled and now people can give this year another shot!
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jsevakis
ANN Director of New Media


Joined: 28 Jul 2003
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Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:34 am Reply with quote
dormcat wrote:
if panels and screenings do NOT need pre-registration, why bother to do so for every single attendee when most of them just want to enter the convention hall? Take Comiket for example: regular attendees enter with anonymous tickets, not badges with names. That's why I compared them with the analogy of international flights and subways: imagine every subway taker from Manhattan to Upper East Side has to pre-register for a boarding pass.


I don't think most attendees only want to go to the exhibit hall; in fact, exhibit hall-only passes are fairly rare (from what I've observed) at the conventions that offer them. The passes they give out really are little more than tickets, just, laminated and with space to write your name. I suppose they're meant to be souveniers. (I keep all of mine. It's quite a stack at this point.) Having your name prominently displayed around your neck also aids social interaction, which is kind of the whole point of going to a con.

Granted, some cons actually insist on separately printing each pass with the name on them, and THAT is a big waste of time. However, I don't think AX has done that in years, if ever. Really, their "registration" system is really just like buying your movie tickets online in advance... Just much, much slower and with lots of space for human error. Hopefully this will rectify that.
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fighterholic



Joined: 28 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:51 am Reply with quote
I would say it sounds like they're moving in the right direction for preparing for next year. It would help I think if the line wait can be cut in any way. The line wait was one thing I did hate about this year's AX.
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DrSlump



Joined: 01 May 2004
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 1:08 am Reply with quote
dormcat wrote:
Let me rephrase it: if panels and screenings do NOT need pre-registration, why bother to do so for every single attendee when most of them just want to enter the convention hall? Take

jsevakis is correct. In 2006, there were roughly 3000 exhibit hall only compared to 30-something thousand other badges. So it was less than 10% of all general attendees. In 2007, it was relatively the same percentages.
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Nermal



Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Posts: 223
Location: I was made to hit in America

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:31 am Reply with quote
Great news. Waiting in those lines wastes battery life, although last year's pre-reg line was moving pretty quickly when I was there....once I actually found it. I hope the Experient folks wear bright, blinking hats that signify the end of the line.
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tauromachine



Joined: 15 Nov 2007
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Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 2:25 pm Reply with quote
dormcat wrote:
Let me rephrase it: if panels and screenings do NOT need pre-registration, why bother to do so for every single attendee when most of them just want to enter the convention hall? Take Comiket for example: regular attendees enter with anonymous tickets, not badges with names. That's why I compared them with the analogy of international flights and subways: imagine every subway taker from Manhattan to Upper East Side has to pre-register for a boarding pass.


You're comparing apples and oranges in both cases. The sheer size of something Comiket requires an entirely different type of organization. Even AX is small potatoes, comparatively. Justin's equation to movie tickets is much more apt.

Badges help convention organizers work with 3rd party vendors (like security firms) or meeting facilities staff to quickly identify someone that's got business at the event. Obviously, you're only going to want someone that's paid to get in to be in. The facilities that conventions are held in aren't free. You need to make sure you're going to be able to pay for it, as an event organizer. When you compare two events like AX and Comiket, you're losing the scale. To rent a convention center and services in a major metro area, you're going to be on a similar order of magnitude of cost whether it's LA or Tokyo. Maybe Big Sight costs two or three times as much as a facility in LA. That's still got to stay in perspective with the number of people coming in. By rough estimate, Comiket draws 10 times the crowd that AX does. Comiket doesn't charge admission, but the event is all but worthless without the guide book that they do charge money for. They might not sell the book 1-for-1 with attendees, but they sell a lot of them. If you tried the same thing with AX, each book would be ridiculously expensive to cover the costs of the event.

If you made the subway fare-optional, but charged for a map, how much do you think you'd make? It's not like the stops change every couple of months.

There's other stuff where badges and registration are helpful, but they're all basically less important than making sure you recoup your investment.

Registration is also one of the hardest jobs to find people willing to fill at a convention. Working with a vendor like this eliminates one of the hardest jobs of a convention organizer. The work sucks and nobody working the registration line is drawing any kind of pay for their time. The vast majority of US cons are run entirely on volunteer efforts so finding people willing to do awful and tedious work for no money is a big deal.
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Irish Jack



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
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Location: St. Louis, MO

PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 5:33 pm Reply with quote
HUGE kudos to AX on this one.
It's nice to see them investing some resources in order to make the event as easy as possible.

By outsourcing this area of the con, they can better utilize the volunteers in much simpler roles.

To add on to the topic of panels, etc.; I can see the need to make sure that people who are participating in them are registered. When you have a registered badge, you have indicated your age. There are some strict penalties for showing minors adult-related materials, so I completely understand where conventions are coming from. It's just a way to cover their butts.

Anyway, looking forward to seeing how much improvement there will be for the registration next year...
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dormcat
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:03 pm Reply with quote
tauromachine wrote:
You're comparing apples and oranges in both cases.

More like tangerines and oranges. Wink In my opinion, you seemed trying to emphasize the differences between AX and Comiket and insisting that the two couldn't be compared just because of those differences.

Quote:
The sheer size of something Comiket requires an entirely different type of organization. Even AX is small potatoes, comparatively.

The size doesn't really matter here. I was talking about the need of named badges and registration (on site or in advance). Whether it's Comiket or a small regional con in a relatively rural area is not the point.

Quote:
Justin's equation to movie tickets is much more apt.

Okay, then we use it as an example.

The theater needs to know my name and ID card to identify me, the person who have paid the movie fare in advance (through credit card or whatsoever). The ticket does not have my name on it, and once I've picked up the ticket (thus completing the transaction) the theater's ticket clipper wouldn't care if I would be the same exact person who would enter the theater with this ticket. Likewise, the same thing can apply to long haul land transportations e.g. trains, where you can pick schedules and designate seats, but you leave your personal information in order to pick the ticket up and not for the sake of the ticket itself. If you buy movie or train tickets with cash at theater/station they wouldn't keep the record of who you are either. This can even apply to domestic flights, where they keep people's names for the sake of security reasons, NOT for issuing named badges for passengers in order to address you as "Mr. Tauromachine" instead of simply "Mister."

Quote:
Badges help convention organizers work with 3rd party vendors (like security firms) or meeting facilities staff to quickly identify someone that's got business at the event.

You just proved my point, you know? Laughing Named badges should only issue to those who have businesses at the event: organizer staff, vendors, securities, facilities staff, honored guests, and press. Not to every regular attendee.

Quote:
Obviously, you're only going to want someone that's paid to get in to be in. The facilities that conventions are held in aren't free. You need to make sure you're going to be able to pay for it, as an event organizer.

When you enters a theater or a train, they clip your ticket, and that is your proof of purchase. If you think taking the clipped ticket out from your wallet to show the security staff every single time you pass the gates would be cumbersome, the convention organizer can use rubber stamps (you know, like those cute ones for young kids, but con organizers can have them custom-made) to mark one's palm or arm, thus any paid attendee only has to show his/her palm or arm while passing the gate multiple times in the same day. However, I'm not sure if there's any cultural reason hindering this method, for stamping people's hands can be interpreted as ironing livestocks and equivalent to what Nazis had done to Holocaust victims.

Quote:
(Price issues)

As I said for many times: prices and sizes are not the issue. I was and still am talking about the reason behind disclosing one's personal information to the organizer who has no need for those. What about E3 and other game conventions? What about museums and zoos opening a new exhibition area? They all attract numerous people, ranging from several thousands to several hundreds of thousands, but they don't need to identify every single individual; they only have to know key individuals.

Quote:
Registration is also one of the hardest jobs to find people willing to fill at a convention.

Then why bother? Laughing

Quote:
The work sucks and nobody working the registration line is drawing any kind of pay for their time. The vast majority of US cons are run entirely on volunteer efforts so finding people willing to do awful and tedious work for no money is a big deal.

Same for Comiket or most smaller cons in the entire East Asia, so this is not a valid point to support the purpose of registration.

The only point I agreed with was the cultural/tradition factor as Justin said:

jsevakis wrote:
Having your name prominently displayed around your neck also aids social interaction, which is kind of the whole point of going to a con.

For American fans back in the days when Internet was not in every household and anime fans were few and far between, cons were probably the only way to find other people with similar hobbies, thus having named badges becomes a tradition that serves the emotional and social aspects of the fandom, not for the administrative purposes of convention organizers.

jsevakis wrote:
Granted, some cons actually insist on separately printing each pass with the name on them, and THAT is a big waste of time. However, I don't think AX has done that in years, if ever.

Well, my AX 2004 badge had my name printed on it. Wink I don't remember whether it was printed directly on the badge or on another piece of white paper and glued on the badge (it's not with me at this residence), but it sure had my name printed from a printer, at the price of standing more than two hours in the line. Rolling Eyes
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tauromachine



Joined: 15 Nov 2007
Posts: 3
Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:42 pm Reply with quote
dormcat wrote:
Quote:
Badges help convention organizers work with 3rd party vendors (like security firms) or meeting facilities staff to quickly identify someone that's got business at the event.

You just proved my point, you know? Laughing Named badges should only issue to those who have businesses at the event: organizer staff, vendors, securities, facilities staff, honored guests, and press. Not to every regular attendee.


Not really. You're taking my use of the word 'business' to mean something different. What I'm saying is that anybody off the street doesn't have any business being on the property in the first place if they're not there for the event.

It's also helpful to pre-emptively remove people from attendance. Think of it this way - if you have a party at your house and someone breaks your windows and gets sick all over the floor because they can't conduct themselves in a halfway reasonable manner, are you going to invite them back for the next party you throw, or are you going to do what you can to prevent them from coming back? It's the same thing if someone comes into a facility that a convention is being held in and vandalizes the property in some way that ends up costing more money in damages. Insurance only covers you on big stuff.

Obviously, you can go with something more simple, but there are certain things you just can't do with a simple system. I don't think I'm going to do anything to convince you, but I think we can agree that there are benefits to both approaches.
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