Free is the new black

Skift Take

The horrible economic trends as well as the impressive movement of user generated events is challenging the traditional scheme of paid events.

Photo by kalandrakas

If you charge for your events you may soon be in real trouble. If you charge a lot for your events you are probably already facing tough challenges.

The Economy

Pretty straight forward. There are not enough money to be spent on events as before. Companies buying tickets for your conferences are now hesitating on such expenditure. There is simply not the disposable income there used to be. As simple as that.

The Technology

Online meetings are now preferred to conferences. Linkedin/Xing is now preferred to your 3000£/$/€ networking event.

User Generated Events

Meetups, BarCamps, unconferences and the like are now offering free alternatives to your paid events. Getting together a location and asking people to pay for their drinks is now accepted. Nobody wants to mix any more with sponsors, stalls, banners and so forth. Meetups are run by users and most of them are not sponsored. The conventional infrastructure around events is shaking.


You cannot rely any more on scarcity.

I don’t have to wait for big exhibitions to come along in order to network with top professionals. It’s all coming to my city and for free, possibly on a monthly basis.

Now, how do you deal with that? How do you compete with free, zero, nada, niet, niente?


You will soon realize that if you manage events conventionally, the demand will drop sensibly.

Few tips.

If you use social media and social networks, if you know what twitter is, if you integrate sponsors gently and wisely, you will definitely find new ways to engage and make a profit.

If you think this is not going to happen and you feel safe where you are, start reading another blog!

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