Before you dig into this post, I find it necessary to make a few things clear. I am not attending Botcon 2010 this year, I never planned to. However, as an active overseer and participant in the Transformers collecting community, I have been paying close attention to the events and issues surrounding our once-a-year convention. I completely realize that the Transformers Collector Club is an entity created for the entertainment and benefit of those that are willing to participate, and no one is forcing anyone to participate. However, being that Botcon is the only officially sanctioned Hasbro convention, they have a bit of a monopoly on the market and as such, have a responsibility to the fans it consists of. That being said, the following is a completely editorial commentary and should be considered as such. I have no inside knowledge of how Fun Publications or the Transformers Collector Club operates on a day to day basis, and my assertions are made purely from observation.
I stood by and watched the clock tick down to less than 60 days before the June 24th convention date without the typical registration announcement.
I stood by, amused, when the announcement that the belated online registration system required voluntary user-testing from the very people it is intended to placate. Very classy.
But I will not just stand by and let Fun Publications suck more and more money from the very people it is exists to placate to without speaking my mind a bit.
Anyone that signed up for the “mock registration” at Botcon may have noticed a registration fee that will be added to any registration conducted via the online system.
I’m sorry, was that $10 more to cover the club’s own additional operating costs? Don’t we already pay processing fees in the form of our $40 per year membership?
As a business owner, I am appalled. If I were to implement new procedures and processes to conduct my business in a more efficient manner, it would be the responsibility of myself and my business to pay the overhead involved with said additions, not the responsibility of my customers.
Essentially, the Botcon folks are having us, the members of the club, cover the club’s own expenses to get the online system running, which is late, unfinished, and a complete mess. Not only that, so far we have not yet been offered the chance to even apply via the fax forms. Any sort of stream-lining addition to workflow will increase productivity and efficiency for the people running it. If this is going to save a lot of time for the Botcon registration workers, why is this costing the attendees more money? If anything, Botcon should be eating the cost themselves as it should make their staff’s workload a little lighter.
And while we’re at it, the Primus Package is even more expensive this year at $305 for club members versus $275 last year. So now it’s going to cost Primus Package attendees $315 + travel + hotel + attendee packages. All you ‘scalpers’ better hope the market for fluorescent plastic goes through the roof this summer…
The Botcon people should be ashamed of themselves for the way the registration process has been handled thus far. Whomever was hired to create this online registration system is taking the club for a ride, and in turn, the fans as well. I am incredibly grateful to not be attending the convention this year because it would just leave an even nastier taste in my mouth. Had your online registration fee been more acceptable, say $1, this rant may have been avoided.
To those of you that are now at the mercy of the club, I hope all of this back and forth ends up being worth it and you have a delightful Botcon experience. Let’s hope for better in 2011, Fun Pub… Oh, the toys look great, I’ll at least give you that.
Those of us outside the borders of the USA are already accustomed to the needless money grabbing ways of the club, so none of this is too surprising.