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Blogtalk Downunder » A little bit about the set-up of Blogtalk Downunder

Blogtalk Downunder
   May 19-22, Sydney


A little bit about the set-up of Blogtalk Downunder

Filed under: General — James @ 11:25 am

Quite a few people have noted that Blogtalk Downunder isn’t free… or particularly close to being free. In fact, at $175 it’s quite an outlay for many people who blog but don’t have organisations willing to fund them.

We totally appreciate peoples concern and would very very much like to be able to offer the conference for less (or even for free) but unfortunately that’s impossible… and here’s exactly why:

We’re not an exhibition

There are no vendors stalls, you can’t buy anything and we’re not selling anything. ‘Exhibitions’ are essentially large marketplaces with some public interest events… the stalls pay thousands and thousands of $s to be there and that’s why they’re $10 at the door to get in.

We’re flying in some of the cream of the blogging world

Our invited speakers really are a selection of the most highly respected and knowledgeable individuals in the world when it comes to blogs. They come from round the world and we have to fly ‘em, put ‘em up and support their attendance. I’m happy they’re coming!

Location, food & drinks

Your conference fee gets you morning and afternoon tea and lunch on both days at one of Sydney’s premium venues. How much would that cost you without the conference?

Now, considering that you’ve probably got to add the work of the organising committee (entirely unpaid), this site and all the work that’s gone into it (also unpaid), editing and processing all the papers (guess what, unpaid) and the time that’s gone into marketing, publicising and getting the conference going in the first place (allllll unpaid).

And despite all of this, I believe (through experience) that we are offering the most affordable (non ‘exhibition’ / ‘vendor’) conference fee that you’ll find in the whole of Australia (and NZ / Europe / N America too). Seriously! I have NEVER been to a professional 2 day conference with all of the above for less than AU$300… Blogtalk Downunder is AU$175.

In fact, I’m so sure about this that I’ll buy each person who can disprove me a beer at the conference.

So please understand, we do appreciate that $175 is a pretty big ask for a student or someone on a low income… but besides from holding it in a barn, inviting no-one from overseas, sending you to the milk bar for food and whacking up a one-page brochureware site at geocities… there’s not a lot we can do!


  1. Another thing you have not mentioned and you have not got is a major sponsor who throws dosh around for things like “Happy hour Drinks and nibbles sponsored by gizmo technojunk” etc. These firms probably only sponsor conferences that cost megabucks since people who come to these may have megabucks to spend. They don’t sponsor cheap events like BTU since people who come may be poor. Sad eh.
    I have done a professional one day workshop for only $35. But then we lost $$ didn’t we.

    Comment by Derek (subscribed to comments) — 10/5/2005 @ 9:00 pm

  2. Thankyou! Yes… we have some very kind, generous and appropriate supporters but the $s are nothing compared to what gets thrown about at other conferences! Funny idea, do you think we would’ve got more sponsorship if we had charged more :o)

    Comment by James — 10/5/2005 @ 10:00 pm

  3. “Funny idea, do you think we would’ve got more sponsorship if we had charged more :o) ”

    -Yes. Maybe. But that doesn’t solve the problem of course. Unless we ate out at Dominos and gave everyone a big rebate. But enought of this. I should go and do some serious work.

    Comment by Derek (subscribed to comments) — 11/5/2005 @ 6:13 am

  4. What I would’ve liked to try ana arrange, in hindsight, would be to have some sort of sponsorship program where an organisation funds people to go (perhaps a little more appealing that plain sponsorship)… naturally you then have the problem of deciding ‘who’ but it feels like something worth having a crack at for teh next one (assuming there is a next one…)

    Comment by James — 11/5/2005 @ 9:52 am

  5. Good post James - totally understand where you are coming from. $175 is cheap as chips for a conference and you’ve done so well to keep it to that level. For organisational types its well within a reasonable budget but as you say for the individual private types its tough on top of accommodation and airfares.

    It is a difficult thing to make work for all concerned. The only real way to get the individual blogger is to either do something more localised/day seminar type thing or have some sponsorship program like you mention.

    I’ll be interested to see if your individual bloggers are more from Sydney or elsewhere. Personally I could have stretched to $175 if it was in my own city but the killer was getting and staying there.

    Perhaps the blogging community in Australia is too small for a big national event? Not sure - but I’m feeling your pain at the ‘its too expensive’ comments you must be getting.

    Comment by Darren (subscribed to comments) — 12/5/2005 @ 1:27 pm

  6. Thanks Darren, the next one’s in Melbourne & you;re a keynote, just to let you know :o)

    [OK, we haven't decided that yet but just thinking wishfully!]

    Comment by James — 12/5/2005 @ 4:05 pm

  7. hehe - yeah - Melbourne would be fun.

    But what about one that goes on the road? A day in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane etc? Make it an intense day with some electives (so you could still cover a wide array of topics), maybe at a university or somewhere a little cheaper - not overnight. That would cut down on costs a lot but still make it worthwhile…

    just thoughts off the top of my head…

    Comment by Darren (subscribed to comments) — 12/5/2005 @ 4:11 pm

  8. Not a bad plan at all… ‘on the road’… does that mean we’d get a trailer too! Definitely worth thinking about!

    Comment by James — 12/5/2005 @ 4:20 pm

  9. yep - trailer is good. :-)

    seriously - you could almost bill it as a blogging unplugged type affair - keeping the costs down but getting the average blogger right through to the professional, academic ones.

    it’d be cheaper to fly your main speakers from city to city than to discount everyone coming to one central place.

    Comment by Darren (subscribed to comments) — 12/5/2005 @ 4:28 pm

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