The First Virtual WordCamp

virtualAs I mentioned on Twitter yesterday, I was wondering when someone was going to create one of these. That is, a virtual WordCamp. Virtual WordCamp is just like a typical WordCamp event only held online, not constrained by a physical location. The added benefit is that attendees from all over the world can attend. The event is slated to begin on the week of September 14th. The virtual WordCamp will host all sorts of presentations that will appeal to business users, new bloggers, pro bloggers, designers and developers. Those who attend the event will get access to the replays as well.

Better grab a spot fast as this WordCamp has limited the amount of live and recorded presentation passes to 1,000. In order to get a pass, it will set you back $69.95 which they consider to be a bargain. I’m not sure about that considering a typical WordCamp event will cost anywhere from $15.00-$30.00 and that is with a physical location, food, after party, etc. So with the elimination of those perks, I would have figured the price to be pretty low but that is not the case.

You can follow the hashtag #VWC09 on Twitter or follow @virtualwordcamp to stay on top of the event.

Let me know if you plan on attending this event. As for myself, I’m on the fence because of the price.


20 responses to “The First Virtual WordCamp”

  1. Looks a bit like a profit making exercise to me. I can’t see any reason why a virtual WordCamp would be more expensive than a non-virtual WordCamp.

    Having said that, WordCamp’s seem to be ridiculously cheap. The last major conference I want to was about $700 for registration and that was the students price, regular registrations were a lot more than that. The registration costs for WordCamps pale in comparison.

  2. My scam radar is pinging, big time.

    #1) No venue costs
    #2) No speaker fees (I assume WP speakers generally speak for free)
    #3) The 1,000 “passes” will generate $69,000 that will go toward… what, exactly?
    #4) Registration is open, but the speaker list is… non-existent
    #5) Registration *after* the first 1,000 will be “recording-only” (why? what technological limit exists for 1,000 live viewers?), and will cost *more* than $69 (again, why? one would think that the live viewing would cost more than the post-event archive access.)
    #6) I see no real-world contact information for any of the “event” organizers (just a contact form)
    #7) Promise of a “virtual schwag bag of goodies” to the first 1,000 registrants – again, with no details whatsoever
    #8) Only 2 blog posts in over a month – with still no details whatsoever

    The whole thing is just really suspect.

  3. Yeah, I didn’t see a price on the homepage, and given the cost of an actual WordCamp, I just assumed that it was free…silly me!

    I’m willing to withhold judgment for now, the caliber of speakers should speak volumes about the whether or not it’s a legit event.

    But if they can actually make $70k off this, then you should totally throw a TavernCamp Jeffro, and retire to Necker Island…

  4. Sounds a bit suss imo. I would have held off posting this information until more information came to hand. After all the site is very new…

    Also did a who is search on the domain:

    Registrant Search: “Gina Bell” owns about 210 other domains

  5. @Jeffro – You should do it. Organise a TavernCamp, setup online presentations etc. and let people chip in with live questions to the talkers at the end. I’d be keen to be involved and I’m sure others would too.

    I enjoyed watching some of the WordCamp Australia event and I think you could do exactly the same thing with EVERYONE virtual if you wanted. The only problem would be making sure everyone could stream their video live. I’m not sure what the best way to do that is, but I have dabbled with a couple of live video streaming systems which seemed to work quite well.

    In fact, they wouldn’t even need to be live. We could record them before hand, send them to you and you could play them on WP Tavern one by one and allow us to chat in the chat room whilst watching/listening. It could work quite well I think.

    Travelling 2000 kms just to attend a WordCamp is horrendously expensive, being able to interact with lots of other WordPress developers virtually, but live would be great.

  6. @Ryan – Yeah, I’m all for a TavernCamp as well, especially if it’s not $70 :)

    Streaming video shouldn’t be as much of a problem from a home or office connection, rather than sketchy wifi from a convention room. But I’d be fine with just audio too, round table discussions, like an extended, organized version of a typical podcast after-party!

    And maybe something a little more robust and permanent than Skype or Talkshoe chat, an install of P2 perhaps?

    Oh, and don’t forget the tshirts, even if we have to buy them ourselves off Zazzle or something ;)

  7. @Ryan – The whole virtual being more expensive than physical is was set my alarm to go off. But, who knows. Maybe this thing will sell out, they will make $70,000.00 or so and when people find this out, perhaps WordCamp Attendee fees will skyrocket?

    @Miroslav Glavic – Considering there is no way in the world I’d give the tavern up for free, looks like you’re not attending LOL.

    @Chip Bennett – You raise a lot of interesting points but at this stage of the game, I’m willing to withhold judgment regarding this entire event until the end of July into August. By then, we should have a clear indication as to what is going on. Would be a shame if everything you pointed out turned into reality.

    @Brad – If this pans out, it has the makings of a cool event. What would you speak about?

    @Martin – You mean, I should have waited before publishing anything about this event? It’s news and it’s a cool idea so I thought I’d spread the word. I can always do a follow up post once we know more info.

    @JLeuze – I’m withholding judgment as well. If they do make 70k off of this, I hope there are no residual effects with regards to other WordCamps. There is no denying that one of the best things about WordCamps is the relatively cheap cost associated with them (on average). I’m in agreement with some in the community that if you’re hosting a WordCamp primarily to generate income, I think you’re doing it for the wrong reason.

    Well, glad to hear there is interest in something like a TavernCamp lol. Doesn’t sound as cool as a WordCamP but I’ll keep in mind for future projects down the road.

  8. I to am all for a WP tavern Wordcampy thing! Hey, i might even join in!!

    As for the Virtual Wordcamp, i just cant figure out why it even has a price tag. There is no venue to hire, no food no nothing. I costs them zilch… <is that how u spell it ???

  9. I have no interest in attending a virtual WordCamp, and certainly not at that price.

    For me the value in WordCamp is the networking, discussions and relationships that are built with firsthand interaction. You can’t recreate that in a virtual event.

    The speakers and presenters are great, but to me they are just a bonus. I get more value out of everything else… meeting and talking to people, relationship building, and of course the after party :)

  10. @Jeffro

    You raise a lot of interesting points but at this stage of the game, I’m willing to withhold judgment regarding this entire event until the end of July into August. By then, we should have a clear indication as to what is going on. Would be a shame if everything you pointed out turned into reality.

    This “Virtual WordCamp” is supposed to take place the week of September 14th; that’s barely two and a half months away – and not one, single speaker confirmed?

    Has anyone asked the usual WordCamp speakers, to find out if they’ve even been approached regarding presenting for the Virtual WordCamp?

    That one, single point would go a long way in determining if this thing is even trying to be legitimate. If nobody has even been approached yet, then we can be pretty confident that it’s a scam. If some of the usual players have actually been approached, then we could make a more educated guess – especially if anyone who has been approached is willing to divulge any of the details they’ve been given.


    Also did a who is search on the domain:

    Registrant Search: “Gina Bell” owns about 210 other domains

    Indeed, Gina Bell is the person behind Virtual WordCamp (which, according to her web site, she claims to have trademarked). She appears to be an Internet Entrepreneur, and one of her program offerings is “Virtual Events Made Easy“.

    So, how does she market these “virtual events”? Here’s how:

    So let me ask you this …

    What if that dream of thousands of targeted subscribers almost overnight could become your reality?
    And what if you could add instant credibility and profit to that dream come true too?
    Would you be interested in knowing how to make this happen? For real?

    Now, I know what you’re thinking already … what’s the catch? As I said already, it’s normal for you to feel suspicious when there’s so much hype and empty promises about overnight success out there on the net.

    But what I’m talking about here is an honest-to-goodness, ethical and authentic marketing strategy that’s actually a lot of fun too.

    I’ve done it multiple times, my clients have done it, my colleagues do it too. And it is literally the BEST way to grow your business in leaps and bounds. No more pulling your hair out or throwing towels around – I promise you!

    The strategy is Virtual Events, also known as tele-series and telesummits.

    My colleagues, my clients and I increase our community of subscribers and customers AND generate revenue in the biggest way possible with virtual events.

    (Emphasis in original)

    But here’s the kicker:

    And, I’m beyond excited to be collaborating on a forthcoming virtual event that is projected to be our first 6-figure virtual event!

    (Emphasis in original)

    (Wanna bet on which event that might be?)

    Bottom line: “Virtual WordCamp” is nothing but a network-building revenue generator for an internet entrepreneur.
    .-= ´s last blog ..Daily Digest for June 14th =-.

  11. Oh sheesh. I haven’t been following her @virtualwordcamp tweets:

    @wptavern @conorpegypt 2 dispel myth of zero expenses: design, advertising, PR, webinar service, editing, hosting, our time, etc…

    Design? Time Commitment? Advertising? PR? Hosting?

    These things cost… what, exactly? So far, Dozens of WordCamps have taken place, without incurring any significant costs in these areas.

    Webinar Service? Okay, sure – but there are less-expensive and even free options.

    And, still no list of speakers. (But, don’t you know, “they” have space for “a few more” speakers):

    ATT: WP experts! We have space for a few more speakers at Virtual WordCamp 09. Contact us! #VWC09

    More and more, this is screaming SCAM!

    What say we band together, and prevent this Gina Bell from milking her six-figure revenue from the WordPress community, eh?
    .-= ´s last blog ..Daily Digest for June 14th =-.

  12. @Ryan:

    I love the idea of Jeff organizing a competing event on the same day.

    I don’t think it’s a moot point, though, because although she is the first one to try to profit grossly off of a WordCamp, if we as a community don’t put an emphatic stop to her efforts, she won’t be the last.

    Also, I can see enough people getting suckered into registering for this thing to reflect negatively on the legitimate WordCamps.

  13. Virtual conferences are good if let’s say it takes place in Australia, and I live in Canada (I will not travel down there for just a day conference or even two or three). It could be the other way around.

    I have met many members of the WordPress Community through the two WordCamps I have attended (WCT08 and WCT09). I even had lunch with a few of them at WCT09.

    What about the drunken opening party or after party? Virtual beer gives me gas.

    There are so many countries around the world that are still using dial-up or crappy highspeed.
    You need a strong internet connection for good stream viewing.

    I tend to stay a few extra days when I go outside Toronto for conferences since I like to travel and explore the cities the conferences are in. If I go to WCSF, I am sure Matt or any of the local attendees would have real suggestions over usual touristy places to visit.

    Overall my preference is to go to a WordCamp conference (or any type) and interact in person.

    Why not merge both? I attended PodCamp Toronto last year…All (or at least most as far as I was aware) their sessions were streamed. Wether you have 1 tracks or 3 tracks…stream them.
    So people who can’t make it due to distance…can actually e-attend. Mix both.

    I want to meet up with the different…admins/webmasters/WordPRessers of the different WordPress sites/forums/podcasts I read/listen to. WPtarven being my favourite site :)

    One last thing: Virtual WordCamps don’t give you a WordCamp T-shirt.


Subscribe Via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.