The Why and How of Add-on-Con

Dec 11 2008 was the first Add-on-Con and it surpassed my expectations. As a first time conference producer I realized a few things about myself and learned a few things about creating a conference. For me personally, this event brought up how much I like creating new things. I get a rush seeing an opportunity, thinking of an idea, and then taking it to market.  Creating Add-on-Con was fun, a little nerve racking but still provided the appropriate rush. The event had enough people purchase tickets in advance to suggest the turnout was going to meet my goals, but you never know. In the end the event exceeded the food and premium items ordered and even sold reduced price admission at the door. Along the way I learned a few things about producing a conference that I thought were worth sharing. I will start with Marketing, because so many technologists think of it as a black box.

Add-on-Con Marketing Strategy

I used several techniques to get the word out quickly.

  • We published 2 Press Releases through the wire services, which cost around $600 per release. I did a quick compare of the server logs and the sites that published our press releases generated about 2% of the overall traffic
    • We used 2 different wire services to distribute the press releases and PR News Wire had significantly broader coverage then the other service. 
  • Articles written prior to the event generated about 8% of the traffic, my personal favorite was written by Christian Zibreg “Browser rivals to sit down and discuss the future of browsing”.
  • Twitter generated about 4% (surprise)
  • Brightkite generated about .5% (surprise)
  • SV, NY and Boulder Denver Meetup message boards generated about 1% (I thought these would generate more traffic, especially the SV Meetup)
  • Paid Ads generated about 2% of the traffic and cost us $20. I was able to purchase most terms for under $0 .05
  • I purchased $50 worth of event promotion from and it generated 0% of the traffic
  • Media sponsorships
    • Techcrunch donated 125×125 pixel ad that ran on their home page for 2 days, it generated about 4% of the traffic. I believe, if this started earlier, it would have generated significantly more traffic.
    • Mashable mentioned the event in there Monday events section and it generated 0% of the traffic
    • GarysGuide generated 0% of the traffic
    • Center Networks generated 0% of the traffic
  • Blog’s generated the rest
    • Several of the bloggers received discount codes for their readers.
      • VC Bloggers generated 15% of the traffic and contributed 34% of the paying attendee’s. (wow)
      • individual tech blogs generated about 4% of the traffic and contributed 5% of the paying attendee’s (wow)
    • The Mozilla and Microsoft blogs generated about 25% of the traffic.

I was surprised by the amount of twitter traffic, the lack of traffic from the event listings and Meetup message boards. 

I wanted to thank every person, news service and news agency that talked about Add-on-Con 08, it was greatly appreciated. Plus the people from my company OneRiot, AdaptiveBlue and Sxipper, without their help this event would not have happened.

Thank You

2 Comments on “The Why and How of Add-on-Con”

  1. tobias says:

    Robert – these are fascinating stats – thanks for sharing!

  2. CourtneyWalsh says:

    Thanks for sharing, Robert! The amazing power of blogs and getting the message out there, wow!

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