NetExpo Parties Like It's 1997

When something bills itself in 2009 as “Ireland’s first online only event” – which is an epic pile of spinning PR bullshit – you know you’re off to a great start. And when it’s promoted with a video as completely and totally hilarious as this one, you know this “dazzling selling experience” is going to be too good to miss.

And so it proved to be with NetExpo’s  Search Event 2009. I could try to explain to you the complete and utter trainwreck this turkey turned out to be when it opened today, but I genuinely don’t think I could do it justice and a picture is, as they say, worth a thousand words. Click for larger images:

Main Hall

That’s the “Main Hall” – you have to click the tiny text for Hall A or Hall B to visit the exhibition halls:

Hall B

This is Hall B. You can’t actually click any of those exhibition booths – which is just as well because how much would you not want to be the tiny ones at the back? – you have to click the imperceptible “Show Booths” link at the top:

Example Booth

And that brings us to the “exhibitors.” This is the Blacknight, erm, booth. I don’t think Blacknight is particularly being punished for something; they all more or less look like that.

There are a million crap ideas crappily executed every day, so I’m not sure why I find this one so completely irksome. I think it has something to do with the fact that they’ve illegitimately promoted it as some kind of ground-breaking first for Ireland,when it is in fact the opposite of ground-breaking and what’s more, completely embarassing.

In all seriousness, it’s like these people just discovered the internet the day before yesterday and have stepped straight into a time machine headed for 1997. They’re saying things like “deliver your sales message to customers new and old right into where they work during their regular business hours!” and I think they actually mean it. They have a blog entry titled “Why you should do business online” and I think they mean that, too.

The thing is, this is not the worst idea ever. There is arguably a market for and a value to bringing companies together in a virtual space for time-limited promotional event with a lot of buzz around it. But the execution here is just so, so appalling that I actually called a few exhibitors to find out if they knew it was going to be like this – because I couldn’t believe anyone had signed up for this pile of horsehit.

Predictably, the most common response was “Oh my God. Oh my GOD. OH MY GOD!” followed by the sound of foreheads crashing into keyboards. So I’m guessing no.

Hilariously, under each booth is scrolling text that says If You Would Like To Find Out More About Hosting Your Own Online Expo….Contact Us At…

That would be 1997@compuserve.com, yes?