Shows are biting the dust this year,probably not permanently, but then again, who knows?

AccountMate led the field in postponingits reseller conference, usually held in February or March, until the fall. Andthat was before the economy got really shaky. Now, online vendor Intacct saysit will probably have a virtual show in the fall, with plans to resume the liveshow business in 2010. Intuit has yet to announce a date for a get together forits users and VARs for QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions and the betting isrunning against it being held.

None of this should be surprising.Microsoft saw its March attendance at Converge hit 7,000, compared toexpectations of 11,000, and it’s hard to believe that dealers from around theworld are going to flock to the Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans inthe usual numbers, especially since that’s July in New Orleans.

Shows are expensive for everyone,including attendees who must foot the bill for conference fees, hotels, airtravel and meals, not to mention opportunity costs. Vendors have the lengthypreparation, which takes a lot of attention, the facilities and the cost ofsending staff, no matter how much they collect from sponsors, exhibitors andpaying attendees.

There is other overhead facedby vendors with distribution channels andSage is addressing those by eliminating its President’s Circle and the annualjunket to a resort for top resellers and their spouses in favor of a two-dayretreat (partners only), with some fun,but the emphasis on planning and business.

I don’t expect shows to go away becausemany still have that important function of making customers or dealers feelthey are part of something bigger.Butgiven some of the excessesI have alsoseen in the past, I don’t doubt that some economy is in order.

Shows will come back, but they will bemissing some of the frills.

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