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TAM Australia Ticket Price Controversy

June 7, 2010

If you’ve been following the Twitter hashtag #TAMOz, you’ve probably noticed the flurry of comment, criticism and feedback on the cost of tickets to the event, a first-timer for Australia.

I must say, having heard so much about TAM for so many years from the likes of the Rogues from the Skeptics Guide to the Universe, Brian Dunning from Skeptoid, Richard Saunders from The Skeptic Zone and others, I was very excited to hear that TAM was coming to Oz, and immediately set about finding out as much as I could about the event in order to ensure my attendance.

Although the announcement was made back in November 2009, the final pricing for tickets wasn’t published until June 2010, causing a bit of a hubbub within the Australian Skeptical community.

Previously, on March 28 2010, the following update was posted to the Australian Skeptics website;

Tickets will go on sale around June 2010. There will be ample notice once the dates are set. In particular, we expect to have pricing information well in advance of the ticket sales, so that people can do their budgets. We can confirm that ticket prices will be on par with other TAMs.

Source: http://www.skeptics.com.au/latest/events/tam_australia_2010/

This update was fairly quickly republished on various blogs and by interested Tweeps.

Now I admit, I’d have liked more advance notice of the estimated cost, but it didn’t come as a huge surprise to me when I read this because I’d already looked into previous TAM ticket prices in Vegas and London, and they are comparatively more expensive than the TAM Australia ticket price. Consequently, when the final announcement was made, this came as a pleasant surprise to me.

Personally I’m saddened to see some of the more critical thoughts from other Tweeps, as this event to me represents an opportunity to meet many of these people face-to-face. I don’t feel that the price is outlandish, given all the speakers we’ll be treated to, and to be honest I’m more concerned at the limited seating the chosen venue offers – around 600+/- 120 depending on whether they’re going to use the satellite rooms – might this result in a record sell-out of tickets for any TAM event in under 20 minutes?

What do you think? Do you think the event price excludes many otherwise keen and active skeptics from attending?

Is the pricing unreasonable?

What could you suggest to make the event more accessible?

Codenix.

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From → Skepticism

12 Comments
  1. “Do you think the event price excludes many otherwise keen and active skeptics from attending?”
    Well that’s just a fact I think, no opinion required.

    “What could you suggest to make the event more accessible?”
    I’ve asked about the possibility of a live web stream, like what they did for TEDx Sydney. If that could be arranged then I (and hopefully others) would hold mini-TAM events in our homes. But they have not responded 😦

  2. Update: Eran said it would be considered. That’s all I can ask for 🙂

  3. Eran Segev permalink

    @mikeinside, when you say “they have not repsonded” you actually mean to say “I expect an answer in 20 minutes and I got a response in 2 hours and 3 minutes. I mean, REALLY!!”, right?

    Ref: you tweeted at 15:19. I tweeted back at 17:22, before I saw this post.

    P.S. Don’t fret. I’m cool. just joking. Thing is, a lot of people have been saying a lot of things, forgetting that there are actuall people, with real names (ones that don’t have @ in front of them) on the other side. And we work very hard, too.

  4. Eran Segev permalink

    Oh well, you beat me to it…

  5. @Mike Inside, thanks for asking – I too believe this would be great for those who can’t attend, and thanks for the update.

    @Eran Segev, thank you also. Do you think it will be similar to the TAM Vegas approach of online streaming, or TAM London with DVD sales after the event?

  6. I had first directed the question to @TAMAustralia a few days ago – it was only after I had made my comment here that I worked out you were the man I should be talking to.

    For the record I think your reply was swift, and I am really sorry about the, shall we say, “less polite” comments you have been getting. Even if I’m not able to access TamOz, I am happy there are people like you out there making these events. Cheers 🙂

  7. @Eran
    “forgetting that there are actuall people, with real names (ones that don’t have @ in front of them) on the other side.”
    I didn’t forget any such thing.

  8. Rabs permalink

    I am keen but not active. I’d be paying $395. or $790 if I take my partner. I can afford that, but I don’t know if I can justify (to myself) spending that much money.

    The price is at the point where it’s not obviously too high and not obviously too low. I have to work out how much each speaker is worth, add ’em up and maybe subtract a burnout factor?

    I guess I’m just not sold on the value of hearing a talk from someone while I’m in the same room as them. What do I get from attending that I wouldn’t get from watching a live feed? Q&A, I guess. Anything else? Will it be new material or is it stuff I’ve already heard?

    I guess my suggestion would be for the organisers to elaborate more on this: “TAM Australia offers a variety of divertissements, from education and entertainment to the camaraderie and shared experiences you can only get at Skeptical meetings.”

  9. Eran Segev permalink

    Codenix, Mike Inside – thanks for the kind words.

    Frozen Summers – if you didn’t forget then you chose to ignore. Much worse.

    Rabs – I would hazzard a guess that most people, especially ones who have been to TAM or D*Con before, go for the social aspects. You see, when you go to TAM you can get to do more than just hear Randi talk. You can catch him for a quick chat (probably with 4 or 5 others). Others are even more accessible than Randi. And there are hundreds of like minded people, which for most skeptics is a real change from day to day life.

  10. Hi Rabs, thanks for your comments.

    It is a lot of money, especially if you want to share it with someone. I’m in a similar boat as I’m trying to convince my father to trek down from far-north Queensland to meet me there, so when you add up the tickets, the accommodation, the airfares, dining etc. that’s a lot of cash.

    But I’d agree with Eran’s views – Although I don’t have a previous TAM experience to draw upon, if the comments many of the podcasting skeptics who have attended are anything to go by, apparently the social aspects are fantastic and worth the financial outlay in their own right if you can afford it.

    I’ve had to sacrifice, budget and plan to be able to go (assuming I actually manage to get the tickets – they may sell out before I get the chance), so I had to justify it to myself too. And it came down to this;

    How often do you get to indulge yourself by actually watching broadcasts or archival video of these people? Would you actually make the time to watch TAM if it were broadcast over the internet? Or would you just ‘snack’ on various video-bites whilst you went about your normal business?

    I’ve seen probably a dozen of so videos of Randi on YouTube, and I’ve listened to hundreds of hours of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe, The Skeptic Zone and Skeptoid, but I tend to do so in the little moments between work and family commitments. To actually put aside two and a half days to indulge myself is a big deal.

    I’m excited at the prospect of potentially meeting people like Randi, DJ Grothe, Steve, Bob and Jay Novella, Rebecca Watson, Evan Bernstein, Rachel Dunlop, Brian Dunning, Simon Singh, and Eran too – I always enjoy Grain of Salt Eran ;). These people have become significant figures in my life (although it’s a very weird, one-sided relationship they don’t know anything about), so it’s almost like a reunion of old friends who live all over the world – I wouldn’t want to miss that.

    I hope you’re able to justify it to yourself too Rabs – and quickly because there are only ten days until the early bird tickets go on sale!

    Codenix.

  11. Chris Higgins permalink

    “I guess I’m just not sold on the value of hearing a talk from someone while I’m in the same room as them. What do I get from attending that I wouldn’t get from watching a live feed? Q&A, I guess. Anything else? Will it be new material or is it stuff I’ve already heard?”

    With no disrespect intended, why should my ticket price be higher so that other people who choose not to attend can sit at home and watch the event for free? If you want to see the talks, pay the cash. Simple.

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