Why I Will Think 10x Before Attending Another Philippine Internet Congress

This is how PowerMax Consulting Group‘s event was for me and since we don’t have a Yelp for conferences, I will write my “review” here hoping that at least one person will read this and be more discerning when it comes to conferences they choose to attend and pay for.

(I’ve also written about last year’s Search Engine Marketing Conference, if that’s something you want to check out.)

I found out about this event through a friend’s forwarded email. The email didn’t look professional but I thought it sounded pretty interesting anyway so I bookmarked it.

I am not even going to say anything about their email and how it looks like. Not even their website, which got this response after I gave someone their website link:

Very legit comment btw.

To be extra clear, I only attended the morning session of the Philippine Internet Congress‘ 2nd day schedule.

If you’ve attended both days and feel that my review is inaccurate, feel free to write your comments below. I am basing my post on the 4 hours I spent at the Megatrade Hall.

1. They tried to rip us off.

Here’s the conversation I had with them (I went with my co-worker):

Lady at the registration booth: Have you registered?
Me: No, not yet. Do you accept credit card payments?
Lady: Yes. *a couple of seconds after she uses her calculator* That would be 19,000+ (I forget what the exact amount is but it was 19k something for 2 people)

Nineteen thousand? Did I hear that right?

Me: I’m sorry, what?
Lady: You can’t just attend one day, you have to pay for both days.
Me: Uhh. I got an email from your co-worker that I can attend just one day. Let me look for it.
Lady: Okay ma’am. That will be Php 9,850.40.

Uhh, what was that? I didn’t even get the chance to show her the email.

Had I not emailed someone from the company, would they have charged us Php 19,000+? Did they do this to someone else?

Even if this wasn’t intentional, this is still terrible because that means their staff are uninformed and will end up making their attendees pay more than what they have to.

2. They had singers… and dancers.

So we walk in and there are about 15 people in the room. It’s 8:45 AM and their schedule says it will start at well, 8:45. Nuninoo. Nothing. 5-10 minutes later, I hear a voice. It sounds like I’m at a wedding. Where am I?

Then he says something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, while waiting for our speaker, let’s listen to [insert name] as he serenades us with his rendition of ‘Breakeven’ by The Script!”

No one claps.

It’s about 9 AM… and we’re listening to someone SING. I look around and no one seems to be reacting and by that I mean they’re all poker-faced. I look at my coworker and we both end up looking like this:

He sings again before Jim Ayson speaks, this time doing an Adele cover and eliciting this tweet from a participant:

We obviously didn’t get the memo that this was a variety show slash conference because before the lunch break, about 3-4 guys in plaid shirts start dancing to a mix of Teach Me How to Dougie and other pop songs.

Here’s a picture I took of them:

Sorry but I came here to learn. Not be entertained. Also, I really think that there is a more appropriate type of venue for these types of performances.

3. They had tons of technical difficulties.

Ear-splitting mic feedback, videos not playing properly, speakers having to use a mic so they can use it as their laptop’s speaker. Why are these things happening when it’s already their second day?

See it’s fine if only one of those things happened but all of them? That just tells me they didn’t prepare for this. That, or they don’t mind that they’re getting a significant number of technical issues.

4. Their conference kit is terrible.

I’m really beginning to think that conference sponsors/advertisers here like to waste paper. I did not keep a single flyer nor did I look at one for more than 5 seconds. They were photocopied fliers on green and yellow paper. I suppose I should return them to the organizers next time. Also, why force participants to poke holes on their shirts by giving them button name tags?

Well, at least I’d be able to use 3 items here: the free 20 sheets of bond paper I got, the Philippine Internet Congress notebook which has photocopied sheets that I can write on (also comes with photocopied ads on the last 10 pages), and the canvas bag. Oh but wait… while taking pictures of the notebook… the sheets came apart.

The Verdict

We left after that as we had other plans. I am not going to go into their line up of speakers anymore. Just know that I loved Janette Toral and Jim Ayson‘s talks. If they didn’t have them, I would have definitely asked for a refund.

If you encounter any of their events in the future, my advice is to make sure that you know at least 2 or more speakers in their line up and that they’re worth going for.

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