Right, I've threatened in the past to name and shame offenders in the "ripoff WiFi at conferences" stakes. Time to act.
I think possibly the most egregious pricing, and attitude to conference organisers, is courtesy of Hilton Hotels. I've just been informed that an event I'm attending at the Hilton Vienna next week charges €30 per day for WiFi. "Amusingly" this means it is actually cheaper for me to check email via ludicrously-priced GPRS roaming. As usual, I expect the hotel won't bundle this at a sensible rate for event organisers to provide as a courtesy to delegates.
The irony here is that the event is about "In-Building Wireless Solutions".
So. My turn. I'm always being asked to speak or chair at numerous events by conference organisers, vendors, PR companies and assorted others. I had 3 invitations yesterday alone. I find it relatively difficult to choose which to go to.
Some obvious criteria apply: if I'm being paid (or at least reimbursed for expenses), if it's a topic that dovetails precisely with my research themes, or if it's an audience that includes loads of current or potential future clients.
I'll add another one - so listen up, Informa, IIR, Osney and everyone else.
As a default, I will no longer speak at, or attend events, held at Hilton Hotels. If it's something I absolutely HAVE to be at, I won't be staying at the hotel overnight, but another one nearby. I encourage all of you to do the same.
On the same theme, I was at the Wireless Event conference & exhibition earlier this week, at Olympia in London. Stupidly priced wireless due to venue owner obstinacy and near-extortion, so I used the fixed ethernet cable in the press room (how's that for another irony) and email via GPRS. I'll see if I can track down & personally contact the person responsible & point out how much he's alienating his customers' customers. I chaired part of the event this year, and I've told the very-affable-and-equally-frustrated organiser that I'm not prepared to do it again next year if the situation doesn't change.
And if any cellular operator would like to loan me a 3G-backhauled portable WiFi AP like this one from Voda & Linksys to take to conferences & run my own "rogue WiFi" I'll be more than happy to write about it here. After all, I give plenty of space to IP-oriented companies that can arbitrage around cellular operators' ripoffs, so it would be nice to see the HSDPA guys getting their own back.....