Last week, I questioned whether or not the social media economy could continue to support mommyblogging for cash in its current form indefinitely. Though the answer to this question remains unclear, it occurred to me that, in anticipation of the BlogHer 2011 conference (beginning next week), there are a few possible signs of a lessening of faith in the influence of mommybloggers as an economic force. None of these signs are 100% conclusive, but they’re worth noting anyway, if for no other reason than to track the progress of the business over time. For instance:
1. BlogHer 2011 is still not sold out.
As of the time of this publication, there are still tickets available for BlogHer 2011. This is in direct contrast to the situation with previous years wherein tickets sold out well in advance to the conference, and in fact some were auctioned off on eBay, in some cases for more than their face value.
Of course, it should be noted that last year’s conference was in New York City, which is a more convenient and likely more desirable location for many conference attendees. Also: please note that 2010 had a maximum capacity of around 2,500 people, whereas this year the ticket sales are capped at about 3,200. The facility is larger, and the additional 700 slots could also help to account for the surplus tickets this year.
2. No Social Luxe party this year.
For the past two years, the Social Luxe Lounge has been a big part of the pre-BlogHer conference festivities. Best known for having a choice swag bag full of sponsor-provided goodies, the Social Luxe Lounge has been one of the most coveted private party invites for the past few years running.
For BlogHer 2011, though, there will be no Social Luxe Lounge. The official explanation for the absence of the party, as given on the Social Luxe website is that, “[d]ue to circumstances among all three hostesses, the stars just simply are not aligning this year.” Instead of the Social Luxe Lounge, there will be a lower-profile Blog Luxe awards ceremony that celebrates “inspiring blogs,” but presumably, means there will be no coveted swag.
The fact that there is no Social Luxe Lounge this year is likely due to many different causes, but to cancel the plans for the party in the presence of strong sponsor interest seems unlikely. If you have fewer peopled willing to put stuff in the swag bags, it’s a little more difficult to throw a swanky party, and though the change in venue might also have affected the interest from sponsors, it seems like this is in direct contrast to previous years, where the bags were overflowing with brands that wanted to be involved.
3. There appears to be a dearth of special sponsored programs this year.
Remember #GapMagic, the PR campaign that outfitted several bloggers in free clothing for Gap before BlogHer 2010? Even before #GapMagic , there have been many situations in which bloggers have been outfitted with clothing by brands before BlogHer as a promotional technique. But this year, I have yet to hear of anything like #GapMagic or similar promotional efforts. If these efforts had been considered successful, I would think that there would be more of them this year, rather than less. As BlogHer approaches, we may see some crop up, but my instincts are telling me there is just less overall interest from brands this year.
Are you getting a sense that the brand interest for the BlogHer conference is the same or lessened this year?