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February 11, 2008

Spring Fair revolt appears premature

Exhibitors at the Emap TPS Spring, Summer, and Autumn Fairs have mounted a revolt against the imposition of around £200 as a standard tariff for listing themselves on the brands' online portal, www.springfair.com.

Exhibitors at the UK`s largest trade fair announced a website for registering their objection, to be found at http://mediachargeprotest.co.uk, where fellow exhibitors could collude to force the organisers to back down from what they see as a outrageous 'media tax'.

Within the site, the authors complain that listing themselves within supporting show collatoral has always been free of charge – in the show guide and on the show`s web-registration site for example – and that this merely adds up to a media charge and a money-grabbing effort on the part of the organisers.
However, such a reaction could be rather short sighted as exhibitors are not being charged for listing on the original basic show website for simply registering event attendance. Instead, after two and half years of consultation, advice and a substantial investment in a genuinely interactive portal with editorial and technical support teams, Emap TPS has launched Spring Fair Marketplace, the online news and community brand for the event family of TPS-founded products.

Spring Fair Marketplace – bridging the digital divide

At long last it would seem that Emap has done what no other organiser in the gift or jewellery sector has yet to achieve, providing a truly 24/7 interactive information exchange, over the web, supported by a weekly push of refreshed content and promotions on behalf of the vendors, to more than 89,000 opted-in registered buyers of their products.

This means that those who pay around £200 to remain a vendor member of the Retail Week portfolio of events will enjoy annual reach for just 0.23 pence per potential customer. What's more, if Emap opens its portals across the entire Retail Week dataset, then these Spring Fair exhibitors could pay as little as 0.067 pence per potential customer, 24/7, 365 days a year.

EVENTS:review can't name another medium that delivers refreshed buyers, three times a year (four if you include GLEE visitors), with a database engine that can filter down to measured and identified buyers per sector – and in some cases per product – so that tailored information can be pushed to specific audiences whenever and wherever the exhibitor/vendor wants.
The reality is that Emap is fast following Reed and its visionary leader, Crispin Davis, into delivering digital as well as face-to-face extensions of their brands, and delivering multi-channel routes to market for their respective vendor and buyer stakeholders as a result of the data that they own.

They are also creating communities – just like social networking sites such as Facebook have enjoyed explosive human interaction, so the business networking sites of the future, like springfair.com, are likely to enjoy business benefits in equal proportion punctuated only by the coming together of these communities, face to face, at the Spring Fair events.
Rather than being pilloried for levying a charge for membership of this forward-thinking platform, perhaps it would be more appropriate for Emap TPS managing director, Alison Jackson, to be given credit from exhibitors and visitors alike for investing in providing a digital route for the communities that she serves, and equally from the existing and future shareholders of the Emap business empire, for taking the brands forward into the digital era.

EVENTS:review is keen to hear visitor and exhibitor views on the Spring Fair revolt. To register your opinion, click on the comment button at the top of this article.

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