If you are a local resident to the state of Colorado, you probably know that our beautiful mountainous state is home to many conventions covering a variety of mediums from arts, cars, alcohol, to even the "nerdy" types such as sports, anime, and comic books. It doesn't matter where your interests lie, there is something for everyone.
Colorado Springs Comic Con is one of those events, but it is also the only one we have come across that does not want to support local businesses, especially if your business does not fit in with their skewed viewpoint of what qualifies your business worthy of their time.
Those of you who are familiar with us will know that we have covered many conventions over the last few years. We have released a wide array of videos, blog posts, photos, and launched a podcast earlier this year titled "Pop Culture Therapy" where we talk about all things pop culture, including our experience with the conventions we have attended.
Colorado Springs Comic Con, on the other hand, does not deem any of this worthy of their time. According to an email we had recently received on our Press application, we do not qualify to attend the convention as Press because we do not have 1,000 likes/followers on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Now I personally do not have an issue with our application being rejected, as that is the nature of the beast. Not every convention is going to accept us. We've been rejected by E3 and Anime Expo, and I'm okay with that. However, for this specific convention, we were rejected because we don't meet a superficial number off of social media pages that will be irrelevant in a few years' time. Not to mention numbers that could be fudged by creating a vast number of dummy accounts just to like the pages.
What is also frustrating is that they have allowed Press outlets to attend their convention who have done a single blog post that featured seven photos of the convention and the outlet only attended the convention for one day while another that only reviewed their experience through a single podcast. No photos, no video, nothing at all to document the convention itself outside of vocal verbiage. There was no proof they even had actually attended the convention.
How is it that this is an acceptable form of Press coverage, while full on videos and photos are not? It appears as if they would rather have a "quantity over quality" scenario when it comes to businesses covering their convention. And this is coming from a convention that can't be bothered to put up a proper "ABOUT US" page on their own social media pages. I had to dive deep into their parent group, Altered Reality Entertainment, just to find out any information I could on them, of which very little was available. In fact, even Altered Reality Entertainment seems to be a mysterious company with a minimal history outside of it being "an event entertainment company based in New England. It currently produces multimedia, multi-genre events in the New England area including Rhode Island Comic Con, Terror Con, and Southcoast Toy and Comic Show," per their Better Business Bureau page.
The only relevant bit of information I could find on Altered Reality Entertainment is that they are owned by a man named Steven Perry and they were started in 2010. This raises a red flag on whether or not this is a company with conventions worth supporting in the first place.
Moving back to the topic at hand, the fact that Colorado Springs Comic Con, or perhaps even Altered Reality Entertainment in general, only wants to support businesses that have a certain number of likes on social media pages tells us that they are not interested in supporting local start-up businesses. They only want big leagues who have the numbers regardless of the coverage quality.
When I inquired others about their thoughts on this policy, one retorted, "Shutting out Independent Media is always a sign of base elitism and poor aesthetic judgment." Another lamented, stating this decision has helped sway him into choosing to not attend the convention. Another said, "Twitter and Facebook are bad measures of success. They're too easy to fake and they're not currently monetizable with out subsequent personal demographic information." What was even more troubling was that another outlet who had not even applied for a Press badge was offered one just because they did have the numbers.
At the end of the day, we do respect the decision Colorado Springs Comic Con has made, even if we disagree with it. Nevertheless, if you are a local business, especially a start-up, watch out, because you have more than likely been alienated by Altered Reality Entertainment just because you didn't, or couldn't, play the numbers game.