This morning at 7AM registration for Google I/O 2012 conference has began and all tickets sold out in about 28 minutes. Russell Holly estimated that roughly 7 million requests were sent for 5500 tickets. Do the math and you can see why the likelihood of getting in was slim. I barely got my ticket and the process left me a bit depressed.
Google had almost one year to prepare for this event and the best they could come up with was “first come, first served” process. Which wasn’t actually the case, because it was more of a lottery, where you would repeat this exciting sequence: click register, wait, get “sorry, try again” message,
rinse and repeat. It took me well over 20 attempts in multiple browsers to get in at 7:17, just 10 minutes before all tickets sold out.
There was a trick that apparently let you register a bit early (hint: view the source of the registration page), but this falls far short of the “be sure to brush up on your coding skills” November hint of a possible coding challenge. So how can this mess be solved?
First of all, stop the giveaways at the conference. Yes, it’s exciting to give the free stuff out and have your Oprah moment during the keynotes, but it hurts more than helps. Serious developers will buy hardware on their own or use loaner programs and Android is well past the time when giving out phones or tablets was necessary. Some targeted giveaways at the sessions are ok: good examples from the last year were Android Accessory development kit (Arduino) and Sony smartphones given out at the corresponding Android sessions only.
Second, allocate more tickets via coding challenges. Last year some tickets were awarded to the winners of the coding challenges, but the number of these tickets was minuscule. Increasing the number of tickets allocated this way would be greatly appreciated by the development community.
Third, drop silly registration requirements such as Google+ sign up. Google I/O events are about developers and building developer community. Requiring Google Wallet can somehow be justified, but Google+ requirement unnecessarily pisses off top developers, such as Mark Murphy:
They just launched the Google I|O 2012 conference site, and it is immediately apparent that I will not be attending, most likely, as they require Google+ to sign up.
And finally, follow the promises that were made prior to the registration. The Google IO 2012 registration page still says “registration will be first-come, first-served”, which clearly wasn’t the case. I realize that if the process would indeed have been first-come, first-served, all tickets would’ve sold out in the first few minutes, but either change the process or give it an honest description: a lottery.