I caught wind of this article via @dimensionmedia and it explained something that’s been becoming more prevalent over the years. Conferences have been a big ‘industry’ deal for a long time, and they’re definitely not specific to our little bubble that is Web design and development.
Conferences have worked their way into every industry in the world, and the fact of it is: they’re big money, at least they can be. Contrast that with events like WordCamp, put together by volunteers, awesomely affordable ticket prices (usually around $20), and sponsored to offset the costs.
Are WordCamps an outlier? If you’ve been to a WordCamp and something more ‘elaborate’ you’re quick to realize that WordCamp’s highest priority is the content and facilitating an easy-to-attend conference. Other conferences have grown to be entertainment-filled events of elaborate-ness with the biggest names possible, not to mention the crazy pass prices.
Personally I can’t afford to attend the high priced conferences, even though I’d really love to go and see what each and every one is like. I guess my stance is this: the prices got so high because people are willing to pay it, right?
As far as the price tag being ‘worth it’ I think that comes down to the eye of the beholder. Personally I find that I gain most of the content covered in these conferences via blog posts, Twitter, and general interaction with both the speakers and attendees of the conference. To some people it might be worth the price tag to save the time and effort it takes every day to stay up to date with the details and instead be presented with the condensed important details a few times a year from the horse’s mouths. I can almost see it both ways. Sure I’m disappointed that I’m not able to attend some of these (what look to be) over the top experiences but I’m okay with watching from the sidelines.