Last February 5 tickets to San Diego’s Comic-Con International 2011 sold out in seven hours. The company running the online registration system admitted it was overwhelmed by record demand and crashed more than once.
The con is making changes in an attempt to satisfy more members in 2012. The two main ones involve pricing and a new membership ID system.
Comic-Con has stopped offering a discount for 4-day badge purchases in hopes more people will purchase only the days they actually will be attending, leaving more badges available for others.
Then, everyone who intends to purchase, apply, or register for a Comic-Con badge must sign-up for a Comic-Con Member ID.
A Comic-Con FAQ attempts to minimize the confusion over its new terminology:
I still don’t understand – What is the difference between Member IDs, badges, and tickets?
A Comic-Con badge is required for entry to any Comic-Con event. This is the physical badge you will wear at Comic-Con.
Additionally, a Member ID account is required to purchase, apply, or register for a badge for Comic-Con. The Member ID will act as your “login” to the EPIC online registration system when it at a later date.
Without a Member ID you will not be able to log on to the EPIC online registration system and purchase a badge, nor complete a press, professional, trade professional or volunteer application.
Comic-Con does not sell “tickets” to our event. After you register for a Member ID and purchase your badge through EPIC online registration, you will receive a barcode confirmation e-mail that you will bring onsite to exchange for a badge.
I did not find the date for open online registration posted on any of the pages linked above; perhaps it has yet to be revealed. Conrunners will be watching with interest to see how the giant of the sf/fantasy field fares this year.
There’s one other significant change. It was announced at last year’s con that starting this year, they’d no longer sell any memberships at con for the next year’s con. Let’s just say there was a very full gripe session with lots of people saying they’d been attending for 10+ years who were ticked they were being tossed back into the lotteryesque free for all.
What are they going to do when they become the first 1,000,000 member con? Rent the whole city? Limit the membership to only people in a certain telephone exchange or who have the letters’ L and T in their names? Discriminate on whatever arbitrary bases remain legal — literacy levels, perhaps? Or weight? If you don’t score low on reading tests and don’t have a poor body/fat ratio, you can’t get in…
They aren’t likely to draw 1 million people because they limit how many memberships they sell. Otherwise, I suspect they could probably sell at least half a million memberships already.
As I recall, based on sheer body count, Comiket in Japan actually draws more people than ComicCon.