The calm before the VMworld

Warning: the following post is not related to any product release, vendors alliances, or any other industry news that we normally cover on
It’s just a commentary on the (bad) public relation and marketing practices that are so common before the big trade show that VMworld is.

Last year VMworld 2008 broke any attendance record in the history of VMware, surpassing 14,000 attendees and over 200 vendors sponsoring and exhibiting at the event.

It was a huge exposure opportunity even for the smallest startup in the market and so all the PR firms that were involved literally overflooded with news the influencers (analysts, journalists, bloggers, independent technical evangelists, etc.) that were supposed to attend the conference or at least cover the event on their websites.

Of course this activity also implied firing the PR announcements online, bombarding every poor customer that subscribes Google News or other news alert systems for specific keywords about virtualization.

This is a common practice before a big trade show, but it doesn’t mean that it is a good one.

What happened last year is that both most influencers and some customers had the “honor” to receive at least 200 news announcements.
In some cases the vendors had the smart idea to send out one announcement for every single product that was updated in their portfolio, and because the rule that more is better still applies in the IT industry, some vendors released two, three, even four news at the same time.

All of this mess happened during the show, while the news recipients were actually busy attending sessions, visiting booths, doing networking, etc. Everything but reading 200+ emails.

Now the question is: who the hell in the world would has time to pay attention to so many announcements at the same time during the live trade show?
Each one should require a careful analysis considering we are talking about enterprise products that have a major impact on the company productivity. Definitively not something that can be read and digested in two minutes, in-between breakout sessions.

Of course these press announcements are also read by the many that didn’t attend the show, but one of the main purposes to release them during the show is to attract the people on-site to the vendors’ booths.
Quite the opposite, such massive amount of information would scare away even the bravest reader because it requires hours just to separate the concrete announcements from the meaningless hype.

In fact, after a long analysis, an astonishing fact emerged: at least 30% of the VMworld announcements released by exhibitors, were about product upgrades that would become available in one month, one quarter or even the next year.
In other words the vendors put a huge effort to announce something during the event that they couldn’t sell at all during the event.

This is SPAM, and, whatever the PR and marketing department believe about the topic, it hurts the vendor’s image.

So what’s happening this year, one week before the VMworld 2009?

Somebody must have recognized the fault of this approach and has announced its upcoming new products one or two weeks before the event takes place.

Customers and influencers had time to review with calm the new things that will be available on the exhibit floor, and will certainly visit the booths with a more clear idea of what they want to see.

Unfortunately the large majority of the market vendors still believe that flooding the inboxes during the event is a good idea, so this week still is the calm before the tempest.

As every year, will report on the VMworld news after a careful analysis so, dear readers, don’t worry too much about the virtualization SPAM coming your way.
We’ll provide a meaningful digest as we did earlier this year, last year, and the year before that one.

Before that, anyway, we’ll provide the live coverage of the event keynotes and any major announcement that VMware will make during the conference.

Thanks for staying with us.