International News: PR 'not to blame' for failed Internet event

LONDON: Lack of interest forced organizers to cancel the World Internet Forum conference just three days before it was to start. Only one-third of the expected 250 delegates had registered by the time the plug was pulled.

LONDON: Lack of interest forced organizers to cancel the World Internet Forum conference just three days before it was to start. Only one-third of the expected 250 delegates had registered by the time the plug was pulled.

LONDON: Lack of interest forced organizers to cancel the World Internet Forum conference just three days before it was to start. Only one-third of the expected 250 delegates had registered by the time the plug was pulled.

The event was to take place November 13 and would have featured speakers such as Chris Smith, UK secretary of state for culture, media and sport.

But ineffective PR was not to blame, according to Firefly Communications, the forum's agency. 'The problem was that the sponsors and speakers were of a caliber not matched by the quality and quantity of the delegates,' said Kieran Moore, a Firefly director.

Firefly handled media outreach for the event, and had secured about 70 international print and broadcast journalists to cover it.

'Media interest certainly was very, very high,' said Moore. 'The coverage was assured.'

Firefly was not involved in recruiting delegates.

Robert Blaney, CEO of the World Internet Forum, blamed a delay in confirming the program and speakers. He also said the forum had to work to differentiate itself in a crowded Internet information market.

'We have to find a way to let people know this isn't just another e-commerce event,' he said. 'This is the World Internet Forum and it's very important.'

The forum aims to bring together the government and the private sector to look at legislative and other Internet commerce issues.



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