Despite this week ad:tech officials telling people that they were planning to go on with the show, insiders have told PMI that they are considering canceling the show. Several sponsors personally called me, telling me that they have already asked for refunds on their sponsorships – plus more than a few exhibitors saying there are serious problems in the show continuing.

While still saying the show must go on, officials at ad:tech have sent a limited survey to people asking about their attendance.  Clearly they are considering what the next steps should be in regards to adtech, and need to come to a decision today.

 Here are some of the issues that exhibitors and attendees are having:

–    Hotels have refused to confirm when they are opening, and will some will not assure reservations at this time.
–     One of the warehouses that have many of the exhibits is still underwater, and there is no way to know the extent of the damage.  More than likely the exhibits are somewhat destroyed by salt water and unusable.
–     Those who need to ship exhibits have been told there is limited availability to ship by the shipping companies, including some companies that have told them they wont be able to get the exhibits in for over a week because of backups.
–     No one can guarantee transportation into Manhattan from the airport. One airport is just opening today, and all airports have limited ability still.
–     Flights cannot be confirmed for the next week by many of the major airlines.

As someone who spent the majority of their life in NYC, I fully support having events after the disaster. NYC will survive, and always be a great place. However, maybe its not a good idea when there are still parts of the city being forced to give out water, and with almost no way to currently easily get into NYC, to cancel the event. I understand the revenue implications, but the industry might appreciate some leadership – and perhaps ask companies to use the money to go to charity and those affected by Sandy.

We have been unable to reach anyone at ad:tech for comment, and all calls and extensions that we’ve tried have gone unanswered to us. I have however changed the title to “should” adtech be canceled. Although they are still having a survey about if you are attending or not, and why.

Update 4:55PST: adtech sent out the following message

We’d like to confirm that next week’s ad:tech New York event WILL TAKE PLACE as planned Nov 7-8th, 2012. We just heard that the marathon has been cancelled so want to reconfirm that our show is going ahead as scheduled.

Our team has made a full assessment of the situation at Javits. We’ve seen the extraordinary measures the Javits Center staff is making. We’ve also witnessed the heroic measures the City of New York is taking to get the city running again and keep New York City open for business. We asked you, the members of the digital marketing community—exhibitors, delegates, speakers—and overwhelmingly you said the same thing: the show must go on. Contrary to the rumors circulating on the web WE’RE RE-CONFIRMING: the ad:tech New York 2012 show is a GO.

New York is a resilient city, and its people and businesses have endured hardships before. Each and every time they’ve come back stronger. Mayor Bloomberg has made a point of encouraging businesses to get back to work as soon as they’re able and we feel an obligation to keep our commitments to the industry, the city and the ad:tech eco-system—hotels, taxis, restaurants and other venues and vendors—that benefit from the show. Thank you for your patience and persistence.

Since ad:tech is happening so closely on the heels of Sandy it should be expected there will be some logistical challenges. But given that our show takes place entirely within Javits, we feel we should go ahead. New York and the greater ad:tech community are incredibly supportive, and we’re sure we’ll see that spirit displayed throughout what we know will be an amazing show.

See you in New York next week!
-the ad:tech team

Since this was originally written its been announced that a major storm will be hitting the NY area again. While it’s not going to be a hurricane, it’s going to be a severe cold front to NYC when so many New Yorkers still don’t have power for heat. Considering much of the area is still suffering, people don’t have gas, water, electricity, ways to get to work, many people have pointed out this may not be a good time for having a conference for humanitarian reasons.

What's your opinion?