How do you know when your alt.hacking conference has arrived? Maybe when scalpers are offering tickets for the event on eBay for almost three times the face value. That’s the situation the organizers of hacking conference Shmoocon have found themselves in, as illicit auctions for tickets to next year’s conference, to be held January 28-30, threatening to overshadow the event.
Shmoocon, in its seventh year, is one of the premiere hacking and security conferences on the East Coast. Its location in Washington D.C. has also made it a destination event for the growing cadre of IT security personnel working within Federal agencies. Since the inaugural event in 2005, attendance has grown three fold to over 1,200 attendees, with organizers capping the size of the event in recent years. That’s put a premium on tickets to the event. Shmoocon’s first round of tickets went on sale November 1 and sold out in a mere six seconds while its second round, released on December 1 sold out in nine seconds.
This isn’t the first time tickets to the con have popped up on the Internet auction site and will likely fuel conversation that The Shmoo, the organization behind Shmoocon, expand its capacity.
While there are certainly other hacking conferences, Shmoocon prides itself on being “high quality without the high price.” It remains to be seen how the conference will be able to find a balance between being both insular and affordable in the future.