EventReg.com is a Web site where you can try out a three-level line of online software products for conference registration. Upon first visit, the site has a notably clean design, and the three registration packages available are easy to figure out. But for this reviewer, it took a view of the custom-level (fanciest) product to understand why the site looked clean and the software was easy to understand: It's run by people who have been in the tech conference business since 1978. That's well before some of today's event managers were born.

San Francisco-based event management company Conference Planners, which launched the product, had as one of its first customers the old Atari company (What, you never played Space Invaders on an Atari VCS?), and has gone on to make tech industry clients a specialty. The current client list includes Cisco, Sun Microsystems, Network Associates, and Peoplesoft.

The two simpler options at the site, Lite and Select, are designed to be reached by a link from your organization's site. The Lite version collects basic contact information and can create on-site registration support (including badge printing), post-event reports, and handle such simple functions as sending e-mail confirmations to registrants. At the Select level, EventReg.com offers the ability to take credit card payments, housing requests, and such sophisticated functions as allowing registration for individual sessions at a conference based on the number of seats available.

At the Custom level, a fully functional event site can be created. The demo shows the Cisco Networkers '99 event in Vienna, Austria; it is presented as a Cisco page, not as an EventReg.com product, and it has just about all the features an event manager or meeting planner could want, from taking credit cards to generating invitation lists for private events within a larger conference.

This Is Not Passkey EventReg.com does not include an online group housing services component. Instead, at the custom level EventReg.com collects hotel requests and batch processes them. "We capture the housing information and credit-card numbers, then ask the hotels that are booking the conference what format they want them in," says Bob Harren, CIO for Conference Planners. "We'll either e-mail them in a specific format that interfaces with their reservation system, or, some hotels want spreadsheets. ... The client may or may not want us to get involved in the whole effort--we can handle everything from registration to session management to entertainment--but that's what our full custom service is."

And that's why the Lite and Select services are available--for managers and planners who are used to running their own shows but want to outsource registration and management software, in this case to a vendor with a long, long track record.

See the demo at www.eventreg.com; a link there

can connect you to parent company Conference

Planners. And if you never did play Space Invaders, visit www.atari-history.com to see what the fuss was about.