iConvention.com an Inexpensive Option "Our idea is to get association trade shows online so they can compete with all the vertical communities popping up that are trying to get rid of or replace associations," says Walter Mathews, director of marketing for iConvention.com. A virtual trade show provider, iConvention (www.iconvention.com) is designed to be affordable for associations, Mathews says. Fees are based on the number of exhibitors, with producers paying an average of $2,500 per show, he says.

iConvention, based in Sacramento, Calif., will get a show online in just 24 hours, Mathews says, allowing attendees to register online, book travel, preview exhibitors, and schedule appointments. Organizers can generate demographic and lead reports based on who is previewing the show. Other virtual features include streaming audio/video of education sessions, a language translation service, and e-polling/surveys capabilities. Organizers can also sell booths online. Fees depend on the type of booths exhibitors purchase.

An e-commerce component is available, with iConvention paid a portion of the revenue. (Mathews would not disclose the percentage.) "Most shows don't want e-commerce," he says. "The goal of the [virtual] show is to gather leads and foster relationships."

Current clients include Hospimedica Mexico, the North American Quarry Show, the Minority Supplier Council of Kansas City, and the California Society of Association Executives.