CES in Vegas: how to attend?
November 28, 2005 6:23 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to CES in Las Vegas in January. My hotel is reserved, my plane tickets have been purchased; only one thing left to do: get into CES!

The FAQ on the CES website says International CES is not open to the general public. You must be in the consumer electronics industry to be eligible to attend the show. Just how strict are they on this? I'm sort of in the consumer electronics industry (tech support at a major university), though I wouldn't necessarily be representing the university at CES. Does this matter? Can I use my affiliation with the university to be allowed in? How strict are they about all of this? I have a feeling that, while it may not be open to the general public, anyone who really wants to go won't have a problem registering and being allowed in. Can anyone verify this? Thanks!
posted by nitsuj to Travel & Transportation around Las Vegas, NV (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
From the registration page:

All attendees will be asked for two forms of ID: one photo ID and the other proving affiliation with the consumer electronics industry (pay stub, business card, etc.)

It sounds like they are pretty serious. You could always try contacting them to see if you could slip by or making your own fake business card. However, I have a few friends who managed to get in by setting up a fake magazine and attending as members of the press.
posted by Alison at 6:52 AM on November 28, 2005

Speaking as someone actually going to CES, it will be pretty difficult if you're not part of the industry.

My only experience with any other tradeshows (I'm young) thusfar was at E3 this year. E3 requires you send in a sample of blood to prove that you're affiliated with the gaming industry. Or something.

In all seriousness, they require, on the surface, a driver's license, a copy of a piece published on the site/magazine in question within the last six months relating directly to the industry, business card, and a copy of your business license. My editor just called and bitched them out until they gave us press passes, but that's because we actually were press. And they still were pretty awful about it.

It's very unlikely that they'll qualify tech support, and thus, your Uni affiliation will mean nothing to them. You're actually likely better off generating a blog around consumer electronics or faking it or some such.

Now, these guidelines were to register as media, but they're not very forgiving for the normal attendee passes, either.

The way most these passes are distributed is by the actual exhibitors. Exhibitors receive tons of complimentary passes, which they pass along to those they deem worthy. Then, the rest of us are left to fight to justify our relationship with the industry.

Either way, this doesn't exactly bode well for you. They make it this specific because a) they have no problem filling the space with these limitations and b) when something is industry only, it changes the focus of the event. They pander to the media and focus on forming solid connections with others in their industry, instead of working on selling a solution to an end-user. Think of it as one giant B2B and B2Press orgy.

If it's any consolation, I'll be sure to take a lot of pictures. :-) Or I'll let you use my badge towards the end. (At E3, they were checking badges with a crazy bloodlust at the door to every hall. Which doesn't necessarily mean they're non-transferrable, since the ID check is just to procure the initial badge. But still, it won't be easy.)

Feel free to get in touch with me over AIM or email (in profile) for any more info.
posted by disillusioned at 8:20 AM on November 28, 2005

Yeah, I would definitely try to get in with one of the exhibitors.

I'm going to CES too. My company publishes the official directory (and other publications) and a bunch of trade magazines. I just started working here, so I'm pretty stoked to have an expenses-paid trip to Vegas.
posted by elisabeth r at 8:31 AM on November 28, 2005

I have a few friends going who work at technology-focused hedge funds. I wonder how difficulted it would be to fake some hedge fund credentials? They're growing like weeds and are very secretive to boot, so checking on every one of them may be difficult.
posted by mullacc at 8:37 AM on November 28, 2005

I went to CES two years ago, and as I recall, I just signed up using my company name - (I work for a small restaurant chain) and said I was involved in the purchase of electronics - and it wasn't a problem at all. They STILL e-mail me every so often.

I just don't think this is as hard to get in to as E3.
posted by Futurehouse at 8:45 AM on November 28, 2005

I presume that E3 is hard because there are so many little gaming freaks that would go if they could get away with it. CES just isn't like that.

Don't miss Alexis Park!
posted by Chuckles at 10:01 AM on November 28, 2005

Not to encourage dishonesty, but if they ask for a business card as 'proof' ... well, you can have several hundred printed up for less than $50. Just create a company name and a neat little logo, and away you go...
posted by littleme at 10:51 AM on November 28, 2005

CES is not strict at all. E3 is far more strict (they want to keep the kiddies out), but still easy to get in to if you act "professional." (try sweet-talking an off-duty stamper, and you will get the "official" stamp AND not have to wait in the first long line)
posted by b1tr0t at 4:04 PM on November 28, 2005

Thanks for the info everyone!
posted by nitsuj at 8:59 AM on November 29, 2005

Update: It was rediculously easy to get in. We registered online, and were told we needed to provide "proof of industry affiliation." For me, I had my ID badge from work, which worked just fine. For my friend, he had his proof of incorporation for his (almost) nonexistant business. Worked like a charm. I don't think they really care, they just don't want anyone walking in off the streets.
posted by nitsuj at 7:45 AM on March 31, 2006

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