The cancellation of a second annual convention in California was announced over the weekend on their website, with the Marriott Burbank based Hentai Con announcing a cryptic data breach and plans for 2020.
The announcement, which can be found on the convention’s website, list the reasons for cancellation as issues with “one of our third party data service provider (sic) and compatibility issues with our venue.”
That announcement later doubles down on mentioning these reasons and says Despite our difficulties with one of our data service provider and venue, we already have a different venue lined up for 2020.
What’s a data service provider?
This is the most cryptic part of the announcement, as it is pretty unclear as to what the convention is talking about. This could be a result of intentional obfusification, or it could be the result of the writers apparent use of English as a second language, as the announcement contains a few grammatical and plural noun errors.
In the case of an anime or other fan convention, referring to a service provider could be referring to a provider like Google spreadsheets, containing data with panels and events, or it could refer to a service provider like Eventbrite or Tixily that actually tracks registrant data. Funny enough, as I was writing this, Eventbrite appeared to be down. Event organizers should take care to download and backup their data regularly.
The convention may have not released more information as to the breach in order to not create an issue of defamatory liability, in case the breach was somehow the result of a weak password and the responsibility of the convention.
What’s the venue problem?
What’s more concerning to me is that the cancellation notice mentions problems with the venue twice. These problems could be anything and are quite vague. Is it possible that the convention’s hotel decided they don’t want to allow a hentai convention at their venue? That would be a jarring infringement on free organizing and should worry event organizers everywhere if hotels decide they are going to begin to police event content.
Or did the venue simply ask for event deposits in advance, deposits that the convention could not afford? The lack of transparency here is confusing.
Why cons might get canceled.
Here is a list of some reasons that a convention might be canceled, not specific to this circumstance.
A convention might be canceled for being unable to pay its venue deposit in advance.
It might be canceled because the hotel is undergoing renovations, has experienced some kind of damage due to flood, disaster, or bedbugs. Or the hotel could want to book a much more profitable event.
A convention could also be canceled if the organizers are unable to put together the pieces of the event in time, such as actually creating a schedule, making program guides, ordering badges, getting staff members, and advertising the event. Some of this can be automated with software.
A convention in general could also be canceled due to organizers’ mismanagement of funds, or as a result of theft or embezzlement.
It could also be canceled if some key staff (or perhaps in this case a third-party service provider) member somehow deletes or runs off with important information required to run the event, such as the only copy of the list of the registrant’s or all the exhibitor information.
The announcement had said that more people have pre-registered for the 2019 event then had even at ended in 2018.
Hentai-Con was scheduled to take place November 1st – 3rd at the Burbank Marriott.
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