The Failure of Dashcon | The world’s first Tumblr convention


In March of 2013, a group of Tumblr users come up with a brilliant idea; Dashcon. A convention specifically for, and by Tumblr users. This, is their story. Dashcon! [wowser] Hosted in the Renaissance Convention Center in Chicago. Only $65 for the weekend. [wowser intensifies] Epic panel lineup, (wowser) Welcome to Night Vale reading. LGBTQQIP2SAA+ [Amazeballs!] Massive ball pit. Steam Powered Giraffe live show. The Baker Street Babes. And friendly memes? You bet. Expect 5,000 people. We’ll see you there… Whoosh! Here comes Friday, and a big, fat serving of reality. About 500 people show up at 9:00 AM, But nothing’s scheduled until 1:00 PM, so people just wait around for the next 4 hours. [Interviewer] So at what point did you decide that this is what you wanted to do with your life? [Cosplayer] I didn’t, it just kind of… happened. [Interviewer] The thug life chose you? Turns out, Steam Powered Giraffe cancelled months ago. Sorry, if you bought special tickets, no refunds though, LOL Check out the games room. One TV, one console. Perfect for up to 7,000 people. Here’s that ballpit you were looking forward to. [Interviewer] Free Palestine! Death to Israel! Death to Israel! Free Palestine [laughs] Overall, it’s a pretty fuckin’ slow day. [Interviewer] What made you want to dress up as the prime minister of Israel for this convention? [Satan cosplayer] I say dress for the job you want. Then, by 9:00 PM, disaster strikes. The bill for the venue hasn’t even been paid. The hotel wants it immediately, or the doors will be shut and the convention is over. We currently have a donation button up on our website, and any little bit that, like, helps. (This shit actually happened.) (Let that sink in for a moment.) But, they raise the money, and the con continues. Artisans and storeholders who paid $150 each for their tables aren’t selling anything because their customers just donated all of their cash. Tumblr’s turned on the convention completely. [hamplanet] the destruction of this – CONVENTION – Is dedicated to all of the women whose – BANK ACCOUNT – have been ruined and ruled by it. I’m tired of you stealing my – MONEY – I’m tired of you making me – DONATE TO PAYPAL – They call Dashcon a scam, and try to have certain events shut down. ‘Mark Does Stuff’ (Mark Oshiro), a gay Hispanic panelist, Hi, I’m Mark. (That’s him second from the right) is sent death threats because they think he’s a STRAIGHT WHITE MALE who’s mis-appropriating The Gay™ for profit. Pacific Rim is illegally played to an audience of 100. Tumblr sends tweets to Del Toro to get them in trouble. The Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Sing-Along is cancelled due to copyright concerns, Then, the main event – As long as we get to see a live reading from Welcome To Night Vale, it’ll all be OK. [Person] We’re here for the live reading of WTNV It is 12:50 right now, and they’re still not here. [official person-woman] Okay, so basically… While everyone is still sitting in that room, waiting for the show to start, They change the rules on the website so that there are no refunds. But don’t worry, there’s a silver lining! Everyone who paid extra to see Welcome to Night Vale is entitled to a FREE extra hour in the Ball Pit. [hey it’s the same interviewer from before] This is what your $17,000 went to! [Interviewer laughs his ass off] And with that, a meme is born. Song: Doctor P & Adam F – The Pit (Ft. Method Man) (Doctor P VIP Mix) By the early afternoon, the vendors pack up and leave. Some shitty panels happen. (wow, this really is shit) (time for an old classic, Buzzword Bingo) Because again, they don’t have any cash, they’re giving out free hotel mints as prizes. The teenage unpaid helpers, who were promised free meals, aren’t given anything, and go hungry. There’s a full-on organizer meltdown, [ professor sad’s black cousin ] And Tumblr finds out that the main artwork used for the convention is in fact, stolen copyright material. By the evening, the unthinkable happens. The ball pit starts to deflate. And someone pisses in it. (It’s widely rumoured someone from /b/ did it) The ball pit is taken away. Also, Tumblr finds out that random acts, – A charity that Dashcon claims to be partnered with – Isn’t, in fact, partnered at all. Which means, by the way, they’ve just been pocketing the money. The organizers host an official apology panel. Here’s a quick summary of that. And everything is closed by 1:00 PM. Since Dashcon, there have been many rumours online that the whole thing was an out-and-out scam. So I did some detective work to see whether it was true. I think what I’ve found proves that even if the staff didn’t set out to scam people, They did, oppurtunistically, steal and lie. Prepare for some high-quality autism. Dashcon had a written agreement to pay $40K, Plus some change, to the Renaissance Hotel Mariott. They paid $20K before the thing began, So, they had a balance of 20K still remaining. They told the hotel that 5 to 7,000 people would be attending, and could they please pay as door sales came in. As a financially risky move, the Mariott agreed verbally, but not in writing. On the first day, the hotel sees at most, 1,000 people. They know that Dashcon’s door sales are fucked, so they enforce immediate payment as per their written contract. Dashcon does not have the funds. And here’s where it gets interesting. Dashcon claims they only had $3000 in cash. So at 9:00 PM, Dashcon staff gather everyone into one room, to beg for the remaining 17,000. Let’s do a headcount. Maybe another 33 here encase there are people on the margin And we’ll add 10% to be generous It’s *unlikely* that there are more than 350 people in this room. Now we know they reached their goal, [Dashcon organizer] We almost got shut down. [Interviewer] Really? [Dashcon Organizer] Because we needed to raise $17,000. [Interviewer] Really? [Dashcon organizer] Yes. [Interviewer] That’s pretty cool. Did you do it? [Dashcon organizer] We did it in under an hour. [Interviewer] Really?
[Dashcon organizer] Yeah. They received donations by PayPal and cash, but only a small fraction in cash. Let’s be generous and say one tenth of the room at most. You can see people donating in the footage and it’s probably much less. So, even if each cash donor is giving 20 bucks, which, again, generous, that’s only $700 total. Therefore, the other 16,000 or so is in electronic payments. Now, let’s look at this leaked list of transactions. Hold on! They made most of their payment in cash, almost $12,000. But they only could’ve got 700 from the donors, and they only had 3,000 in cash. So where did the rest of it come from? It’s door sales revenue, not donations, meaning they lied about only having 3,000 dollars in the first place. They actually had at least 10,000. Now, here are the transactions that come from the PayPal Mastercard. Let’s take that from the total owed, and what we get is the following: In a best case scenario, of the donated $17,000, at most they spent less that $7,000 keeping the place open, they spent over $2,000 on themselves and their own accomodation, and the remaining $9,000 or so, they pocketed. Also, they’re liars. [Dashcon Organizer] ‘Cause I was on stage for an hour, in front of 5,000 people. In a room, [Interviewer] Was there 5,000 people here? [Organizer] containing a riot. [Crowd singing ‘We Are The Champions] [Dashcon organizer] Back to my post [Interviewer cracks up] But there’s one last thing I want to touch on. As part of the merchandising, an official Dashcon DVD is listed, and it’s possible that a copy exists out there somewhere, and I NEED to find it. So I want to put a $100 bounty out for anyone who might have a copy. It doesn’t need to be the physical DVD, just a copy of the file itself. THE HUNT IS ON.

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