Just in time to bring you some holiday cheer - or plunge you into winter bleakness - CCI is rolling out Open Registration on 9 December. For the first time in I think ever, your last chance to grab a San Diego Comic-Con badge will be done before Christmas.
Open Reg will function as usual this year - the code, the waiting room, the blue circle, your pounding heart. If you're one of the few people new to a Comic-Con badge sale, I'll post step by step advice for you later on. It's not complicated. Essentially you need to get your Member ID account clean and correct, organize with your buying group/friends and have a credit card with the capacity to buy all the badges you might get. You also need to know not to refresh the waiting room, screenshot your confirmation screen and other tips I'll share later.
And now let's talk about buying groups.
People have always teamed up to help each other get badges. However, as badge sales have moved solely online and been restricted to 3 badges per session, people have become much more formal and organized about it. If you're not in a "buying group" and wonder what that is, people use it to refer to both an organized buying network and their own family members and friends who are buying with them.
People swing it in all different ways, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
- You should have some kind of feel for who you're working with. I know some people consider anyone they haven't met IRL a stranger - but you'll find the online SDCC community is pretty engaged with each other and most of us have worked with online comrades to get badges, rooms, and event tickets. That said, try to establish some kind of identity/context before you trust because...
- You're going to exchange personal information at some point.It could be last names, home addresses, phone numbers, registration codes, Paypal account names, even credit card numbers. People take all kinds of risks when a coveted badge or hotel room hangs in the balance. Think about what you're willing to share in advance. Get a temporary credit card or dedicated SDCC email account or other resources if you want to protect your privacy. I know someone who has been livid this year because LinkedIn and Facebook keep showing him as a Person You May Know to other attendees and he didn't realize that would happen. Just something to think about.
- Think also about the personalities of the people you're working with. Most of us know people who swear they're invested in going to SDCC, then drag their feet, sleep through the badge sale, vanish, forget to pay the hotel room deposit or are just generally irresponsible. If this describes your friends - find new SDCC friends. We're all so interdependent at this point, having a stable network is invaluable.
- Hopefully this doesn't need to be said, but - don't try to max out your chances by joining 5 different buying groups and cheating on 4 of them. There's nothing wrong with having someone else get you a badge but if you're promising your session to help your group when you're actually using those spots for someone else, that's low. Find a group you can trust and then be an attendee they can trust. One of the nicest things about the SDCC world is how generous everyone is with each other.
- And on that note, please read carefully what CCI buried in the middle of their blog post today: "If someone in your buying group attempts to sell or scalp their badge, all badges in the order will be canceled, including yours." Yikes! Think about that. Your friend buys your badge in December, falls on hard times in April and decides to sell his badge - and gets caught. Your badge is canceled too! That is a harsh policy. So that's another reason to make sure you're working with non-sketchy people and to stay in touch with them throughout the season.
Finally, I will play the role of the Grim Reaper and remind you that most contestants (because Open Reg does feel like an epic global game show, does it not?) won't get a badge. Which means that your New Year may begin on a somewhat depressing note, since you won't even have the hope of going to SDCC.
So remember the silver lining of this dark winter cloud: you'll have plenty of time to plan on a different Comic Con. Like Emerald City, New York, Boston, Salt Lake, Dragon, Denver, etc. There are so many good options out there - don't plummet into despair if you don't get a badge. Just dedicate 2018 to new Con horizons.
Just a little over a week till the most important remaining Saturday morning of the year. Stay tuned!