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A note from the publisher

Published October 22, 2018

SANTA FE, N.M. (BRAIN) — In the October issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News, we made an assertion that Interbike had offered free booth space to selected key brands. When I read that sentence I was struck by the fact that no one at Interbike had responded—one way or another—to that assertion.

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I called Justin Gottlieb, Interbike's show director, and asked him directly if that were true and whether an editor from BRAIN, who had written the article, had discussed that claim with him.

My call to Gottlieb was not prompted by a complaint from Interbike, which owns BRAIN and has licensed the magazine to the National Bicycle Dealers Association. I placed that call on my own initiative out of curiosity at the lack of response from Interbike and the lack of sourcing for the claim.

Gottlieb, whom I have known for years, said the claim was untrue and that no one from the magazine had questioned him about it. I have no reason to doubt Gottlieb. This was a serious error on our part and has caused some consternation among exhibitors who feel they may have been cheated and, in effect, contend they may have helped subsidize other brands.

It's true that while at Interbike I had heard such rumors, but that was it—rumors. BRAIN staffers heard the same rumors but apparently failed to find any concrete evidence of booth-space freebies. The assertion we made in the article has no source and, perhaps worse, no response from Interbike in what was otherwise a fair and accurate appraisal of the show.

As for free space, Gottlieb said Interbike does not give away free space on the convention floor to participating brands. But Interbike does offer free space to a host of non-profits and has for years—non-profits like the NBDA, PeopleForBikes, IMBA and many others.

On the other hand, it has in the past, and did so again in Reno, work with companies to offer them value-added packages that, for example, included additional space at the Open Air District.

"We did that to help boost that part of our program," he said, noting that this was Interbike's first show in Reno. Gottlieb and the show's sales director, Andria Klinger, said such value-added programs, especially for larger companies who spend many thousands of dollars to attend, are not uncommon.

Some companies, based on their investment in the show, were also offered a select number of comp rooms in some of the downtown hotels as part of value-added packages, she said.

Nonetheless, those value-added packages do not include free space on the convention floor, Klinger added. And it's fair to say that this magazine—depending upon the spend—will work with advertisers on value-added programs as well. It is not uncommon at trade shows or in publishing to do so.

But more importantly for Interbike, bringing in key exhibitors is what attracts dealers to the show. Interbike, which significantly increased its marketing budget to help promote the new venue, also helped defray the costs of some 50 dealers. Gottlieb said Interbike's intention was to work with key brands to identify high-impact dealers who had not attended Interbike in the past few years.

"We also wanted to incentivize them to attend on behalf of those brands. That's the first time we've ever had such a program," Gottlieb said. In doing so Interbike's goal was to showcase Reno, Outdoor Demo and the expo to those dealers and to connect them with the brands that picked them to attend, he said. 

Still, most dealers have enjoyed similar perks from companies like Trek, Specialized, Giant and others who have paid to have them attend their annual product introduction programs. These types of programs are not unusual in any industry.

I hope this note helps clear the air about this magazine's credibility and its responsibility toward its readers. We erred in failing to talk directly with Gottlieb about the show's marketing efforts and for that we apologize.

Topics associated with this article: Interbike

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