John M. Peckham III 25,000 participants

It has all the features of a typical convention – keynote speakers, exhibit booths, prize drawings and networking opportunities. Yet the Real Estate Cyberspace Society’s first annual convention won’t include a hefty price tag, and participants won’t have to fly thousands of miles and book hotel rooms in advance.

That’s because the National Real Estate Online Convention and Exposition will be conducted entirely on the Internet, and registrants won’t have to pay a dime to participate.

“It’s definitely cutting-edge,” said Angela Portosa, the director of the online convention.

The five-day convention will take place April 18-22 and will feature 33 of the world’s top technology speakers and more than 100 exhibits.

Two days after the cyberspace group sent e-mails announcing the convention, nearly 1,000 people had already registered for the convention. As of last week, more than 40 companies had committed as exhibitors.

“The convention is open to all real estate practitioners,” said John M. Peckham III, executive director of the Boston-based Real Estate Cyberspace Society, which has 102 chapters worldwide and members in 26 countries.

Peckham said the convention is likely to draw 25,000 real estate professionals worldwide, mostly residential real estate agents and brokers.

Seventy universities and colleges with real estate academic programs have been invited to attend, and the University of Denver has already agreed to broadcast the keynote speeches to students, said Peckham.

Registered participants will be given a password and can log on to check the daily schedule at any time during the day. The schedule will be posted before the convention, and the speeches will be digitized and offered at various times. The presentations will also include a white paper, or summary of the speech, that can be printed.

Participants can also “tour” the exhibits at any time.

Only the keynote speakers will address registrants live in real time. The keynote speakers are: Michael J. Russer, president and founder of an Internet training and consulting firm in Santa Barbara, Calif., that helps real estate professionals, and James Young, president of The Jameson Group, based in Carlsbad, Calif.

‘Net Working

The convention has been in the works since last year.

“We saw four things that people were doing at conventions that could essentially be replicated online,” said Peckham. The four “things” include listening to speakers, networking, touring exhibits and socializing or having fun.

The convention will provide real estate professionals with the opportunity to do all four – minus the expense and the hassle of flying to a different city and making hotel accommodations, according to the convention organizers.

Since people are busier than ever and value their time, the online conventions could become a more popular and less costly alternative to typical conventions, said Peckham.

Also, in this era of heightened security, sitting in the comfort of your home or office and hearing experts provide real estate tips may be more attractive than traveling to faraway cities.

“There are people who are reluctant to fly and many of the convention cities – like Orlando and Las Vegas – have been suffering badly,” said Peckham. “We hope and pray that will solve itself but in the meantime this is a way for people that have been reluctant [to travel] to network and get the information that they’re looking for.”

While companies and industries have organized online educational seminars and expositions, Portosa said she does not know of any that have done a full-scale convention and expo online.

The cost of the convention is being supported by sponsors and exhibitors. Exhibitors pay $750 for a regular booth that can be accessed by visitors during the convention and throughout the year until the next year’s annual convention. In addition, participants can enter drawings for prizes at the exhibits. Each time a participant enters an exhibit drawing, his or her name is also entered into the drawing for the grand prize.

Peckham said that people who register for the convention by the end of this month will have their names entered three times in the grand-prize drawing. The grand prize has not been revealed yet.

People who are interested in learning more about the speakers or would like to register may visit

Real Estate Cyberspace Society Slates First Online Convention

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 3 min