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Web 2.0: if you're not on the list, you're not coming in

The limited wisdom of tiny groups

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Organizers of a Web 2.0 talkfest are promising to unlock the secrets of the social networking universe for ordinary folks and to hook 'em up with some big swinging internet dicks over canapés.

Catch is, you can't just pay for a ticket and show up to this event, as you would any other Silicon Valley conference. No, as this is a new paradigm you've got be "invited", and you can only request an invite by registering online through the show's website. How the show's approval process works thereafter is anyone's guess.

Yes, welcome (not literally, of course) to the O'Reilly Media and CMP Web 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, California, due to be held in November and targeting entrepreneurs, VCs and media types.

Billed on its website as bringing together "the intelligence, innovation and leadership of the internet industry together in one place at one time" the show's organizers have promised that attendees will "learn what business models are working, what's next on the horizon and how all of this will affect your own business."

Great, sign me up... Oh, hang on: "Attendance is limited to maintain an intimate setting and foster dialogue among all participants."

If any of that sounds a little... er.... exclusive and contrary to the "wisdom-of-crowds" principal conference organizer Tim O'Reilly holds dear to Web 2.0, it should. The event is shaping up like a good old-fashioned, closed-door networking session to help foster business hook-ups and buzz.

Among the conference keynote speakers, screened attendees will be eager to get bought by spoken to are Amazon founder Jeff Bazos, Salesforce.com chief executive Marc Benioff, Adobe's chief executive, Bruce Chizen, and the president of News Corp's Fox Interactive division, Ross Levinsohn.

"New" media will be represented by the increasingly ubiquitous Digg founder Kevin Rose and YouTube chief exec Chad Hurley, who'll no doubt be spending a lot of time with NBC's president for digital media and market development Beth Comstock and IAC/InterActiveCorp chairman and chief executive Barry Diller, among others.

Ever eager to impart the wisdom of select groups to its own readership, The Register naturally applied to attend, but was politely, yet firmly, told there isn't any space (the show isn't until November). The Register faithful should, instead, check out show-sponsor CMP's own publications for Web 2.0 Conference news.

Organizers were unable to respond to requests for clarification of the show's attendance policy. Welcome to the participatory age, folks... ®

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