Why I Quit the San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog Last Year

**Updated 8-15-14: Additions at the bottom of post**

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 4.01.51 PMNow that Comic-Con is over, I feel it is time for me to share my perspective about the San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog site (@SD_Comic_Con). When Sarah of the ConShark.com announced on Sunday morning of Comic-Con that she resigned from the team for ‘ethical reasons’ involving dishonesty and breaking Hall H line policy, I realized that was the final confirmation I needed. Many of you may have made the assumption that those that blog about Comic-Con are one big happy family, unfortunately that is not the case. Those of you that have been paying attention may have noticed tension and negativity from them towards me and my site over this past year. They have made snide remarks and accusations towards me over Twitter but I have chosen to stay quiet on it. In Sarah’s case, I think it’s safe to assume this wasn’t an isolated incident for her but a straw that broke the camels back. Well it’s time to tell my story.

About 18 months ago, the newly appointed Editor-in-Chief, Jeremy Rutz, asked me to join the newly formed blog team. Over a few months, we brainstormed, collaborated, and dreamed of the future. Then in the dead of winter, Jeremy chose to post a an article about Comic-Con International’s financial information. I felt the article made assumptions and insinuated questionable practices just because of the big numbers involved. More importantly, it felt like the blog site was trying to pick a fight with CCI for no reason. We were doing it to just to get attention. Since I was privy to way more information than him, I asked him to consider pulling or at least temper it- which he refused. I thought it was in poor taste but fine- it’s just a difference of opinion. Then we made a move into advertising and plastering ads all over the site with now the focus becoming about generating traffic. So again, I talked Jeremy about this and he made it very clear that we are going to monetize this with and the focus was going to be on gaining numbers. I didn’t like it because it took our focus off of the fans but I stuck with it. I have nothing against advertising, but the focus to me changed at that point from fans to attracting clicks. Then came the criticism from Jeremy about my own site, that I was spending too much time on it and wasn’t giving the SDCC Blog site enough of my attention- which also led to monitoring my tweets and my updates. Our agreement was I would operate my site as normal and post when I could to their site. After some more troubling conversation with Jeremy, it was clear his intention was for my site (and others) to go away leaving the giant conglomeration of the SDCC Blog site dominating the space. I was not down for that. In my core, I want as many people to launch their own site and write about their love for Comic-Con- and I want to inspire them to do so. I had no interest in becoming an empire and stomping out the ‘little guys’. So because of taking a negative posture with CCI, a focus on traffic over fans, and a desire to build an empire, I knew it was time to leave just after a few months. Our departure was amicable and I thought that would be the end of the drama and I started to focus on covering Comic-Con 2013 on my own.

Since that time, it’s been very clear they have no love for me. They have attempted to sour my relationship with CCI and have regularly fired Twitter negativity about me for no reason like this:

SD-Comic_Con copy

As well as take aggressive actions against me like starting my own fake Facebook and Google+ accounts- with the purpose of sitting on my Crazy4ComicCon brand while driving traffic to their own site (screencaps below). Go ahead and visit the pages and see where all the links go to.

Screen shot 2014-07-29 at 9.53.14 PM Screen shot 2014-07-29 at 9.56.39 PM

In the midst of all this, I have not said one negative thing publicly about the SDCC blog. Even in the midst of being under fire, I just politely asked to keep it respectful. I even made sure to plug and promote them as you can see from a tweet this past May:

Screen shot 2014-07-31 at 7.12.43 AMScreen shot 2014-07-29 at 9.58.47 PM

Some of you have noticed the negativity aimed at me and have asked me why all the hate? I kept reasons confidential not wanting to start a war and detract from the show. I believed in taking the high road and continued to the best I could. However, even yesterday, when I reported the ConShark’s newly posted article, this is what Jeremy fired off (he deleted after this post):

Screen shot 2014-07-29 at 9.57.44 PM

It was a VERY interesting article about their site’s Hall H unethical practices- no question there but clearly a very defensive Jeremy has not recognized my support of their site. Truth is, because I walked away from them and have a little following, they see me as a threat. I don’t feel the same way and I think the service they provide is good (or at least was). After all this, I was still willing to put all this pettiness aside. As I stated numerous times, this behavior doesn’t serve the fans nor inspire future Comic-Con writers and I was willing to let it all go because I’m not in this like it’s something to win. Well that all changed with the ConShark’s announcement of her leaving the team.

You see, when the Comic-Con fans suffer, then I can no longer can stand aside and let it go unchecked. The NUMBER ONE complaint and overwhelming concern from 2013 and 2014 was the challenge of the Hall H line. THE NUMBER ONE COMPLAINT. More than Exclusives, autographs, hotels- it was how to fix Hall H. Well Comic-Con provided an opportunity to make real progress with their new Wristband/Line system they announced just prior to the show. There were some initial grumbling and complaining which is why I wrote a post stating that the only way this will work is if we ALL FOLLOW THE RULES. It’s the only way CCI can accurately assess and make adjustments for next year. Jeremy and company’s disregard of that has now sabotaged the very thing we all needed to be fixed. I get that we all make mistakes- a rage tweet or an impulsive decision, I get it. However, when you conspire to form an unofficial line, reward others with swag for doing the same, pressure staff to change rules, and ask your team to lie about it- that is different. They are recognized press by Comic-Con for the sole purpose of reporting truthful Comic-Con news. Jeremy’s premeditated and systematized deviant behavior negatively impacted fans and our future Hall H experience. They had an obligation to report the truth and instead withheld information and asked their team to do the same. For an average attendee, maybe it’s no big deal- but for the industry leader, they should have done otherwise. There are now 150+ less of you that did not get into Hall H because of him. I walked the line of Hall H that same night and other attendees noticed this unofficial line forming and naturally blamed Comic-Con for it. Here is an excerpt from a longer podcast I posted in my Podcast section:

If CCI had granted the SDCC Blog special access into Hall H for coverage, I would have been fine with that. Then it’s accounted for and I would trust CCI’s judgement call on it. People get special access all the time- no big deal. But instead, the SDCC Blog took the initiative and exploited a vulnerable part of an experimental system. Because of the ConShark’s courageous act, they got caught. As you can see from the comment section of the post, Jeremy takes no responsibility, blames her for not communicating, blames security for being wrong, and chalks it up to a big misunderstanding. Even though he is arguably the single most influential source for Comic-Con news, his last comment on the post included this:

Next time we’ll just tweet out every unsanctioned line that forms, screw over folks who started them and invested their time, cause a situation for security to deal with and get CCI to hate us. I guess then everyone will be happy.”

Sounds pretty remorseful right? The reason I am now choosing to be vocal about this is three reasons; First, where there is smoke there is usually fire. When two ex-team members come out to say there are unethical practices and mean spirited behavior at the core of their site then you all need to know. Secondly, I don’t want any aspiring creators or writers to follow their example. Doing good and being good matters in this world- especially if you have a large platform. So the last thing I would want is for any young and impressionable con writer to think that this sort of behavior is excused by the rest of us bloggers. I also don’t want anyone to think CCI is at fault. Third, I’ve felt bullied by them and I don’t want anyone else to feel the same.

No doubt this post will have Jeremy deflecting towards circumstantial and environmental reasons as he has already attempted to in the ConShark post. He’ll blame everyone except for himself. He will then turn his efforts to discredit me with petty stories of a rogue autograph, crediting photos, and being all in this for the fame. But nothing will change the fact that he lied, he conspired to lie, asked team members to lie, and lied to you all. Is this blowing it out of proportion over a line? If you saved up a lot of money, traveled long distances, and camped out over night in Hall H- then it does matter. I am going to believe in the best in the rest of his team like Shawn and Kerry and believe that they are probably innocent in all this. The question will be what will they do in the future and will they be next to write a post like this or like the ConShark’s?

The biggest victim in all this is you all. I am sorry to include you in all this drama. We should be one big happy family- I would love that. I have a great relationship with other fellow con writers and I believe together we are better. It’s unfortunate you have to hear any negativity come from anyone about anybody. I hope this is short lived so you can get the very best content for the next upcoming convention.

Jeremy wants me and Crazy4ComicCon out of the picture because of my position in the blog-o-sphere is taking dollars away from their site and for me breaking up with him over a year ago. He has made that clear to me and others. I have even more information that I will spare unless deemed necessary. Despite all this, I’ve never had more resolve to stay in this space and I look forward to serving you the best I can with truth and honesty. Ironically, the SDCC Unofficial Blog Twitter bio says they are ‘not filtered and not biased’, well in this incident with Hall H, we can conclude that they were anything but that.

Comment, like, follow, unfollow, it’s totally your decision- no judgement here. I just want you to know the truth of what’s going on. The person to follow is Sarah at @ConSharkNews of the ConShark. It’s bravery like hers that inspire change and calls out wrong doing.

—————————————–

Updated 11:23a:
SDCC U Blog 2nd in command, James, tweeted this at me later in the day (and he deleted after this post). Clearly still avoiding responsibility. Also note his accusatory remarks in the comment section below:

image

Updated 12:18p:
This comment for the ConShark site confirms the claims:

ConShark Comment

Updated at 4:34p:
Now the SDCC Blog Facebook page is trying to blame me for the WB Swag Bag shortage at the show! (they deleted after this post)
Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 4.34.09 PM

For the record, I receive the bags directly from WB that are designated for promotion purposes, so it doesn’t impact inventory at the show. Fortunately, no one on the post thought this was a reasonable perspective and his bias against me is very clear.

Update 7.31.14 7:39a:
What saddens me is that as the San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog, their first love doesn’t seem to be the San Diego Comic-Con. Here’s an excerpt from their 7.17 podcast about Nerd HQ:

Update 7.31.14 9:32a:
You can follow the thread discussion on this topic in the FriendsofCCI Forum

Update 7.31.14 10:58a:
Awesome friends and fans of the site started the #BlameTony hashtag blaming me for everything that went wrong with Comic-Con. It was a little ray of sunshine in this unfortunate mess. Thank you all for your fun tweets.

Update 8.15.14 5:00p:
Jeremy resigned as Editor-in-Chief and is no longer writing for the blog. His statement says it is for personal reasons.

101 thoughts on “Why I Quit the San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog Last Year

  1. unfortunately people start seeing the dollars and ego instead of the love. i’m sure jeremy has his better moments but attacking one of the coolest and most upstanding dudes in the CCI world is douchbaggery of the highest order.

  2. I’ve never understood why people attack people who are actually helpful. When they attacked you it was really petty of them. While they do have a central area for finding information, I hated going to their site because you could feel the shift from when I first started going. As someone who was trying to do the Hall H line for Saturday this was extremely frustrating to find out the line was formed after 300+ people were already in it. (Why CCI would even let people line up early was frustrating too, after years of lining up ONLY after the last panel of the day, we thought we’d be good)
    They can cry false accusations, but you can sense their holier-than-though attitude and its rather disgusting than the friendly ones you, nerdygirlie, and When Nerds Attack show. You all are much more welcome to meeting fans, and always saying hello.
    Thank you for your honesty in everything that’s going on.

  3. I will follow the Con Shark today. Thanks for standing up to the bullies. You’re like Cap! Fight the power my good man!!!

  4. I really loved reading this article. It made me think alot and my pic is up in that fake profile I had no idea and I will remove myself from that fake profile thx 4 letting me know! I didnt know that there was anything like that going on with the line. I go thru the ADA line and I thought that was the issue when you 1st started talking about the Hall H line. Because there was an issue that someone brought up. But honestly I thought the unofficial blog were good people when I met them it was accutally a highlight of mine for sdcc but 2 find out 1 person did that and then lied and asked his team 2 lie that really messed up but who it really hurt is the people that camped out and didnt even get into hall h. Thats really cold and heartless. I dont think that anyone should have special privileges like press to skip the line! Thx 4 writing this!!

  5. Sometimes you just have to vent, no need to apologize…

    The blog-o-sphere is like any other social microcosm; everyone has different attitudes, motivations and agendas. You aren’t going to click with everyone, and sometimes people are just going to be douche-canoes when they realize you aren’t on the same page.

    It’s a shame, but that’s life.

    Keep up the good work!

  6. wow, Tony, I have been out of the loop here and I didn’t realize what was going on and what you and others were going through. Since I had to return my Friday badge (yes, Friday!) because I couldn’t make the Con this year, I haven’t kept up with the comic con news. I have no doubt about your integrity, honesty, and loyalty to your fans and Comic-Con’s fans. A person can get an idea of how another person is even if they have not met. Just by following you on Twitter and this blog has shown me what kind of person you are…and that is kind, generous, and helpful….always thinking about the new Fan as well as long time ones. I am fully behind you in all of this and wanted to let you know I will still actively participate and read your blog and tweets. I don’t let this kind of stuff bother me (except in the case of hurt fans). Good luck to you and I hope they stop harassing you…I for one will not listen or participate in any bad behavior.

  7. This year, I stopped following the Unofficial Blog’s reports after their schedule run-down podcasts, and specifically, Jeremy’s behavior thereon, which I found to be highly disrespectful. The site’s normal process for these podcasts is to review the panel schedule, highlighting events and offering additional information. In the past, I’ve found them helpful. But I found this year’s podcasts unlistenable due to Jeremy’s rude, judgmental behavior throughout the recordings. He repeatedly maligned topics and panels he felt were boring, not worth attending, etc. What he’s not thinking about is that someone wants to attend all of those panels. Someone who is listening to that podcast, and he’s judged and disrespected them and something they care about simply for enjoying an interest to which he cannot relate. One of my personal rules of fandom is not to harsh another fan’s joy, and one of the things I enjoy about SDCC is watching people revel in what they love. I don’t have to listen to someone behave obnoxiously, and I won’t, nor will I encourage others to the site.

    It’s often difficult enough to gain respect for our pop culture interests in RL, let alone to be judged for them within the fannish bubble in which we look for camaraderie and support. Thanks for the work you do, Tony, and keeping it positive and inclusive.

    • This times one million. I never listened to the second installment b/c of his constant making fun of any panel he wasn’t interested in, which let’s face it isn’t much. He’s in this for money and does not seem to have an ounce of the con spirit or heart. No one needed to really tell any of us these stories to know what’s going on with Jeremy if you listen to the podcasts…..he oozes massengill, ok? That site is so useful b/c of Kerry constantly putting info on there…..she needs to get the hell out and take her talents and hard work elsewhere b/c you can tell she really is sincere.

      Sorry about all this stuff, I really am…..I too noticed the Twitter snipes which are 100% un-called for an just continue to show the ass of Jeremy Rutz. Let’s stop supporting this guy and his website.

  8. I heard people griping about the Hall H incident when I was in line for Ballroom 20 the next day. And then I saw the tweet. And then I saw the reply tweet for from the “line cheaters.”

    Those guys must ASSUME the rest of us are stupid. It’s there in plain view and their flawed logic of “it’s all about who wants it more is ridiculous.”

    Thank you for endeavoring to make the ENTIRE experience better for the rest of us. We need more bloggers and people like you in general!

    After all, isn’t it more fun when EVERYONE is having a blast instead of just a few???

    • My hope and dream is that Comic-Con would be the birth place for many your writers and creators. Together we can help make that possible. Thank you so much for your tremendous Twitter support too. Much luv.

  9. Thank you for your honesty and this article. I’ll be unfollowing the unofficial SDCC blog – there’s no need to follow them anyway when there are so many other awesome SDCC blogs! I truly believe we can all be successful and there’s no need to do slimy, sleazy things like this. I want EVERYONE to have fun and have a good time, and that means following the rules!

  10. Why didn’t you post the negative attack I made on you about all the photos you steal? That would help back up that we attack you all the time wouldn’t it?

    Oh, but wait. You DO steal photos for your site. Can’t bring attention to that for this article can you?

    Or what about that time you broke an actual CCI policy? You know, when you asked for something personal during a panel and got your jacket signed? (2013 Dr Who panel FYI) Don’t want to bring that up now do you? Wouldn’t want to ruin your perfectly formulated “but I’m the good guy” article now do you?

    • Uh, I did mention that in my post. I’ve never claimed to be the ‘Unofficial’ anything- just someone who is crazy for Comic-Con. I’m not reporting news during SDCC just being a crazy fan. I’m not perfect and made mistakes but I have also done diligence, got approval from many, and have a clear conscience.

      However, what is more troubling, is that as Jeremy’s 2nd in Command, it is clear you would rather deflect and discredit instead of accepting responsibility. A simple: “We found ourselves in a compromising situation and made a few bad choices. We are sorry and will make sure it doesn’t happen again” would suffice. We are a gracious fan group and accept everyone’s flaws. But the constant fighting from you and Jeremy will not change public opinion- but make it worst. Please, please, please, just own it and we can all move on. This can go away as fast as it came up- I know you and Jeremy are good at heart so give us a chance to believe that.

    • James, what an absurdly petty argument and you clearly don’t know the creative content laws, For instance, Tony isn’t making money on these images or site (unlike yours) and therefore is violating no law, not to mention images that turn up in Google are often creative commons and there is no law against using them unless they are for profit or a couple of other exceptions. Better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool then open it, but too late. After all that you have done this is the only thing you can think of to fire back?

  11. Wow, so sorry about all of this. I only “know” you from your blog, Tony, but I absolutely love it. I have been and will be a loyal reader of yours forever. Hang in there!

  12. I’m so glad you wrote this, Tony. I remember seeing some flat-out rude tweets about you from SDCC Unofficial Blog and it was a bit of a head scratcher. This gives some insight.

    If SDCC Unofficial Blog purposefully started an unofficial line, that’s more than just a selfish move. It could have caused a riot and hurt real people. I was in that line and saw the tempers escalating. Some lady came by our section of the line in a frenzy because she had heard about the unofficial line and how 150+ people were going to rush the line. Everyone in our section started getting worried, mad, and even scared. In an attempt to calm everyone and get the facts, I walked over to security at the front of the line and found out all that had been squashed at that point. (At least there wasn’t an unofficial line anymore, apparently.) But for that time in between, people were really upset.

    SDCC Unofficial Blog may be recognized as press, but so am I and yet our group (which included press, professionals, and a volunteer) sat our bums in the Hall H line since 2PM Friday. As press, we know full well that CCI doesn’t let us line cut. We also know that we have access to press lines and press conferences that general attendees don’t, so there’s no reason people designated as press should be so selfish as to cheat general attendees out of their hard-earned spot. General attendees pay for their badges, hotels, and flights to come out. Their hardcore fandom is the reason we have something to cover. And at the end of the day, I fangirl just as hard so it’s a real joy to geek out with fans, even if it means sleeping in line and waking up smelling to high heaven. Camping out in the Hall H line should be a time to make line friends (who can eventually turn into RL con friends), celebrate our respective fandoms, and fully spaz out in Hall H.

    Okay, rant over. Thanks again, Tony, for having the courage to gently call out a fellow blogger. Hopefully it can be received in the same manner.

  13. Not only was the sdcc unofficial blog part of the group that started the line early and sanctioned by clarissa Perez of sdcc, whenever someone asked them if that was the line they would deny it, they where rude and petty and absolute cheaters. They where part of that first group in line of. 20 that grew to. 200 by late evening. In my years at the con i’ve had line buddies but never 20-10-25 and each one of those 20 people in the front of the line let that many people cut and cheat their way to the front, just because they where twitter followers. I had never witnessed such ugly behavior, it was so contrary to the comic-con Karma spirit i’ve grown to love. The line cutting and angry shennanigans would have continued if a group of people handnt angrily started protesting, it got to the point where a friend of mine actually felt unsafe. Def. my last Hall H line It was such bad attitude that it almost ruined my con experience. Preferential treatment to unnoficial lines shouldnt be part of that experience, and if a line has formed and been sanctioned by sdcc employees in regular clothing as it did with this line that started by the gotham experience, dont be liar and say to those who would like to join you ” no its not a line” only to turn around and tweet out preferential treatment and line cutting priviliges to your twitter followers.

    • It’s so unfortunate that a tough experience became worst for you. I hope this doesn’t turn you off from future cons- I have faith it will be better next year. Thanks so much and hope to meet ya next year.

  14. I read ConShark’s post on Sunday and now this. It’s always a huge disappointment when you think you are all in something together and find out the opposite. Press, Professional or Exhibitor badges allow extra access in some way and should not be taken advantage of. And Press, especially smaller sites stating they are for the fan (vs huge conglomerates), should be holding themselves to a higher standard. I read their response to ConShark and frankly, it was embarrassing to them.

    Thank you for sharing this and you’ve gained another follower.

    • Welcome and my commitment is to support you with caring and truth. Sorry for the disappointment and hope his will be the last of it. Thanks.

  15. Thanks Tony… This explained a lot… I totally noticed that the SDCC Blog really exploded in 2013… By the 2014 show every search on Google popped a SDCC Blog link at the top of the page… Now I see what happened!
    It makes me sad to see the con getting so commercialized… I want it to be about the true fans (and not the toy collectors and the swag whores) again!
    Btw, when I chatted with you briefly, about your awesome swag bag super hero suit of course ;) you were so incredibly friendly and personable… In the pressure cooker that is SDCC it’s just always refreshing to see a smiling face:)

    • Thank you so much for your comment. Just to clarify, I do believe their team has some good people on it that are genuine fans. I’m glad we got a chance to meet and chat, thank you for your encouragement and support.

  16. Thanks for sharing, Tony! I also read all about this on Sunday, and I’m glad you got out your opinion. I’ve noticed their animosity toward you over the years and I also started following ConSharkNews. Thank you for sharing your opinion after much time of taking the high road.

    You stated it simply- that all we would like is for some responsibility to be taken. It was an issue, a mistake, and those responsible should just say “my bad”. I’m glad ConSharkNews brought this up so that there won’t be an attempt to do it again next year.

  17. Wow, I had no idea that was going on. Kudos to you and ConShark for standing up for what’s right! I’ll keep following you both and look forward to all your future blogs! Keep up the great work, Tony! :)

  18. I followed you under @SDCCBlows which I created to capture my own disllusionment with the struggles SDCC has had transforming into the Hollywood money making arm that it has become. Everything you mentioned is just proof that the greed factor continues to corrupt SDCC and I do not know how they can reverse the trend. I say that with sadness, since SDCC has been an annual trek for me for a decade, and yet every year I know the chances of me getting a ticket diminish more and more. The talent and the fans are amazing, but every year I watch SDCC struggle more and more. As a side note, I left the Hall H line on Saturday afternoon around 2PM, having arrived at 7AM (I know, I know) but in fairness, in the past, this would have allowed me into Hall H after the first, maybe second panel. In the past, I could get into Hall H by being in line by 5AM the day of. There were people who 1) had camped out all night starting at 10PM and 2) were still easily 2 and half chutes away from being near the front of the line.

    I went for 3 of the 4 days (insert random observation: SDCC may want to reconsider their pass structure since almost every year I have attended, I actually do not go on Sundays. If they did Preview + 3 days (Wed Preview-Th-Fri-Sat) or 3 day (Th, Fri, Sat) that would free up more single day passes for Sunday for the family with kids and dealer room bargains, even though most of the exclusives are gone by then.) and only knew of things going on because of following you on Twitter, but it also occurred to me that even the benefit of your constant tweets revealed there is a distrinction between the Con experiences. In fairness, the common fan is not going to have your experience because you are granted access to areas that the common fan cannot get to. Because of who you are, and this amazing blog (not hating, just observing) you can experience SDCC the way it used to be for everyone. I walked the dealer’s floor, I was moved along more times than I can count, not even allowed to pause long enough to see what might be sight worthy. Even the vendors who have been coming for years expressed the sentiment that it was too big. Friends of mine who want to attend SDCC now watch all the news and feeds about it and think, it is too big and there are too many people there.

    Keep up the good work for all the fans out there :)

  19. Thank you so much for always doing a great job on con coverage and yes doing so ethically! Something has to be done about the lining up issue. Really happy you did the right thing here in this situation. It’s getting crazier every year.

  20. I had no idea of the level of animosity between you guys, but thank you for finally clarifying the situation, Tony. I tried to follow as many different SDCC blogs as I could this year because I knew that different people had different perspectives and the more advice, the better imo. That cryptic “secret Hall H line” tweet made me uncomfortable, because it went against the entire idea of the wristbands. If SDCC could be coerced so easily into giving some group preferential treatment, then why have the wristband policy at all? That’s the worst thing. They took advantage of the fact that the wristband idea was new and untested.

    And I have seen nothing but excuses and accusations from Jeremy and co. No apologies. Honestly between this post and Sarah’s, I no longer feel comfortable following the Unofficial Blog so I’m removing them from my feeds.

    • Thanks for being specific- I think it helps us understand how little things like a tweet can confuse or hurt people. Appreciate your honesty.

  21. I wish I could “+1″ or “thumbs up” some of the replies to this post. Their responses are a testimony to what is possible when a person like Tony strives to do and be good in personal and professional dealings.

    My “after SDCC 2014″ activity included: Unfollow @SD_Comic_Con. Follow @ConSharkNews. It is my timeline and my choice, and I choose to support bloggers *are* fans and who *do right* by the fans. #DoingGoodMatters

  22. Wow now I know how two chicks on tumblr, bragging about getting third row for Hall H on Saturday and camped out for 36 hours, actually cheated and screwed over people. The whole situation is upsetting and I’m glad this became public information.

  23. I have read, out loud, to my brother on Friday @ 230 pm that the line for Hall H has officially started at (location posted to Twitter by SDCC Blog). SDCC Blog stated it was “official”. I can’t find the original tweet but did see a tweet stating they were giving out free SDCC Blog t-shirts to those waiting in the “secret line” (location not stated where). So I’m confused as to which tweet was posted first, but I am sure they stated their line was “official”. I don’t know if that line was for their staff only, or for SDCC Blog followers as well. It’s sad that they outright lied & denied it when I saw it posted online. I can’t believe they broke the rules, bribed the crowd with their shirts, & bullied their way to the front of the line. If I see anything unethical like that from them again, I will be sure to screenshot & post it to everyone’s attention, including yours Tony. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks for your specific details, that helps corroborate the testimonies of others. And thanks for your support. Together we can keep the Comic-Con honest and for the fans.

  24. “I wish I could “+1″ or “thumbs up” some of the replies to this post. Their responses are a testimony to what is possible when a person like Tony strives to do and be good in personal and professional dealings.”

    +1 for sure! :)

  25. Zilly, I know the tweet you are talking about because I remember trying locate where they were so I could snag a free shirt however after this debacle I’m glad I didn’t. If the SDCC Unofficial Blog did start a “secret” line as was claimed (and I’m leaning towards yes based on the evidence) they just just ruined it for everyone. The rules are there to make it fair for all and being greedy for your own personal fulfillment is low. I read in response to ConShark’s claims for Hall H secret line forming that SDCC Unofficial said they kept the information on the DL because they didn’t want people charging the line and they were still sorting out what was going on. However the tweet from SDCC Unoffical regarding free shirts to those in line came off as gloating. This leads me to believe that they know they were doing wrong but didn’t mind because they beat everyone else to the prize, a prime spot in the Hall H line. All I have to say to that is karma is a cruel mistress.

  26. What transpired with the Hall H line for Saturday and the SDCC Unofficial Blog was wrong, but I believe it shows off some of the bigger issues CCI is facing. I don’t want to be Debbie Downer here, but if some changes don’t come, the consequences could be catastrophic.

    1. People are going to try to circumvent the rules all of the time. They need to figure out an area to keep the next day’s line. Whether CCI rents out the lot that’s used for the Interactive Lot or some other location, let people who want to line up 24+ hours early start there. In conjunction, keep the wristband system in place, but make it for random times. This way, one person can’t hold spots for 10 others, knowing the wristbands will be there at a certain time.

    2. Press registration needs to tighten up a bit. While I enjoy reading many of the SDCC related blogs (including Tony’s), stricter standards need to be set. It would free up some tickets to the general public, let more legitimate press obtain badges more easily, and would provide CCI with a bit more cash to hire extra security for my first point.

    3. This is painful to say, but maybe it IS time to move the show. I absolutely LOVE San Diego. I make sure to schedule an extra day or two into my trip every year just to hang out in the city. And I dread the thought of a week in 100° F heat in Las Vegas, but maybe CCI should finally do it. There’d be less issues obtaining badges and hotels, as they could spread the show out to a few venues and there are plenty of rooms. The Hall H experience would be improved, as those panels could be moved into a larger arena (MGM Grand Garden seats over 16k).

    • See I think the opposite is what they should do.

      1. They need to do what DragonCon has been doing for years, disperse any line until 1 hour before a panel, and enforce that policy with badge revocation if people try to circumvent it with any kind of unofficial line nonsense. And better still, start clearing the rooms. No more camping out for rooms, no more camping IN rooms. Make people choose what is really important for them to actually see and give more people a chance to go through the panel rooms to see SOMETHING rather than a select few seeing everything.

      2. Press reg is fine as it is given that much of SDCC’s coverage comes from non-traditional press sources.

      3. San Diego is in the process of expanding the San Diego convention center specifically for SDCC. No reason to move it away from its only home given the large public contribution being levied specifically for SDCC. What CCI should be doing however is following through on returning WonderCon to the Bay Area and expanding to produce a new show in Anaheim. Both would take more heat off of SDCC and spreading the load around California.

      • Regarding #1, emptying and re-filling the room poses a few problems (I’ll present some counter-arguments as well).

        1) Time. If you’ve been to the first panel, you know just how long it takes to fill up Hall H. We’re talking an hour minimum, especially because everyone is filed in single-file. Optimistically, it’s 10-15 minutes to clear a room. So instead of 7 panels a day with 25min in between, you’re looking at about 4-5 panels a day with 90min in between. Ballroom 20 may need less time to clear/fill, but we’ll essentially have the same problem there. Now, it could be argued there really aren’t that many panels that NEED Hall-H. Just look at Sunday’s lineup, where I don’t believe Hall H ever filled to capacity. So less programs in Hall H might not be a big deal. Also, Ballroom 20 is not used on Sundays, so a few programs could easily go there. But regardless, there will be less Hall H panels per day.

        2) Line cutting / leaving early. Let’s say you want to see two panels back to back. Well, you can leave early during the Q&A — which is usually cringeworthy — and hop back in line (since you’re well within the 1-hour policy). Or you have a friend stand in line for you, and once panel is done, you hop in with that friend. It might not even be technically cutting in line, as you could get someone who doesn’t want to see a panel at all stand in line for you until you get out of prior panel for a one-to-one person tradeoff. Now, I know in recent years, people have become vocal about cutting in line, but really, this practice will never be eliminated totally.

        3) If Hall H is at, say, half-capacity, and there’s no one in line, then does it really make sense to clear the room and re-fill it? Let’s say you have a policy where if there’s no line, then you don’t clear. Well, since the schedule accounts for clearing of the room, you’re looking at 90 minutes of wasted time sitting around instead of 25min as it is now. You could say, well, that’s 90min where you could go to the Exhibit Hall. True, but sometimes you just don’t know if there will suddenly be a mad rush of people who want to see a panel, so there’s no sense in risking leaving. Or let’s say the Hall is 95% full at the end of a panel, but again no line. Well, that 5% could be easily filled in 90min. So does CCI decide to clear the room anyway? Is there a good threshold of when to clear or not, or should it be a blanket rule, clear the room even though there’s only 1000 people inside?

        4) Would this be a global policy across all panel rooms? There are plenty of panels that don’t even come close to capacity. And if you’re in the same room for two panels in a row, it seems like a waste of time and effort to have to leave the room, hang out by the door, and then reenter. I can think of a situation where you’re early for a panel, the previous panel is still going on, there are seats available, so you decide to go in and have a seat, and who knows, you may find yourself enjoying that previous panel. But with the room-emptying policy, you may just rather stand in line for the next panel and perhaps get a better seat than to risk going inside and seeing if anything interesting is going on.

        5) Unnecessary lines. Again, if rooms are fairly empty, there will be unnecessary lines outside every. single. room. Instead of going inside a room and having the hallways somewhat emptier, you create a lot more congestion, especially in the 5/6 area.

        Now, I am not arguing that nothing needs to be done about Hall H. Clearly, something does. I just don’t think clearing the Hall is the right approach. I don’t even know if the Hall H wristbands was a step forward or backwards. I know you said room-clearing works for DragonCon, but DragonCon also doesn’t have the attendance or scale of SDCC. If you honestly think this approach would scale up to something as massive as SDCC, then I’d like to hear your reasons.

      • I totally agree with you on this. SDCC shouldn’t have to move and we need WonderCon back in SF. It was originally announced as moving down just for the building it was held in to complete renovations, though in hindsight, they could have kept in in NorCal or even just in the Bay Area.

  27. Tony, my wife and I met you twice during this con – lucky for me because I messed up the first picture she took of you and you were gracious enough to stop and take another with her. Both times we met you asked us about our experience and how we were enjoying ourselves and what have we done and seen etc. When you left my wife and I spoke about how obvious it was to us that you are such a good guy and a true fan of both SDCC and the fans that love it. Thanks for this site. We love it and I hope to run into you again next year. I don’t know about the other site as I’ve never been there, and now I certainly won’t go. But that’s no loss because all the info I get here is all I need. Keep up the good work and see you in 2015!!! Is it July 8 yet?????

    • You guys were a super cute couple- I loved y’all’s energy and passion! Meeting fellow fans like y’all is what makes Comic-Con so awesome. Thanks again for saying hi and I do hope to run into you two next year.

  28. Did this unofficial line also form Thursday for the Friday panels? We in the hall H line noticed a group of people being marched in just prior to the real line starting to move. later during the Walking Dead and GOT panels I noticed that many of the people asking questions all had red tshirts slung over their shoulders (as if they had been given as swag) so putting he two instances together – could those have been the previously mentioned Sdcc unofficial blogs tshirts, carried in by those in a Thursday unofficial line?

    • No, the SDCC blog shirts were all black, and I don’t think any of the team were in that line on Thursday/Friday. In fact, out of all of them, I think only Jeremy and James even attended Hall H on Saturday. (I saw Kerry at Nerd HQ on Saturday afternoon and Shawn tweeted about only going to Hall H for the WB/DC panels after everyone cleared out.)

      I’m pretty sure that the complete disaster of the Friday line led to more lax enforcement of the Saturday line, to avoid a potential crushing situation from the crowd trying to get wristbands. Hopefully they will learn from what happened this year and tweak this system for next year.

  29. Warning: long read ahead. Here’s my version of Saturday. I’m not affiliated with the Unofficial Blog, but I’m friends with James, who works for them. James and I have met at the SDCC and connected over our love of Firefly and photography. I originally planned to skip what was surely to be madness in Saturday’s Hall H, but the presence of The Hobbit plus at least two other panels I was interested in I decided to brave the lines.

    I’ve been coming to Comic-Con for a few years and each year the lines to the big panels and even outside events seem longer and often more badly managed. It used to be I could arrive at 6am and get a good spot, then it was midnight, then 6pm, now it’s coming down to 12pm or even earlier the day before. I keep telling myself I’ve reached my limit, but so far I’ve been willing to push myself to give up more and stay in line more to get that better spot for better photos. I actually put the blame for this on the shoulders of almost every tip blog for Comic-Con that I think helps fan the flames of line panic and anxiety in their tips and of course on the official Comic-Con organizers themselves for not having a better system than just endless lines.

    I messaged a few friends, including James, about being line buddies on Saturday and to see when we should start lining up. We originally thought 4pm would be a good enough time to guarantee a decent photo spot (first section of the hall). I usually only let my husband cut in with me the morning after camping, but the new wristband system meant we’d both had to stick around for those to be handed out. We have a puppy that needs to be walked at least every 12 hours, but preferably sooner, so we gave up our entire Friday morning and arrived late to make sure both of us could stay at least until 10 pm and we’d hoped by then we’d have wristbands.

    It seemed like a similarly popular day in Hall H (Friday’s Game of Thrones and Walking Dead) experienced a huge problem the night before since people were not officially lined up, but instead congregated unofficially waiting for the line to start right outside Hall H and once the line opened between 5pm to 6pm, there was a crazy crush of fans trying to be first. There was no official line, just an unofficial mob that made an unsafe, scary push all at once to the front. It was a horrible way to handle the new system.

    I was hoping they’d fix this by the next day and have some way of handling people who will inevitably arrive before the line “officially” opens, whatever that means at today’s Comic-Con. And I’d like to point out Comic-Con never said when the lines could become official. They just said they won’t start handing out wristbands until 8pm – nothing about what to do until then. Did they really think people will casually arrive at 8pm one by one to pick up a wristband without lining up?

    So back to Saturday, when I arrived a little after noon and texted James. He texted me back and said there was some confusion because there were already three unofficial lines and he was in one of them and Jeremy was investigating the others.

    The line by the Gotham exhibit was the one James was in and there was maybe 80 or so people in it – of course most of them were saving spots for others so in the end I believe it ended up being around 150 people. At the front of this unofficial line was someone who has been in line since 4pm the day before. Yes, 4pm on Thursday. This was not someone associated with the Unofficial Blog, just a fan. Behind her were people who arrived at 3 am, 7 am, 8 am, etc – also nothing to do with the Unofficial Blog. I’m not sure when James or Jeremy arrived, but they were not the first nor were they the ones who created any of these unofficial lines. They were trying to make sense of what was happening themselves.

    Here’s a video Jeremy posted interviewing the people who got in line, is the accusation that this is blog staff and orchestrated by the blog to block others? Because these are clearly fans who are just dedicated to being first, nothing to do with the blog: https://twitter.com/SD_Comic_Con/status/493059847777439745

    What’s not on this video is that security wouldn’t let people officially line up. I think they kept telling people that they couldn’t tell others they were in a line, only that they were hanging out. That’s why the girl in the video says it’s a “secret” And as long as you were not blocking traffic, hanging out was allowed. There were two other lines like this, but none with as dedicated as a person in the front as the one by Gotham.

    Yes, like me, James wanted to get into Hall H and we were both willing to put in the time to get in. In the current Comic-Con world, this is the fairest we can be. I’m not jumping in front of anyone more dedicated. Everyone ahead of us has been there longer – in some cases almost 24 hours longer. I was surprised how far away this “line” was from the actual Hall H. If security did nothing and all the gatherings remained unofficial, there would have been a mad dash for the actual line at 5 or 6pm like the day before, anyone just walking by the Hall H lines at the right time would have a better chance of being there than we were all the way by Gotham. If we wanted to be first, but unfair, we would be better off just showing up at 5pm and making a run for it instead of being in any unofficial line. This seemed like a horrible idea and especially unfair to the fans who’ve been gathering since 4pm the day before.

    I think James tried to talk to security about making one of the lines or gatherings official or just figuring out how to handle the crowd that was gathering no matter what. Clearly, trying to insist there not to be a line was not working, even if security repeatedly asked people not to say they were in a line. There were people waiting to get in line even if it was not official. Having some sort of official place would make it more safe and avoid the mad crush from the day before.

    I believe security on the ground talked to their supervisors some of whom came out to inspect the situation and the various unofficial gatherings. I think they chose the line by the Gotham offsite to be official because it had the people in it waiting the longest – the lady at the front since 4pm on Thursday and the people behind her at like 3am and 7am. Once again, this had nothing to do with the Unofficial Blog. It just happened that one of the staffers from the Unofficial Blog was also in one of the unofficial lines.

    So all the blog staff did (and this was James, not Jeremy) was ask that they consider having something official happen because repeating what had happened on Friday night with a mad crush and run to the front was probably going to end in heartbreak for a lot of fans and perhaps even serious injury. Do you guys remember the lady that got run over when she ran across the street to get in a moving line a few years back? This was a scenario waiting to repeat.

    This should not be considered a bad thing. Talking to officials was trying to help fans, especially the most dedicated, a fair chance at being in front instead of being crushed by a mob later.

    I think Comic-Con picked the line that had the people waiting in it the longest not because someone bribed them to give preferential treatment to bloggers. Jeremy was not even there. He was away checking out the situation with the other unofficial lines and trying to decide what to say about it publicly.

    Once the line was moved to the sidewalk by the Hilton Plaza and security told to tell people this was now an official line, James texted Jeremy about the developments and he came by and then tweeted out that the line was official and if you wanted to be in it where it was.

    Here’s that tweet at 2:30 pm.

    This is when the line probably had about 100+ people from the various unofficial gatherings announced to the world on a popular blog. I think there were unofficial grumblings about it around on Twitter beforehand. This is what all this hullabaloo is about? Really???

    I guess people’s main beef is that Jeremy could have tweeted out earlier that there were 3 unofficial lines and gatherings and that he was investigating them, but I’m curios what fans would have done with this info. Would you have left panels at 11 am or whenever he actually became aware of the three “lines” to do what? Which unofficial line would you have joined? How would security handle 1000 new people milling around the side of Hall H?

    This goes back to my personal bias that I think blogs are making these lines worse. Every tweet that goes out from a popular person that says “guys, you better get in line at 6pm if you want to get in” makes it more likely that if you’re a casual con goer and show up at 7am the next day you’ve been beaten by the more fanatical who were willing to forgo showers and beds for a spot.

    I wish Comic-Con had a better system: selling VIP tickets, clearing halls, letting people bid fixed number of points for spots, anything but the longer and longer lines each year. Given what happened this year, I’m dreading the lines next year. I had to give up all of Friday’s programming and parties to have a good spot in Hall H. Next year, will I have to give up Thursday’s as well??

    The wristbands just made this worse by making the lines form for the wristbands themselves.

    All the wristbands solved is the early morning cutting by someone’s 20 closest friends. Now those 20 people have to make an effort to be there at 8pm for wristband hand out instead.

    I don’t wish to enter a debate about anything else because I have no knowledge about anything else, whatever history you have between you is yours and I can’t comment on it. I’m not officially affiliated with the Unofficial Blog, but as I stated in the beginning I’m friends with James, who I want to repeat is a nice guy, with a kind, honest heart. And for a change I was there for most of what happened Saturday and, so far, none of these reports really reflected my experiences. It seems like the claim is the Unofficial Blog made themselves a line that they were in front of, when that’s not the case at all.
    What they did is they didn’t report on the three unofficial lines that formed without them until one was made official. Why is that getting so much hate?

    How did it benefit them personally? James was already in one of the unofficial lines (not even in the front but definitely over 100 people in). Would tweeting it out make him somehow lose his spot? No.

    All the not tweeting out did was not have a 1000 panicked fans show up with no actual place to go and create an even bigger problem.

    All the people in that unofficial line, all also not associated with the Unofficial Blog, were really happy when the line got made official, because we knew there would be no crush. We took care of each other. There was the girl with the Hello Kitty backpack and her brother in front of us and a large happy group behind us, one of whom had his iPhone charger catch on fire while waiting. None of these people have come online to participate in these discussions. I feel like most of the comments are coming from people who were not there. None of us got t-shirts like some posts implied. We put in a very long time – in the sun and then sleeping on the ground – to get semi-decent seats. If you didn’t get in Hall H, it wasn’t because you didn’t know about any of the unofficial lines at 11 am, but only found out about the official line at 2:30 pm.

    It almost feels like we’re collectively taking out our frustrations with the lines on a blog that otherwise provides lots and lots of useful info. Can we channel all this negative energy into a positive and work on proposing ways to solve the lines and line management?

    I hope if you’ve met me at the con you think I’m nice and fair because I try to be.

    I like to take photos and share them with fans. Tony, you can even use my photos on your blog and I won’t get mad. If you see me in line I’m probably there to take photos of something I like. If you like the same things, I’ll be happy to talk to you about it. If we are there for different things, I promise I won’t dis your fandom. I will watch your stuff if you need to go to the bathroom, I’ll share my snacks with you if I have extra, and hopefully provide you with decent company, because that’s what lines are usually like. *nerdlove*

    Whatever has been happening post this year’s Comic-Con is disheartening and sad.

    If you have any questions, you can ask me on my twitter handle @egaal

    Please let’s try to help official Comic-Con on finding an official problem to lines instead of dissing each other in such an unproductive way.

  30. James dude – you realize you sound petty right? you’re trying to slam Tony for stealing photos. have you heard of the internet? i’m 99% sure we all copy and paste photos from the internet. in fact i’m doing this to your site now. kidding…i’ve never been to your site and never will. but i would think that you would want people to promote your site. and you stole and landed his name for FB and that other site to redirect traffic to your site. that’s legal but ultra douche. and tony asking someone to sign a jacket? ok…so, he got caught up on the momemnt. tony owned it…over it. the fact he doesn’t attack you guys when you dudes clearly are douchey commercial guys looking to just monetize what is nothing more than a side thing for fans already wreaks of what we all hate at the Con. you guys are going from kinda sucking to major suckdom in my book on this matter.
    i’m sure you are a cool dude 99% of the day but the 1% you guys use to pick on Crazy4ComicCon is childish, counter productive and against the spirit of the Con. But i defend the right of you being able to be a total douche. but i also would encourage you and welcome you back from the dark side. it wasn’t too late for Vader and it’s not too late for you guys.

  31. As a fan of ComicCon, the behavior of SDCC Unofficial concerns me. I not only appreciate you advocating for ethical actions, but really admire your approach of taking the “high road” in spite of the numerous attempts to defame you. I believe your witness will impact many people along the way. Thanks for introducing me to the CONtourage years ago, it has been a privilege to walk along side the guys and girls of our group!

  32. I found the tweets! There was a super- secret line @ 951 am Friday, location not disclosed, & people were given “hashtag shirts for their troubles” & that “they’ll need it!”. Not sure what they meant by that tweet… @ 232 pm, Friday, SDCC Unofficial Blog posted that the official Hall-H line started “forming along the sidewalk across from the Plaza” (they stated made official by Line Management). A twitter follower of theirs posted under that thread that it was “100% official from a green shirt here in the con. CC were faced with a mob and buckled and made it official”. It seems like this was all premeditated. SDCC Unofficial Blog somehow got their way, cheated everyone out of enjoying Comic Con, & broke the rules, & ruined the integrity of Hall-H as a whole. I hope this isn’t something I have to worry about next year! It’s so wrong & unfair to fellow attendees!

    • Seems to me their only mistake was giving people t-shirts, and thus reinforcing the bad behavior of these people who insist on lining up earlier and earlier every year. But as for their tweet not disclosing the “secret” location of lines they weren’t actually in I have no issue with that. It would have started a bum rush to these unofficial lines, which security obviously wouldn’t want, and neither would CCI. Because that’s exactly what would have happened given people’s seeming insanity in the last few years for lining up. It’s what has slowly turned Comic Con into Line Con.

    • Thanks for your time and research- it helps a lot. Yes, let hope this is isolated and next year’s system runs smoothly.

  33. Hey there, interesting article that has me wanting to research the topic more – I only even started to know about the unofficial blog during the con this year. But concerning the Hall H Line trouble, let me give you an outsiders perspective. This year was my first time at Comic Con and I had no idea about half the things that happened or the problems in the background, I just went to fulfill a childhood dream (flying in from Germany ain’t cheap) and to see the Marvel panel. Knowing about camping out, me and a friend got to the cement bit in front of Hall H early Friday morning.
    We hung around a bit to try and get out bearings and then saw a small group of girls (4 at that point), sitting together. We approached them and found out that, as far as they and everyone else knew, they were the first in line for Hall H Saturday. So we obviously sat our butts down with them. About 30 minutes later, the previously mentioned Clarissa Perez came by and talked to us at length about the changes to queuing and that we couldn’t stay were we were and that between us and her, we should find a system that worked for both parties. Which is what we did. For the early part of the morning, we moved to a bit of grassy area close to the Gotham zip-line and the Godzilla thingy then later, we were brought to the sidewalk bit that leads into the Hilton until, around 7PM, we were brought into the tent lines in front of Hall H.

    It was not a super secret line, we had people join the line while we were on the grassy bit the entire time. They had been on the cement area in front of Hall H, had asked around and had been send to us by the official people. By the time we were on the sidewalk bit (2PM), @HallHLine was tweeting openly about it. Clarissa Perez kept checking up on us, making sure we were alright etc and as someone who was an absolute newbie and has no “friends” amongst the staff or anything else, I can just say that the management seemed great and not secretive or anything. We were amongst the first 10 people into Hall H on Saturday morning and the roughly 24 hours camping before that were a relaxed, well-organized, fun (albeit HOT) affair that I cannot wait to experience again.

    That was my experience anyway.

  34. I do agree with the above comments about tightening the restrictions on press passes because they are becoming an open joke and an easy way to score tickets without have to wait in “line” like everyone to buy them. Key example I meet a wonderful couple from Florida who scored press passes because he worked for a sports radio channel. Was he going to report on what went down at SDCC, probably not but he had a good time with free tickets.
    As for Hall H line up, a random time for wristbands might lessen some of the craziness or a random raffle like the ones used for autographs. I know people will hate this but this may level the playing field so you’re not having to sit in line all two days in advance for a panel.
    In my personal opinion I don’t think moving SDCC to a bigger location like Vegas will solve the space issue. More space will ease they complaints about getting into panels for a year or two but your still going to run into the sae issues as Vegas reaches it’s max compacity and people voice their concerns for not being able to score a ticket.

  35. How about this as a suggestion for next year…

    Give people a time, say 6:00pm, and tell them that numbered wristbands will be handed out starting at that time. Then tell people to go and enjoy the rest of the night. Announce that wristbands will be handed out until 8:00am. At 8:05am a random number will be chosen and that number will be the first person in line. No reason to show up early and line up. From that person on, the line continues in numerical order. If it reaches the last number, then go to #1 and continue. This will help you figure out how far you are in line. All wristbanded people who choose to stay will line up in numeric order. If you leave the line for more than 15 minutes you lose your place and your wristband will be cut off. There will be a separate line for those without wristbands for panels later in the day.

  36. I appreciate that you took the time to explain a situation which, from the outside, appears confusing and petty. Clearly, money is a motivator here and it appears Jeremy sold out his Fandom “soul”. I don’t think you should change your cosplay at all. If WB sent you bags in advance, the fact that they ran out doesn’t have anything to do with you. I would fault SDCC for not making accurate counts. After all, they know well in advance how many people are attending.
    Thanks for coming forward and explaining your position and the reasons behind it.

  37. They need to disperse lines – secret or not – over and over again until the last panel of the day. If people refuse to disperse, they have to start taking away badges. You can argue for rewarding dedication all you want, but that’s going to lead to people lining up Tuesday as soon as the tents are up – for Saturday. And that just shouldn’t be a requirement for getting into Hall H.

    SDCC Unofficial Blog did not create the problem, but they certainly weren’t acting in good faith either by joining “secret” lines, encouraging other people to break CCI’s stated policies, and helping negotiate with CCI to get a last-minute rules change that would obviously only benefit those people already breaking the rules.

    • I 100% agree with u! From what I was understanding thats what was supposed 2 happen but of course it didnt! What I dont understand is people that line up b4 the con is over 4 the day just waisted a pass that couldve went 2 someone that would actually enjoy the con itself!! Its not dedication in my book it selfishness!

  38. I have no problem with people who want to wait in line for hours for things they love. I’ve done it and i will do it again. What I have a problem with is people equating breaking the official stated rules (and/or bullying the CCI Staff to change the rules) with just being a more dedicated fan.

    All of the defenders state that the fear was people would “rush” the line. That alone should tell you it wasn’t an issue of people not being dedicated or willing to wait in line – but fans following the rules like respectful adults.

    Defenders also cite safety concerns. Well, maybe don’t rush the line when it opens and just be a responsible adult about that as well. If you really can’t control yourself to the point of trampling others to get front row at a panel, please rethink your priorities. And I say that as someone who was willing to wait for almost 18 hours in line (and would’ve waited more had I known the rules has been thrown out the window earlier).

    I’m beginning to think the only way to fix this is a lottery system for Hall H, which makes me sad because I do enjoy the camaraderie of the line. But I guess some people will always need to ruin it for others.

    I applaud Tony for taking a stand and I won’t be using the unofficial SDCC blog anymore.

  39. First, let me say that you really are one of the best champions of SDCC. I first met you at the League of Extraordinary Ladies mixer during WonderCon 2013, and while I didn’t get a chance to say hi (I think I saw you sitting in the lobby while conducting your interviews but I didn’t want to interrupt), following your tweets truly enhanced my SDCC, so keep up the good work.

    As for the Unofficial SDCC Blog, I’ve never had any personal issues with Jeremy or Kerry or the rest of the staff, nor do I know completely what happened with the “secret” Hall H line, so I won’t participate in any conjecture over what they might or might not have done. I will say that the snide remarks from Jeremy & James seem awfully petty and exposes their insecurities more than anything (how that translates to more traffic to their blog, I have no idea), but at the end of the day, I surf SDCC blogs for one reason: information on SDCC. Crazy 4 Comic-Con, ConShark, Unofficial SDCC are some of the best in the interwebs in getting that info out there. I don’t hold it against Unofficial SDCC for withholding information (seriously, trying to keep ANYTHING a secret at SDCC is an exercise in futility anyway), I just judge them, as well as the other SDCC blogs, based on the info that is posted, and so long as the quality & quantity of the posted info remains top-notch, I’ll continue to visit.

    Lastly, as for Hall H, so long as the process incentivizes time spent in order to get good seats for a panel, people will continue to find ways to line up earlier & earlier. SDCC needs to take away these incentives and reducing the physical lines by moving toward the digital lines of the website. Here’s how this could work:

    1) Pass out “digital wristbands” the week before SDCC on their website. Attendees who reserve a “wristband” would have it printed on their badges upon pick-up, making scalping of “wristbands” more difficult. Like this year, they would only apply for the first panel of the day.

    2) There would be 10 priority levels and a general admission level. First priority “wristband” holders would enter Hall H first, followed by the 2nd, then the 3rd, etc. The first 10 priority levels would only hold a limited number of people, say 200 each level (and thus would affect the 1st third of the Hall). That’s just a guess – the number would have to depend on how many seats are in each row, but the idea is a camper at a specific level shouldn’t be able to move up far from another person at the same level who shows up an hour before Hall H opens; at best a camper may get a 4 – 5 row advantage.

    3) Address no-shows by having a stand-by line the day of. While there’s still incentive for people to camp in the stand-by line, the supply of seats would be drastically reduced, probably less than 1000, and the seats themselves would be nowhere near the front, reducing the incentive to camp further.

    4) Lastly, to make the process as fair as possible while allowing as many attendees to experience Hall H as possible, only limited numbers of reservations would be taken at different times throughout the day, and attendees could only reserve Hall H for ONE day. A person who wants to attend Hall H multiple days would have to brave the stand-by line.

    It’s not a perfect system, but it would help transform the physical race to Hall H into a digital one. Huge demand means people are going to be locked out regardless, but people ranting on websites the week before SDCC is far safer than a physical stampede at the event itself.

  40. This may be unrelated to the Hall H line controversy but I don’t think you can always count on the SDCC unofficial blog as a reliable “news” source. I’ve enjoyed the advice articles and bits about exclusives and swag wrangling but I realized a couple of years ago that the tweets and posts had to be taken with a grain of salt and you had to double check information. (The blog doesn’t make that easy. It references itself a lot and doesn’t always link to or cite sources). I made sure to turn off my tweet notifications from the blog before the con started. I find it distracting and takes away from the con experience instead of enhancing it. It does seem like the blog often contributes to building a frenzy that isn’t warranted. Whether thats to promote clicks to the site or drum up sponsors i’m not sure. There seemed to be more “exclusive” or “secret” information posts on the blog this year for sure.

    I have a vent about the blog’s “off-site” event, Enchantment under the SDCC, which turned out to be less than and really irked me. This along with the attacks and controversy make me further question the blogs reliability and practices. Since I didn’t score a badge for preview night I thought the event would be a cool way to start off the con, pick up some freebies and enter the raffle since it had some big name “sponsors” (Lootcrate, Udon, Hasbor, Boom Studios and so on). The event was billed as free, first come, first served even though VIP tickets were sold. When we got there it turned out that only VIP ticket holders got any swag (not sure what it was beyond a t-shirt and a bag of some kind). We bought a couple of drinks to enter the raffle only to find out that only items bought after 8 qualified to receive a raffle ticket.

    So, chalk it up to inexperience or disorganization if you like, but I thought the blog wasn’t quite honest in the advertising for the event. If I had know that only VIPs would get swag then I would have made an attempt to buy a ticket or I could have opted to start my con a different way. I’m not against charging a fee to defray organizational costs or trying to build a fan base for the blog. Heck, I donated to the NerdHQ crowd funding this year and never set foot there. I just got the feeling that the “free” event was more for bragging rights and to help get sponsors for the next year. Again, I’m ok with charging or only VIPs getting swag but be upfront about that and don’t pretend it’s something else. I certainly won’t bother with any events by the blog in the future.

    I’m also not at all surprised to hear that there seems to have been selfish motivation with the Hall H incident. This doesn’t bother me so much as the pretending that it wasn’t self-motivated. From an outsider’s perspective it looks like they took chances on sitting in unofficial lines and and didn’t share the information until one or more people secured a spot in the eventual official line. It’s cool, you got ahead of the pack. Good for you. You’re allowed to be self-motivated but please don’t pretend its for the fan base or in service of those going to the con when it obviously isn’t. I’ll probably repost this on the ConShark site as well.

    • Interesting insight, thanks for sharing. As more and more people share, it helps to draw more accurate conclusions. Thanks.

  41. I think you are a stand up guy Tony. I really respect you and I agree with you :) You looked great at the show by the way. Hope you and the family are doing good!

  42. 2014 was my third year at ComicCon. None of my friends are interested so even though my daughter came with me the first year (she hated the lines) I now go by myself. I find myself describing ComicCon to mystified friends who barely know what it is and one thing I always say is that it has a wonderful culture. I’ve never seen such gentle crowds, such friendliness, and such patience. And I rely on the blogs, Facebook and Twitter to get my information.

    Tony, I’ve been reading your blog for years now and I feel like I know what kind of a person you are. I didn’t see the posts about you in the SDCC unofficial blog but if I had I would have been shocked. You are so clearly a gentleman, everything you write is kind, inclusive and generous. Whatever happened at the line for Hall H, the personal attacks against you are petty and unnecessary. So count me in as a supporter and thank you for everything you do for SDCC attendees and your fans.

  43. Separate entry for a different topic – SDCC lines! There’s a constant conversation about the lines for SDCC , and many solutions have been suggested such as moving the venue, emptying the rooms, etc. I truly believe that if SDCC wanted to solve the problem of the lines they could. They would shift the waiting to before the event by issuing passes to panels (or groups of panels for the big rooms) prior to the convention. What is being ignored is that for SDCC to work where it now is, there HAS to be long lines. They need 10s of thousands of people waiting quietly in line, otherwise the crowd would be unmanageable and they wouldn’t have nearly enough programming to keep 130k people entertained. I guess they could move it to Las Vegas, spread it out over several venues, have panels with 16k attendees, but ugh.

    I think NerdHQ has the right idea – create plentiful and rich activities outside the con, ones that don’t require a badge for those of us who can’t get passes for SDCC, and syphon off some of the crowd into fun SDCC-like events. One of my best memories of this year’s con was sitting in the shady stands at PetCo park sipping a soda and relaxing.

  44. Pretty sure they ran out of bags this year because they were cheaply made. Both mine and my brother’s bags ripped. I heard a lot of people whose bags also broke went and asked for replacements – some were given them, some were not.

  45. Simply Put: Disperse unofficial lines and follow the guidelines.

    I still don’t understand what the Unofficial SDCC guys were hoping to achieve from not following the rules. So many people did and waited until end of day Friday to start lining up. As a result of Unofficial SDCC’s selfishness (or what have you), they were shut out at the end. The security line staff should have also done their job of dispersing that line. I wasn’t at the Feedback Panel on Sunday (mainly because I was at the Multicultural Heroes panel) but I’m sure that was a very interesting time to say the least.

    On a related note, I remember seeing the oddly placed animosity towards Tony from Unofficial SDCC during the Parking Permit sale a few months ago. It was absolutely unnecessary and unprofessional. Your job is to provide helpful information for others, not to suddenly show negativity to someone else. That should have been a red flag for me to start questioning how Unofficial SDCC run things. After this incident, it just makes everything much more clear.

    Keep up the amazing work, Tony. Know that many of us are behind you and really enjoy and appreciate what you do. :D

    Unlike a certain blog which I’m sure will see quite an influx of unfollowers today…

    • Yea I think CCI will be more vigilant about managing those lines next year. Thanks for caring about me/site and I am very grateful for the support! You are awesome!

    • It was mentioned during the talk back panel there were numerous boxes of WB Bags that inferior (torn) when the boxes were opened and so there were not enough bags to meet demand this year. It wasn’t that long ago that if you wanted the WB bag, you waited around their booth. CCI gave out plastic bags for the event guide and program (and maybe a surprise or two).

  46. I’ve already said my lengthy piece, but I want to reemphasize though the line was NOT started by anyone associated with the Unofficial Blog because I still see that popping everywhere as fact. It was started by some crazy, I mean dedicated fans :) My next question is why is there an assumption that lines were not allowed before wristband distribution? I reread the official Comic-Con statement about the Toucon trackers and it just talks about when the wristbands were going to be given out, not when to line up for them. Was that a policy change this year that I missed? Or was that always the policy but it was just always ignored. I confess, I do not read every rule, but tend to follow the herd rule. Every year I’ve gone to the con, there’s always been lines that start, way way earlier than panels – I think the Twilight lines started a few DAYS before the convention even started – but others usually started the day before the event. I guess reading other people’s comments who were there earlier than I was, they were told by someone from Comic-Con to congregate around Gotham, but not tell people – more or less. Other people who missed this, congregated elsewhere making a few unofficial gatherings instead of just one. Seems like somewhere along the way Comic-Con itself needs to take most of the blame for the lines and needs to find a better solution by next year.

    My next proposal would be somehow to resolve the animosity between the blogs offline – someone pick up a phone or write an email. I guess there could be feuding blogs for the foreseeable future of Comic-Con, but as an attendee I’d much prefer mutual respect, whatever takes to achieve that.

    • @Emese the official rules state that there is no lining up for next day’s panels before the last panel of the current day has ended. It has been a policy every year. The Twilight lines were weird because it was on the first day of Con so not the same situation.

      • Honestly I have not been able to find that so called rule that @jristen is refering to anywhere on the CCI site. I completely agree with Emese as she seems to be the only one here who is trying to think logically instead of just believing everything they read. Opinion is not always fact. Emotions get the better of all of us and mistakes can be made in the heat of hurt feelings. If you can point me to the link where it states that there is no lining up for the next day’s panels before the last panel of the current day starts then I will have to relook at all the facts and opinions posted.

        I find it extremely unsettling to see how two poeple’s opinions can cause this much injury to another. The inciting of name calling and instigation of this “war” as Tony called it is really sad for the Comic-Con community. This is not positive or productive behavior.

        • They also announced it in the convention center many times that there is no lining up prior 2 the end of the last panel and all lines would be disbursed. Also I do remember seeing signs and also security said it. I saw them break up a big line that started forming underneath the tents which a bunch of people got pissed!

  47. Thanks for the clarification. I guess I never knew because it never seemed enforced. Last year some friends and I were going to get into the Hall H line for Doctor Who and at 7pm Saturday night to Sunday, the line was already 400 people in, even though programming was still going on in Hall H.
    I still can’t find the official policy on their web site. I saw this:

    http://www.comic-con.org/cci/hall-hplaza-park

    “While Comic-Con discourages any line-ups in advance at Plaza Park outside Hall H, if you do find yourself in line for an extended period of time, please adhere to these rules.
    For safety issues we cannot allow anyone to line up in Plaza Park (next to Hall H) until ALL tents, canopies, stanchions, and work are completed at the Park. This also includes areas adjacent to the Park. Please no waiting nearby for work to be completed. We anticipate that all work will be finished sometime Tuesday morning (July 22), however this is not a guarantee.”

    There’s a no camping rule, but then they talk about being able to use sleeping bags and the bathrooms from 9pm to 7 am, so I’ve always read the no camping to mean don’t bring your own tent, just a sleeping bag.

    There’s no time given before which you’re not allowed to line up, other than July 22nd, the days before Comic-Con.

    Also, no mention of it here: http://www.comic-con.org/cci/programming-schedule

    But let’s just say I can’t find it or I’m not reading it right (both possible), people clearly will line up or “gather” early in some way. It’s the nature of little supply and large demand. I really really really hope they do something about the lines. I don’t want to waste my Friday or Saturday in a line either. I gave up seeing Vikings and Orphan Black on Friday to get better seats for Saturday. Crazy. My idea would be to give people virtual currency in points with their badges and they could spend that virtual currency in securing VIP sections in rooms they really wanted in, but they would only have so many points so they couldn’t do everything. This may force people to pick and choose what they really want to see and then guarantee good seats for that without sleeping outside (you may only have enough points for one panel if it’s really popular) and then use stand by lines at normal times for more casual attendees. The only other solution I see is to have people pay more money for reserved seating or sell out seating for popular panels ahead of time online in sections or some semi-assigned seating.

    Some people above mentioned security taking away badges, but I bet that would not go over well: what will be the process of determining whether you’re just sitting in the shade reading a book or waiting for a line to open up? I see the same problem in capped lines on the floor that have people waiting by them in a line for the line to be uncapped…a line for the line…crazy.

  48. I have followed you on twitter since I went to my first SDCC last year. I had noticed the attacks and negativity that seemed more frequent as the Con got closer and I was confused by it especially since you never really addressed it, now it makes a lot of sense. I will continue following you and hope you continue to make your swag bag cosplay, it encouraged me to suggest my daughter to do something similar. I hope they will ceases and desist with harassing you.

    • Thank you. I waited 18 months and was willing to let it slide but only felt necessary to come out once Sarah shared her story. I don’t want to create any negativity in our community but also feel a duty to speak out to protect the Comic-Con fandom if needed. Thanks for the support!

  49. One of the things that I love most about going to SDCC is the feeling of community. We try and help each other and get through 4 1/2 very long days. I am sad to hear that all this is going on. A “secret” line is a terrible thing. I didn’t like the new Hall H line wristband thing but did it anyway and slept on concrete by the marina two nights in a row to get into the panels I wanted. As my husband pointed out earlier, we met you twice this year and we were so super excited. Hope to see you again next year. Thanks for standing up for what is right. We appreciate you. See you in 2015!

  50. After reading this, I really hope the Anime Expo takes lessons. I read all this… sure, Anime Expo has issues but they’re not as big as SDCC – yet. They had 80K unique attendees this year in LA, a new record – and who knows how big it will get for 2015. Line management was BAD at AX, I cannot imagine how bad it was at SDCC.

  51. I am a fan looking to go to SDCC 2015 for the first time. I find this situation both enlightening and disturbing at the same time. I will be bringing my 16-yo daughter with me and hope this drama isn’t par for the course! I will keep up with your blog in the coming year and can say I won’t be following the unofficial blog after reading about their behavior. “Ain’t nobody got time for that”

    • While each year poses it’s own set of challenges, overall it is the most amazing experience and I know you won’t be disappointed. Let me know if you have any questions and best of luck to you and your daughter!

  52. I wish Comic-Con would adopt D23s policy of no line ups before 6:00 am. As someone who paid $300+ a night to stay at the Hard Rock (nicely 2 doors down from Entertainment Weekly’s base camp), I pretty much nixed any thoughts of going to H-Hall this trip. San Diego and the Con should realize that people standing in lines aren’t spending money. How much more income could be thrown around by people not tied down to having to be in a line? These unofficial lines should’ve been dispersed. Tony, you are awesome and keep up the good work! Your advice was much appreciated!

  53. I agree with above comments about the podcast this year. It was very offensive to me as Jeremy and his team were actively dissing panels that I and my fellow nerd friends care for very much. Now, reading about how they have been treating you, these offensive remarks make sense for a group who is not really there to support the fandom but instead line their pockets and get attention for themselves (even if it is done maliciously, it seems). While I have yet to meet you in person, I will say that your blog has saved me on a number of occasions from missing things that I was unaware that were taking place. Additionally, your “what to bring” lists are lifesaver as there is always that moment of realization after reading your list that I realize I have forgotten something very important. This was my 5th year as a volunteer for a non-profit LGBT comics distributor and, as most of my days are spent working, having a blog like yours is a lifesaver when I actually do have free time to explore. Thanks so much Tony for what you do and don’t sweat these haters. Eventually, they will piss off the wrong people or enough people and their time in the spotlight will be done, and for good reason. Thanks again from your faithful follower, Missy

    • Thank you Missy, that is very kind of you. There have been many that have mentioned the ‘tone’ of their podcasts so you are far from being alone in that observation. I’m glad my blog has helped and thank you for the support. Hope to meet ya next year.

  54. I’ll be honest, I only started following SDCCUB in early 2013. I did find them informative but as time went on I found that Jeremy was becoming more and more judgmental towards things I was interested in. Id tune in to their podcast and find him dismissing stuff I tuned in to hear. (I’ve seen it in a lot of people who started to become bigger in status lately too. Without naming names, some cosplayers who finally made the limelight have been turning their backs on SDCC and trashing it, now that their “hollywood”. SDCCUB hasn’t taken it that far but you get what I mean. Sometimes things go to people’s heads.) I started to tune out in early 2014 before badges went on sale for this reason. I still followed but less and less. Other small bloggers like yourself were more positive about everything.Then when the shit hit the fan at SDCC2014, I saw it as the icing on the cake. (I was actually right next to him when he was interviewing the line, you can see my friend in the background of the shot.) My personal beliefs started to be shared by others in regards to them. Its sad that they started to act like this and even sadder that they continue to make excuses about their actions. Whats worse was all the things I’ve seen (thanks to this con-war) from Jeremy on twitter or facebook or in comments that just highlight him being extremely malicious. There’s just been a lack of class lately over there. I’m not saying they are all like that, there are fine folk over there, but Jeremy in particular has been going in a direction that I don’t admire and doing it under the protection of a website. I’m glad you and others could come forth and validate my unspoken beliefs. It’s also great to have you and the other smaller bloggers out there staying true to the scene. Its appreciated. When do the #TeamTony hashtags start?

    • It’s unfortunate that we have to deal with any of this but when $/traffic is involved, things get wacky I guess. Your observations are astute and I hope this will be the end of it. Thanks for your support and I really appreciate your comment.

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