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Conference gnomes will need to choose sides. Blog moguls Jason Calacanis and Michael Arrington have teamed up to schedule their TechCrunch50 show in September in direct competition to Chris Shipley's Demofall event. I've prepared a cheat sheet to follow the action at a distance.

  • Demofall runs September 7-9 in San Diego, Sunday through Tuesday.
  • TechCrunch50 runs September 8-10 in San Francisco, Monday through Wednesday.
  • Demofall showcases new products. TechCrunch50 requires that the entire company be a new launch.
  • Both events try to keep their lists of presenters a secret until close to showtime.
  • Demofall requires that exhibitors not participate in any other shows. Companies chosen to exhibit at both shows will be forced to pick one.
  • Job-avoiding members of The 250 will surely attend both. But most attendees and many journalists will be forced to choose either Demo or TechCrunch, and to skip the other entirely. Note: This is where the fun starts.
  • Demofall is a less-prestigious spinoff of the bigger Demo show held in January in Palm Desert, California. It was originally called Demomobile, but there wasn't enough mobile to demo. It's not all-out war until TechCrunch goes head-to-head with the January Demo.
  • Demo's organizers spell it DEMO, but it's not an acronym, so Owen makes me spell it Demo. I'm not sure why TechCrunch isn't Techcrunch by that rule. But I'm glad Valleywag isn't ValleyWag.
  • Arrington told VentureBeat that the schedule conflict wasn't intentional. It was, he said, the only time they could get the venue they really wanted. This is the difference between a journalist and a publicist.
  • Calacanis has been much more blunt about his desire to "take the payola out of Demo" by hosting a similar event that doesn't charge demonstrators a fee. It's currently $18,500 per company to appear at Demo, free at TechCrunch50. PR people I talked to believe $18,500 is a fair price for the exposure Demo gives a new product or company. But many of the shoestring Web 2.0 firms TechCrunch tracks simply don't have it.
  • UPDATE: New improved quotes.
  • Arrington: "Demo needs to die."
  • Calacanis: "Chris Shipley, you moved your event to compete with us."
  • Shipley: "It baffles me, because ultimately it's not very good for entrepreneurs. It doesn't make sense how this will help them."
  • If she's so concerned for the entrepreneurs, why not let them do both shows? That seems easier.