Otakon apologizes after conference registration problems

Organizers of this weekend's Otakon anime convention in Baltimore apologized Friday after glitches in processing registrations left thousands standing outside the downtown convention center for hours on Thursday.

Those who had pre-registered for the three-day convention went to the Baltimore Convention Center Thursday to pick up their access badges and convention materials, and organizers said they were able to process about 10,000 people. But an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 attendees waited until nearly midnight before being turned away, organizers said. They were given special passes for expedited registration Friday.

Organizers attributed the failure in processing the registrations to Internet and communication-related problems. The Internet connection where registrants were being processed was faulty and the conference's website crashed, so updates from Otakon to attendees about the process were delayed. Organizers also said they posted a confusing message intending to say pre-registration online would close at midnight Thursday, but many interpreted the message to mean that was the deadline for picking up passes in person.

"Our entire staff would like to extend our sincere apologies to our members who endured long lines and disappointment [Thursday]," organizers wrote on Otakon's website. "It is not the standard to which we hold ourselves, and we sincerely appreciate the patience, humor, and accommodation they showed us despite their understandable frustration.

"Overnight, we have worked to identify a number of processes and restraints that hampered our ability to accommodate all our members," the statement continued. "As we go forward, we will continue to analyze the situation, identify all of the failings, and implement processes that preclude them from occurring in the future."



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