No, I'm talking about the usual suspects behind the WorldCon candidates. Those motherfuckers, and the cliques of fans who run them like personal fiefdoms, are on their way out. The Internet took all of their relevant salient qualities and did a Prometheus-like spreading to the masses while leaving behind all of the odious, nasty, and downright dangerous crap.
But this is far more prosaic a matter.
The common fan con consists of panels, signing/meet-and-greets, a Dealer's Room, and some room parties. Of those elements, none of them require an actual convention to get shit done.
- Panels: Be they glorified presentations or lectures, or discussions among the panelists, this is nothing that can't be done better via a livestream with someone watching the chat room. Cheaper, easier, far more schedule-friendly (especially if you use the archive as a video, the default condition on YouTube), and with comment sections can be relevant years after the fact.
- Room Parties: Shut up and go to their house. You can livestream those too.
- Dealer's Room: AMAZON, MOTHERFUCKER! Ebay, Etsy, Brownells, and more exist.
- Signing/Meets: Shut up and do it at a store.
- Other: Drinking at the bar? Just go to the fucking bar (or be wise, buy your booze and drink at home). Concerts? Can be livestreamed. Awards? Done entirely online, no video or audio required.
And no, trade shows and professional/academic conferences are no better off. Neither are political conventions. The tool of the meatspace convention is obsolete, and anybody with a damn bit of financial sense would start axing this shit from the budget in favor of Internet-based alternatives that are far cheaper, easier, and more convenient.
Unless, of course, the reason for keeping on with this unnecessary practice is something other than the stated purpose- and I suspect it is.