If you can’t be there, be square. So argues Besquare, a website by Craig Lockwood that aims to become an essential part of the post-conference experience by offering a curated list of quality conference content. Lockwood told .net that the site was designed to solve two core problems: “As a conference goer, I wanted one central repository of quality curated content which I would find inspiring and could dip in an out of during lunch breaks and downtime. And as a conference organiser, I wanted a place to advertise my forthcoming conference and where I could host conference video to the widest possible audience.”
According to Lockwood, great content too often dies with conferences, but its value could help organisers continue to make money from conferences, long after the actual event. He explained that the plan is for organisers to have the option to charge for premium content that would be hosted on Besquare servers. Besquare would keep a percentage of the transaction in exchange for hosting and handling the payment. “Obviously, a lot of content will remain free, but as many conferences are now starting to charge for the video content, it makes sense for content to be hosted in a central repository, so that they have more chance of being viewed and purchased,” argued Lockwood. “For example, a conference in Australia may not even be known to the majority of Besquare visitors, but they may have some great content which would never have been seen if it weren't included on the Besquare site.”
Feedback has so far been broadly positive, according to Lockwood. Indeed, New Adventures founder Simon Collison told .net he supports what Besquare is doing and has enabled the site to use video and audio from the conference. And even those who aren’t so interested remain open-minded. “It's a nice looking site and already has a pretty good list of speakers. However I've never been a fan of conferences trying to sell videos, and unless they have a huge user base I don't see the value of adding your content there for free. So it's not something I'd consider now but I may consider it for the future,” said Clearleft founder Andy Budd, who co-organises dConstruct.
Lockwood told .net that he admits it’s still early days for Besquare, but already some conference organisers have reached out to say they love the idea. “I am trying to negotiate some exclusive deals where Besquare will be the sole aggregator of content, and we’ve had some great comments so far, such as the site being ‘like TED but better’,” he said. “And over the coming months, Besquare will be hosting exclusive content, original tutorials and a Besquare live show, where we will interview designers. It’ll be a bit like the Kevin Rose Foundation podcasts. We film the first with Eliott Jay Stocks an Keir Whittaker later this month.”