Barry is right the entire IAHA list was purged and for good reason. Probably half of all the members (about 250) to their yahoo group were no longer members, and some had even asked to be removed from that list countless times, but never get removed. I've even seen people say I haven't been a member in two years and have never been removed. As it stands now the list was totally wiped out and then they sent out invites inviting people to resign up. As I predicted there was maybe 50 or people who were really members, or even cared about that list.
I looked up their list and as of right now it stands at 44 members. I don't think that number will ever go higher than a 100 if it can even get that high. I don't mean this as a shot at IAHA as much as just a reality. Most haunt owners are not socialites, and don't want the endless emails back and forth so if you purge the whole group, only the social haunters will sign back up. I think in many ways they hurt their means of communication to those people.
If you look at the IAHA message board no one uses that, no one visits their website, and now not many will use their yahoo group. Dan mentions that they use 'constant contact' to communicate with members.
Another mistake! We use that to a much higher degree than they ever would, we have these things set up as well. We have about 25,000 emails in our system, for various different things from groups on people who've bought tickets from us, to hauntworld haunted house owners, to people who buy blacklight mini golf.
I'll use the blacklight mini golf as an example, because EVERY email address we have was given to us and recently. When you use these systems, you can track how many emails go through, how many are read and how many go straight to SPAM. Well about 70% go to spam because of your email filters, and probably another 20% of those go un-read, which leaves maybe 10% or less actually are read, and an even lower number that click on links you offer.
There are companies now that do nothing but manage your CC manger systems for you because they know a secret or two of increasing those percentages but still its very low.
A few weeks ago Ben Armstrong asks me if I read the latest IAHA newsletter which talked about a banquet and I said no I didn't get a copy. He suggests to me that maybe since I've choosen not to re-join maybe they stopped sending it to you. I said yeah maybe.
A couple days later I was looking through my spam emails trying to find that one or two real emails amoung hundreds of bad ones, and yep there was the IAHA newsletter. Right to spam. Most of the people I know just DELETE their spam folders or never even look at them. So that is NOT a good way to communicate to the entire membership at all. Its one way yes, but nothing you can count on let me tell you.
I was never an IAHA member, then I joined it once they started HURTING the industry, with soap opera type crap on their website, in industry magazines and after all the scandels and whatever else.
I ran for the board and was elected. I then was nominated to run for President, which I accepted and served two terms. After I told the board I would no longer serve as President, and was told that they wanted a different President, Dan himself came to me and said we need you to run for President again. I told him no. I gave my ALL to this group, and I finally got fed up with the fact that this group just doesn't want to be professional.
They want to WASTE the members money on silly sponsorships to dances, waste money on dumb things that don't help the members advance their business.
They just basically did anything they wanted no matter how much reason you offer, or experience you present ... the census they did was a perfect example. They paid fellow board member, $2,500.00 to create this census. I was against that because NO BOARD member should be paid when they volunteer their service.
But that goes on all the time and I really wasn't happy about that. But they create this census that asked questions like how much money did you gross, how much did you net, blah, blah. It asked questions that no reasonable business owner would ask and they spent $2500.00 on this. I told them they should change it and they told me they would do whatever they wanted.
IT FAILED... NEARLY ZERO people filled this thing out, despite all of their pleas for people to do so. So many people from Ben Armstrong, to Randy Bates, and everyone in between told them NO WAY will we fill that out but they still REFUSED to change it. They would not listen to reason.
Its more of a social club, a group of buddies that think they know more than everyone else so if you don't agree with them it doesn't matter they do it anyway. I'm not going to be a part of that.
Personally for me, I'd rather not discuss the subject because as far as I'm concerned its a dead issue. I'm moving on.
Most people I talk to say the same thing... IAHA doesn't help my business and it doesn't. It was just tooooo much work to try and get a board of all kinds of people from an insurance salesman, to a home haunter, to an actor in a haunt, to someone who just works at a vendors company, to people who don't own haunts or vending companies or even a home haunt to see the bigger picture.
Well a REAL group of haunters did see the bigger pictures... a group of haunters got together outside of IAHA and started a group that would pool money to launch national PR, try to get television shows produced, and build awareness for the industry.
Its really amazing what you can do when people think alike, have the same goals, and put their money where their mouth is...
The Today Show, USA Today (twice), National Geographic Channel, Good Mourning America, countless AP stories, and so much more later, the industry is feeling the effects of exposure in your ticket lines, in your ticket booths, and in your bank accounts.
We won't stop!
In fact we have BIGGER PLANS, and we will be asking more and more haunts to get involved and do what it takes to spin our industry to AMERICA!
STOP WATCHING HORROR MOVIES AND COME TO HAUNTED HOUSES!
NO ONE is going to speak for an industry, you have to take the DAMN bull by the horns and do it yourself and that is what we did. We don't need IAHA, and neither does anyone else. However those choices are up to you!
It won't stop me or others from doing the positive things we do. In the end any thing good that happens no matter who does it is all good for the industry.
That is my view. If IAHA can do something good, which so far they haven't shown that they can then good for them. I'll be the first one to thank them.
www.HauntedHouseAssociation.org is on top of most of the search engines, and is set up to promote the industry in a positve light. All haunts from Hauntworld are promoted on the site, along with all vendors, and we even list Hauntcon Tradeshow. So we're not trying to be lopsided or anything else.
I'm more than happy to ADD any VENDOR, to the site. Just let me know.
As we go forward, those who join IAHA go for it, or save your $100.00 and buy magazine subscriptions, dvds, or seminars at TW. But either way, I've parted ways with them, and whatever they do on their site, good for them. I don't care anymore and would rather just discuss haunted houses with all the people on this website.