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CEA launches 'Tech Enthusiast' membership

By Rob Pegoraro

You, too, can be a member of the Consumer Electronics Association. Well, sort of.

The Arlington-based trade group began signing up individual "Tech Enthusiast" members yesterday. Where CEA's regular dues start at $750 a year and require active participation in the industry, "Tech Enthusiast" membership costs $49 a year ($29 for the first 2,000 to sign up) and demands the ability to click through an online form.

cea_te_logo.png

The first thousand TE members get an extra reward: an invitation to a "special celebration" the last day of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Those of us who cover CES for a living, year after year, might question whether "reward" is the appropriate word for this. The last day of the show can be a particularly grim sight, between the bleary-eyed faces of representatives (and the occasional reporter) who got cleaned out at the blackjack table the night before, the increasingly shabby exhibit areas and the thinning crowd.

You can also get a chance to beta-test products (I can assure you that's not all bliss either), access to CEA's newsletters and podcasts (ditto) and the chance to contribute to CEA's blogs.

The more practical reward seems to be discounts on some electronics purchases -- to name two cited by CEA, 10 percent off larger Samsung HDTVs at Newegg.com and $20 off $100 at Charlottesville-based Crutchfield's online store. A membership could earn back its cost if you're planning some major electronics purchases.

This is an interesting departure for CEA. Most industry groups don't even try to appeal to individual consumers: The Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, for example, don't invite individual viewers and listeners to join their cause.

CEA is now acting a little more like such lobbying groups as Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which will gladly take your membership and your money. CEA has been finding itself on the same side as those organizations in tech-policy debates, so being able to point to a larger membership base may help its cause.

But that assumes people will sign up for this program in CES-attendance numbers. And so far, I've yet to hear from anybody who's signed up for a Tech Enthusiast membership. But maybe I will in the comments below.

By Rob Pegoraro  | November 10, 2010; 7:14 PM ET
Categories:  Policy and politics, The business we have chosen  
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Comments

I paid, used, and loved Oddpost, but then yahoo! bought it. My paid account continued as a paid yahoo account, but the experience was not the same as Oddpost. Now, I can't find a decent paid account to save my life. Can you help, Rob? How about getting out the pen and running down the latest paid e-mail offerings?

Posted by: ummhuh1 | November 11, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, I don't know how my comments ended up here, when I was reading about Google and Facebook...

Posted by: ummhuh1 | November 11, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

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