DMA Will Return to Orlando, County Says

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The Direct Marketing Association accepted a $200,000 peace offering from Orlando, FL, and will take its fall annual show to the tourist destination at least one more time, according to a spokeswoman with the Orange County government.


The county will refund the rent the DMA paid for use of the Orange County Convention Center for the association's annual show held there last October. During the event, a story in the Orlando Sentinel angered many DMA members who perceived it as a negative portrayal of the industry.


Before the story's publication, the DMA had planned to take the fall annual to Orlando again in 2007, 2011 and 2015. Complaints about the article led DMA staff to search for a new location for future annual shows.


In response, county business and government leaders mounted a campaign to win back the DMA annual show, which generated $21 million for the county, according to a May 26 memo from the convention center to the Orange County Commission. Orange County Commission chairman Richard Crotty delivered a personal apology to the DMA Board of Directors and asked the association to reconsider.


The DMA agreed to return the fall annual to Orlando in 2007, according to the memo. That return is contingent on the commission's approval of the refund.


A DMA spokeswoman said the association had no comment about the county's announcement of the deal.


Orange County Commission members were scheduled to vote on the refund this morning, county government spokesman Steve Triggs said. The cost of the refund would be split equally among the Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the convention center and the Hotel Surcharge Committee, which receives funding from the three hotels adjacent to the convention center.


The Oct. 14 front-page article in the Sentinel carried the headline, "Spammers, telemarketers share secrets in Orlando." The story and the show both came in the immediate wake of the launch of the national no-call list. It referred to attendees as "the folks at SnoreFix and The Money Maker Plan, and their marketing brethren." It said they were at the show to discuss the no-call list and "ways to get around any office Internet security system that deletes junk e-mail containing the words 'Super Viagra.'"


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