David appears to state that newer events built on "pay what you feel" wouldn't use traditional marketing methods like direct mail, so there shouldn't be concern about covering costs for those promotional costs, thus no overriding concern about B/E points. He points to a great Doc Searls post on "unconferences" for support.
I don't disagree absolutely with either point. However, Doc is commenting on attending tech conferences, not medical, manufacturing or consumer goods conferences.
Tech conferences and social media events like Gnomedex, an "unconference" which we posted about earlier this year, are much easier to fashion in ways that break the mold. Implementing a "pay what you feel" or "unconference" strategy in one fell swoop for an existing hairdresser or jewelry or pizza event would be a different, and much more difficult (if not impossible), challenge.
To David's point on marketing, to ask an organizer of those types of events to give up direct mail would be asking too much at this time. For these types of non-tech events, "pay as you feel" would necessarily have to be integrated with a more traditional direct marketing program.
And, those types of "traditional" event organizers are more typical of the people who read this blog. For me to suggest they abandon their entire marketing model would not be serving my readers/constituents well. Direct response marketing tests one variable at a time to see what works, not throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
Exposure to ideas like David's and Doc's is worthwhile, but in implementing a tactic like "pay as you feel" (or an "unconference"), I'd recommend baby steps. That's the only way most mainstream, non-tech-show organizers would be able to measure and see the potential value of these new approaches.
NB: David - apologies for the confusion with Mr. Holland. Second time I've done that over here. As I emailed Kevin, must be because all you association types sound the same ;-)