Google IO registration

I’m still sitting in my chair, shaking. I haven’t feel this way since I bought my lucky ticket to see Rolling Stones back in 2005. Yes, I did it – I will go to Google IO 2011! But why in age of the “cloud” it had to be such an awful, painful experience?

It seems that Google,Β  our web poster-boy, grossly underestimated popularity of this event. It was hinted (and why wasn’t it properly announced in the first place) that the registration would open at “business hours on 2/7/2011” so, naturally I started checking my computer at 7AM. By 9:10AM Twitter was thick with suspense when at last @googleio came up with “Your wishes have been granted! Registration for #io2011 is now open at“. And at this point instead of orderly registration the process became fight for survival. In words of @cyanogen: “The @googleio site is in Cold Fusion?! What is this 1985?” Yes, ladies and gentlemen it looks like the most prominent Android hacker failed to get registered for Google IO since the very next message from him simply states “Thanks for your interest in Google I/O, but registration for this event is now sold out. ” And yet, somehow Android gods smiled at me smashing F5 key and madly reloading 503 pages. I got it, I managed to take it all way trough to Google checkout and I’m going.Β  Alas, bootcamp was sold in the first 2 min but at least I’m attending the main event!

This will probably go down the history as a classic example of how even largest and smartest companies can grossly underestimate and mismanage seemingly obvious things. And maybe Google will outsource IO 2012 ticket sales to the Ticketmaster? These guys know how to sell the tickets. I’m sure that Google will not repeat this morning fiasco. And as I’m looking for the silver lining in this whole ordeal I’m happy that I call myself Android developer. I’m almost ecstatic that I work with GWT and have Google Apps under my belt. Go Google!

Let me know if you made it and what was your story, so may be I’ll see you there!

P.S.Β  It looks like @cyanogen did get in but the official word is in now – Google IO 2011 was sold out in 59 min. My guess is that 57 out of these were us fighting 503 pages

  • Huge Fail.
    I didn’t get a ticket.

    • Bo Stone

      Sorry man, it was bad and totally unfair. I think Google (or at least Google IO folks) should publicly apologize for this

  • Scientific

    I was able to register….I think? I got the email confirmation (but it appears to be an invoice) and never did go through any google checkout process. Anyone else get this as well??

    • I got this too, but no worries, you are kinda registered (your spot is reserved anyways). To pay (you should ASAP), follow these steps:
      1) go to
      2) login on that page with the password you created and the confirmation number is on the invoice
      3) somewhere on that page you can pay with Google Checkout. It will say your account status is “Balance pending” or something similar.
      4) now you get the normal confirmation email.

    • Nick

      I got the same thing. I replied back to the email but still no response

    • I also received an invoice into my e-mail but is that all?

    • Nick

      Called them… They said to wait until tomorrow they are going to update the site so you can log in and edit your info and pay if u need to… if you received the invoice u are registered for the conference.

  • Chuck

    It does mean that Google has really underestimated the interest in IO. I mean they actually think that stragglers would be still registering in April. They really can’t and shouldn’t try to say that they are just trying to keep the size down to maintain quality, this is just a complete FUBAR on their part. Maybe they ought to plan on a bigger convention center, a better registration system, and having a clue for next year. Whatever they do they shouldn’t follow the ComicCon sign-up method:). That was done by an outside Ticket company on Saturday and was a complete disaster.

    • Last year it took 50 days to sell out.

  • Got my golden ticket. I hit the link and got into the registration process within seconds of it going live. Long page loads, but I just stayed patient. Took almost 10 mins to complete the process.

    Can’t wait! Will be there with some BeerWhere bling (

  • Mv7

    This reads a lot more like a status update than an article…

  • Well, to sum it up in the perfect words, this post is almost exactly what happened to me.

    All morning I sat in front of my computer hitting F5 repeatedly on the actual I/O website until I saw the glorious green ‘Register’ button appear. I wasn’t about to wait for Google I/O Team’s official announcement on Twitter, as for I had a feeling they might open it up on their site earlier (prior to what they said about it being “during business hours PST”). Well they didn’t. My behavior sounds a bit crazy or excessive…but, maybe not…after this morning’s turnout! I realize now that my instincts to be on that site armed-and-ready to register at the first moment available today almost STILL wasn’t enough.

    I got through the first section of the registration form, hit ‘Continue’ and that’s when I noticed the site start to hang and soon after sent me to the dreaded 503 page. I am pretty sure I sat there for the remaining 45 minutes reloading my browser, trying alternate browsers, phoning a friend for help, you name it. Nothing. Then when I finally got through to the first section to register (again) it gave me a big message saying the tickets were SOLD OUT. I think my blood pressure went through the roof and within seconds I felt the life get sucked out of me.

    Luckily I follow @koush on Twitter, who had also mentioned he was initially out of luck until he RT’d a tweet from a Godsend, @robaymett: “If you were registering for #io2011, find the registration page in your history!! You can still get in!”

    I went back through my browser history, found the link to my form, and was able to complete it! Yay!

    So for anyone who went through most of the process of filling out the form, you should be able to find the link in your browser’s history.

    Now the question remains, what hotel to stay in? They’re all expensive (even with the discounted rate)!

    • I was going to stay in the Parc 55, which was recommended to me by a coworker who goes to WWDC every year. It’s within walking distance of the Moscone, and can be reached via BART, so no taxi needed. I still have my reservation page open… closing that now… *tear*

      Maybe if I get in, I can split the room with you. πŸ˜‰

    • Same here. I went from ecstatic to frustrated to f*cking pissed, as I got 3 pages into the registration process before the site went down. Half an hour of refreshing only got me to the ‘sold out’ page. I found a similar tip though, and lo and behold, I got to give them my money and got a confirmation in response.

      Now I’m just knocking on wood/hoping against hope/praying to the gods of Moscone that they don’t somehow void the registration.

    • Andy

      ADDesigns, that’s exactly my experience as well. Word for word.
      Still, I wish Google would have handled the situation better. In fact, I hope they expand the conference to include the whole Moscone Center, not just the west part, and reopen registration. But I guess the east is already booked up…..

      • I totally agree…I cannot imagine them *not* foreseeing this to happen, and plan for a much bigger turnout. It’s bizarre. I feel horrible for people who already booked plane tickets (some were international too)! Hopefully they had fully refundable tickets. Yikes.

        As for expanding the conference space (somehow), maybe they will find a way…it would certainly make a LOT of people happy!

  • Unfortunately I was in a meeting at the time, and by the time I got back to my desk, it was 503’ing all over the place. Eventually I got a page load, and then the sold out message.

    I take some small solace in the fact that I’ll probably be able to watch videos of a lot of the sessions after the event, but missing out on the expected new developer device hurts a little more. The trip to California would have been nice, but I guess not having to pay anything to go means I’ll have some leftover money for a new Android tablet.

    I’m really hoping they find a way to open up a few more slots, and maybe give registered developers with published apps some sort of priority.

  • Word Whisk

    I was on right before 10am CST. I thought it was in PST and they would open. Nope. Then I read on the Register page that their hours were Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. So I was sweating 11am CST because I thought they were going to open then. Nope. The entire time I was on my 8 inch screen netbook I kept refreshing to see if it was open but I was madly checking this side……..
    Early Bird Price (until 4/16/11) $450
    List Price (starting 4/17/11) $550
    Academia (student, faculty) $150
    BootCamp +$100 (all registration types)
    ….thinking that the Academia and Early Bird would turn blue like the BootCamp and after the jump I could buy a ticket. Totally didn’t see the big blue button on the right side. Even after I got texts and asked someone. Idiot. I’m going to blame it on the 8 inch screen tho.

    At this point I kept getting errors. Then I got through but my busted 8 inch netbook didn’t popup the Checkout with your Google account or make an account right after you pick Attendee or Press. I got Fill in your checkout method but there wasn’t any option to be seen. Then I got an error.

    I dove out of bed and hauled beans down the hall to the laptop in the front room. It was unplugged so I shakily stabbed the charger in and had to wait for it to boot on.

    I had three pages open. One straight to One to and I clicked the Register button on the Register page. Finally one to and I clicked the Register button on the About page because there was one on there oddly enough. I spent more time refreshing the About Register button because I figured everyone went for the Register Register button.

    I knew when the page stayed on the About page but the green status bar at the bottom of the page was 1/2 that something was happening. I got the page I was previously on. This time on the updated working laptop when I clicked Attendee up popped Checkout with google checkout. I used the same email I had with google checkout. I clicked continue and kept getting more pages to fill out. When I got to the page where you finally checkout it just had Early Bird $450 so I missed the Academia. Sad.
    I was like o well. I got a Purchase Complete! page with Your order has been sent to Google IO 2011.
    I checked my mail and received two emails…
    Google Checkout Order receipt from Google IO 2011 ($450.00) at 12:14 PM
    The Google I/O Team Google I/O 2011 Registration Confirmation 12:30 PM

    Then I decided to see if I could buy another ticket. I used another email and last name which brought up we are sold out. Hmm so I tried using my email address that I used with other ticket. It let me through! I walked through all the pages and got to the checkout part. I was scared to click Order again because what if they oversold and canceled my entire order. Also another $450 on my credit card wasn’t something I needed. So I didn’t. I walked through all the pages to reorder a few times. I edited some of my information at one point and couldn’t get back in to order more after that. Then it would tell me sold out. Interesting.

    • wurza82

      Also it’s possible to buy two or more tickets with the same Google checkout account?

  • W.

    I think the process was outsourced to (some people were redirected there after 503), who couldn’t handle the load. Hope they re-implement the registration process via GAE next year.

  • Bo Stone

    *Status update* Bought my tickets, reserved my hotel. Boy, am I glad that company pays?!

  • Got one too… after many 503s, refreshes and fingers crossed πŸ™‚

    The registration process was awful, but in the end i got one.

    Google I/O sold out in 59 minutes! That’s about 49 days, 23 hours and 1 minute less than last year’s.

  • Kevin

    It was ridiculous. I was in, had filled out all my info AND was able to click the “yes” button to get into boot camp, but the next page failed to come up and I never was able to get another response. So, never got in, even after attending the past two years…

    • Munchy

      have you tried to go back to the page in your browser history to fill out the rest of the form?

  • D

    The last thing we need is for Ticketmaster to get their grubby hands in this. The day they use someone like Ticketmaster is the day scalpers start taking over and we get charged $50 “convenience” fee and the day I stop going to GoogleIO.

    I’m sure google was just as surprised – judging by how long it took to sell out last year and the year before… 90 days to 50 days to 59 minutes? Who would have predicted that.

    I suspect after next year Android will have its own event. This is unsustainable.

    • I think it’s nice to have non-android topics covered as well, as it all sort of ends up tying together anyway (well, potentially, anyhow).
      Either way, I’m sure next year they will use someone else to handle registration. That was a pretty poor showing.

  • Nickus

    Alright yeah I also got through to the 3rd additional info page where you select your lunch info.. and then it killed out on me.. I also then started getting the 503’s and refreshed.. I am sure we killed 1 or 2 servers with page requests.. lol … anyhow.. After a lil while I started opening up new pages thinking hey this will work sometime.. Eventually I heard about the history trick and bam!!! I am in.. I will be at I/O and bootcamp. Woot for being a broke student.. it all only cost 250$..

  • Julius

    Almost exactly same thing happened to me. I had entered in my details and pressed continue when I got 503s. (I wondered about seeing .cfm there!) So I copied the URL which looked to have a unique key in it and came back a couple of hours later and it went through (thank goodness) as I had two meetings to get to and I had already bought my plane tickets and hotel booking (coming from NZ)…

    I thought these guys had scalability under control… πŸ™‚ I guess it was like 1000 times the average load from the previous year…

  • vinubalaji

    Yeah I had hoped they open at 9 am but had to wait a bit for it to open. I constantly checked twitter, and google events website by refreshing a few times. But none of them changed for a few minutes and finally i saw the website working and a twitter update later. It was like ordering stuff on a thanksgiving night πŸ™‚ but with no idea on when things are going to get sold out! I was lucky that I didn’t see any of the errors and was able to use Google checkout. I would have been really dissapointed if I hadn’t got the tickets since I waited a long time for the event to be open with a lot of Google alerts bothering my inbox! Sorry for the guys who couldn’t make it but I hope Google increases the capacity and/or improves the ordering process! I think they should use their own technologies to handle the load!

  • It seems as if everyone here thinks that this has anything to to with the popularity of Google’s technology.

    I think this is plain wrong.
    From 50 days to 59 minutes … well how could this be?
    Could it be that this has something to do with giving away a free mobile phone last year?

    I tell you what will happen this year:
    – if Google sends a gift out this year you will find 50% of the tickets on ebay
    – the crowd at the event will be full of kiddies and lil techies and you’ll find very few professional developers because they usually have a day job and not the time to gamble at xx:xx:xx o’ clock to get into a conference within 60 minutes. Just think of all the academia staff. What should they have done if they had to hold lessons?

    Just my 2 cents

    • Bo Stone

      Alas I’m definitely not one from the “kiddies and lil techies” crowd, I actually walked out of a sprint-planning meeting to fight for my ticket. But I agree on the “free phone” part though I would attend regardless

    • Walt

      Alas that may hold out to be true.

      Didn’t anyone here do early registration? I registered last week. Perhaps that was the reason for the quick sell out: most of last year’s attendees had already registered.

      And definitely agree on the conference space. They need a larger space. I’m hoping they don’t have the capacity issues this year that they had with Android sessions last year.

  • Pedroid

    I checked at 5am and 8:10am, registration still closed. I drove my kid to school, checked again at 9am, still closed. Went to meeting, then it was sold out when I got back!! Shit!! Would have been helpful if Google indicated when ticket sales would start.

    If anyone has extra tickets to sell, please let me know!! I checked craigslist, but haven’t found any yet. Thanks!!

  • Pedroid