HP users group Interex officially pulled the plug on all of its operations today, posting the following notice on its home page of its interex.org Web site:
It is with great sadness, that after 31 years, we have found it financially necessary to close the doors at Interex. Unfortunately our publications, newsletters, services and conference (HPWorld 2005) will be terminated immediately. We are grateful to the 100,000 members and volunteers of Interex for their contributions, advocacy and support. We dearly wish that we could have continued supporting your needs but it was unavoidable.
The user group had struggled to maintain a financial balance in the years following the Y2K ramp-up for IT, according to one of its directors, an era when attendance at the group's annual HP World shows fell steadily. Membership figures for the group, inflated to six figures in press releases during 2004, included a very broad definition of members, such as anyone who'd requested an Interex publication.
Phone calls to the Interex offices were going unreturned today; requesting a link to the company operator on the voicemail tree gave no reply as of Monday morning. Advertiser and sponsor Acucorp had the news of the HP World cancellation confirmed by Interex ad rep Tara Stafford, according to Acucorp's Marketing Communications Manager Kendra Brunje. Brunje added that the Interex employee said the Interex staff "was led to the door" on Friday. User conference speakers were also notified of the conference cancellation by e-mail.
Unresolved issues around the closing were still numerous today. Conference attendees who'd paid for show admission wondered about refunds on the 3000-L mailing list. Sponsors such as Acucorp have sent deposits on booth space for the show, hundreds of thousands of dollars. Speakers are holding non-refundable tickets to the San Francisco event, and some are talking of alternative meeting plans in the city during that week.
There's more. Interex operates mail list servers that host groups such as the MANMAN ERP mailing list, which was discussing how to continue its communications on alternative servers once the Interex systems go dark. And technical experts in the 3000 community were wondering how much of the user group's technical archives and resources would survive in the wake of such a sudden closing.