Yet more evidence big associations have lost the plot: watch nine sessions of AAM online for only … $300?!? — The American Association of Museums (AAM) has announced that it will host its first “virtual conference” during this year’s annual meeting in Los Angeles. I understand AAM’s motivation here. They’re surely hoping to recover some of the revenue all big associations have been losing in recent years. AAM is an important institution, so that is an important project. But maybe someone can explain the value proposition of this particular solution to me from a consumer’s perspective. Why would I pay $300 for live web video and chat (when I know can get plenty of that at zero cost through Ustream or Justin.tv plus Twitter) or for post-conference access to recorded video (when YouTube and iTunesU offers content of similarly high quality for free)? I’m not saying the content of the live conference program will be anything but excellent and well worth any time spent on it. But in an age when all of this can be (and is being) done for free, why shell out $300 bucks for it?