DBA_318, I wouldn't be so judgmental. We are all different and have different motives.
I don't think that somebody is running a SQL Saturday and/or User Groups just for a comp code as running those events is time and money that is not refundable, but ... this is an incentive to have a mini vacation without paying a full price for it (additionally, it is easier to convince your employer to pay $1.K for lodging and airplane vs. $4K that will include the conference as well).
People complaining about paying for a virtual event when an entire conference world is saturated with free and quality content. Why pay $500 if they can attend so many other events for free?
Microsoft Build 2020 is a great example -
$2,395 for a pass this year, Microsoft made the conference available to anyone who wanted to watch for free.
More than 230,000 attendees registered for the online-only event, up from the 6,000 who attended in person last year
Can PASS run a virtual event for free or is it only possible for trillion-dollars companies like Microsoft? I think PASS can do it, but I don't think that PASS want to do it.