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Virtual trade shows take care of some very real business.

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This story appears in the August 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Virtual trade shows, expos and conventions are coming into their own. While event producers all insist that virtual shows won't replace real-world shows, there are some decided advantages to attending, hosting or exhibiting at online events. Entrepreneurs save on the costs of travel, booth materials and employees' lost productivity.

Robin Cowie, president of WorldwideBrands.com, a Maitland, Florida, wholesale and drop-ship resources provider, went from attending virtual B2B e-commerce trade show eComXpo to hosting a booth at the show. "We treat it like a normal convention," says Cowie, 35, whose company reached more than $3 million in sales last year. "We have three staff members dedicated to it. They're constantly chatting and exchanging information during the show, and I don't have to pay for travel."

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