The National Federation of the Blind has revoked the convention sponsorship an benefits from AccessiBee, due to questionable business practices by the company.
From a press release, "This week, the Board of Directors reviewed accessiBe s business practices at the urging of members who have researched and interacted with the company, and the Board believes that accessiBe currently engages in behavior that is harmful to the advancement of blind people in society. In particular, it is the opinion of the Board that accessiBe peremptorily and scornfully dismisses the concerns blind people have about its products and its approach to accessibility. The Board is deeply concerned that the company treats blind access technology experts shabbily and disrespectfully in private meetings and disparages the blind in the press and their other communications. It seems that accessiBe fails to acknowledge that blind experts and regular screen reader users know what is accessible and what is not."
The gold sponsorship was a $15,000 value and included the opportunity for two breakout sessions during the convention week among other perks.
AccessiBe has had a history of conflict with website users and disability advocates, many of which are outlined on the Overlay Fact Sheet website. Nearly 500 individuals and organizations have signed a petition admonishing the practice of deceptively marketing accessibility overlays as a complete solution to make websites accessible.
The NFB has banned other companies from being a part of conventions in the past, notably Maxi-Aids, due to past business practices including obtaining Perkins braille writers at a discount that were intended for persons in developing countries.
The American Council of the Blind has not published their list of sponsors for their 2021 virtual convention as of the time of this article.Source: National Convention Sponsorship Statement Regarding accessiBe
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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.