Personally I think the issue is/was waiting until February to allow people to purchase the conference. Usually it quietly opens in November and it does not sell out for quite some time. My suggestion would be to go back to the old ways for 2013.
I can see your point, but IMO having more information available about the conference is better. The more speakers/events that are defined, and perhaps even if a schedule of seminars was defined when tickets go on sale, the less likely people will cancel, no?