Sunday, February 21, 2016

Technical Difficulties at the Ticket Counter

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Tickets to the hottest events are not possible for typical fans to get, according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
"Ticketing, to put it bluntly, is a fixed game," said a report Schneiderman's workplace released Thursday.

The major contributor to the trouble is the automated computer "bots", which are applications that ticket brokers use to rapidly buy a large quantity of tickets the minute they go on sale.

Schneiderman's report cites examples such as a U2 tour final year in which a single bot bought 15,000 tickets in one day and Beyonce's 2013 concert at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, which sold 520 tickets in 3 minutes.

Measures to block the bots, are becoming defeated with sophisticated software applications and low-cost overseas workers.

And most tickets to significant events surprisingly, aren't even offered to the common public in the first place, according to Schneiderman's report.

Event organizers and ticketing solutions such as Ticketmaster set aside significant blocks of tickets for insiders like season ticket owners or particular credit card holders. Less than 20% of tickets produced are ever accessible to the common public for the hottest events. And several of those tickets that are set aside also land in the hands of brokers, according to Schneiderman.

Schneiderman recommends having vendors like TicketMaster use tougher measures to detect and avoid bot use, enforced by imposing criminal penalties for any person caught utilizing a ticket bot.
He brokered for higher transparency, like getting ticket resale internet sites such as StubHub listing the original face value of the tickets they sell and also for legislation to limit the markups that resellers can put on tickets.

"Reinstating caps on markups would still allow brokers a role in the marketplace but would also make sure that any value markups be reasonable," Schneiderman said.

But changing the ticket-sales procedure marketplace for higher profile events will be difficult. Price tag controls have never been quite efficient in the past, mentioned Jesse Lawrence, CEO of TiqIQ, which tracks and facilitates the resale of tickets.

"There is a fair industry price that individuals are prepared to pay for tickets," he mentioned.
And defeating bots has also proved tricky.

"That's a technology challenge, not a legislation challenge," mentioned Lawrence. "It really is like saying how can you stop hackers? They'll always be a step ahead."

Ticketmaster said it fully cooperated with Schneiderman's investigation and that it "looks forward to continuing to coordinate with the Attorney General to ensure that artists can get tickets into the hands of their fans."

Chris Isidore: CNN Money