Why Do Ticketmaster Events Sell Out Instantly?

Ticketmaster is suing RMG Technologies for selling lecherous software that instantly sucks up tickets to everyone’s favorite concerts and sporting events. Groups like RMG are the reason tickets sell out just minutes after going on sale, only to mysteriously reappear at outrageously marked up prices on ticket resale sites like StubHub.

How brokers can jump to the front of the line is described in supplemental documents filed in Ticketmaster v. RMG Technologies, an active Federal District Court case asserting that the defendant’s automated ticket-buying software violated the Ticketmaster Web site’s terms of use. The papers describe a subterranean world of software designed to enter Ticketmaster’s online ticket-purchasing system at will and to scoop up tickets without limits.

The lawsuit was filed in April, after Ticketmaster had tired of what its spokesman, Joseph M. Freeman, called a “cat-and-mouse game” between Ticketmaster’s security systems and automated ticket-purchasing robots, or “bots.”

“We began detecting an increase in attempted online purchases by automated programs about two years ago,” Mr. Freeman said, adding that the company thinks RMG is not the only maker of this type of software.

Kevin McLain, Ticketmaster’s senior director of applications support, estimates that on some days, 80 percent of all ticket requests that arrive at its Web site are generated by bots.

The company looked for purchase anomalies and found four individual brokers who had bought a total of 115,000 tickets online. One of the four, Chris Kovach, agreed to cooperate and led investigators to RMG and its Web site, ticketbrokertools.com, which was open only to its clients. Mr. Kovach also agreed to permit security specialists to make a copy of his PC’s hard drive.

Ticketmaster said it had found evidence that RMG clients, with the help of RMG’s “PurchaseMaster” and related software, submitted millions of automated ticket requests, in Mr. McClain’s estimation. The RMG software disguised the clients’ Internet addresses to create the appearance that their ticket requests had originated in many different places, Mr. McClain said.

What high tech wonder-tools does RMG use to defeat Ticketmaster’s captchas, the annoying jumble of characters used to prove your humanity? Is it Optical Character Recognition? Something even more futuristic, maybe web 3.0-ish? Nah. Cipriano Garibay, president of RMG Technologies, boasts: “We pay guys in India $2 an hour to type the answers.”

A federal judge granted Ticketmaster an injunction against RMG, but nobody knows how many evil ticket-gulping bots exist. Not that we like Ticketmaster and their 30% markups, but next time a concert or playoff game sells out in less than five minutes, we know where to direct our anger.

Hannah Montana Tickets on Sale! Oops, They’re Gone [NYT]
(Photo: themikelee)

Comments

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  1. morganlh85 says:

    I absolutely hate the ticketing system now. I tried to get my mom tickets to see the Lion King, impossible. Tried to get tickets to the Smashing Pumpkins a few months back, sold out. I was lucky enough to find tickets on Ebay for LESS than face value, but most people aren’t so lucky and/or persistent in their search. Something needs to be done, although I’m not sure really what CAN be done.

  2. zentec says:

    Maybe it’s not RMG that has the flawed business plan, maybe it’s Ticketmaster.

  3. Buran says:

    @zentec: So their business plan is flawed because they were scammed? I’m not sure what you’re trying to blame here.

  4. Soldier_CLE says that Hideo Kojima has to make MGS till the day he dies! says:

    Ticket Resellers are the very reason why I will not go to alot of concert venues. If I can’t get it from the original source, I simply just won’t go.

    But I certainly REFUSE to give in to the bastard ticket-resellers, no matter if they are “official” or not. (Who the hell would pay $2K for a Hannah Montana concert, anyway?)

  5. nonzenze says:

    Buran, if the tickets are worth (will sell) for more than face value then it’s inevitable that scalpers will suck them all up in order to make a quick buck.

    TicketMaster should simply auction them off on varying (overlapping) time periods which will raise more money for the event AND deprive the scalpers of profit.

  6. UCLAJason says:

    Everyone should have an equal shot to get the tickets at a fair price. The ticket resellers are taking advantage of the public. I am not a big fan of ticketmaster but I am glad they are doing something about this. It is about time.

  7. zentec says:

    @Buran:

    The tickets are worth whatever someone will pay for them. If someone is willing to pay $250 for a seat to Hannah Montana, then that’s the value. If the venue or Ticketmaster are stupid enough to charge $80 for what is worth $250, then they get to tolerate the secondary market.

    Put the damned tickets for sale on eBay and be done with it. If people want to go *that* bad, they’ll pay whatever price is necessary. If the acts are concerned about the high price of tickets, they’ll add more shows.

  8. catchthefever says:

    Ticketmaster adds on 20% to 30% in fees. Regardless, you are going to pay more than face value.

  9. TechnoDestructo says:

    @zentec:

    It isn’t that simple. If the venues charged those kinds of prices for tickets, they’d see their attendance plummet, because not everyone WOULD pay that. This secondary market introduces stratified pricing.

    Putting them on ebay could actually drive prices DOWN after a while, as it allows easy comparison. It wouldn’t neccesarily get them any more than they’re making now…and it wouldn’t prevent ticket brokers from once again artificially cornering the market. (Well, unless you did all sales as auctions set to end on the day of the event…but that would make it impossible for customers to plan for the event)

    And they don’t actually have to put up with it. They could make the tickets non-transferable, or place restrictions on transfers which would make it unprofitable or unfeasible for brokers to operate.

  10. forgottenpassword says:

    I became aware of this when the hanna montanna concert ticket controversy happened here locally (no I am not a fan).

    IMO the BIG ticket resellers should only be allowed to purchase a small percentage of the whole amount of tickets. Individual people who want to have a FAIR CHANCE of obtaining tickets should be able to do so without the big price-gouging resellers snatching them all up.

    Perhaps they should go back to not selling online so that the greedy scumbag ticket resellers dont have the advantage? Mail in your request with proof of ID or buy tickets on site. I realize that this handicaps & punishes the legit fans , but sometimes there is no other choice to keep out the resellers who break the rules.

  11. DallasDMD says:

    Great, some of you folk would let scalpers sell them for thousands a piece so that only the most wealthy of yuppies could afford to attend. Ticketmaster has the right to sell them for whatever price they want and to control the distribution of the tickets.

  12. rmuser says:

    @Buran: No, because Ticketmaster is using a vulnerable CAPTCHA (image recognition). [haacked.com]

  13. dasunst3r says:

    Suppose the system can be fixed thus:
    1. When tickets are sold, they are assigned to the buyer.
    2. Once at the event, the said buyer must show his/her ID to let his/her party into the venue.
    3. In order to resell tickets, a “transfer” must be made by calling in to TicketMaster.

  14. Buran says:

    @zentec: Doesn’t mean it’s OK to illegally scam a legitimate business. If you want to make money selling tickets, start your own ticket business, legally.

  15. doormat says:

    @zentec:
    Then you piss off the 99% of your fans that went from having a small chance of getting tickets to absolutely zero since tickets start at $500/ea (because they simply cant afford it). You’re just catering to the 1% of your fan base making over $150,000/yr. Its not good PR. Its why you’ll never see the prices rise beyond what the middle of the target audience will pay.

  16. b612markt says:

    I don’t know a single living soul who enjoys Ticketmaster. I think their entire web system needs a total overhaul. I miss the days when I’d line up at a record store or concert venue to buy tickets.

    Also, the fact that these bots are able to get around the stupid captcha so easily points directly to Ticketmaster having a flawed and crappy system.

  17. b612markt says:

    @doormat: Who cares about pissing off fans? Madonna does this crap all the time. She pretty much hates her fans.

  18. doormat says:

    If I were ticketmaster I’d go after two tech-based solutions:

    How they’re obscuring their internet addresses to make it look like its coming from various IPs – I doubt its proxies since TM could easily turn around and check to see if the host has ports open. I’m willing to bet they’re using a botnet of some kind – an otherwise illegal tactic they could tip the FBI off to.

    Second, the payment method. I doubt the person is using the same credit card for every transaction (TM should already be blocking that). How are they creating enough identities to get around any limit?

  19. doormat says:

    @b612markt: Madonna does that because her fans have the money. The same goes for The Eagles, Paul McCartney, and other acts aimed at baby boomers – their kids are out of the nest and they’re spending their retirement money. So $200+ ticket prices are expected.

    Hannah Montana on the other hand, its usually one or two kids and a parent, so you’re starting off with two tickets.

  20. coren says:

    No big shock here.

    I take great delight in pouncing on ads on ebay going less than face from the obvious resellers (located in Texas, selling 8 tickets to a Seattle event and 6 to an NYC event and then 4 more to something in Nebraska? Suuuure). Screw them, and let them eat the Ticketmaster fees too. The local scalpers are bad enough.

    I mean, I went to a show in Portland with 2 extra tickets because a couple friends got stranded due to a snowstorm..nevermind that it wasn’t sold out as expected, some dude was hawking TWENTY tickets. What the hell!

    Maybe now I’ll be able to get tickets to shows I actually care about seeing at a reasonable price again..or maybe TicketsWest will start kicking Ticketmaster’s ass (the fees are far smaller, at least)

  21. RumorsDaily says:

    Another vote for auctioning the tickets and destroying the scalpers resale market.

  22. spinachdip says:

    This is why I’m happy to be an indie snob and disown favorite bands as soon as they’re big enough to play in Clear Channel/Ticketmaster venues.

    *Granted, my favorite venues sell through Ticketweb, a Ticketmaster subsidiary, but it’s a much friendlier, less scalper-friendly operation (you can’t get paper tickets via web, iirc).

  23. @morganlh85: I almost think they’ll have to do what some colleges with high resale value on the student tickets do: put names on the tickets and require people to show ID.

    Re: charging what the market will bear — I see the point to that, but these ticket resellers create an artificial scarcity that drives up the price, which isn’t quite the same as charging what the market will bear.

    But I wonder, as a practical matter, how much this hurts the acts. Maybe not the biggest of the big, but others. I know sometimes I’m interested in a local concert by a band/act I’ve heard a lot about from other people, and I look into availability, and the tickets sold out in the first 30 seconds. Well, I just don’t care that much, and I certainly don’t care above face value. (And locally I’ve seen concerts that were half-empty because resellers snatched them all up and nobody WAS willing to pay their inflated prices!) This sort of pricing and reselling seems to limit many acts to only their most rabid fans, and deprives them of a chance to grow a base.

    I think it also off-puts some people from lesser acts and smaller concerts, when they get used to concerts they want to see already being sold out, they don’t bother even checking for smaller acts that DON’T get bought up that way. I hear a lot of people say, after a local concert by some up-and-coming band gets a tiny draw, “Oh, yeah, I wanted to see that, but I didn’t want to deal with finding tickets” … when there were excellent seats at the box office up through concert night! The half-price ticket scheme that London does for its theaters seems a savvier way to build audience.

    And on a somewhat related note, Disney’s going to have to get those kids’ act ticket issues under control. It’s one thing for this kind of reselling for a Rolling Stones concert. For a Hannah Montana concert, when the poor girl has to do the talk show circuit urging parents NOT to spend $2000/ticket, that’s horrible PR and it’s a system badly out of whack. (And yeah, they’ve already added more shows.)

  24. latemodel says:

    I dont think that Visa, Mastercard, Amex will let them store and compare the CC numbers to identify mass purchases, otherwise the fix would be simple. 1 CC number = a specified number of tickets.

  25. SaraAB87 says:

    Why not sell the tickets on the day of the show or a day before and go to a strict RF-ID wristband system where you have to be in the line and get the wristband slapped on your wrist for admission. This would prevent scalping, the wristbands would be tamper proof and would be tied to your ID such as a drivers license, so they wouldn’t be able to sell fakes out of a truck or transfer bands. For kids it could be tied to the parents driver’s license. If your not in the line you don’t get to go to the concert. Yes I realize this would be a huge hassle but something similar needs to be done. Paper tickets are the whole problem imo, there is better technology out there for use at events to prevent this.

  26. chartrule says:

    wouldn’t the easier way to boycott the resellers and boycott the scalpers

    If a specific concert was happening and nobody went because of the price/availability of tickets at a fair price – then the resellers and the scalpers would probably be pooched

  27. SaraAB87 says:

    Yes, but that is realistically not going to happen, someone will show up at that show, boycotts do not really work, there are people that will do anything to get into concerts.

  28. Trojan69 says:

    If Ticketmaster and the venues want to end this, they can provide a ton of kiosks at the sites for ticket distribution, just as the airlines and many cinemas are now doing. A purchaser must swipe the credit card used for purchase at a kiosk on-site (no earlier than 4 hours prior to event) or the tix go begging.

    The interested parties can designate for which events it would adopt this system. For example, Staples Center in L.A. could implement this for concerts, but not for the Clippers, Kings, and Lakers.

    BTW – My brother’s best friend made hundreds of thousands back in the day by getting the special code from inside one of the famous ticket distributors. He could then go to a “friendly” agent, like a local grocery store who had the hardware to sell/print tix. This guy would get all the great event seats, nationwide, in advance. Kickbacks are a beautiful thing, people.

  29. Rando says:

    If ticket master wasn’t such a huge monopoly to begin with the tickets wouldn’t sell out so easily.

  30. crypticgeek says:

    @latemodel: Incorrect, atleast for Visa. You can store the PAN (the card number), name, service code, and expiration date if you protect it all according to the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). They could easily block multiple purchases on Visa. I imagine other cards have similar rules, but I’m not 100% sure.

    Perhaps they get around the limits by using gift cards or using “virtual” credit cards like Citibank can generate?

  31. veronykah says:

    Ugh, I have no sympathy. Can’t we just get rid of Ticketmaster?
    I recently bought tickets to Morrissey here in LA. They had a special price of $25 and EACH ticket had a “convenience charge” of $7.50.
    For that convenience, I got to stand in a huge line outside for will-call for about 20 minutes. Not sure what was convenient about it at all.
    I absolutely HATE them but it seems like less venues here in LA [as opposed to NYC] sell tickets at their own box offices. I would take the extra time out of my life just to not have to deal with Ticketmaster anyday.

  32. D.B. Cooper-Nichol says:

    To me, the interesting thing here is how the lawsuit is structured. I haven’t reviewed it carefully, but it appears that Ticketmaster is not suing the scalpers, but instead the company that makes the software that scalpers use to (allegedly) violate Ticketmaster’s TOS.

    In this way, the suit is nearly identical to the RIAA’s suit against Grokster, based on the logic that the software/tool can only be used to infringe copyright (or here, to violate TOS). This is the same theory that was rejected in the old Sony Betamax case, but is obviously seeing a resurgence now.

    Interesting question to those who hate scalpers – does the end justify the means? And if so, will you feel the same when the TV networks sue DVR makers for letting you skip past commercials?

  33. ColoradoShark says:

    @doormat: It’s not hard to get a lot of credit card numbers to fake out TicketMaster. MasterCard and Visa both have some kind of virtual credit card number you can pre-generate and use once. I use it all the time when dealing with online merchants that are new to me.

  34. johnva says:

    Economically, there is a problem here: tickets are being sold at a price that is clearly below what the “market” will pay. Hence the reason so many people try to profit by reselling tickets. Now I agree that there are good reasons why the tickets shouldn’t just get auctioned off to the highest bidder; some of them are mentioned above, but a big one is that you’re then limiting your audience only to people with lots and lots of money to spend or those who will pay almost any price. This makes it harder to build a loyal fan base because it excludes a bunch of (for example) young people who might be your fans for decades but won’t get to go at all if tickets are going at auction for $500+.

    So, since the underlying problem that creates this massive incentive for brokers to come in and do this is economic, they need to address it in a way that prevents large purchases by any single person. They should force people to register with a real identity to purchase tickets, and then use that to enforce purchase limits. Prosecute people who commit fraud by signing up under false identities. They could also sell the tickets by random lottery if demand exceeds supply.

  35. scoobydoo says:

    Conclusion: Ticketmaster is incompetent.

  36. RvLeshrac says:

    This is another fight that shouldn’t be fought. It cannot be won.

    Sure, you ‘fight the fights that need fighting,’ but as [www.despair.com] so eloquently puts it:

    ‘Quitters never win, winners never quit, but those who never win AND never quit are idiots.’

    I suppose [www.despair.com] also applies:

    ‘At some point, hanging in there just makes you look like an even bigger loser.’

  37. legotech says:

    Ticket brokers (those legal scalpers like Stub Hub) made sense when everyone paid cash and you could only get the tix at the venue…now everyone can get the tix online/on the phone from the venue so why can’t we just make the ticket resellers illegal and treat them lik the scalper scum they are?

  38. cmdr.sass says:

    I don’t understand why Ticketmaster cares who buys the tickets. They still get paid.

  39. zentec says:

    I’d buy the argument that letting the market rate rule prohibits “early adopter” and fans with less income from getting into the shows, except this is a problem that could be cured by the artists if they wanted to.

    Let’s face it, concerts have always been expensive. If the acts were concerned about their loyal fans getting tickets, there would be special offers made directly to those fans. They don’t, and now with the web, it should be easier and they still don’t.

    I’d accept the above argument if there was one shred of proof that the acts really cared about those elements of their fan-base.

  40. goodkitty says:

    Yes, it seems TicketMaster simply doesn’t want to have to fix their system (to save money, probably). They could store a hash of the credit card number, I would think.

    Alternatively, venue owners could simply require a butt in a seat to pay the ticket vendor. If you sell 1,000 tickets but only 2 people show up, then you get paid your commission for two tickets, not 1,000.

    Why is everyone such a scammer these days, anyway? What happened to just being nice to everyone.

  41. weave says:

    The free market needs to fix this. Obviously people are willing to pay more to go to a live show. The price should be higher or auctioned off.

    And gee, people aren’t willing to pay as much for pre-recorded music. So again, let the market decide. Use pre-recorded stuff at under cost to basically drum up business for high-priced live shows — and wow, a live show experience just can’t be duplicated either.

    The answer is out there…

  42. TechnoDestructo says:

    @cmdr.sass:

    Because eventually people will become disillusioned with Ticketmaster, when they are unable to get good tickets through them. When Ticketmaster is no longer doing any business with the end customer, they become a completely dispensible middleman, and the venues will look at the profits the resellers are making, and the fees that Ticketmaster is getting and start thinking “screw Ticketmaster, I’m keeping that” and deal with the resellers directly.

  43. uricmu says:

    Actually, didn’t ticketmaster start it’s own reselling system and even changed scalping laws in most states?

  44. uricmu says:

    @legotech: We can’t make scalping and reselling illegal because ticketmaster lobbied to allow scalping so they could do their own reselling business.

  45. nonzenze says:

    You can always scalp them on Craigslist . . .

  46. Snarkysnake says:

    For the greedy bastids at Ticketmaster:

    Dont sell tickets. Sell PERSONAL SEAT LICENSES to the individual event only. Make it a license for that person,that time.Charge a transfer fee for any sale (change fees are common in other businesses) If someone sells their license without the fee,deny admission. Require all PSL holders to confirm attendance within 30 minutes of showtime (much as airline require check in at the airport) Sell the no shows seats to the walk up crowd beginning 15 minutes before the start.Yield management – Near 100%

    For the general public- You can hear the music on the radio for free.A CD costs $20 tops. Other than those two options,get ready to pay market prices for the right to attend.

  47. tkayo says:

    Easily solved: Ticketmaster sets the initial ticket price to an astronomically high price. The price precipitously falls as no sales are made and the price decline slows as sales increase. The sales price for each ticket is the market price and viola, no resellers.

  48. TechnoDestructo says:

    @weave:

    I’d just like to point out that where copyright is involved, there is no such thing as a free market.

  49. XianZomby says:

    Concerts are for rich people only now. The only group that can fix this are the artists themselves, because they have control over the only thing that can really put a monkey wrench in the system — themselves. If they cared, they wouldn’t perform unless the tickets were sold directly to fans at a fair price. They could make that a condition of their performance contract. The technical aspects of doing it aren’t tough, but they would be criticized on here and in other places. If you made it so that you had to buy tickets from a vendor using your credit card and then your name and the names of the people you bought tickets for were printed on the ticket and you had to show ID to get into the show — well, people would just be up in arms every time the new system failed them. Oh the complaints on here would never end. Every week a new story on how Joe Shmoe from New Jersey wanted to see “The Boss” but ended up not being able to go and was not allowed to give the tickets to his brother. Then somebody would coin a snarky name for whatever company was associated with the perceived wrongdoing.

  50. cheera says:

    I wish I’da known this before I sat outside my workplace in my car in 25 degree weather, pirating internet from a nearby home, trying to get Hannah Montana tickets for my boss. As a favor. Gahh.

  51. doormat says:

    @ColoradoShark: But they should be able to store the name on the CC – last I checked that doesn’t change with the generated CC number. That and the address on the card should be the same as well.

    I really think if TM wanted to fix this they could. I’ve written website scraping programs before (for legitimate purposes with the site owner’s approval) and I could think of a million ways to throw a wrench into the system that would be a huge pain in the ass to code around, and a few things that would stop it from working reliably completely.

  52. deserthiker says:

    Most music groups, sports teams and venues don’t give a rat’s ass about the fans. They just want to money.

    Some people are doing something about it, though. When I went to the Dylan concert if you were in a good seat you had to pick it up at will call right before the concert. You had to have ID. U2 and Springsteen have all floor areas general admission so the best “seats” go the the biggest fans and you have to line up and get a lottery number to see if you can get in the “pit” area near the stage. Also, Garth Brooks closed sales to buyer outside a particular area. If you’re address was not within a certain distance, your order was cancelled. That way someone from NY can’t get tickets to some concert in CA that they have no intention of attending and are buying only to sell on StubHub.

    There are things that can be done but most band just don’t care.

  53. cef21 says:

    @johnva: I don’t think that there are so many people who are going to pay huge money to see an act. Sure, somebody’s going to pay the $500 for the one pair of tickets on an auction. But, the price will be a lot lower if there are, say, 10,000 tickets for auction.

    @XianZomby: If the artists really cared, they could just do more shows. More shows=more tickets, more tickets=lower price.

    Let’s also not forget that the ticket brokers are taking a risk — if the concert is canceled, for example, it’s a lot harder for them to get their money back. And, if it’s not as popular as they estimated, then they’ve got a bunch of excess inventory — if you really want to go to a show, try getting a ticket from a scalper just before, or even just after it starts.

  54. sibertater says:

    @zentec: AMEN! Try not to trip on their monopoly of the ticket sales business.

    Dear TicketMaster: Antitrust. That is all.

  55. Buran says:

    @rmuser: “They left the front door open” doesn’t get you far when the cops arrest you for stealing the HDTV.

  56. Buran says:

    @deserthiker: It’s good to know that some cities really DON’T want tourists coming to their attractions and getting all that cushy tourist money from the show, the food, the lodging, etc. etc. etc. that locals won’t spend because they’ll just eat at home and drive over to the venue then just drive home. Then they probably turn around and raise taxes whining that tourism isn’t bringing what they expected.

    Gee. If they cancel tourists’ ticket buys for their events, they have no right to whine. My money’s no good because I don’t live in your precious zip code? I’ll spend it somewhere else where I AM welcome.

  57. BugMeNot2 says:

    this system will break eventually

  58. Pfluffy says:

    Let’s send the RIAA after the ticket hogging slime balls. Maybe the RIAA can FINALLY fight for GOOD and not EVIL. Some artists who don’t own the publishing rights to their songs only make money by initial album sales and touring, performing for large crowds. Making ticket prices astronomically unaffordable will only alienate fans.

    Trying to get tickets for the BCS LSU/Ohio game is ridiculous. Yes, I want to see the game, but do I want to put a second and third mortgage on my home for tickets that may or may not be legitimate? Not in my lifetime.

    Shame on the resellers who take unfair advantage of true fans! And shame on ticket providers who don’t provide more security to allow a more fair distribution system!

  59. Saintfu says:

    @Buran: It’s true though, they could’ve simply banned the entire .in domain. How many people buy tickets from India for an event that’s halfway around the world?
    In a week’s time they’ll find another poor country they can pay guys 2 bucks an hour to do it, but just keep on banning those domains.

  60. lukobe says:

    @UCLAJason: On the one hand, yes, “The tickets are worth whatever someone will pay for them.” On the other hand, Ticketmaster sucks. Why won’t someone break the ticketing monopoly?

  61. simplecreature says:

    This goes a bit beyond “alls fair in love and capitalism” this is a company being essentially hacked by another company in order to create a shortage. It’s the danger of a one provider system.

    Years back, when Pearl Jam tried to raise a ruckus about Ticketmaster alot of people tuned it out. I remember people saying “oh, it’s just 2 bucks a ticket, whatever.” But it’s just this kind of situation, wherein the ticketmaster monopoly is being exploited that we should have really been worried about.

  62. startertan says:

    To me this is along some of the arguments in the Wii-reseller article. These broker a-holes are using software that no one else has access to and using it to deprive everyone else of tickets and selling them for a markup. Unlike the Wii reseller who uses nothing but his own time, effort, and savvy to get his hands on extra Wiis and resell them, something anyone can do.

    Not everyone can get bots to buy hundreds of thousands of tickets. That’s a d!ck move in my book.

  63. rmuser says:

    @Buran: Because paying for a product in a mutually agreeable transaction is equivalent to theft?

  64. bonzombiekitty says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: The thing with the half empty venue happened to me once. I want to see a Henry Rollins spoken word performance in Atlantic City a while back. Tickets sold out really quickly and a friend had managed to get some that were all the way in the second to last row of the venue.

    We get there and notice that the whole front section is all but empty. Turns out someone had bought up the whole section and only managed to resell a couple of the tickets. They ended up moving all the people from the back rows to the front. We went from two rows from the back to two rows from the front.

  65. Amsterdaam says:

    @zentec: Whats the matter, did Green Day not send you back an autograph? Yeah, concerts have always been expensive.. riiiight. How about Woodstock? 8 Bucks. How about The average price of a Hendrix show? 5 bucks. I think you may want to do a little research before posting. On top of that, yeah, lets put all the tickets on EBay so no one in the lower or middle income bracket ever gets to see a show again. We will just leave that for the rich folks.

  66. Amsterdaam says:

    @rmuser: Actually, it’s scalping, which is stealing from the venue, artist, and ticket service.

  67. cindel says:

    It’s my understanding that some artists have fan clubs that hold certain tickets for their fans.

    I remember standing in line for WWF Smackdown(WWE now) and I was out there around 5am. I met a couple of scalpers in line but what really pissed me off was when tickets went on sale, the agent told me that floor seats were already sold out… WTF?

    The same ring true to a Kpop Concert last year however since the show was talking place in a small venue, I was able to get seats in the third row right up close to the stage.

  68. bombledmonk says:

    If they were to put tickets on ebay, then you’d still have bots autobidding at a set limit price, anything above that price and they’d lay off, but they would drive the price up to the limit on all tickets. Not a good deal.

  69. JustaConsumer says:

    Get rid of Ticketmaster (Ticket-Disaster)

  70. Kajj says:

    The primary flaw with the ticket auction idea is what a pain in the ass it is. When I’m trying to make weekend plans I want to buy my tickets and be done with it. I don’t want to deal with bidding and multiple visits to eBay and all that. Time is another expense not all concertgoers will be able to afford.

  71. JustAGuy2 says:

    @bonzombiekitty:

    If it was AC, it was probably the casino which had reserved a bunch of tix as comps, and then discovered that the overlap between “Casino High Rollers” and “People Who Want to See a Henry Rollins Spoken Word Performance” is pretty slim.

  72. I’m going to — I can’t believe this — defend Ticketmaster. I live in a small city where most of what shows at our local arena and its attached theater is local college games, minor league hockey, local symphony, community opera, etc.

    When we get in a big touring arena act, the facility simply doesn’t have the ticketing infrastructure to handle that. (And as the damned thing is city-owned, we’re already paying out the ass in taxes for it. I don’t need them to expand their payroll, thank you very much.) Any profit the arena makes on these big shows mostly goes to cover extra security and ushering personnel.

    The one big event they run their own ticketing for is the state high school boys basketball tournament, and they do an okay job, but it IS a pain in the ass compared to either their small events or to ticketmaster ticketing the big events. And they can only manage it because they have state athletic employees and volunteers who deal with large parts of it, without any cost to the arena.

    In a city like Chicago or New York I’d be SHOCKED by an venue that couldn’t either handle its own ticketing or band together with several other local venues to do their ticketing together. But for a place like Peoria, with one major venue that’s only used off-and-on, Ticketmaster is a big help to them.

    God, I feel so dirty now.

  73. num1skeptic says:

    i hate scalpers! you shouldn’t have to be mega rich to see a show.

    AND TO THE ONES SAYING A TICKET SHOULD BE PRICED AT WHAT SOMEONE’S WILLING TO PAY FOR IT: you wouldn’t feel the same way if the someone did that with cigarettes would you? i bet there’s enough rich smokers out there to drive the price to the moon! what would a millionaire pay for a cigarette in a world where just a few people had all the cigs and were auctioning them to highest bidder? i mean, a show gives people (especially poor people) a lot of joy. its bullshit to take that away from them because they don’t have fancy software to beat out the scalp hacks at regular price.

  74. SaraAB87 says:

    The last concert I think I went to was Garth Brooks, this was in like 1999, he only charged 20$ per ticket because he wanted everyone to go see his show including the middle and lower classes, which is the group his music is targeted towards. He has also made enough money in his lifetime to be able to do this, heh!

    This is different than the Wii shortage because concert tickets are limited to a certain venue, there is a set number of them and then no more. The wii supply is technically unlimited as they keep producing more, so let people do whatever they want with the Wii, prices will even out eventually.

  75. num1skeptic says:

    i’m sure there are people willing to pay $500 for a roll of toilet paper if i bought all the t.p. up and was charging that for it. does that mean t.p. should be priced $500 per roll?

  76. BugMeNot2 says:

    They could price concert tickets like airplane tickets, where every passenger pays a different price.

  77. num1skeptic says:

    artists should just have free shows (with no tickets involved) for a year. that would kill off not only the scalpers, but ticketmaster itself, and people who actually want to see a show could. a win win win situation. make it a first come first serve policy at the gate.

    of course i realize this would never happen. but maybe it could in ‘mc world’ lol.

  78. cerbie says:

    @doormat: ports open will only piss more legit folks off. If you have a decent LAN setup, you will have mostly closed ports.

    What about tying the ticket to the buyer and CC (or other payment method) used? Can these scalper folks really have a hundred thousand unique CCs available to them, and valid and unique contact info for them all? A ticket is not sold until all unique info is verified. But, Ticketmaster has how much competition?

    @D.B. Cooper-Nichol: the difference with Betamax (and Rio, while we’re at it) is that the tool(s) in question allow for plenty of legit use, as well; where these scalper tools are purely for hacking in, with no legit purpose (sort of like Ticketmaster, who would be long gone with a free market).

  79. JustAGuy2 says:

    @num1skeptic:

    I have an issue with scalpers cheating to get their hands on the tickets, but no issue with someone selling legitimately purchased tickets for whatever the market will bear. The only loser in that scenario is the band, which could have gotten more for their efforts, but decided to sell tickets for less than market. That’s their call, though, not mine.

  80. That70sHeidi says:

    @b612markt: I miss record stores, period.

    Well, not in the sense that you’d pay a bunch of money for an entire album that sucked, instead of 89cents for individual songs you like (and have already previewed on sites like Rhapsody).

    But in the nostalgic sense, yes, I miss record stores and their lines for tickets. The good old days!

  81. Jamie Beckland says:

    Why couldn’t TicketMaster stop their web sales until they get a better system in place? If Indian programmers had to call TicketMaster to place their orders, at least it would drive resellers’ costs up.

    I believe that scalping adds economic benefit, but the venues and TicketMaster have to find a way to prevent these huge resellers from scooping up all of the available supply. That really does a disservice to the entire system.

    I put the blame on TicketMaster for having such a feeble security system.

  82. LiC says:

    This is insane.

    Check out http://www.neopets.com, seriously. They’ve been dealing with bots like these since the beginning of their site, and they’ve been quick to clamp down on this sort of thing. What’s taken Ticketmaster so damn long?

    (Neopets is a site where you take care of pets, and buy them stuff in shops, the shops sometimes stock super-rare, cool items that you can either use or sell for 1000% more than you paid)

  83. Pancakes?? FRENCH TOAST!! says:

    @Buran:
    How was Ticketmaster scammed? They sold the tickets and got their money.

  84. num1skeptic says:

    @Sushiwriter: when you purchase anything from ticketmaster, you agree to their terms of use. which strictly prohibits bots from being able to purchase tickets. period. reguardless of how many tickets were purchased.

  85. coren says:

    @D.B. Cooper-Nichol: I’m not sure TV networks will be suing based on skipping commercials. As I understand it, their ratings are based off that Neilsen system, and so they get their ad revenue based on that. It’s not any different than me watching a show with picture in picture engaged so I can just skip to another channel until my show comes back. They still don’t have me hearing their advertisement, and I’m only barely paying attention to it.

  86. TechnoDestructo says:

    @cerbie:
    They could, but not with government-issued ID that would match the final buyer.

  87. coren says:

    @cef21: Except that you have to take in fatigue, foreign markets (which are lucky to get one or two shows a country that aren’t England), making albums, time off, etc. The touring schedule they put together as it is gets pretty rigorous for bands.

  88. coren says:

    @Amsterdaam: Factor in inflation. 8 bucks in the 60s would be worth a whole lot more. Like at least 5 times more..which, granted, isn’t what you’d pay for something on that scale now, but it’s still not cheap.

    @Amsterdaam: The venue gets paid. The artist gets paid. Ticketmaster gets paid. The one who’s getting ripped off is the person who actually wants to see the show. No one else is losing any money; that scalper had to pay whatever price got set.

  89. mmcnary says:

    A guy I work with bought 2 tickets to Hannah Montana from a scalper for $300. The day of the show, we each bought 2 floor seats for face value ~75.00 each. I sold mine to a coworker for $200, he sold his scalped tix to his daughter’s best friend. He and the other girl’s mom sat up in the nosebleed scalper seats and the girls got the floor seats. Everyone won.

    But I found it interesting that he told me that there were entire rows of seats empty. I guess that not everyone was willing to spend that kind of bux to attend. I hope that the scalpers lost lots of money on those empty seats.

  90. deadlizard says:

    Why hasn’t this crossed their minds: You don’t buy tickets online,
    you reserve a seat. Show up at the venue with the ID or credit card you
    made your reservation with and that’s where you get your ticket. If you
    have to cancel your reservation at the last minute, or don’t show up,
    you pay a fee. Airlines and hotels can get it right, why not this
    monopoly?

  91. BrandHater says:

    I tried to buy 4 tickets for a football game, I logged in at the second they went on sale, but when I tried to put in a new credit card, but the screen kept saying that I need to enter a gift card pin number – some sort of validation bug that I could not find a work around for. When I went back to use an old credit card on file, my tickets were released, and I had to queue up again – this time no tickets were found.

    Worst website user experience yet. I really really hate this site.

  92. Patrick Monk Rn says:

    Does anyone have working Ticketmaster email addresses to contact them directly instead of going through the hassle of forms on their website ?

  93. scotty321 says:

    If people are really outraged by this — and they SHOULD BE — then everybody needs to do what I do: I ONLY purchase my tickets directly from the concert box office. That’s right — I drive down there and purchase my tickets in person. You usually end up getting better seats for less cost; you can return your tickets in case you can’t make the concert; and you can help bring down Ticketmaster in the process.