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It's Not What You Think It Is

There’s a petition on Change.org right now urging people to “Tell Ticketmaster: Stop hijacking fans’ rights!”

The short version is that person behind the petition (Nathan Hubbard) is upset that Ticketmaster has begun to tie the purchased ticket to the purchaser of the ticket. Nathan feels that since you bought the ticket you should be able to resell it, and that this is just a “ploy” by Ticketmaster to make more money by handling the resale of the tickets themselves. Ticketmaster claims that this is an anti-fraud tool.

The thing is, I’ve been privy to what goes on behind the scenes when a popular event goes on sale at Ticketmaster. You know, those ones where four bajillion seats get sold out in eleven minutes?

Well, Ticketmaster hates that, because essentally no humans actually managed to purchase a ticket. Instead, professional scalpers launch a rather brutal assault on the Ticketmaster servers, and regardless of how many measures Ticketmaster and their competitors put in place, the bots still manage to get the vast majority of the tickets. So, if you were wondering why you couldn’t get a ticket to that last big show, that’s why. And, if you’re wondering why Ticketmaster’s purchasing process has so many steps it’s because each one is part of a very complicated process that attempts to slow down the bots so that people like you have a chance to buy tickets.

Tying the ticket to the purchaser of the ticket is about the only thing Ticketmaster can do to help ensure that regular people can get tickets to the shows they want to see without having to pay ridiculous fees to scalpers. Ticketmaster honestly wants you to be able to buy your ticket at a reasonable price. It’s not only the right thing, it’s also what their customers (the musicians, sports teams, etc) want. Their customers are just as unhappy about the scalpers buying up all the seats as you are.

Some of you may be thinking I’m talking about the guys standing outside of the stadium with a handful of tickets for sale. I’m not. I’m talking about online companies that compete with each others bots to buy thousands of tickets.

Yes, Ticketmaster will probably make more money by handling the resale of unused tickets too, but so what? The only people hurt by this policy are professional scalpers who make their living by preventing normal people from buying tickets at reasonable prices. If your friend gets sick and you have a spare ticket, but can’t find anyone else to go, wouldn’t you want a company with the resourses of Ticketmaster to help you resell it? Shouldn’t they be paid for that?

In short, you should be really thankful that Ticketmaster is tying the tickets you purchase to you. Because it’s about the only way I can think of that people like you and me will have any hope of actually buying tickets to popular shows. Next time you feel like getting pissed at Ticketmaster remember, it’s almost always the scalpers who are to blame, and the geeks at Ticketmaster are working their butts off to make sure that normal people like you can buy a ticket at the standard ticket price.

Oh, and those extra service fees? Lets just say that it requires an army of servers to fend off the army of scalper bots, that are trying to get the tickets before you. Well, that and the fact that they want to make money. ;)