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Scalpers Earned $25M Gaming Online Ticket Sellers

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the flash-crowd-at-the-ticket-queue dept.

Crime 574

SeattleGameboy writes "An indictment has been issued for online ticket brokers known as 'Wiseguy Tickets and Seats of San Francisco.' From 2002 to 2009, they used bots, server farms, and CAPTCHA hacking to buy vast number of premium tickets (Springsteen, Miley Cyrus, NFL, MLB playoffs, etc.) and made $25 million in profits. 'They wrote a script that impersonated users trying to access Facebook, and downloaded hundreds of thousands of possible CAPTCHA challenges from reCAPTCHA. They identified the file ID of each CAPTCHA challenge and created a database of CAPTCHA "answers" to correspond to each ID. The bot would then identify the file ID of a challenge at Ticketmaster and feed back the corresponding answer. The bot also mimicked human behavior by occasionally making mistakes in typing the answer, the authorities said.' I guess you can break any system like CAPTCHA if you want it badly enough."

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What a lot of work. (4, Funny)

dtmos (447842) | more than 4 years ago | (#31327996)

Wouldn't it have been easier just to make the money legitimately?

Re:What a lot of work. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328014)

Yes, 25 million USD is easy to make legitimately, that's why everyone is doing it!

Re:What a lot of work. (2, Insightful)

xtracto (837672) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328140)

Yes, 25 million USD is easy to make legitimately, that's why everyone is doing it!

guess you can break any system like CAPTCHA if you want it badly enough."

Moreover, this shows that the used security mechanism is worth at least 25 million USD.

The problem is that the CAPTCHA approach is flawed. Any similar type of challenge-response system can be abused for illegal activity. At the very end, the only thing an attacker has to ensure is that the cost of obtaining enough challenge-responses is less than the outcome of the illegal activity.

Say, if they pay a group of Chinnese guys USD $0.39 an hour, you can get a fair amount of human identifying challenge-response answers.

Re:What a lot of work. (5, Insightful)

dtmos (447842) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328322)

The indictment actually states that, ". . .Wiseguys and its owners made more than $20 million in profits. . ." (p. 2 of the indictment [wired.com] ), so let's start with the $20 million number.

Keep in mind that:

(a) The $20 million was made over an eight-year period, 2002-2009, so the average was $2.5 million/year;

(b) The profit of the enterprise was split among the two principals (the CFO received $165,000 and the programmer received $150,000, natch...), so that brings it down to an average of $1.25 million/year for the two principals (I think we can agree that the salaried guys did not do well in their risk/reward ratio calculations); and

(c) The "profit" figure used in indictments is nearly always what a legitimate businessperson would call "gross profit [wikipedia.org] ," meaning, to quote Wikipedia, "the difference between revenue and the cost of making a product or providing a service, before deducting overhead, payroll, taxation, and interest payments." As a criminal enterprise, these guys didn't have to worry about taxation (at least, the correct amount of taxation), but they did have to pay the salaries of the other 10-15 people working for Wiseguys Tickets, Inc., and all the other expenses associated with running the enterprise (computers ... ). All of that would have to come out that $1.25 million/year/indictable person. A quick look through the indictment shows the several persons on staff in the US being paid from $55k to $142k/year each, and the ones in Bulgaria being paid from $1 to $1.5k/month each, so you do the math.

The point being, the retirement plan associated with these types of schemes is typically poor, as it's usually at a federally-funded establishment. These guys ran a small tech company with overseas offices, and could have done the same legitimately at a salary of probably $150k/year which, once benefits were included, would be equivalent to $250k/year in cash (to make a direct comparison to their criminal enterprise). In a legitimate business, the CEO also would have had significant stock options and other perks given to him by the company's board to motivate him to grow the company. With even moderate growth over that period, the CEO could be very well-off. As I say, it's easier to make money legitimately.

And you sleep better.

Re:What a lot of work. (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328526)

Nice work. You forgot one thing when discussing what "easier" means -- entry into market.

Let's use porn as an example. Legitimate media is extremely competitive. Want to start a TV station? A Newspaper? Put out a movie? Music? Those things are dominated by incumbent players who do not like new competition. On the other hand, porn is forced into a low profile, so even though there are big players in the industry, brand names and other matters of high public notice barely even exist. So nearly anyone can make porn.

And since we are talking about event tickets, we are also talking about a pretty well limited and controlled market. It would be unthinkable for someone to just appear out of thin air and start making that kind of money legitimately. Scalpers, on the other hand, are delivering the premium goods with no need of marketing, reputation or other complications required for legitimate business.

So when you are talking about "easy" there are other aspects to consider.

Re:What a lot of work. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328026)

Wouldn't it have been easier just to make the money legitimately?

Perhaps, if you're Celine Dion or George Lucas.

But 25 million would take quite a few years for most people to earn.

P.S. Did they do anything that was actually illegal?

Why is it illegal? (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328032)

They didn't rob the bank.

They didn't print fake dollar bill.

Every single dollar that they paid good money for purchasing the tickets are REAL money.

What's illegal about what they have done??

Re:Why is it illegal? (1)

bguiz (1627491) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328096)

Q:

What's illegal about what they have done??

A: Nothing

IANAL, but I think parent is right in saying that these guys have actually not done anything illegal

The issue here is more of morality: while they didn't actually scam anyone per se, as a direct result of their actions, thousands of legitimate concert-goers had to pay more for their tickets than they should have needed to. In other words, they were sneaky and manipulated all these people into paying them more $.

...

OTOH, it is possible that the ticket vendors had some sort of legal agreement that you had to "Agree" to when purchasing the tickets that tickets were for personal usage only, or cannot be resold, etc. In such a case, what these guys did would actually have violated some rules on A) a large scale, and B) with malicious intent, and possibly C) fraud.

Re:Why is it illegal? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328392)

Just like millions of people every year pay more for computers than they should have needed to, if resellers didn't buy cheap and sell high at every step of the computers' way from the Chinese factory to the consumers home.

That's simply the way the market works.

Re:Why is it illegal? (1)

rinoid (451982) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328484)

Gee, smells like unbridled capitalism to me. But what would I know? I'm a socialist/libertarian.

Re:Why is it illegal? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328554)

Indeed, ticket scalping is almost as old as humankind, and illegal for almost as long. In the olden days, ticket scalpers just bought their tickets in normal brick-and-mortar pre-sale places, and then sold them on the day of the event to the people in the queue. Many people are poor planners, don't get tickets in time, and are quite "happy" to buy them at over-inflated prices from the scalpers.

But the thing is, if "all" the tickets hadn't been scooped up by scalpers, there would still have been legitimate tickets available through normal channels even at a date quite close to the event, so the "poor planners" could have gotten them for face price.

What is weird however in the current online case, is how is it possible that the operators didn't notice the scam for full eight years? It must have been a pretty large-scale undertaking, which should have shown up even with simple traffic analysis...

Re:Why is it illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328568)

some sort of legal agreement that you had to "Agree" to when purchasing the tickets that tickets were for personal usage only

A sophisticated way of saying, "yet another fucking restriction on the doctrine of first sale".

Re:Why is it illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328616)

"while they didn't actually scam anyone per se, as a direct result of their actions, thousands of legitimate concert-goers had to pay more for their tickets than they should have needed to."

Or, the face value of the tickets were lower than what many concert goers were willing to pay. It's called capitalism. The market sets the price of goods & services. If you don't like it, tell your boy Obama to take over Ticketmaster and give it to his union cronies.

Re:Why is it illegal? (1, Informative)

twisteddk (201366) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328100)

It's illegal because the artist, locationowner and distribution company are the ones supposed to make the money off the tickets, so a fixed price is agreed upon, and the royalties etc. are contractually determined in advance. Anything more is "scalping" because the scalper gets the money rather than the artist, who is usually the recipient of up to 50% of the ticket sales.

So if 20.000 tickets are sold for $50 each, thats $1M, of which half goes to the artist. Simple math. BUT, if 1000 of those tickets are sold for say, $100, by the terms of the contract, the artist is supposed to get half of 19.000x$50 + 1000x$100 and who pays the extra ? 'coz the scalper sure doesnt. Thus he is in breach of a few copyright holders laws (at least in Europe, not sure about the US, but judging by the latest ACTA docs leaked, I'm assuming it's much worse in the states). So it IS illegal. WHY, on the other hand is a different matter. Some people might argue that free enterprise means that pricefixing shouldn't happen, and that the scalpers actions are a part of the normal market mechanisms. But in actuality, it's the copyright laws that makes it illegal, not the pricefixing (and had this been gas or food sold, it'd probably be legal)

In most countries, scalped tickets gets electronically revoked. So even buying a scalped ticket is often a gamble.

Re:Why is it illegal? (2, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328134)

that's just it they paid retail for tickets so the artist and the stadiums made the money they thought they were going to anyways.

scalpers usually buy tickets at normal prices and then sell them for more. now sometimes they do under cut the theaters or staduims but most of their money is on big games. were the $30 cheep seats suddenly become worth $70 or more.

Re:Why is it illegal? (4, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328302)

Copyright?
Where the hell does copyright come into this?
They're not printing extra tickets.

So if 20.000 tickets are sold for $50 each, thats $1M, of which half goes to the artist. Simple math. BUT, if 1000 of those tickets are sold for say, $100, by the terms of the contract, the artist is supposed to get half of 19.000x$50 + 1000x$100 and who pays the extra ?

Nobody.
and that's how it should be.
If the artist wanted $50 per ticket rather than $25 per ticket then they should have sold them for more in the first place.

If I make a game, print 20,000 disks and sell for $50 each, thats $1M and if I've got a particularly lucrative contract as the developer I get half. Simple math.
BUT, if 1000 of those tickets are bough by someone, I get my 250K cut and then they sell those games second hand to someone else for $100 each and make a profit then that's their buisness.
I've already got my cut.
I have no right to a cut of their second hand sales.

If I wanted more then I should have charged more in the first place.

Re:Why is it illegal? (2, Insightful)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328394)

Horsefeathers.

All the parties have already made their money on the tickets.

The "scalper" only makes money by selling a scarce item at what the market will bear. Had the tickets been priced higher, he could only lose money. Besides, it's a dicey business because if as a "scalper," you set your price too high, you're gonna lose everything.

Pure supply and demand. "Scalping" is the best proof of free markets anywhere.

Re:Why is it illegal? (5, Insightful)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328102)

Impersonating a person, resale of tickets where (commercial) resale is illegal, fraud, illegal use of computer resources (botnets) and pissed of alot of people who actually wanted to buy tickets but were unable to.
When AC/DC toured last year these asses their botnets overloaded the official ticketsale sites preventing any real customer to even access them, in Belgium the sites were unreachable 2 days before the sale even started.
If i had my way, ticket scalpers would be scalped for real.

Re:Why is it illegal? (1, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328144)

Belgium the sites were unreachable 2 days before the sale even started.

And what makes you think that was due to automation? Don't forget we ourselves have taken down a server or two in our times.

Re:Why is it illegal? (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328240)

Sure, it's possible it was just a high number of people trying to access the site.... 48 hours before ticket sale starts till the moment the tickets were sold out, but I'm kind of skeptical of that, given tickets were being offered on other places within seconds of sales beginning for 10 to 20x the official price

It makes sense in a way, for some concerts you can be pretty damn sure you can resell tickets for 5 to 25x the official price easily, couple this with a lack of ID check at the venue's, the fact that it's a legal gray area in most places and the lack of motivation for ticket resellers to actually block this (they still get their money) it's unlikely this will change soon, and if you have the skill to exploit the system, you can make a lot of money very fast, as evidenced by TFA

And it's not like you can't prevent this, there are ways you can do that, and they're pretty damn easy.

Re:Why is it illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328430)

Wait, you want people to check ID for entry to a concert of game? Ignoring any privacy concerns, do you really want to double or triple the time spent in line to get into these places? Given online distribution these days, I don't really understand why ticketmaster et al don't have some kind of internal "scalping" setup where they sell as many tickets at peak prices early then slowly lower them if the inventory is higher than it should be historically. Maybe keep a few in reserve for high price last minute sales. Come to think of it, this is exactly what airlines do for ticket sales and the same expiration issue for concerts exist for them.

Re:Why is it illegal? (2, Informative)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328218)

What's illegal about what they have done??

There system obtained access to resource (the tickets) under false pretences (pretending to be different individual people rather than one organisation). That, I believe, is fraud.

Anyway, the poster you replied to stated "legitimately", not "legally". In common parlance "legitimate" covers both "legal" and "moral", and taking advantage of people in this way is generally seen as NotTheDoneThing. If you had to pay twice as much (or sometimes it can be several times as much) for something that you wanted simply because a group like that had gamed the market, would you be happy to pay up and consider that everything was proper and above board?

Re:Why is it illegal? (1)

krou (1027572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328406)

They like broke the terms of service of the site in question, which is probably where the illegality lies.

Re:Why is it illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328432)

So,

        Please show me a Federal or State statue that says I can not pretend to be another, except to the Police or other government agents.

In other news... (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328442)

Big corporations put their computers physically close to the stock exchange to have that nanosecond advantage for their automatic buying / selling machines. But that is obviously OK.

there's a small town in the mountains (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328638)

every sunday a guy shows up with 20 bags of flour. the townspeople line up and buy the flour from the guy, $2/ a bag

one sunday, this asshole shows up really early, buys all 20 bags for $40, turns around and faces the townsfolk and says "ok, that will be $5 a bag from each of you"

understand the illegality yet?

incidentally, this puts the lie to libertarians and free market fundamentalists who believe the market is healthiest when left alone. a healthy market needs to be heavily policed by the government to be healthy, solid fact. because of exactly this sort of market manipulation, of which there are thousand such slimy schemes. there will always be assholes who find natural market imperfections and insert themselves as artificial middle men and gouge the marketplace. they add no value. they parasitically insert themselves in the marketplace and suck it dry

anyone can appreciate how they hurt our economy and hurt the marketplace and the free flow of goods. its a form of robbery what they do, but its diffuse, not specific, and so some people like you can't appreciate their evil up front. i hope you appreciate it now

Re:What a lot of work. (2, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328068)

To be honest I don't see what they have done wrong. Their actions are no different from normal retailing. You buy low at a bulk supplier and sell high to individuals.

Sellers could cut them out by raising their prices so that demand matches supply.

Re:What a lot of work. (2, Informative)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328164)

They are an unnecessary middle man. In line with your comparison, they are hoarding the goods from the ones selling to individuals themselves then raise the price because they now have most of the supply.

Re:What a lot of work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328426)

The whole freaking market consists of "unnecessary middle men". It's the way the (western) world works. People buy from retailers, retailers buy from bulk suppliers, and they buy from the factories. And that's a short chain.

Every single one of the above raise the price from what it was at the previous step.

Re:What a lot of work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328642)

They are an unnecessary middle man. In line with your comparison, they are hoarding the goods from the ones selling to individuals themselves then raise the price because they now have most of the supply.

Then they should fucking incorporate, because that's exactly what 90% of corporations do every day of their lives.

Re:What a lot of work. (2, Insightful)

Arathrael (742381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328176)

Sellers could cut them out by raising their prices so that demand matches supply.

And wouldn't that be great? Instead of the venue, artists, promoters, ticketing agencies, etc., all covering their costs and making a healthy profit, they could... make a bigger profit. Woohoo!

Of course, for the millions of people attending events, they'd be spending a lot more than they were, or able to attend fewer events, especially if they want to sit in anything remotely resembling a good seat. And front row seats would only be affordable by billionaires and the five richest kings of Europe. But hey, people who were already making a healthy profit would make even more! Hurrah!

Or, maybe, just maybe, in the interests of culture, fixed price ticketing is actually a good thing...

Re:What a lot of work. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328260)

Or, maybe, just maybe, in the interests of culture, fixed price ticketing is actually a good thing...

So then how do you distribute tickets, other than having a mad, random rush to sell them in the first few seconds they are on sale?

Re:What a lot of work. (1)

Arathrael (742381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328344)

So then how do you distribute tickets, other than having a mad, random rush to sell them in the first few seconds they are on sale?

Registries of interest. Membership sales and similar schemes. Lotteries. Pre-sales. Phased sales. You know, any of the many ways that are already used.

There isn't a perfect solution where everyone who wants to go to an event where demand exceeds capacity can go. But pricing according to demand is probably, culturally speaking, just about the worst solution you could come up with.

Re:What a lot of work. (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328416)

Indeed -- at the box office, sell tickets
  • First hour of sale, $1,000 ($500 goes to a charity)
  • Second hour, $500 ($100 goes to a charity)
  • Third hour, $300 ($50 goes to a charity)
  • Second day, $50
  • Day before the concert, $10
  • Day of the concert, $50
  • After the concert starts, $1

Re:What a lot of work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328468)

Lotteries would be among the worst sales setups as it can give tickets to those only mildly interested (as demonstrated by their unwillingness to pay a higher price) over those more interested. I admit that having long waitlists can be useful (Duke basketball for instance, is famous/infamous for having students camp out for months to get into the UNC game, thereby prioritizing the more passionate fans over those with deeper pockets or random students). Membership sales are disgusting and promote scalping (many college sports venues require large booster contributions to even buy a ticket and only sell season tickets, giving scalpers vast control of ticket sales/distribution).

Re:What a lot of work. (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328312)

> > Sellers could cut them out by raising their
> > prices so that demand matches supply.
>
> Of course, for the millions of people attending
> events, they'd be spending a lot more than they were

Nobody's holding a gun to your head and making you buy a ticket. People would only be spending what the tickets are worth to them.

> or able to attend fewer events,

On the contrary, if ticket prices went up until market equilibrium was reached, people who are willing to spend a bit more for the tickets would be able to attend as many events as they want, because there would *be* tickets available to buy (legitimately, not from scalpers), and they'd be easy to find. The artificial scarcity makes it *harder* to attend. With fixed-price ticket sales, if an event is even a little bit popular then you just can't go, unless your time is worth absolutely nothing and you can afford to go on a multi-week fanboy quest to hunt down the last remaining ticket from a scalper in Kansas.

> especially if they want to sit in anything remotely
> resembling a good seat. And front row seats would
> only be affordable by billionaires and the five richest

There aren't enough billionaires and kings to fill up the whole front row, so presumably the prices wouldn't be *quite* that high. Ordinary CEOs, even of medium-sized companies, would probably be able to afford front-row tickets to most events.

Hey, if the good seats aren't more expensive than the cheap seats, something is wrong. It's not like a normal mortal can ever buy a front-row ticket to anything anyway. They're always sold out already, even if you're the first one in line the first day tickets go on sale. I think the groupies must snap them up and scalp them, or something.

> But hey, people who were already making a healthy
> profit would make even more! Hurrah!

Oh, yes, I forgot that it's automatically evil anytime anyone makes any money for any reason, ever. It doesn't matter that it would make things better for everyone. If somebody's going to make money, it's obviously a bad thing.

Re:What a lot of work. (1)

Arathrael (742381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328440)

Artifical scarcity? Get a grip. It's actual scarcity. There are only so many tickets available. It is impossible for everyone to be able to attend every event they want.

Demand-based pricing wouldn't change that ('make things better for everyone?' Are you nuts?) except for the richest. But instead of ability to attend being based on timing and luck, essentially, it biases attendance towards wealth. This would make it worse for many. Further, it would reduce the diversity of those attending. That would be bad, both culturally, and for the artists/teams/etc., if you think about it. It is not a good idea.

And just FYI, front row seats are often held back from the initial sale for friends and family of the artist, etc. In those cases, they go on sale later if and when they're not taken up.

Re:What a lot of work. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328602)

You are making an awful lot of assumptions (the biggest one being that every single show will sell well enough that people that can afford fixed prices will be priced out).

Re:What a lot of work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328154)

I've been working since 2002 and I sure as hell don't have 25M$

Re:What a lot of work. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328516)

They are making it legitimately. They're buying an undervalued product and reselling it at market prices. That's competition at work.

There is a far easier way to 'break' CAPTCHA (1)

sodul (833177) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328028)

A friend of mine mentioned when the technology just came out that you could just setup a 'free pr0n' website and you would get a horde of humans entering the letters for you for real cheap.

Re:There is a far easier way to 'break' CAPTCHA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328060)

Sure, if you've no moral qualms about what you're doing.

So, umm, the difference is...? (3, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328500)

Sure, if you've no moral qualms about what you're doing.

So, when we're talking about people already doing stuff that's immoral and often illegal, if the only barrier the captcha offers is "Sure, if you've no moral qualms about what you're doing"... then it seems to me like the most useless gimmick ever. Does anyone actually think that the kind of people we needed captchas against would go, "man, I only wanted to cheat, scam and pollute with email and link spam, but OMG breaking a captcha would be just morally _wrong_. I just can't do _that_."?

Plus, that was not the argument made back then for this crap. Everyone was ranting about how it's such a great defense. If you just tried to point out the ways it can be circumvented, everyone would treat you like you're some kind of a crazy conspiracy theorist.

Well, now it's been officially done, and it's been done for almost a decade, judging by how long these guys operated. Now what?

I'm not saying this as schadenfreude, but I find it genuinely sad that for so long millions of users have been outright excluded from some services, in the name of a solution which just simply doesn't work.

Some captchas are getting so obnoxious, that even I have trouble with some two times out of three, and God help you if you have eyesight problems. And most audio versions I never could decode in the first place. I guess the garbled, low signal to noise thing might not be that bad if you're a native English speaker, but God help you if you aren't.

And for what? For a stupid solution that only works if you have a moral problem with breaking it?

Re:There is a far easier way to 'break' CAPTCHA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328076)

Did he pass that off as his own idea? Because I think [schneier.com] it's [wikipedia.org] not [blackhat-seo.com]

Re:There is a far easier way to 'break' CAPTCHA (2, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328256)

That probably works for creating hotmail accounts to send spam from, but not if you need to solve hundreds of thousands of capatchas in the space of a couple of seconds at 7am when the tickets are released for sale.

Wiseguy?! (2, Insightful)

mrthoughtful (466814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328048)

Any company calling itself "Wiseguy" is surely going to pull some heat. It's like having a prescription signed "Dr A. Fraud."

Re:Wiseguy?! (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328332)

"Wiseguy" sounds like a family business.

Re:Wiseguy?! (1)

mrthoughtful (466814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328608)

You don't say. Of the Sicilian flavour.

Re:Wiseguy?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328562)

"Ever since I was little I always wanted to be a scalper."

Re:Wiseguy?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328576)

That's just plain discrimination, and you ought to be ashamed.
Sincerely,

Arnold Fraudliche

Well done. (4, Funny)

aerthling (796790) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328056)

$25m seems an entirely adequate reward for circumventing reCAPTCHA.

I don't get it (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328058)

'They wrote a script that impersonated users trying to access Facebook, and downloaded hundreds of thousands of possible CAPTCHA challenges from reCAPTCHA. They identified the file ID of each CAPTCHA challenge and created a database of CAPTCHA "answers" to correspond to each ID.

So how did they generate the answers? Did they brute force them with a dictionary search? Or was there some other technique their hired programmers used, but which was not described in the article?

Re:I don't get it (1)

aerthling (796790) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328084)

They probably hired poor people [theregister.co.uk] do do it for them.

Anti scalpers scheme that works... (4, Interesting)

BartholomewBernsteyn (1720348) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328082)

In his Glitter and Doom tour, Tom Waits pioneered an effective anti scalpers scheme.

Tickets for Waits' summer shows were limited to two per person but, in an effort to beat ticket touts, a valid I.D. (passport or driving licence) matching the name on the ticket was required to gain entry. Any concert-goer who did not have a valid I.D. or was found to be in possession of a ticket that had been resold – electronic scanners were employed – was not allowed in and did not get a refund.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glitter_and_Doom_Tour#Tickets [wikipedia.org]

Re:Anti scalpers scheme that works... (2, Insightful)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328108)

That wouldn't stop scalpers. Idiots would still buy them, especially if they claimed that these tickets didn't need ID.

The buyer wouldn't get into the concert, be out of pocket, and the scammer would have upped and legged it long before.

Re:Anti scalpers scheme that works... (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328120)

The problem in Belgium & the Netherlands is that, while tickets are on a name, there is no ID check whatsoever (however, they did do that for the AC/DC concert last year), the problem is, the people who want to see the concert are prevented by the scalpers to even get a ticket

Re:Anti scalpers scheme that works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328458)

The name check is coming. And scalpers will be left with unsaleable merchandise which will drive them out of business.
If you were in the buying and selling business of bananas and you could not sell your product you'd have to be pretty stupid to keep buying more , right ?

Re:Anti scalpers scheme that works... (2, Informative)

noackjr (541550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328202)

Tickets for Waits' summer shows were limited to two per person but, in an effort to beat ticket touts, a valid I.D. (passport or driving licence) matching the name on the ticket was required to gain entry. Any concert-goer who did not have a valid I.D. or was found to be in possession of a ticket that had been resold – electronic scanners were employed – was not allowed in and did not get a refund.

If you RTFA (I know...), you'll note:

The perpetrators took orders from ticket brokers, who were required to provide credit card numbers and account holder names in advance of a purchase so they could be programmed into the bot.

All they would have to do to defeat the ID requirement is add that to the list of items they need to purchase the tickets. And people would still pay extra to them because 1) they wouldn't have to try very hard to get a ticket, and 2) they would have a much higher chance of getting a ticket.

Re:Anti scalpers scheme that works... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328230)

I think having Tom Waits on the ticket was the effective anti scalping method. If there is no demand and plenty of tickets available there is no scalping.

It worked for Waits but it won't for Cyrus (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328258)

In the United States, state-issued IDs are associated with age-restricted products and services. A minor can't drive, vote, get a job, see an R-rated movie, or buy tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets, or over-the-counter medication. So a lot of children just don't have a state-issued ID. Requiring every ticket holder to have a valid ID to attend a concert would block such children from attending. That would work for Tom Waits but not for any of several acts that are popular with preteens, such as the Jonas Brothers or Miley Cyrus.

Re:It worked for Waits but it won't for Cyrus (1, Offtopic)

plastbox (1577037) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328342)

And that would be a bad thing how exactly? Less brainwashing of our youngsters, and very easy to bag'n'tag the freakoes who attend the latest Disney "pre-teen pop-queen" shows despite not having the kids there as an excuse. ^^

Re:It worked for Waits but it won't for Cyrus (1)

rjr3 (658693) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328494)

You would be wrong here tepples. That is EXACTLY what the Miley Cyrus tour did last year. Please call the Sprint Center in Kansas City to see how well it went. Rather than the concert selling out in 15 or 45 minutes as it did the tour prior ... tickets were available for days. Wonder why ? Yep, grandmothers who bought their kids tickets had to show up. And the uncle in Hawaii who bought them for Christmas did too. But the legitimate ticket sellers told people this prior to selling tickets to the uncle in Hawaii. Just like I can't take advantage of really cool sales at Frys in Campbell California, I can't buy tickets for a concert their either. Minors do have school IDs and they are issued by a agent of the Government - a school district. .

Re:It worked for Waits but it won't for Cyrus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328592)

Do they let minors attend these things without supervision? I feel sorry for Mom or Dad, but it doesn't seem safe letting kids go to a concert alone. So you could check the ID of the parent, and make them vouch for the kids in their care. Unless scalpers are going to escort a bunch of kids to the concerts themselves, I think this'll work.

Re:It worked for Waits but it won't for Cyrus (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328624)

Actually, the Miley Cyrus tour did implement ID-verification, and it didn't work.

Instead of requiring picture ID, the Miley Cyrus tour required the presentation of the credit card used to purchase the tickets.

(For an audience with average age well under the 18 required to have a credit card in the US, this had some negative customer service implications.)

The brokers responded by getting credit card companies to issue them one-time-use credit cards. They used these cards to purchase the tickets and mailed the patrons the credit card with their tickets.

Brokers are clever process hackers and I have yet to encounter an anti-broker scheme that actually works.

Re:Anti scalpers scheme that works... (2, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328512)

In his Glitter and Doom tour, Tom Waits pioneered an effective anti scalpers scheme.

A different, simple scheme that benefits the artist: Once the venue is sold out (say 90% to scalpers) announce another concert on the next day. If that gets sold out, do another and so on. Result: Lots of money for the artist, who will play in many sold out but mostly empty halls. No money for scalpers.

Re:Anti scalpers scheme that works... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328524)

Pioneered? Glastonbury Festival (a huge music and arts festival in the South West of England) has been doing this for years - tickets are issued to named persons with photos being printed on the ticket, and that person has to show official ID on entry along with the ticket. Named and details are checked against the ticket and the purchasing database, and any negative matches are turned away.

Re:Anti scalpers scheme that works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328650)

it's piss easy to get tickets for glastonbury. get yourself put on the electoral register for the surrounding area. most years, they give tickets to local people as compensation for the noise and inconvenience.

why browser knows captcha id (2, Interesting)

tokul (682258) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328094)

why user agent knows all info required to identify captcha and why this identification info is unique. Somebody designed weak captcha system and it was broken. End of story.

Security is hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328148)

They should have used an HMAC with a unique session token. Security fail.

Also, I don't solve captcha because they are lame. No resource that I could possibly want, would be protected by a captcha.
Fakebook account? Twitter, gmail account? Yeah whatever. Did slashdot add one? I don't know because I'm old here.

Dutch Auction (4, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328126)

How about a dutch auction?

Start the price offensively high, and drop it as the concert date approaches. The organiser gets paid the price the market will bear, the scalpers are out of the loop - because by definition, anyone willing to pay a stupid price for a guaranteed ticket will already have paid it.

You still get the same effective problem - that rich fans are prioritised over poor fans, but more money goes to the artist and the organiser, so they could throw a few benefit concerts or something to sweeten the deal.

Re:Dutch Auction (2, Interesting)

twisteddk (201366) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328214)

I like the idea, but for all practical intents it's almost impossible to do.
Because you'd then have to auction off each seat in an order determined by order of importance, which would be logistically a nightmare with up to 100.000 seats available for an event.

For instance: I can afford to pay $500 for two tickets to a concert, but I want the best possible. If I wait for the best tickets to drop in price, they may sell out before they reach the pricelevel I'm willing to pay, so I need to buy the second best tickets, but these sold out at $100 even earlier. So the company sells a pair of tickets at $100 that it could have gotten $500 for. so they have to sell each seat (or section) before they sell the next to get the best price. Thus the guys dealing in the "resellers" market still get to earn a living, because this is impractical to do.

Rather each buyer could enter a maximum value they'd be willing to pay, and then those with the highest bids would get the best tickets and so on downwards. But again, this would mean people will bid lower than what they really wanted to pay, because the percieved value of the ticket drops with its desirability (like locatin, seating, visibility etc.) and with no guarantee of a desired location, you'd bid only what you percieve the worst tickets to be worth. And thus a new black market will appear.

I dont see a better way (and equally simple for both costumers and sellers alike) to do it than with the current fixed pricing schemes.

Point missed by a mile. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328338)

I can afford to pay $500 for two tickets to a concert, but I want the best possible. If I wait for the best tickets to drop in price, they may sell out before they reach the pricelevel I'm willing to pay, so I need to buy the second best tickets, but these sold out at $100 even earlier.

Missed the point.

If you want the $500 tickets, you cough it up right then and there or you lose - too bad. Don't want to pay the price but others are? Tough shit. You lose.

Change your mind and go for the cheaper seats that were going for $100 and they're gone? Too bad. Because you want to wait doesn't mean you're entitled to get the tickets cheaper - even though others are willing to pay the price to get them immediately.

Re:Dutch Auction (1)

jlar (584848) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328340)

Because you'd then have to auction off each seat in an order determined by order of importance, which would be logistically a nightmare with up to 100.000 seats available for an event.

I don't think that is true. They can just let a succesful bidder choose whatever remaining seat he wants. The seller does not have to decide which seat is the best for you. That way you can just wait until the price falls to $250 per ticket and grab the best seats available.

Re:Dutch Auction (2, Interesting)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328550)

This makes plenty of sense. In any concert there are bandings of seating with a price attached. The better the view, the more expensive the seat. This is worked out in advance by the venue based on their 'values', but really it is the view and values of the ticket holder that matter.

So, price starts at $1 million and slowly drops as the cut off date for purchasing a ticket approaches.

If the guy who spent $1 million for his seat wants to sit to the left side of the back row - who are we to tell him he can't have that seat. The price of the seat drops until you feel you can afford it and check - nope, you don't want to pay $500 for the seats left, but in two hours time it's $200 and there's still a few left you'd pay that for.

You could automate it by placing a highest bid price label onto each of the seating brackets and let a script pick you up a seat when it hits your price. If you're feeling risky, you could wait a little as seats in that area sell out - snapping a couple up at the last moment.

Concert providers should be happy, this would pretty much enable them to scam the maximum amount available for every seat in the house.

Re:Dutch Auction (1)

Mr. Tobes (1617419) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328374)

I dont see a better way (and equally simple for both costumers and sellers alike) to do it than with the current fixed pricing schemes.

Any ticketing system you can dream up will be pretty inefficient due for three major reasons. First you are dealing with pretty much the prime example of an inelastic supply of goods. It's rare that bands have sufficient space in a schedule to add an extra night if a concert sells out. Conversely, you can't suddenly downgrade to a smaller venue if tickets don't sell. Hence bands tend to book smaller places that they know they can roughly fill.

Second there is the scheduling problem. Big tours are announced months in advance. You are always going to get some people who book a ticket and then genuinely can't make the show. Due to the current chain of band, venue, and ticket agent returning tickets is pretty rare.

Finally, you have the problem that fans are pretty irrational. They whine if tickets are priced high, but then pay anyway. They whine if the venue isn't packed. They whine if it's sold out and they 'have' to pay a scalper. They whine when their favourite band hits the big time and they can't see them in a small venue any more. My friends and I have done all of the above at one point or another.

However, I'm not convinced that the current system is better than some form of auctioning system. Yeah, it would have drawbacks as you've stated, but auctions have been the traditional way of selling inelastic goods just about forever. After all, it's pretty much what the scalpers do - try hanging around a venue for a few hours before a show and see how the price of selling/buying goes up and down. In fact, I'm pretty surprised that one of the larger venues/bands in the world has not tried some form of auctioning scheme yet simply to bypass the scalpers and pocket the profit themselves. It would certainly be an interesting experiment. I suspect that the only things holding them back are fan perception - I'm guessing the bands don't want to be seen to rip the fans off any more than they do already - and turf fights between the venues and ticket agents as to who would actually hold the auction. Just my two cents.

Re:Dutch Auction (3, Interesting)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328446)

> If I wait for the best tickets to drop in price,
> they may sell out before they reach the pricelevel
> I'm willing to pay, so I need to buy the second best
> tickets, but these sold out at $100 even earlier.

This is easily solved, and along with it the problem that some people might rank the seats differently than others (e.g., one guy wants to be right in front of the speakers, and somebody else would rather be near the center of the stage).

The solution is simple: all the tickets are the same price on any given day. Let's say you start selling the tickets 100 days before the event, at ludicrously obscene prices (say, a million bucks a seat). You wait, because you don't have a million bucks, and if you did you wouldn't spend it on tickets for a single concert, because you're at least partially sane. So you wait. Each day the price goes down. After a week or so, it's down to eighty grand per seat, which you still can't afford, but only four tickets have sold, to some billionaire who just had to be next to the center aisle in the front row no matter what. When the price comes down to twenty grand per seat, a couple of CEOs snap up the private VIP booth, and a lunatic-fringe extreme fan from Ann Arbor sells his truck and buys a front-row seat. But there are still seats available in the front row, and the price is coming down...

Furthermore, this system and the current system aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. They could split up the seats in a predetermined way and sell some of them at fixed prices and others in the manner described above. The proportions (how many tickets are sold each way) would be up to the organizers of the concert, I suppose (though it might also be a negotiating point when you're trying to book popular performers).

For simplicity, we'll say you divide the seats in half down the middle of the center aisle. All the seats left of center are sold for the same low price of $150/seat (or whatever) until they're gone, but the seats to the right of the center aisle are priced obscenely high at first, and then the price gradually drops until they're all sold out (probably somewhere in the $250-$500 range, though of course the exact price is going to depend on the popularity of the performers and various other factors).

Re:Dutch Auction (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328216)

wish I could MOD you up.

It could also, lower the server load when new tickets start to sell.

Re:Dutch Auction (2, Interesting)

oever (233119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328336)

The 'clock' in a dutch auction takes about 30 seconds to go to zero. That means that a sequential auction for 100.000 tickets would take about a month. That should give all people interested ample opportunity to attempt to buy a ticket at the desired price.

However, just like the stock exchange, the day price of a ticket would depend on psychological factors. That means that the price would fluctuate and the a price that is perceived high one day is percieved low another day. This creates opportunity for ticket trading.

A better system for the artists would be to do parallel ebay-style bidding. You start by bidding $10 and if there are less people bidding more than $10 than there are tickets, you get a ticket. At a specified time the bidding is frozen and you either have a ticket or not.

For the concert-goers, this system has the disadvantage that they are not sure of a ticket until the bidding expires.

Re:Dutch Auction (4, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328372)

How about a dutch auction?

Start the price offensively high, and drop it as the concert date approaches. The organiser gets paid the price the market will bear, the scalpers are out of the loop - because by definition, anyone willing to pay a stupid price for a guaranteed ticket will already have paid it.

You still get the same effective problem - that rich fans are prioritised over poor fans, but more money goes to the artist and the organiser, so they could throw a few benefit concerts or something to sweeten the deal.

The problem is promoters and talent want two things - sold out venues and maximum price per ticket. Scalpers act as a hedge against lost sales and inaccurate demand / pricing - they take the risk of getting stuck with tickets or losing money; something promoters don't want to accept themselves. Dutch auctions would probably condition people to wait because they learn prices will fill - which causes prices to fall - and promoters have no idea how much money they make nad when. They hate scalpers because, in their mind, they are taking "their" money; and convenientlyignore the risk mitigation role.

Laws barring reselling of tickets, IMHO, merely serve to restrict the market and raise ticket prices overall so promoters can make more money. There is no rational reason to bar ticket reselling anymore than to bar reselling of any other good.

Re:Dutch Auction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328436)

Two problems:
Brand loyalty
all your most dedicated fans are now going to either pay outrageous prices for admittance or run the risk of missing shows
Last-minute-buyer profits
you wouldn't be able to overcharge the people that try to buy tickets the day of the event

I guess you could solve that by getting a "frequent buyer" benefits program and establishing a 200% markup on "day-of" tickets.

Though, personally it would annoy me to buy tickets this way; having to try and gamble for the lowest price.

What is the ethical difference? (5, Insightful)

wheelema (46997) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328128)

Between WiseGuy's and Goldman Sachs? Both use computers to game their respective markets.

Re:What is the ethical difference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328310)

Because the products are different and the markets are different, the moral laws that apply are different. For example, we have a social convention that tickets should be rationed on a person basis, but no rationing scheme for shares.

Furthermore, any buyer of shares can buy from any brokerage, so Goldman Sachs will be a price taker, not a price setter. A "share shark" cannot raise the price if nobody else does - in that case, the ill gotten gains would be shared equally amongst all brokerages. You would have to say that share dealers collectively conspire to hold prices high, but this has two problems: firstly, that buyers would switch to other types of investments like bank deposits, secondly that the dealers would have to close shop once they have offloaded their stock, otherwise to be in business they would have to buy back the same stock they just sold.

In conclusion, the stock market works how a ticket market would work if people were free to buy and sell tickets at any price, meaning that the richest gets the most. Because people are bidding for money it means the richest also pays more than others for any given amount of money, which may look nice. You're welcome.

Re:What is the ethical difference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328418)

Who cares about ethics when there's profit to be had?

Re:What is the ethical difference? (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328482)

they donate to politicians?

Seems to be the difference between acceptable and not acceptable is how in favor you are with the politicians who write the laws.

This is pretty ridiculous... (5, Insightful)

chaboud (231590) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328142)

It's not illegal to resell tickets above face value in most states (check out stub hub [stubhub.com] for TicketMaster's very own foray into person-to-person ticket sales), and business can be conducted in alternate states with more lax restrictions on ticket resale.

Beyond that, smoking a CAPTCHA system with a bit of cleverness is not hacking or unauthorized access in any reasonable way. This is just a ridiculous attempt to criminalize scuzzy, crappy, opportunistic behavior on the part of one party (scalpers) at the expense of another scuzzy, crappy, opportunistic party (TicketMaster). This strikes me as another case of people trying to misuse the law to remedy the unexpected (only by idiots) defeat of a faulty system. If one reads the article, it seems like Wiseguys (seriously? That's your name?) made purchases on behalf of ticket brokers (ticket-broker is to scalper as escort is to hooker) with detection-avoiding measures in place to keep TicketMaster from blocking the regulars.

It's an attempt by TicketMaster to wipe the egg off of their face, a face that most of America hates with a passion. Perhaps they should find a better way (reverse auction, anyone?) to find the natural market price instead of using time-release scarcity to spur impulse-buys that inevitably result in person-to-person ticket resale later on stub hub [stubhub.com] where they get to come back for a second skim off the top...

Oh.. right...

It's not one guy! (1)

spammeister (586331) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328160)

I'm sure it was upwards in the many of dozens if not in the hundreds of individuals. This is probably only a problem because they didn't pay any taxes on income earned this way.

So.. (1)

bunkymag (1567407) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328266)

.. how much did Ticketmaster make over the period through mark-ups and their ridiculous "handling fees"?

Just ban scalping... (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328272)

Anyone who sells a ticket for more than its face value (with a suitable legal definition of "face value") would be hit in a big way. Any tickets they are in possession of would be forfeited back to the event organizer (who could go ahead and resell them)

If the penalty is serious enough (say jail or huge fines) scalpers wont bother.

Event organizers/ticket sellers could limit the number of tickets they will sell to any one person (so scalpers cant come in and buy 50-100 tickets or whatever)

Re:Just ban scalping... (1)

Therilith (1306561) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328318)

Let's cut peoples hands off if they are caught stealing too, that'll learn em!

Re:Just ban scalping... (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328348)

They already limit the number of tickets people can buy in one hit and how exactly do they know if the ticket was resold?

Re:Just ban scalping... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328466)

Why just tickets? Why not the same rules for anyone who sells a Chinese-built electronics product for more than the two bowls of rice the poor guy at the factory was paid?

We live in a capitalist society, with there is a chain of resellers from the factory to the consumer, raising the prices at every step. That's how it's supposed to work (the other way, with fixed prices is usually called communism or socialism). That's the way it works for electronics, for cars, for food...

Are tickets more important than even food, since we seem to not just be willing to accept that they get sold at a fixed price, but actually consider it wrong (legally or morally) to treat them the exact same way?

Are you telling me... (5, Interesting)

cvtan (752695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328276)

that Stubhub is owned by Ticketmaster? I can't believe this. The last two times I tried to get into concerts at the Rochester Auditorium Theater and the War Memorial (Blue Cross Arena), it was difficult. Somehow all the good seats vanished almost immediately. But no, there are seats that magically appear on Stubhub. All you have to do is pay $300 for a $75 seat. Infuriated, I refused (obviously, I've been out of the loop for a while). So for one concert I bought tickets from someone on eBay (double the face value!) and for the other I just got cheap tickets in a poor location. Apparently this kind of poor service has no effect since the venues are sold out anyway. This makes me not want to go to events like this and just buy the DVD! Maybe you have to be a teenager to put up with this BS. I still have the antiquated belief that ticket resellers should not make more money than the artists or promoters. You don't see Wallstreet brokers doing this. Oh, wait...

Buying the tickets was not the problem (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328284)

From the article

The perpetrators took orders from ticket brokers, who were required to provide credit card numbers and account holder names in advance of a purchase so they could be programmed into the bot. Once the account holders received the tickets, they'd send them to Wiseguy, which would refund their credit card account. Wiseguy also had a bank of about 1,000 phone numbers that the bot submitted as customer contact numbers.

So the tickets were payed. That is not the issue. Wether reselling should be allowed or not is another matter. What I am worried about is that they abused the credit card numbers of other people.

Bigger scum than TicketMaster in same business! (3, Insightful)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328364)

Wow ,,,,

why is this in any way illigal this is usa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328378)

when did automated trading of goods become outlawed in the united states

$25 million gaming dollars (2, Funny)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328424)

Is this like the South Park episode where Butters earned $300 million theoretical Internet dollars?

Wangmeo (-1, Offtopic)

wangmeo (1757652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328474)

Good jobs [hayvui.com]

linux? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31328590)

for fags.

Love/hate relationship (2, Insightful)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 4 years ago | (#31328674)

Ticket scalpers and domain squatters: Love 'em or hate 'em!

Sometimes I believe /.ers are pissed at these types because they didn't think of the idea first.

It's a free market (after all, don't markets want to be free?)...I say kudos to them for figuring out how to scam the scam.

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