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Ticketmaster Claims Hacking Over Ticket Resale Site

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the watch-out-for-ticket-haxxors dept.

Security 317

FlopEJoe writes "Ticketmaster claims that RMG Technologies is providing software to avoid security measures on their website - even to the point of utilizing bots to get large blocks of tickets. RMG says it just 'provides a specialized browser for ticket brokers.' From the New York Times article: 'The fact that tickets to popular events sell out so quickly -- and that brokers and online resellers obtain them with such velocity -- is clouding the business, many in the music industry say. It is enough, some longtime concertgoers say, to make them long for the days when all they had to do to obtain tickets was camp out overnight.'"

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I'm sorry but (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892107)

Quebec sovereignty is the only way.

Who da fuick cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892113)

Who da fuick cares?

Ticket Brokers Suck (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892125)

They are nothing more than scalpers.

Of course, all that is needed to fix this is for tickets to be tied to the credit card. You buy the ticket with the card,you confirm it's your card when you get there.

Led Zepplin fans with wrong CC get turned away (5, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892379)

Led Zepplin held a lottery for tickets to an upcoming concert.

They neglected to tell the winners the tickets were non-transferable.

The promoters are telling ticketholders that if their names don't match the names on the credit cards they won't get in.

BBC News has more [bbc.co.uk] .

"What we have here is a failure to communicate."

Re:Led Zepplin fans with wrong CC get turned away (2, Informative)

alshithead (981606) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892591)

"Led Zepplin held a lottery for tickets to an upcoming concert.

They neglected to tell the winners the tickets were non-transferable."

I seem to remember hearing that the tickets were non-transferable when I first heard that they would be available by lottery only. That was the whole idea, cut out the scalping.

Re:Ticket Brokers Suck (4, Insightful)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892381)

What if you buy tickets for a friend... or you give them to a friend because something comes up and you can't go?

Re:Ticket Brokers Suck (2, Interesting)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892415)

all that is needed to fix this is for tickets to be tied to the credit card
 
All you need to fix this is for tickets to be sold in an auction format. If the highest bidder is a scalper then they won't be able to sell it at a higher price on the marketplace. Presto, no more scalpers. Now to only make sure the bands get the increases in ticket retail values and not TicketMaster or the record companies.

Re:Ticket Brokers Suck (1, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892533)

This only ensures that the people who end up going to the concerts are yuppies who don't even know who the band is, but just heard their name on TV, and thought it sounded cool. It really sucks that the real fans can't afford tickets.

Re:Ticket Brokers Suck (3, Insightful)

MoriaOrc (822758) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892861)

Because there's no way that someone can simultaneously have money and enjoy music...

Re:Ticket Brokers Suck (1)

greazy (1169157) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892617)

yeah ticketmaster is already doing auctions, just started here in Australia with The Police, it works for the company and screws round the scalpers but still does nothing for consumers.

Re:Ticket Brokers Suck (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892803)

Great idea!

So instead of the public paying exorbitant prices to the scalpers, the band/distributors become the "scalpers" and the public pays exorbitant prices to them!

(Okay, so this is being deliberately inflammatory. At least some of the money is going to the band, which is far better than scalpers, so this is a good thing. But if you ask most people, the biggest issue with scalping isn't who gets the money, it's that it makes tickets extremely expensive. And auctions do nothing to help, and even some to hurt, that.)

Re:Ticket Brokers Suck (1)

teh moges (875080) | more than 6 years ago | (#20893041)

I always thought the reason scalpers can charge so much is the "I couldn't get tickets and will pay anything to go". People pay scalpers for the convenience, not just the admission price.

Re:Ticket Brokers Suck (5, Insightful)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892665)

They are nothing more than scalpers.

Damn straight! Service charge here, convenience charge there, credit card processing fee at the end... You were talking about ticketmaster, right?

Mod Parent Up (3, Insightful)

jbengt (874751) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892693)

Tickmaster sucks the life out of venues and acts.

Re:Ticket Brokers Suck (1)

divisivemind (888140) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892873)

I bought tickets to see Tool this past Saturday. One of the new features was a restricted sale of tickets to customers with credit card billing addresses in a predefined area (LA, MS, south AL, west FL). They had problems with the system that resulted in presumably no one being able to buy tickets for about 30min after scheduled start (failed to get to confirmation screen). Didn't think much of it at the time, but I'm guessing it was a hastily constructed countermeasure against methods alluded to in TFA. Thoughts?

Desperate for culture... (2, Insightful)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892135)

Speaking of Brittany Spears concerts, It throughly amazes me how desperate people are for "culture". Any public gathering that involves alcohol, some pretension of sophistication or spirituality, and good parking is absolutely overflowing with people these days. Maybe I'm just getting old :/

Re:Desperate for culture... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892325)

You just used "Brittany Spears" and "Spirituality" in the same sentence. That is so wrong.
People flock to Brittany (and the like) because she's famous, not because they even really like her. They see her as famous/rich and thus cool, and then by going to her shows or whatever they feel cool and special as well (Association principal in psychology). Sure there are some that actually like her, but most of those were huge fans to begin with, and at this point changing their minds would be too much of an identity crisis for a younger mind (Consistency principal in psychology).

Re:Desperate for culture... (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892725)

I must admit I just bought a track from that skank through iTunes as an ironic gift to a girl I know. I look forward to tomorrow, when she discovers that she's received a gift in her iTunes... :-D

Re:Desperate for culture... (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892755)

Wow. A $0.99 gift.

Guys get cheaper with gifts every year.

Re:Desperate for culture... (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892795)

Seeing as the price here is a tad bit inflated, it's more like 1.30.

Besides, I already gave her a friggin' phone [bachelorette.com] .

Re:Desperate for culture... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892709)

Pointfest? Thank god I don't have to hear about it on the radio till next year. Once a freaking awesome concert, now the bands get shittier every year.

Solution (2)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892147)

Sell some tickets online, sell some more at the venue.

Re:Solution (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892339)

That still doesn't address the core problem - that there is more demand than supply. Keeping prices below market rate is bad for everyone. If prices reflected the market, then there would be no room for 3rd parties.

On the other hand, I know absolutely nothing about the business - perhaps having shows "sold out" all the time is more important to the marketing of a band, and solving the problem of 3nd party ticket sellers is secondary.

Re:Solution (2, Informative)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892391)

Depends on the show.

A lot of people buy their tickets early, at face value, and would never consider paying scalper prices. A lot of other people don't bother and are willing to pay far far more. Raising the cost of tickets might force out 3rd parties, but it would, in many cases lead to fewer people buying tickets and thus less profit overall. There are probably very highly paid people working that sort of thing out.

Re:Solution (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892395)

the tickets don't reflect the market at all. they are artifically high due to ticket* group of companys fixing prices.

$100 a ticket to see a band? you've got to be kidding me.

they lost my business years ago.

Re:Solution (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892425)

I believe it was $175.00 per ticket the last time I saw The Eagles. 11th row center. It was worth every penny. If you think they tickets are too much then don't buy the damn things.

Re:Solution (3, Insightful)

cHiphead (17854) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892539)

You're older and have enough disposable income, the core fans typically do not for newer bands.

Re:Solution (2, Funny)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892563)

What age do you assume I am?

Re:Solution (4, Funny)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892753)

Daldredge (2353)What age do you assume I am?
4-digit UID? Moses beats you by a nose hair.

Re:Solution (1)

cHiphead (17854) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892851)

Over 25 and probably working in some sort of IT related field. (Judging by the exceptionally low /. UID).

Cheers.

Re:Solution (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892857)

4 digit UID and you like the eagles, which means you were a teenager in the early 1980's.

so just about 40.

Re:Solution (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892959)

Your error is in the 20 to 40 percent range.

Re:Solution (1)

jeffy210 (214759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20893019)

Ooh, this is a fun game. Can I join in? since you say 20 - 40% margin of error, we'll assume a 30% error for calculation. That would be a difference of about 12 years. Since we don't think you're younger than 40, we're going to correct in a positive direction. So that would put you somewhere around 52?

Re:Solution (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892575)

Or just go to see different bands. There's probably about 20 different venues in any major city where you can see a live band for $10 or less at least once a week. I've even seen some pretty big name bands sell tickets for way less than $175. Last concert I went to was Slayer, ant it was about $50 for a ticket on the floor. The Eagles only charge $175 a ticket because they know all their fans are old, and have a bunch of money saved up, and will pay just about anything to see them. If a band like Slayer tried charging $175 for a ticket, their fans would just not go, no only because they couldn't afford it, but because it's just crazy to expect people to pay that much money.

Re:Solution (5, Insightful)

Sergeant Pepper (1098225) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892449)

Uhh... artificially high? The fact that concerts for good bands sell out so quickly shows that they're NOT artificially high.

Re:Solution (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892777)

Uhh... artificially high? The fact that concerts for good bands sell out so quickly shows that they're NOT artificially high.
The problem they're addressing is the fact that concerts for good bands sell out so quickly because of scalps. Do try to keep up. It's in TFS.

Re:Solution (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892397)

"Keeping prices below market rate is bad for everyone."

Yeah, I'd say that only the rich and well-to-do deserve to go to concerts.

Re:Solution (4, Insightful)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892537)

Forgetting your Econ 101 class? Price ceilings only help the poor when you make sure the poor are first in line. Otherwise, they end up helping the rich just as much (and in the real world, often more so).

Re:Solution (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892681)

So lower prices do not help poor people at all, because rich people always automatically get first picks, is that what you're saying?

Re:Solution (1)

Belacgod (1103921) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892771)

When you have to wait in line, yes. Unless you value your free time at zero, the wealthier people get the benefit.

Re:Solution (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892843)

You wouldn't have to make sure the poor are first in line, just that they have an equal shot. For instance, a lottery system.

Besides, I think you're taking way too narrow a view of "help" than you should.

Re:Solution (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892411)

Keeping prices below market rate is bad for everyone.

It's good for the people who get tickets who couldn't afford them if they were at "market rate".

Better Solution (1)

SilverJets (131916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892985)

Ticketmaster should set a limit of 5 tickets per credit card. Not per transaction but per credit card. That would stop the brokers. But what does Ticketmaster care? As one of the brokers (scalpers) in the article said Ticketmaster is getting full value for the tickets. It is the fans that are getting the shaft.

And we're to feel sorry?! (4, Insightful)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892149)

Ticketmaster's been bending us over for years...now we're to feel bad for them? It's too bad TM has such a stronghold on the industry - ticket sales ain't rocket science, especially not at a convenience fee of $10+.... per ticket.

Re:And we're to feel sorry?! (1)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892177)

I feel sorry for the concertgoers. Many times myself have I tried to purchase tickets to a show only to find that they've been "Sold Out" to third parties, who have marked them up a good $30 on Craigslist, Ebay etc.

Re:And we're to feel sorry?! (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892247)

$30? You should feel lucky. I just had to pay double for tickts to Rascal Flatts because it sold out so quickly and my wife wanted them for her birthday. Ended up paying over $300 for 2 tickets in a decent section. I wish they would limit a certain number of sales to individuals - like making the person submit a Credit card # or drivers license # on payment, and then they have to show that card to get into the concert or something, or maybe they only ship up to X number of tickets to each home addresses (no PO boxes), or you enter a non-commercial phone number and an automated call comes that gives you a code to then finalize the ticket sale or something.

Re:And we're to feel sorry?! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892293)

That really sucks. You had to pay $300+, and you had to listen to Rascall Flatts.

Re:And we're to feel sorry?! (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892619)

I know you're trying to be funny, but this shows just how outrageous concert tickets are getting. Very few bands would be worth $150 to me. I don't know if I'd ever pay that much. The best concert I ever saw was ACDC, and those tickets were only $40, for 7th row from the floor. Either that or a full day concert with about 10 bands, 8 of which I really liked. That concert was only $50 if I recall correctly. I have no idea why anybody would pay so much just for a concert. People must either have a lot of money, or have absolutely no imagination to think up things that they could better spend their money on.

Re:And we're to feel sorry?! (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892889)

what year for that ac-dc concert? since back in the 80's, I paid about 17 for the floor I can only guess at what price it would cost me to see them now.

I saw U2 in 1982 and I think I paid 25. ( a half days pay back then )

Re:And we're to feel sorry?! (2, Insightful)

Chris Pimlott (16212) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892211)

I'm not a big fan of TicketMaster either, but anything to stop professional scalpers from buying up huge blocks of tickets is a good thing for the average fan.

I do agree that their fees are overly high; on the other hand, their site does perform rather well under huge swells of traffic when popular event tickets go online. I've had much more frustrating experiences with some other online ticket sites that just buckled under the load.

Re:And we're to feel sorry?! (5, Informative)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892375)

Does Ticketmaster actually do anything to stop scalpers? From what I've seen Scalpers seem to have a lot less trouble with their system than regular people. I really really hate buying tickets online from them. Lemme run down the experience:

1. You navigate to their website past the dozens of scalper pretenders and through their horrible interface.
2. Select your area and click go. It's not always clear where exactly the tickets are, but I guess if you do it enough you'll learn the terminology.
3. Now you have to do their Captcha, which usually has a bunch of 1s and Os, or Is and 0s, it's a bit of a crapshoot getting it right.
4. After a few minutes you get randomly given some seats. If you'd prefer to have one higher up but closer around a side or down the middle, well, tough. You can try to have more tickets randomly generated but they'll tend to be in the same area time and time again.
5. Now you have to high stress part of buying the tickets. You're presented with a huge form with your name, address, etc... and told that if you can't fill all of the info in within 2 minutes then you'll lose your tickets and have to start over
6. Do it again for the credit card info.
7. And for the delivery part. If the site is going to crash, it will usually do it here, or the next page will just take more than a minute to load and when you finally get it the page will already be timed out.
8. Otherwise you get the joy of spending $10 or $15 to have them email you a PDF and have you print it out on your own paper with your own ink. I'm sure glad they managed to email me for only $10.
At least once you have the PDF (which tells you very clearly to print out the whole thing on an 8.5x11 or it won't be valid, despite the fact that 75% of the page is just ads). When you get to the venue all they care about is the barcode on the bottom.

Every time I see the system I think I could write a website that could easily do the same thing for less than a dollar a ticket. The trick is of course that I wouldn't have the vast sums of money to buy out venues across the country to insure the monopoly.

Re:And we're to feel sorry?! (2, Informative)

bitingduck (810730) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892441)

Every time I see the system I think I could write a website that could easily do the same thing for less than a dollar a ticket. The trick is of course that I wouldn't have the vast sums of money to buy out venues across the country to insure the monopoly.
brownpapertickets [brownpapertickets.com]

I've only used them once (or maybe twice), but it worked fine. It was when a band had *very* early advance ticket sales to supporters (essentially low level patrons).

Ticketweb [ticketweb.com] also handles a lot of small clubs in the LA area and isn't usually too expensive. It's gotten so that things are likely enough to sell out at small clubs that advance tickets are a good idea, even for a lot of local bands.

Way to set ticket-fees (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892273)

Concert venues should bid out ticket-management contracts on "which service vendor can give the best quality of service to the attendee at the best price" not "which service vendor will pay me the most for the concession."

Venues should make their money on the tickets and the non-essential services like food, not by forcing the ticket-buyers to pay inflated costs of essential services like ticket-vending.

The ticket-vendor's cost on a typical concert should be well under $1/ticket. Double that for profit and the service charge should be well under $2/ticket maybe even under $1. It might be higher if they expect a high volume of returned tickets, if there's a high chance of a cancellation or rescheduling, or some other unusual cost.

Re:Way to set ticket-fees (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892717)

Problem is Ticketmaster blacklists promoters and venues that try to go independent.

Re:Way to set ticket-fees (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892789)

Wow, and here I was thinking that there were no commie's left.

get real, it's a business otherwise they would be playing on street corners for pocket change. ( I have found bands that kick as in local bars ). A promoter pays the band, buys the concession and tries to make a buck or three. don't pay the price and you won't be seeing the show.

don't worry, the good thing is that great bands can be seen at cheap prices if you are not following the crowd but are willing to take a risk in listening to someone new, HM... let me think .... I saw bon jovi before they blew up ( and I would ride the train with them some times ), the police about 2 years before anyone was really talking about them, green-day by total shit luck and was amazed at the lyrical quality, arrow-smith and the rolling stones sometime in the 80's when they were out of style, jethro Tull and about 40 other well know bands.

since I don't know where you live, I would look for all the venues that hold 500 to 10,000 people. then look at their web site weekly ( I do ), then book it if something catches your eye. I have the next 3 month already planned out and it only cost me 200 in tickets (14) and each show will spend of my time about 5 hours total. I have no clue as to whom some of these bands are but all are one of the following punk / rock / new-wave and a trance.

Re:Way to set ticket-fees (1)

AgentPaper (968688) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892953)

If jazz and classical is more your speed, great deals can be had through university musical programs and organizations. In my area there's University of Michigan's University Musical Society, Wayne State University's Department of Music and Oakland University's Meadow Brook Theatre and Music Festival. Tickets - and good tickets at that - can usually be had for $20-$30 for the general public, and $10-15 for students. As if the students and lesser-known performers weren't worth it (and they're usually good to brilliant), you usually get at least two "names" per season. UMS, for example, brings in Wynton Marsalis and the the Lincoln Center jazz ensemble most years, and this year's lineup features Yo-Yo Ma, Chick Corea and the Filarmonica della Scala.

Re:And we're to feel sorry?! (1)

truesaer (135079) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892365)

Ticketmaster doesn't really care, its not like they get less money if a scalper buys tickets as opposed to someone who really wants to see the show. They only care because their customers get frustrated when they can't buy tickets for a show they want to see. The main beneficiaries from Tickermaster's lawsuits should be regular consumers. It does benefit them indirectly by making their customers happier, but they get paid one way or another.


Whats interesting is that the article says this company RMG is able to defeat their captcha images. I have no idea how hard it is to write a program to read those letters, sometimes *I* have a hard time reading the damn things. I wonder how hard this is to automate, and if there are any other good techniques to avoid bots.

Re:And we're to feel sorry?! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892485)

Ticketmaster doesn't really care, its not like they get less money if a scalper buys tickets as opposed to someone who really wants to see the show.

No, but it shows that Ticketmaster underpriced their tickets. If Ticketmaster charged the market price for their tickets, scalpers wouldn't have anything to do.

The only reason scalpers exist is that the Ticketmaster price is much less than the market price.

Re:And we're to feel sorry?! (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892399)

It's not Ticketmaster that gets hurt. It is the people (other than scalpers) trying to buy tickets.

Re:And we're to feel sorry?! (4, Interesting)

kindbud (90044) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892555)

You do realize that the promoter for the event negotiates the service fee Ticketmaster will be allowed to collect? TM doesn't get to charge just any old fee they want without the promoter's explicit OK. If the promoter had his way, your ticket would have one figure on it, the face value, and all the fees and extras would be hidden in that single figure, and you'd not know there was anything to complain about. But state and local laws require varying degrees of itemization from place to place, and where disclosure requirements are most stringent, fans are most unhappy about ticket prices. Ignorance really is bliss sometimes.

Re:And we're to feel sorry?! (1)

chamont (25273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892567)

Exactly. It seems like the article is missing the point. Why aren't there different competing ticket agencies?

Distribute 5000 seats equally to TM, company X, company Y, etc. The outrageous fees will be the first thing to drop. Magically, the broker-avoidance security features might actually work. If you know that outlet X "never" seems to have tickets, you won't buy tickets from that outlet for the NON-SELLOUT concerts.

But this is all pie in the sky, of course. Even communism looked good from a bird's eye view.

Let's face it, there simply needs to be a ticket auction right from day one. This, of course, sucks because you can't ever "score" great seats, but at least then you KNOW how bad you're getting screwed. As it is, with hidden fees, and carefully orchestrated seat releases, pre-sales, and broker work-arounds, you're getting played and don't even realize it.

Re:And we're to feel sorry?! (1)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892691)

And this would work if Ticketmaster didn't abuse their monopoly on venues, promoters, and their tie in with Clear Channel.

Ticketmaster signs exclusivity agreements with venues and promoters, and gets venues to only work with ticketmaster promoters, and promoters to only work with ticketmaster venues. So a venue can't use multiple vendors, as no promoters would work with them, as working with them would get them blackballed from all the other ticketmaster venues. Vicious cycle

You're lucky if it's $10 (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892707)

I wanted to get a ticket to a local event recently. The only online option was TicketBastard. The ticket cost $28.50. The combination of "convenience charges" and "handling charges" came to $15, plus it was recommended to me that -- for my maximum convenience -- I print out my own ticket on my own printer, which would merely cost me another $2.50.

In the end, I drove down to the venue box office and bought my ticket for list price. Just one of the perks of living in the city that hosts the events. People out in the burbs presumably don't have that option.

Re:You're lucky if it's $10 (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892781)

Unless, of course, the venue [wikipedia.org] happens to be out in the burbs.

Re:You're lucky if it's $10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892867)

In the end, I drove down to the venue box office and bought my ticket for list price.

Heh. Ticketmaster does the tickets for a venue on the river in Camden, NJ (it's gone through a handful of names since it opened, I think right now it's called the Tweeter Center)... I got up early one Saturday morning, drove from my house in Philly through the war zone that is Camden (everywhere else but a small area on the shore of the Delaware), and bought tickets from the box office-- and STILL got charged a fucking convenience fee.

What, I ask, is convenient about driving through a dangerous neighborhood at 9:30am on a Saturday morning?

One good turn deserves another... (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892191)

Coming from the company that has, for the longest time, been ripping off customers and making a killing off unnecessary ticket processing fees which are likely a hold-over from when they were outlets in shopping malls and telephone sales. There is absolutely no reason why I should have to pay such astronomical rates to a third party in order to get tickets for a show to support bands that I want to see because they don't support the RIAA.

If anything, these companies are just paying you back for screwing over legitimate consumers for years by screwing you over more. The TicketMaster model is dead and everyone should really do their own ticketing in order to avoid this non-sense. I am much more likely to pay a band's direct ticketing agent than TicketMaster. Hell, I'm more likely to go to a show when I have to pay anyone other than TicketMaster to get the tickets for any event I attend whether it be sports, theater, or music.

Re:One good turn deserves another... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892235)

There is absolutely no reason why I should have to pay such astronomical rates to a third party in order to get tickets for a show to support bands that I want to see because they don't support the RIAA.

Then support your local music scene. Chances are there are more than a few great bands in your city, and the clubs they play at don't even sell tickets through TicketMaster (or if they do it's only for the really big acts/shows). If you don't want to support the RIAA, then that means not supporting the bands on the member labels. It's as simple as that.

Re:One good turn deserves another... (2)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892271)

Then support your local music scene. Chances are there are more than a few great bands in your city, and the clubs they play at don't even sell tickets through TicketMaster (or if they do it's only for the really big acts/shows). If you don't want to support the RIAA, then that means not supporting the bands on the member labels. It's as simple as that.

Uhh, that's what I was talking about but thanks for allowing someone to waste their mod points on your post which is redundant.

Re:One good turn deserves another... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892467)

Well, truth be told my post was made because your original comment can be read two different ways. If it were more clearly written I wouldn't have needed to write mine.

Re:One good turn deserves another... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892819)

Well, it couldn't be really but because you're an anonymous pussy, I can't be bothered dealing with you.

Several obvious solutions (5, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892213)

1) Lottery
2) Auction
3) Non-transferable tickets

An auction is the most capitalistic approach. Scalpers won't bid much lower than they think they can resell the tickets for later.

A lottery adds some fairness but only if you can limit the number of tickets per buyer and avoid the straw-buyer problem.

Non-transferable tickets that are refundable for 100% of the purchase price will solve the scalpers-buying-up-all-the-tickets problem but they aren't too useful if your target audience is children and others who don't have ID cards.

For popular shows, I'd go with selling non-transferable tickets, where any adult would need an ID that matched the name on the ticket and children would have to be accompanied by someone sitting nearby. If after a few days the promoters realize a given block of seats is not expected to sell out, I would lift the non-transferable restriction and let people sell their tickets on the open market. Anyone needing to return tickets could get their money back less the usual ticket-service charge.

If you show up with a non-transferable ticket in hand that doesn't have your name on it, you are turned away. You can contact the original purchaser to beg him to get you a refund.

I'm not sure how this would work for shows oriented to the 12-15 crowd, as these people usually come without their parents but without any ID other than a school ID.

Re:Several obvious solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892863)

I understand that Ticketmaster is working on a system where they use the barcode on your driver's license to link the ticket to your name. Instead of selling you a physical ticket with a barcode on it, they scan your ID at the door, and it tells them if you've purchased a ticket or not.

Only problem is that not all IDs have barcodes on them yet, and those that do often use different systems in every state. But they're working on it.

What do you want? (1)

kentsin (225902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892231)

You want to sell the tickets ONLY?

Or

You want to have controlled the tickets? You care only your business, what do you want to controll others?

You sell your music, not to control the music.

It's their problem to solve, not mine. (2, Interesting)

m0nkyman (7101) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892265)

Waah. They can spend some of the money they get from ticket buyers to come up with solutions to protect their customers (the promoters that is). It's their problem to solve, and I ain't going to help them. If they can't solve it, promoters might stop using them, and I would consider it progress.

As a user of ticket brokers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892277)

There is nothing wrong with what these people are doing. They provide me a service where I don't have to go through Ticketbastard's system of illegible word verification and long waiting periods to only end up disappointed. Yes, I may have to spend upward of $1,000 per ticket, but simple market economic principles of supply and demand, dictate their will always be a surplus of tickets for me to buy. These people let me chose where I want to sit, without the need to feel stressed out over not getting where I want. I commend these people for allowing me to bypass Ticketmaster and these cruddy system.

Captcha Problems (3, Interesting)

astrotek (132325) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892307)

I'm assuming ticketmaster isn't implementing the captcha correctly. There is only 3 ways to exploit the system:

1) enter in the captcha before the tickets go on sale, and purchase when available
2) bypass the captcha because its not a requirement to make a purchase
3) the captcha not complex enough to fool a computer for a few minutes

No software should be getting around it without someone typing in the magic letters after the tickets go on sale.

No Numb Nuts - it's CRACKED (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892355)

No Numb Nuts - it's CRACKED, like your girlfriend the crack hoe.

Re:Captcha Problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892747)

I'm assuming ticketmaster isn't implementing the captcha correctly. There is only 3 ways to exploit the system:

You missed one: use a lot of cheap labor (in house or overseas).

Re:Captcha Problems (2, Informative)

astrotek (132325) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892887)

CAPTCHA = Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart

A human using the system is beyond the stated scope.

Re:Captcha Problems (0)

smurfsurf (892933) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892827)

4) Set up an automatied process: Fetch the captcha and present it to visitors of some porn site. "Enter this text to access". Feed what they entered into the the ticketmaster website.

Judging from the image of the ticketmaster captcha at http://www.37signals.com/svn/images/optik.jpg [37signals.com] , I am surprised they can sell any tickets at all.

If I was to buy tickets from them, I could really use any good OCR application the scalpers might have.

Look to Broadway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892329)

Many Broadway shows have been smart enough to see scalping for what it really is: evidence that the products are mispriced. As such, they started charging significant premiums for many seats, and scalping is down. (Though $350 box office tickets are up.)

These people need to start auctioning tickets. First do it with premier seats at high-end shows, and then expand it as the program succeeds. In ten years they could have people trained that ticket auctions are the norm, and it should result in artists getting paid very close to the maximum possible per-seat value.

Or we could all keep on using TicketMaster, paying a fortune in fees (the venue, the artist and the consumer all get the joy of paying TicketMaster, hoorah!) and bitching about what an awful company they are.

Until they fix it, I'll keep buying tix on stubhub.

Where are all the Libertarians now? (0, Troll)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892373)

C'mon, WWRPD (what would Ron Paul do)? This is an ideological test for you all, and you're flunking! This is the free market at work, right? Scalpers are able and willing to buy in volume. What, you want the Nanny State to come in and regulate? Bunch of crybabies. Ayn Rand would be so disappointed.

Ron Paul would auction the seats (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892453)

Am I right? Tell me I'm not right.

Re:Where are all the Libertarians now? (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892515)

This is an ideological test for you all, and you're flunking! This is the free market at work
 
The first tenant of the free market is that all players have equal information and access, so sorry, you've flunked reading even the summary. Using a botnet to storm the ticket seller's site is not "able and willing to buy in volume" in the free market sense.

I was offered this job . (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892615)

I am a Libertarian. And I was offered the job of cracking the Captcha on the TicketMaster site. I turned down the job because I felt it would be unethical.

I should emphasize the point that while Libertarians believe in a free market, that does not mean that they are unethical... quite the contrary. Underhandedly buying commodities in bulk while others are limited to a few each is not a "free market" principle... on the contrary, it is cheating and an anti-competitive (monopolistic) practice.

I should also mention that the scalpers in question were offering peanuts for the job, in comparison to the profit they stood to make. That did not affect my decision, though. It still would have paid well. I just wanted to point out that the scalpers are also cheap bastards.

Re:I was offered this job . (1)

Brummund (447393) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892743)

This might hurt some heads, but really, to have a free market, you need regulations to make sure it stays free. The regulations ensure that all compete on equal terms, and frankly, using bots to buy tickets en masse is not competing on equal terms.

The problem here isn't people reselling tickets, it is allowing them to buy them so much faster than everybody else.

No. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20893017)

First, no, the problem here is not ALLOWING them to buy too many tickets, it is that the security was not strong enough. The "captcha" was cracked. And while I was not the one who did it, it was hardly a trivial task. Using standard security measures is not "allowing" someone to hack your site, any more than having standard locks "allows" someone to break into your home. The parties doing the breaking are responsible for their actions in both cases.

Second, Libertarians are not Anarchists. Only "radicals" think that no regulation is appropriate, just as radical democrats and radical republicans believe in some pretty silly things. Moderate Libertarians (which does include Ron Paul) believe in using minimal necessary regulation, not absence of regulation. For example, if you even want to HAVE a free market, some antitrust regulations are absolutely necessary. Only a delusional person would argue otherwise.

Re:Where are all the Libertarians now? (2, Insightful)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892689)

***Ayn Rand would be so disappointed.Ayn Rand would be so disappointed.***

If I recall my Ayn Rand, high ticket prices wouldn't be a problem in a Randian paradise because artists whose artistic integrity has been transgressed would frequently blow up venues. That would, I am quite certain, discourage desire for tickets and therefore bring ticket prices down.

An interesting and unique solution to a vexing problem.

Note that we could achieve much the same affect by simply marking every 500th ticket with a black border and shooting the guy who buys it. Since scalpers buy many more tickets than ordinary people, we would wipe them out in short order.

Re:Where are all the Libertarians now? (1)

Ubitsa_teh_1337 (1006277) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892735)

Ron Paul would, I assume, let the coporation deal with the problem however it wants. If TM wants to institute new and better captchas etc, that's their perogative.

Being a libertarian doesn't mean you have to approve of anything and everything capitalist, it just means you support other people's freedom to be capitalist. You're still free to complain about corporations, suggest they do things differently, etc. They're just not forced by the gov't.

I don't think any Libertarian would see gov't intervention and regulation as a solution to this problem. In fact, I don't think any logical person would.

Happened before - will happen again...and again... (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892377)

Two years ago, authorities in Paris uncovered a ticketing scheme that had thrived for years and sluiced off more than a million euros involving the Eiffel Tower.

As long as there is commodity demand, there will be someone short-cutting the process for their own advantage.

Ticketmaster and ticket resellers (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892431)

They are both worthless companies that do no add any value what so ever. Both can DIAF and the industry would be much better.

Re:Ticketmaster and ticket resellers (1)

alshithead (981606) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892769)

I've really been trying to keep the grammar Nazi hat on shelf but people keep taunting me...

"They are both worthless companies that do no add any value what so ever. Both can DIAF and the industry would be much better."

I'll assume the "no" instead of "not" was a typographical error. However, "what so ever" is preferred as "whatsoever". This is the first time I've seen the acronym "DIAF". I had to go look it up to find out that it means "die in a fire". I must be getting old.

"The phrase "more better" is acceptable English. suck it grammar Nazis"

Hmmm... I'll bet you suck dick more better than me. That just doesn't sound right does it? Acceptable is in the eye of the beholder and even more importantly, just because something is acceptable doesn't mean that it is the best choice. You can go ahead and say "more better" all you want and the rest of us will just consider you to be an illiterate fuck.

Let the market handle it... (1)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892465)

Run a dutch auction. Highest bidders win. No fuss, no bots, nice and clean.

supply and demand (0, Troll)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892553)

I see this as supply and demand at work. If these resellers were able to SELL the tickets at 10x face vaule, then the original people selling the tikets (ticketmaster etc) were clearly not pricing them at their market value. If you have 10,000 of an item and can sell it at $4/ea to make a proffit, and you realize that at $/ea you will sell 100% of your inventory, and then you look at say if we charge $20/ea we wil STILL sell 100% of our inventory, well, duh. higher price of course. Tickets like this are obscenely proffitable and ticketmaster wants to invest a good chunk of that proffit in customer good will by selling the tickets to them cheaper than they could. They are gettting upset because you can buy the tickets and resell them at a markup ("ticket scalping") and make money.

When scalpers can turn a buck, it means you are grossly undercharging for your product. So quit complaining and raise your prices. I guarantee that will put a cap on the scalping.

This problem exists because there are people out there willing to pay $200 for a ticket that could be sold for $20 and make a proffit. If you want to blame anyone, blame the fans. They are the ones causing the huge gap between real value and market value, which is just going to attract scalpers. The sellers can't change the real value of the ticket, and the scalpers are just playing a free market for all it's worth which is to be expected.

Re:supply and demand (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892679)

It is not "supply and demand" when certain parties can cheat the system and get 10 or more times the number of "product X" than other people. Quite the opposite... it is a deliberate distortion of the market, intended to give those parties a decided market advantage (profit) OVER what would be possible with a "free" market, which relies on equal access for everybody. It doesn't matter what the product is, the principle is the same.

Like some other posters here, I am not a big fan of Ticketmaster. But what the cheaters in this case have done has absolutely nothing to do with free market or supply and demand. Their goal is to skew the market in their own direction using unethical and possibly even illegal tactics. Those are two very different things.

Re:supply and demand (1)

oddaddresstrap (702574) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892833)

It allows someone to corner the market and set up artificial supply and demand where they don't even have to sell all the tickets.

Let's say I can buy most of the public seats to an event, say, 10K seats at $20 each.
I'm out $300,000 (add on the TM $10 "processing" fee) which is a lot of money.
However, now the market is mine.

If I set the price at $100 (only a 5x markup), I need only sell 3K seats to break even. Depending on the event, I might sell only half my tickets or $100 x 5K for a profit of $200,000. I might not even care if 5,000 seats went unused. Maybe I'd sell them at $30 each at the last minute.
If I'm able to sell all the tickets at the inflated price (remember, it's only a 5x markup), I make $700,000. For one event.

This kind of scheme hijacks a band's ability to let their fans see their show at a reasonable price.

Re:supply and demand (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892999)

If I'm able to sell all the tickets at the inflated price (remember, it's only a 5x markup), I make $700,000. For one event.

my argument to that is, if that's the case then

(A) the ticket outlet is selling the tickets for far less than they are worth
and/or
(B) there are a sufficiently large number of consumers (fans) that are willing to pay far above commonly accepted value (meaning the actual value of the ticket is more than you think it is)

The law of supply and demand makes sure that products are sold at their value. If the scalpers are successfully turning a buck reselling, then you are breaking that rule and selling your product below value.

If you are a band whose only interest is that your fans get to see the show, then you need to select the correct price point for your tickets (which will probably include RAISING the price!) such that scalping is not proffitable yet prices are not unreasonable, and so that nearly 100% of your tickets sell to fans that will attend. It's stupid to think that you can get more fans to see your show by lowering the price. As we can see here with your example, it has exactly the opposite effect. And it should come as neither a shock nor a surprise.

If you are interested in being completely benevolant, then make it a free concert with a seating capacity that is sure to exceed attendance. You can also instead of raising ticket costs, choose a venue with a much larger number of seats. That way if the scalpers want to corner the market, they are going to have to suck up a lot more tickets than they want to, and will be left holding a much larger number of unresold tickets, again making it less proffitable and discouraging scalping.

So there you have it. The solution is to pick a larger venue and to raise ticket costs. These two things, combined and balanced, will solve this problem within acceptable limits. (there will always be scalpers, this minimizes it)

Some groups oversell tickets trying to anticipate the correct amount of tickets to flood the market with, so they can achieve the above effect while paying less for a smaller venue than would otherwise be required, but that's chancy unless you know the numbers well, you don't want more people showing up than you have seats for. (but they'll do it anyway as we've seen...)

It's worse than you think... (5, Insightful)

bluelarva (185170) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892633)

These so called ticket brokers are actually worse than most people think. I actually had a long conversation with one of these scums. First of all, these guys don't operate small. He claimed that his operation spent over a million dollar a year just on Google AdWords advertisement campaign. That tells you the scale of his operation. He uses a network of machines with bot software to buy up as much tickets as he possibly can for sports events and concerts. The markup on those tickets are astronomical. He deals mostly with movie and sports star agents mostly to unload these tickets at shockingly high prices but those agents don't care because they are out to make their clients happy at all cost. What's sad is how he sometimes end up with bunch of unsold tickets. This creates artificial demand thus increases ticket price for everyone as well as depriving fans who want to go see these events. Whenever you see bunch of empty seats in a sold out baseball game, it's not because the fan had a change of plans or got sick. It's because these scummy ticket brokers couldn't unload them for huge profit. One of the reason why ticketmaster won't do anything about the situation is because these brokers ensure that events are sold out which works out in their favor. They don't care about actual fans getting hold of the tickets. They simply want the tickets sold.

Oh, poor, poor Ticketbastard! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20892779)

I guess they don't want any competition in the 'charging extortionate prices for tickets' field.

Their bullshit fees keep me from seeing more than maybe three concerts per year. I just bought two tickets for a show where the face value was $23 each, and all their fucking fees added up to just under the cost of a third ticket!

Bottomfeeder.com (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#20892931)

The parent company of Ticketmaster is IACI, which also owns Ask.com, LendingTree, Match.com, the Home Shopping Network, the remnants of Excite, and some real estate companies. It's Barry Diller's company.

The corporate history of Ticketmaster [fundinguniverse.com] is fascinating. Paul Allen owned it for a while (and, unusually, managed not to screw it up.) They've sued Microsoft over deep linking, and been sued by Pearl Jam over their monopoly.

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