Angry at ticket-buying bots? You’re not alone.

The latest round of concert ticket outrage came when Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour went on sale to the general public. Many markets, including Toronto, saw two shows sell out within 90 seconds.

While Ticketmaster is doing its best to control the bot scourge and as governments (Ontario, Alberta, BC as well as New York State and the UK) try to control the situation, this article says that bot activity is up by 20% in the past year. Clearly more needs to be done.

This is from TheTicketingBusiness (via Alan)

One year on from the passage of the BOTS Act, Rami Essaid (Co-founder, Distil Networks) and Niels Sodemann (CEO, Queue-it) explore its impact on the ticketing eco-system. 

Bots first entered popular consciousness in 2016 with the passing of the BOTS Act, and have further established their mainstream presence through messaging and social media bots. They continue to be fought with legislation across the globe — most recently with Ontario’s Ticket Sales Act — however the ticketing industry has been fighting bots for years.

In the US, the Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act prohibits the use of software to jump to the front of the line and buy up inventory during online ticket sales. The legislation permits fans to have a greater opportunity to purchase tickets at face value as they first become available online.

The law grants enforcement to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which can take civil action against those who use bot software. It also allows state attorneys general to take similar action.

The BOTS Act applies to public concerts, theatre performances, sporting events, and similar events at venues having a seating capacity over 200. And it addresses more than purchasing—Congress also made it illegal to sell tickets if the seller participated in their illegal purchase, or knew (or should have known) that they were acquired in violation of the law.

New York State had passed its own version of the law in November 2016. And after BOTS Act passage, in June 2017 Nevada’s attorney general was empowered to directly prosecute bot developers, as opposed to waiting for the FTC to take action.

What the BOTS Act Does Not Address

Although the BOTS Act is a step in the right directions, it doesn’t fully address all the scenarios that fraudsters use to exploit major online ticket sales. The BOTS Act:

  • Doesn’t eliminate the purchase and reselling of legally obtained tickets
  • Doesn’t address historical relationships between sellers and resellers
  • Doesn’t make the 40% of tickets never on public sale magically reappear
  • Makes it almost impossible to prosecute international scalpers

Read on.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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