Do You Hate Ticketmaster? Then This Won’t Change Your Opinion

As this article points out, Ticketmaster has to be one of the most despised companies in the entire world. And this will just reinforce your feelings.

[N]ow there’s a brand new reason to hate Ticketmaster: it knowingly tolerates ticket-buying hacker-spawned bots on its network. 

The New York Times has a report about the ticket-snatching bots, which currently buy up to a staggering 60% of the company’s goods. For anyone who’s logged on at precisely 9:00 am the morning that Radiohead show goes on sale only to be interminably redirected to the seating chart page—or the thousands of real people who lost their LCD Soundsystem seats to scalper-bots—this revelation will probably make you want to smash something. You’ve been hopelessly competing with virtual robots that have been programmed to buy up your tickets. You never had a shot at getting into that Arcade Fire show, no matter how furiously you clicked.

And here’s what makes the whole thing especially maddening. Ticketmaster not only knows about the bots, but, as BetaBeat notes, it’s not even trying to kick them out of its system. It’s just trying to slow them down, so humans have at least a spitting chance. 

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.

3 thoughts on “Do You Hate Ticketmaster? Then This Won’t Change Your Opinion

  • June 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    That's why I've given up on going to big ticket shows and stick to small venue events, you just can't get decent seats anymore.

  • June 19, 2013 at 12:48 am

    So here's a thought… (and I'm a web developer so I know what they are up against).

    The big rush for tickets and the issue with bots is the day one sales rush.

    All TM has to do is this… generate randomness that changes the flow of ticket sales… but only launch it for a particular artist the second the tickets go on sale.

    Eg if the flow before was: A B C D E F G H done… then randomly insert steps between that case the following step to fail if it didn't get there via the "brand new" flow.

    1.) The bots can't deal with last minute changes.
    2.) This creates what they call a "honey pot" that the bots will reveal themselves through.
    3.) If serious about this, Ticket master can get enough info before setting the trap to then block, or report abuse to the authorities. Or better yet… change the price of the seats to 2x or 3x the face value. if they want to complain about the price they just need to provide info about the process to prove they are human and not a bot. Trust me if these bots (backed by scalpers) need to make a phone call and wait in line to request a fee change they will quickly grow tired of the process and give up.

    Sadly the current CAPTCHA mess they use just piss off real users that just want to buy a pair of tickets to see a show. The "convenience charge" is the insult at the end of the process when you groan that it was anything but convenient!


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