back to article New York outlaws ticket-hoarding buybots

A New York State law will make it illegal for resellers to use bots that snap up tickets for events en masse. The State Assembly has passed A10713, a measure that makes the use of automated scripts (bots) on ticket-purchasing sites a criminal act. Under the new law, anyone who is found to be using bots to buy tickets will be …

  1. JustWondering

    Ummm ...

    How about just making it illegal to sell a ticket for more than face value? That should put outfits like StubHub out of business. Also, maybe have a look at how TicketBastards and others sell the tickets. Is it that hard to stop the buybots?

    1. Dadmin

      Re: Ummm ...

      You said the Magic Word: TicketBastard (AKA Ticket Master)

      (Hi, I'm ticket buyer. AKA Ticket Slave)

      Those crafty middlemen have made it impossible to get tickets for a fair price at ANY event. The "convenience" charge, the hefty parking fees, ticket prices that start nearer to US$100 for a single seat to said event. Fuck it, I'll just steal the show off the Internet and say fuck you, Ticket Bastard. Unfortunately, that translates into an FU for the object of my fandom, but thems the breaks. I was all set to get some sweet tix to two big time comedy legends, but the base price for two tix was at $187, and that was before all the stupid fees and outrageous overpayment for parking. I'll just overpay for some tech gear, and have something to show for it other than a $45 t-shirt.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Ummm ...

        TicketBastard I've always referred to them as TicketBlaster... This may be one reason I've not seen live music in a loooooong time. That and I have a 6 yr old. But if the price of a performance wasn't more that a days income, maybe I would be seeing more!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ummm ...

      Confirming StubHub, GetMeIn etc. are the absolute worst in this. They use exclusive/monopolist deals with the promoter (assuming they're not already the promoter) to reserve enough tickets to guarantee their orders, and then take a commission plus 20% fees (at the low end) on every single sale.

      The reality of it is they make no effort to hide the fact they're dominated by bot-using scumbags. If you or I go on there to sell a spare ticket as a one off we'll be slapped with the headline 15-20% commission. If you sign up to and achieve quarterly sales targets or fulfillment targets this begins to disappear. They are literally incentivising this behaviour, because they're taking a cut at both ends.

      It's practically racketeering. After all, it is impossible to buy that many tickets legitimately. You have to be using bots. You have to be using many, many credit cards. No one has got 30+ credit cards lying around who isn't a devious criminal scumbag.

    3. Mark 85

      Re: Ummm ...

      Once upon a time, before the internet, I think that was true. For a big event, undercover cops would work the crowd looking to buy tickets. If tickets were offered for more than the printed price, the seller was busted right then and there. The internet has made this tough to enforce at the venue, so.. maybe this law will work. Maybe not.

      I wonder how the California law is working for them?

    4. WatAWorld

      Re: Ummm ...

      "How about just making it illegal to sell a ticket for more than face value?"

      That used to be the law, at least in Canada.

      Then the tickemaster-types lobbied government to get the law changed.

      That was a big mistake that really hurt the public so that a few could get rich through no effort on their own part.

  2. Alan Penzotti
    Big Brother

    Sell them like airline tickets

    When the tickets are created, require that the attendee name be printed on the ticket and compare that with photo ID and name matches ticket Sales Number on file. If there is a change of attendee, assess change fees on the spot for 2x-10x the final sale value of the ticket, just like an airline would.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sell them like airline tickets

      But that also harms genuine buyers. You have to buy these tickets 6~12 months in advance. So as a genuine buyer I could end up not being allowed in because I left my photo ID at home (not every country has to carry photo ID everywhere).

      Also if I find that a month before the concert I can no longer go because my circumstances have changed then I may find it impossible to resell or pass my ticket on to a friend due to 2x-10x cost of doing so.

      It's like DRM, it is designed to stop the bad guys but ends up just being a PITA for the good guys.

      1. Dr. Mouse

        Re: Sell them like airline tickets

        It would also significantly slow down entry to the event. When talking about popular events in large venues, the time taken to gain entry is already significant, and organisers have spent a lot of time and money on speeding up this process.

        1. JustWondering

          Re: Sell them like airline tickets

          If I could save a few hundred on a pair of tickets, I wouldn't mind a bit of a wait. And if some extra staff is needed, let the promoter pay for it. Sure, a ticket might cost a bit more, but not as much as after ScumHub etc is done with you.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Back in the Day

    You heard about a gig on the Radio and queued up outside the venue to get tickets.

    Tickets mostly went on sale less than 2 months before the gig.

    you paid for your seat at the box office and some venues didn't accept anything but hard cash.. 1st come 1st served.

    Sometimes, I wish for those days back and yes, I am over 60 but still go to gigs and really have having to buy tickets 6-9 months (or longer) in advance.

  4. JimmyPage

    How about just making it illegal to sell a ticket for more than face value?

    Free market, perhaps ?

    A lot depends on how you view a ticket. If it's property, then letting the state dictate what you may or may not buy or sell, and what you buy/sell it for is a really bad idea. Price controls generally are a magnet for even more crookery.

    If it's not property, but a unique placeholder for an event, then maybe the ticket industry could take a break from counting their profits, and devise a system the end punter can have faith in.

    In fact, anyone who has been to a Robert Plant show will know they have. Never seen a tout at a Percy gig because his management link the ticket to the card that bought it. No card. No ticket. Simples. Hardly a new idea either - it was trialled in 2007 when "Led Zeppelin" played the 02

    Given that, one has to wonder why it's not in more general use. Clearly the ticket agencies aren't in a rush to help.

    1. WatAWorld

      why would a promoter sell a $600 ticket for $100, unless money was coming back via a backchannel?

      Promoters and vendors should not be taking kick-backs from ticket agents and second-level ticket agents in deals kept secret from artists.

      When an second-level agent can step into the middle and confidently buy up 90% the tickets in seconds to knowing with complete certainty they can be resold for a several hundred percent profit that pretty much indicates something is wrong.

      Why would a promoter sell the tickets for so much less than their obvious value? Why deny himself and the artist their just rewards?

      It points to the need for forensic audits to follow the path of the money. Are agents and promoters getting rewarded via some path that cuts the artists out of the loop?

      I don't know the answer. But why else would a promoter sell a $600 ticket for $100, unless there was some means to make the money back via a backchannel?

      1. Dr. Mouse

        Re: why would a promoter sell a $600 ticket for $100

        Why would a promoter sell the tickets for so much less than their obvious value?

        Actually, you have a point. This sounds like basic economics. If the touts can sell the tickets for 5x+ their face value, then people are prepared to pay that much. So why aren't they being sold for that price in the first place?

        I would guess there are PR reasons (promoter and artist don't want to be seen to be gouging the fans), but from simple economics it makes little sense that they are being sold so "cheaply" (relative to what people are prepared to pay)

  5. LiarLiarLiar
    Thumb Up

    For one, the sellers don't care, as long as they get thier money

    to stop it just lock out IPs after so many tickets or credit card can only purchase so many tickets. all ticket are sent to your home address and only so many tickets to a address. and I like the idea of making it illegal to sell a ticket for more than face value.

    1. Danny 14

      Re: For one, the sellers don't care, as long as they get thier money

      It really sucks having a family of 5, the amount of sites that only let you buy 4 of something is quite high.

      1. Swarthy

        Re: For one, the sellers don't care, as long as they get thier money

        @ Danny 14:

        Fair point. If the cut-off were 10, would that be reasonable? Even better: they should have a special "bulk purchase" option wherein you could buy up to X on the site, but if you wanted more than X (large family, school outing, corporate do, etc.) you had to call a number and talk to a person and provide a reason for the bulk purchase and/or a list of names/addresses of the soon-to-be ticket holders.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Futile Effort

    Most of the 'official' sources like Live Nation own sister companies created specifically for this purpose. The EU and some local governments are currently investigating them for these practices.

    1. Andy Scott

      Re: Futile Effort

      In the case of Live Nation, they own Ticketmaster that sell the tickets and also the resell site Getmein, which Ticketmaster always link to when a gig is sold out

      1. Steve 129

        Re: Futile Effort

        TicketMaster even has it's own resale page now, directly on the original sale page !!!

        Recently I tried to get tickets for Coldplay (don't judge!!). I was on the site within 3 or 4 seconds and didn't get a ticket !!! Within 15 seconds there were ALREADY over 1000 tickets up for re-sale... ON TICKETMASTER and 5x the face value !!!

        There is absolutely NO incentive for TicketMaster or any other sales outlet to 'clean up their act'. Why would they !!???

  7. phuzz Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    All these stories make me glad of my local ticket shop.

    They have tickets for pretty much every venue in the city, and they charge the face price for the ticket (presumably there is some markup in there for them). If you buy online you get charged £1.50 for postage and that's it. No bullshit booking fee or anything, and if you don't want to pay postage, they have an actual shop you can walk into.

    They probably get a few hundred quid of my money every year, and I'm happy to give it to them.

    They're a ticket shop, and they're in Bristol, I'm sure you can work out how to find them ;)

  8. Rande Knight

    Supply and Demand

    How about just putting them on ebay or similar and let the tickets go for their natural price rather than rig things in contrived manners?

    1. Mark 85

      Re: Supply and Demand

      I know a lot of people who game ebay as sellers and buyers. I don't think that would work out well.

    2. JustWondering

      Re: Supply and Demand

      I think the bands like the idea that it appears possible for the average punter to afford tickets. Very few actually do anything about it.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They're a few decades late...

    How do you think Ticketmaster got started as a middleman. A few thousand seats here, a few thousand there. After awhile you can start brokering between whole venues and performances with an >50% cut - after a 1000% markup. And, that's BEFORE the "subsidiary" site markups!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Make the ticket buying process an application for tickets.

    After seven days, the ticket system dishes the tickets at random to those who applied.

    You might get some tickets, you might not.

    Would also be interesting if the amount of ticket applications were communicated to the act and maybe advised that they could fill an extra couple of nights. The ticketbots could get burned quite nicely if extra days were added before tickets were allocated.

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