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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    12.11.17 @ 04:37 PM
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    Ticketmaster Tries to Block Software

    Ticketmaster Tries to Block Software
    That Lets Resellers Grab Hot Concert Seats


    Ticketing giant Ticketmaster is taking aim at what it says is a new obstacle for fans hoping to attend concerts by hot acts like Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen and Hannah Montana: computer software that enables brokers and scalpers to swarm the company's Web site and snap up tickets faster than consumers can.

    IAC/InterActiveCorp's Ticketmaster earlier this year filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against RMG Technologies Inc., a small Pittsburgh-based company that runs TicketBrokerTools.com. According to papers filed with the lawsuit, RMG rents to scalpers software that can inundate Ticketmaster's computers with thousands of requests for seats, "in effect allowing them to cut in line," according to Joe Freeman, a Ticketmaster vice president.

    Last month, Ticketmaster filed a motion for a preliminary injunction that would prohibit RMG from selling such software; Judge Audrey B. Collins is expected to rule on the motion this month.

    In a court filing of his own, RMG's lawyer, Jay M. Coggan, dismissed Ticketmaster's allegations. "This may be the only time in the history of litigation that any seller sued its customers for paying them too much money," he wrote.

    The Internet era has brought speed and convenience to all sorts of consumer transactions. For concertgoers, however, it has also led to ever-faster sellouts for hot events. Ticketmaster deploys technology that is supposed to stop brokers from gaining access to large numbers of seats via online sales. But it says brokers' software circumvents the company's protections.

    That has placed large numbers of seats in the hands of brokers who use eBay Inc.'s StubHub, Craigslist and other online venues to resell the tickets at a big mark up.

    One situation roiling consumers involves the 54-concert "Best of Both Worlds" tour in which singer-actress Miley Cyrus is performing sets as herself and as her fictional alter ego, Hannah Montana. Parents and children have found finding tickets for the shows difficult and expensive. The issue is drawing the attention of government officials. On Thursday -- in a rare Internet-age example of authorities enforcing antiscalping laws -- the attorneys general of Missouri and Arkansas filed lawsuits against people accused of illegally reselling Hannah Montana tickets.

    According to StubHub, tickets for "Best of Both Worlds" are currently selling for an average $237, making them pricier than seats for the Police ($209), Justin Timberlake ($182) and Beyoncé ($212). The highest face value for a ticket on the Hannah Montana tour: $63.

    At the time Ticketmaster sued RMG, it also sued a group of brokers who allegedly used the company's software to buy and resell larger quantities of tickets than would normally be allowed. As part of a settlement with Ticketmaster, one of these brokers, Chris Kovach, submitted to the court a sworn declaration in which he outlined the way RMG's software works.

    As detailed by Mr. Kovach, the software allows users, among other things, to search for tickets at specific price levels for particular events and to generate requests for tickets much more quickly than a human at a typical home computer could.

    For instance, companies like Ticketmaster require customers searching for tickets online to replicate a set of the squiggly letters and numbers, known as a "Captcha." Theoretically, only human customers can correctly identify the characters despite the odd fonts, screening out automated purchasing programs. But RMG's software, according to Mr. Kovach, can also "figure out the randomly generated characters and retype them automatically." Mr. Kovach said RMG employees also gave him advice on fooling Ticketmaster's computers into thinking his requests were coming from different Internet addresses. Neither Mr. Kovach nor his lawyer could be reached for comment.

    Ticketmaster alleges that the software is a violation of its terms of service, harms the ability of legitimate customers to get tickets, and thus ultimately damages Ticketmaster's reputation and ability to do business. In requesting an injunction to stop RMG from doing business, Ticketmaster says that the millions of requests generated by such "bot" software represents as much as 80% of all ticket requests for some shows. (A "bot" is computer program that performs automated, repetitive tasks on the Internet.)

    RMG employees couldn't be reached. In a court filing, RMG president Cipriano Garibay denied that his company's software is a "bot," instead likening it to a specialized version of a Web browser like Internet Explorer.

    RMG's lawyer, Mr. Coggan, declined to address the specifics of Mr. Kovach's allegations, other than to say they were not entirely accurate. "What my client does is no different from my generation, before the Internet, where one person would go sit in line and hold places for 10 people," Mr. Coggan said.

    Executives with the ticketing giant say they have no way of knowing how many companies are making similar software. But the increasing difficulty that the average consumer faces in trying to get their hands on concert tickets is becoming a hot-button issue.

    Ticketmaster is a beneficiary of the spiraling costs in the aftermarket, thanks to its own secondary marketplace, TicketExchange, where seats for the tour's Nov. 29 stop at Memphis's FedEx Forum range from $243 to $363. The service's Web site says it allows fans to buy tickets "without having to bid against other buyers, without having to coordinate delivery from anonymous sellers, and without the gamble that the tickets are legitimate."

    People involved in the tour say that tensions are running particularly high over the Hannah Montana tour because many of the parents who are trying to secure tickets for their children are buying their first concert tickets in years, and thus are unaware of how difficult the Internet has made getting tickets to hot concert tours. On top of that, many parents are wary of disappointing children to whom they have promised tickets.

    The City Council of Kansas City held hearings last week on the issue, after councilman Bill Skaggs and others received "dozens" of complaints from frustrated constituents. Representatives of Ticketmaster and AEG were asked to explain local fans' difficulties getting seats.

    Mr. Skaggs says their responses were "not particularly" satisfying. "We're not through with them yet," he says. "I'm not sure what the fix is, unless you go back to selling tickets at the box office and it's first come first served."
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Forum Frontman Double Down's Avatar
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    God bless 'em.
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  3. #3
    Good Enough darthadv's Avatar
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    01.05.12 @ 09:51 PM
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    this would be great, but you know these kinds of sites will continue to pop up... unless they make them criminal and have a way to spot them, it will continue to happen... i actually applaud the guy organizing the led zep show for taking measures to do what he can to prevent scalping of that show...
    Runaround... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around...

  4. #4
    5150 HuBBs5150's Avatar
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    i'll root for ticketmaster this time, but I still hate it that they fuck us inthe ass with all these bullshit surcharges and convience fees.
    -----HuBBs5150-----

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  5. #5
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    12.16.17 @ 07:14 PM
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    Maybe they need to start working something with the band - inside each CD is a certificate that allows you to buy x number of seats to one of said bands shows. Maybe it's even coded by region or something so that if you buy a CD in Cleveland, your code is only good for shows in Ohio, maybe also Pittsburgh and Detroit, so some hacker on the west coast can't figure out the code sequencing and buy up a lot of tickets in a given market (of course, I'm not sure how that would work with Amazon and other online retailer purchases). A fan has up until a certain point before the show to redeem their certificate, then the remaining tickets are opened up for the rest of the buyers. I don't know - there has to be some way to foil unscrupulous scalpers (hell, be nice if there was some way to foil ticketmaster!). With the way things are - I just don't see that I'll ever attend another concert...

  6. #6
    Sinner's Swing!
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    Pehaps with the pissed off soccer moms taking action due to the Hannah Montana ticket issue, things will change. There needs to be legislation which will make things interesting. Another of those old laws vs. new technology cases where some landmark decisions will need to be made.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by looper_guy View Post
    Pehaps with the pissed off soccer moms taking action due to the Hannah Montana ticket issue, things will change. There needs to be legislation which will make things interesting. Another of those old laws vs. new technology cases where some landmark decisions will need to be made.
    Agreed. It's out of control. And, for that matter, ticket prices in general are just too high. Add the $10-$20 worth of fees per ticket, and it's ridiculous. I wonder if an industry-wide change is in order. Doubtful that it would happen, but what if the venues themselves were to start handling ticket sales to events specifially happening at their establishment?

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by looper_guy View Post
    Pehaps with the pissed off soccer moms taking action due to the Hannah Montana ticket issue, things will change. There needs to be legislation which will make things interesting. Another of those old laws vs. new technology cases where some landmark decisions will need to be made.
    Don't forget the pissed off soccer moms who couldn't get Van Halen tickets for their husbands...
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  9. #9
    Good Enough darthadv's Avatar
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    01.05.12 @ 09:51 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by voivod View Post
    Don't forget the pissed off soccer moms who couldn't get Van Halen tickets for their husbands...
    Runaround... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around... around...

  10. #10
    Atomic Punk
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    Ticket broker lawsuit 4:32
    Ticketmaster attorney Joseph Freeman discusses a lawsuit spawned from the 'Hannah Montana' ticket controversy.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/sho...ah.montana.cnn
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  11. #11
    Hang 'Em High sickman's Avatar
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    This would probably the one and only time I root for Ticketbastard. Here in CT they just got rid of the ticket scalping law. It used to be you couldn't legally sell tickets in CT for anything higher than $3.00 above face value. They never enforced it so it didn't matter but now they got rid of that rule and totally outlawed selling tickets within 1500 feet of the venue. Even the Live Nation promoter here in the northeast said he liked that the law had changed because he felt that most of the tickets being scalped were done so by fans who purchased 2 or 4 extra tickets and just wanted to make a little extra money. Now tell me Live Nation isn't involved in brokering.
    I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.

  12. #12
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by sickman View Post
    Even the Live Nation promoter here in the northeast said he liked that the law had changed because he felt that most of the tickets being scalped were done so by fans who purchased 2 or 4 extra tickets and just wanted to make a little extra money.
    shit - cry me a river... (him, not you)
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

 

 

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