Sunday, August 30, 2009

Scalping in the Age of Craigslist

Writing in The New York Times, Ben Sisario has an eye-opening piece on online ticket scalping. Among the revelations:
• Miley Cyrus' upcoming tour will use paperless ticketing and require photo ID, moves intended to prevent the reselling of tickets. Scalper Don Vaccaro called it "a career-ending situation" -- for Miley Cyrus, that is.
• One recent report claims that 40 percent of tickets sold on online resell sites go for face value or less.
• Many online sites exaggerate their inventory. They advertise tickets owned by other online sites; in the event of a sale, both sites share in the profit. The consumer never knows who he's buying from.
• When popular shows sell out within minutes, it "educates" buyers to bypass official channels:

David Kronstat, a 43-year-old music fan in New Jersey, said he hasn’t placed a Ticketmaster order in years “because of how convoluted the whole ticket-buying process has come.” Instead he scours Craigslist, trying to avoid brokers by looking for telltale signs of ordinary Joes motivated to sell. “There’s always some guy who bought four tickets and can only use two, or can’t get a baby sitter,” he said. (When told about those lines, one broker said, “That’s all stuff that I write on Craigslist.”)

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