Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Ticket scalping vs buying for gifts

Ticket vendors need to try and protect against scalping just as a part of their business. The problem is that ticket scalping and buying as a gift are identical transactions from an information point of view. Defending against one by necessity prevents the other. That is, if I'm buying two tickets for two friends, that looks exactly the same to a ticket vendor as if I were buying two tickets to sell to the highest bidder.

You might say I can include the names of the intended recipients at the time of purchase, but what if I'm buying ten tickets together in good faith that I have ten friends to bring with me, but I don't know which ones they will be yet? You can't just ask me to provide the names later, because that would enable me to scalp the tickets to strangers and provide their names. And what if I meet a brand new person after buying the ticket, and decide to bring them along? Well, that looks like scalping even if you have some way of verifying friendships and family relationships up front.

There's no winning here. You either have to accept a certain amount of scalping or stop selling tickets entirely.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Clearly nobody is going to stop selling if that's their business.
PPS - At least not until it's unprofitable.

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