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Gamification in the ticketing industry and missing Celine Dion

Gamification examples: Fun picture CAPCHAs, waiting in line watching people movement, secret 6-digit codes, adding 1–2 seats at a time instead of a whole row, adding rows that aren’t on the seating chart, not allowing sort by price, best seat or value, changing sale price on resale tickets, not knowing which ticket you will get if you pick from a row, requiring two seats next to each other to have two separate purchases, tickets becoming sold to another “fan” two or three levels into the buying process, showing available seats when those tickets were sold several minutes ago, and so on. Sound like blackjack? Sound like pulling a lever on a slot machine? Sound like rolling the dice. It’s gambling addiction 101, the worst form of gamification.

The GREAT @RollingStones and @Ticketmaster SHAM of 2020! Watch me lose #rollingstones PIT TICKETS and FRONT ROW seats right out of my cart with no explanation. Then return to show still available seats. Read more about @TMFanSupport here.

I have proof Ticketmaster is using game theory to fraudulently optimize sales. I’ve detected gamification in verified resale and standard admission ticketing.

During attempts to purchase tickets, this screen games the user into a false sense of demand, even when waiting in line behind one other “fan.”

Tickets in Section 14 retail new as standard admission tickets around $305. These seats suddenly appear for $104.

The next tier of seats are selling new/retail for $220, so I hop on the opportunity to take my wife instead of going solo.

Tickets on rows K, L, and M sell new for $310. All floor seats behind them also sell for $310 new. Notice, the seating chart does not show rows N and O, but the tickets are being offered as new standard admission.

I buy section 14, row N tickets, not realizing they do not exist.

I’m asked to enter my phone number one of probably a dozen times to game my belief that this purchase is urgent and I have been verified as a non-fraudulent purchaser.

The row in front of mine is still at $310. (Behind as well.)

Seats in section eleven. The front and center section are showing now at $130. When I try to acquire them, it states I’m too late. Section eleven tickets are reselling in excess of $500–1500.

Wife can’t go. Totally forgot her birthday dinner tonight. Change of plans. I’m selling my Section 14 seats for $249. They will be the cheapest pair of floor seats available for the show for the next two hours.

Just confirming sections 14 and 15 still Standard Admission front to back for $310. My resell pair shouldn’t last long and the birthday dinner will rock.

6:48 – My solo aisle ticket from before I found the cheap floor seats (the original plan was to go by myself) sell for double what I paid. I make about $75 and the show must be sold out? Right? I mean if someone is willing to pay $150 for a nosebleed seat?

5:41, my tickets are for sale, but not showing when my section is highlighted. They are $60 cheaper than standard admission. But they appear nowhere on the seating chart…

THING THAT ARE GOOD

  • Limiting scalpers
  • Matching show and person location with IP address
  • Supply and demand economics/pricing discourage scalpers and benefit artists.

THINGS THAT ARE BAD

  • Showing “price” at a fraction (50-70%) of the ticket price.
  • Showing seats as unavailable then opening them up if they need to.
  • Using gambling techniques to addict buyers, keep them on Ticketmaster’s app, and maximize quantity and profit.

OTHER EXPERIENCES

  • Staying on the site for hours as random high-quality seats pop up, then disappear when you attempt to purchase.
  • Other techniques designed to keep buyers off stub-hub where seats and fees may be cheaper and on Ticketmaster.
  • Showing random high-dollar seats as available, then stating another “fan” beat me to them. You beat someone in a race. Racing is a game.

Me trying to buy Bon Jovi tickets. I was on a plane, so even though my account is in good standing, I couldn’t respond with the 6-digit code. The seats I ended up with are awful.

IN CONCLUSION

I’m assembling a team of engineers who can further prove this misappropriation and enter official complaints with state and federal attorneys general. Please consider hearing me out before I take additional steps. I believe Ticketmaster is a good company who wants to do right that has become caught up in some unethical and illegal activities. These observations are from my perspective as a fan, a developer, an MBA, and an assistant vice president of a major financial institution. I just want a fair opportunity to buy tickets to shows I’m interested in, sell tickets if my plans change, and use aftermarket sites to find last-minute opportunities to attend events. I am a fan first, but the proof of dishonest gamification techniques to garner interest is undeniable. My next steps will be to begin approaching class action attorneys with my research.

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VIDEO SCREEN CAPS OF ALLEGED GAMIFICATION IN CELINE DION EXAMPLES

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