Ticketmaster Running Its Own Scalping Scheme
Ticketmaster is secretly running its own scalping scheme, allowing it to profit from both the original and secondary sales of tickets, according to an investigative report.
CBC News and the Toronto Star claimed that the invite-only platform TradeDesk is being operated by Ticketmaster and allowed to bypass its own “buyer abuse” rules.
Undercover journalists attended a Las Vegas sales convention during the summer, at which they said they were introduced to the TradeDesk “professional reseller program” while carrying hidden recording devices. “Company representatives told them Ticketmaster’s resale division turns a blind eye to scalpers who use ticket-buying bots and fake identities to snatch up tickets and then resell them on the side for inflated prices,” the report stated. “Those pricey resale tickets include extra fees for Ticketmaster.”
The report cited the example of a $209.50 ticket, which would net Ticketmaster $25.75 on its first sale. If then uploaded to TradeDesk for resale at $400, Ticketmaster would receive a further $76. Investigators added that TradeDesk “allows scalpers to upload large quantities of tickets purchased from Ticketmaster's site and quickly list them again for resale. … Neither TradeDesk nor the professional reseller program are mentioned anywhere on Ticketmaster's website or in its corporate reports.”
A source told the journalists that TradeDesk shared no information with the core Ticketmaster service.
“I have brokers that have literally a couple of hundred accounts," one representative is said to have commented. "It’s not something that we look at or report.” Another is reported to have said Ticketmaster wasn’t concerned about people using bots and fake ID to bypass buying limits, telling a prospective reseller, “If you want to get a good show and the ticket limit is six or eight … you’re not going to make a living on six or eight tickets.”
“It does seem a bit stinky, doesn't it?" Canadian music journalist Alan Cross said. "On one hand, they say, 'We don't like bots,' but on the other hand, 'We have all these clients who may use bots.'"
Asked to comment, Ticketmaster told CBC, “As the world’s leading ticketing platform, representing thousands of teams, artists and venues, we believe it is our job to offer a marketplace that provides a safe and fair place for fans to shop, buy and sell tickets in both the primary and secondary markets.”