Ticketmaster may start scoping out people's social media before allowing them to buy tickets

The firm currently sells tickets for around 8,000 events in Ireland every year.

By Fora Staff

TICKETMASTER IS CONSIDERING using new software to look at people’s social media to identify if they are a genuine fan before allowing them to buy a ticket.

Speaking about the ‘verified fan’ product on Newstalk Breakfast, Ticketmaster managing director Keith English said the programme helps tackle ticket touts and may be introduced here in the future.

English said: “We’ve just launched in the US and we’re looking at bringing it internationally.

“People register prior to an online sale and then we use sophisticated software to look at their social media activity and other things to try and identify if they’re a genuine fan or not and then send them a code allowing them to purchase a ticket.”

“But we also have to think about what is the consumer’s journey to purchasing a ticket. They want to log onto our website, find the ticket that they want, pay with their credit card and be done. They don’t to spend hours there, they don’t want to give us their life history.”

Ticketmaster currently sells tickets for around 8,000 events in Ireland every year, however, English said ticket touting isn’t common.

“In terms of volumes, it’s very small. It makes a lot of noise because it’s usually about those high-profile events and there’s a lot of fan interest when that goes on.

“These days consumers do not accept that something is sold out, they will go and look for another way to buy a ticket.

“If Ticketmaster puts out a ‘sold out’ sign … they will start going on listing sites and they will then be prey to someone who doesn’t care if they’re selling a genuine product to them or not.”

51 U2 tickets_90500056 Queues for tickets at a Ticketmaster booth
Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

‘People need to cop on’

When asked if legislation is needed to tackle ticket touting, English said creating laws will simply push the problem underground.

“If you look at places like Belgium where legislation has taken place, the well-behaved or best-in-class resellers have simply stopped their activities and all sorts of other mini sites have popped up to take their place.

“If there’s a consumer out there who wants to spend money on a ticket – be it at a higher price than the face value – they’re going to do it.”

Seatwave is an online site for the reselling of tickets that is owned by Ticketmaster. English was asked if Ticketmaster keeps a selection of tickets aside to upload on Seatwave, he said:

“We do not, nor have we ever, put any tickets onto Seatwave. That’s not our job. Somebody has already bought them … but that person who bought it has decided they’re going to resell it.”

When asked if Ticketmaster should interject in some cases, he said: “Everybody jumps on what the listing price is but tickets very rarely ever sell for those prices.

“This is consumer choice – if you want to make that purchase, that’s entirely up to you and if you want to do it, it should be in a secure, safe environment.”

He added, “It’s amazing how many people arrive at the gates with a fake ticket, or sometimes they don’t even have a ticket.

“They’ve been asked to transfer money and they walk up to our box office and say, ‘I’m here to collect my tickets’ and we say ‘we don’t know who you are’. They know, we can see it in them, they know they’ve been duped, so yeah – cop on.”

Ed Sheeran concert - Dublin
Source: PA Archive/PA Images


Earlier this year, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission launched an investigation into suspected anti-competitive conduct in the ticketing industry.

The consumer watchdog said the investigation will look into possible breaches of competition law in relation to the provision of tickets and the management of ticketing services for live events.

The investigation will primarily focus on firms involved in the provision of tickets and ticketing services, including promoters and venues.

Written by Cliodhna Russell and posted on TheJournal.ie

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