This week, ticketing giant, Ticketmaster, announced that it will close two of its subsidiary sites, Seatwave and Get Me In.
The two websites, which are known as ‘secondary ticketing sites’ have allowed users to purchase tickets for events that were sold out (or where tickets were hard to come by). The sites gained bad publicity because of their connection with ticket touts, and what many people saw as the practice of driving up ticket prices.
Ticketmaster will instead put a new software on their main website, which gives ticket holders the chance to sell their tickets for face value. The buyer would have to pay a 15% charge for the privilege.
The move to close the two sites has been widely praised by an industry which has been hurt by the rise in tout bots and unreasonable prices. Artists such as Ed Sheeran have been vocal in the need for action or more regulation.
However, with other secondary ticketing sites such as Stubhub and Viagogo not following suit, many have questioned how much impact Ticketmaster’s changes will actually have.
For the most part, the answer is that no one knows. The closure of Seatwave and Get Me In isn’t the only crackdown on touts in recent years. The major websites have created technology to help combat bots, and some artists are introducing ID checks at venues so unofficial secondary tickets can’t be used.
Because of this, it’s going to be difficult to see what changes are the result of the loss of Seatwave and Get Me In and which are down to other actions.
It’s true that Viagogo and Stubhub have no motivation to change their operating model at the moment. But that motivation might come in the form of pressure from regulators if the closure of Seatwave and Get Me In turns out to be successful.
If you’re concerned that secondary ticketing sites were harming your business and stopping true fans from purchasing tickets, then this news can’t be seen as anything but positive. Even if you think it hasn’t gone far enough, it’s still a good step.
However, if the industry is to eradicate touts altogether, there are actions that you as ticket providers can take. Limiting the number of tickets one customer can purchase is a start.
Requiring ID and receipt of purchase when the customer arrives for the event will also help.
Whichever route you choose, you have to ensure that you’re not affecting the experience of regular customers. Stopping touts is supposed to help your fans; you shouldn’t replace the touts with additional barriers to purchase.