Should Ebay clamp down on the ticket touts?
I used to have an advantage when it came to getting tickets for gigs. Having broadband at home when very few people would – or could – make the leap to higher speed lines meant that queuing outside HMV for tickets at 6am in the freezing cold was a thing of the past. Log on, get the tickets, go back to bed.
These days, everyone has it. It’s hit and miss as to whether you manage to beat the crowds to snatch the last two tickets to the gig of your choice, but at least you can do it from the comfort of your own home.
However, although it may be easier for music fans, broadband has also made it easier for touts to make a quick profit.
Oh sure, the number of tickets you can buy in one transaction has been limited for most events. But while selling the tickets on used to involve a little more effort, these days you can buy the tickets at 9am and have them listed on Ebay only minutes later for far more than their face value.
Let’s get one thing clear – I have no problem with people selling unwanted or unneeded concert tickets online for their face value, plus whatever handling fees were levied. Fans would pay that anyway had they bought the ticket through Ticketmaster or from the box office.
And I get the concept of Ebay. I realise it’s there for people to make money. But it seems inherently unfair for people to buy tickets with the sole intention of selling them on for a profit, particularly when you see that the sellers other items are all concert tickets. And they are all priced at multiples of their face value.
It opens up the market considerably to international sellers too.
Look at the most recent gigs sold through Ticketmaster. A quick look on Ebay revealed and asking price of €161.94 for two seated tickets for the Script’s upcoming showsmat the Olympia – the same tickets bought from Ticketmaster would be €63. The same UK-based seller had tickets for a number of other music events for sale too.
The Pixies were another act that were being flogged online. Tickets were on sale for a BIN price of €259 for two, when the face value was only €55 euro each. One ticket was available for the obscene sum of €179, another for €195.
A US-based (according to the profile) seller had, among others, a ticket for The Specials on sale for more than €130 when the face value was just under €50.
While genuine fans might be willing to pay anything to get their hands on the tickets, shouldn’t the practice of buying tcvkets with the intention of selling them on for vastly inflated prices be curtailed?
Is it time Ebay banned people from selling concert tickets at more than face value?
UPDATE: In light of today’s article, I doubt they’ll be doing anything to further cut their margins.