You have asked this question more than once; “How the hell did the concert sell out in five minutes?! Let me answer that question for you, Bots!
Bots are computer programs operated by ‘cyber-scalpers ‘ that buy thousands of tickets in a split second to re-sell them at astronomical mark ups. That is how bots cheat ordinary fans like yourself out of a fair chance to buy tickets.
Ticket bots work by using multiple IP addresses. Such software, which is illegal in New York state, can bypass a ticket-selling websites’s security measures, such as CAPTCHA. According to the New York Times the secondary ticket market is an $8 billion a year industry.
The House of Representatives and the Senate have passed the Better Online Ticket Sales Act, or BOTS Act, with rare bipartisan support. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) issued a state from his government website saying, “These bots have gotten completely out of control and their dominance in the market is denying countless fans access to shows, concerts, and sporting events and driving prices through the roof. With this soon to be new law that will eliminate ‘bots’ and slap hackers with a hefty fine, we can now ensure those who want to attend shows in the future will not have to pay outrageous, unfair prices.”
The BOTS Act makes it illegal to circumvent a ticket sales website’s security measures. The Federal Trade Commission will be charged with enforcing the law. Critics say bots feed a high-priced resale market that pushes ticket prices out of reach of ordinary consumers, particularly for hot events like the play “Hamilton” or a Beyonce concert. I mean, c’mon! How do you think the play “Hamilton” sold out for the next year? And the price for some a tickets have reached $10,000! Really?
Here is the catch to a great move by congress. Many ticket bots operate with software and computers located outside the U.S. Because of this enforcement can be difficult. The New York Times reports that European governments are considering governments similar legislation.
Ticket scalping is legal. Companies like StubHub and Ticketmaster are well known ticket re-sellers. And yes, their ticket mark up can reach as high as 50 percent. So the law does not outlaw scalping it outlaws bypassing a website’s security measures.
Passage of the BOTS Act is the culmination of years of frustration among the public, artists and producers infuriated by ticket hoarding bots that profit from their work while gouging the public. Jeffrey Seller, the lead producer of the Broadway play “Hamilton,”called scalping “a usurious, parasitic business that only serves to create a new profit center between the artist and the consumer.”
Consider the recent visit by the Pope to United States. Tickets to the parade were issued for free. But bots managed to gobble up thousands of them and they suddenly appeared on sites like eBay and Craigslist for hundreds of dollars.
Now you know.