if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

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if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby tommyzed » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:18 pm

If you have a lottery, why have tiers? This makes no sense to me. A tiered-pricing system was supposed to help people who were motivated to buy their tickets early. Now we have a lottery system where its all about CHANCE as to whether or not someone gets a certain ticket price. So now you have paid twice as much for your ticket than your neighbor for no other reason than bad luck. How is that a foundation for a good community?

What's the motivation for that? If you're going to have a lottery, it should be a flat-price system. The lottery should be all about whether you get a ticket or not, not about how much you pay.

Consider a tax system where the tax rate you paid was random... and not based on any contributing factors. That would be worse than what we have now in the US. And here burningMan is creating a system that is worse than reality, worse than the default world.

I've been going to burning an for 13 straight years. This system is overly-complicated and overly unfair to the people who are creating and building your city. While I'm sure your hearts are in the right place, this was an unfortunate decision to make. It should be reconsidered.

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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby markyb » Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:26 pm

Agreed!
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby Badawgy » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:07 pm

Tiers are stupid when you don't know what you are going to get. And you have no control over your choice.
Sell 40,000 tickets at $326.25 each and nobody feels better than anybody else if they get the cheap ticket, and especially, nobody feels robbed if they get the expensive tickets.
The $326.25 is exactly the same total they make for 40,000 tickets with the present stupid lottery.
Same price for everybody.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby lhorthy » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:13 pm

I agree, just average out the price to $325 or maybe even a little higher and throw the extra $ to low income/scholarship program. As we all know, the price of the ticket is just a fraction of the cost of attending.

If anyone is arguing to keep the tier system because because some folks will altruistically opt for a higher price, know that they will be punished for their altruism buy having less chance of getting a ticket. And if you switch it around and award the higher tiers first, you are turning the whole thing into a gamble with so many options that the process will become very stressful for some.

You are redoing the system, this is your chance to simplify and streamline.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby Ranger Ryan » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:32 pm

agreed. Pricing tiers make no sense under a lottery.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby bradtem » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:44 pm

I also think this is likely correct. I have put up a poll in another thread to ask people about their intentions. The question is, are there a lot of people who plan to enter at only the $240 price who would decide not to go to the playa if the minimum price were $325? If that's you, go to the poll and select that this would be your plan. Of course, after the actual ticket lottery is done the org will know just how many people were of that view and presumably will not do tiers in 2013 if almost everybody picks $340 or $390. But we might learn something earlier too.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby Ranger Ryan » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:50 pm

bradtem wrote:I also think this is likely correct. I have put up a poll in another thread to ask people about their intentions. The question is, are there a lot of people who plan to enter at only the $240 price who would decide not to go to the playa if the minimum price were $325? If that's you, go to the poll and select that this would be your plan. Of course, after the actual ticket lottery is done the org will know just how many people were of that view and presumably will not do tiers in 2013 if almost everybody picks $340 or $390. But we might learn something earlier too.


Could you link to that poll in this thread?
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby bradtem » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:51 pm

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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby essjay » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:17 pm

lhorthy wrote:I agree, just average out the price to $325 or maybe even a little higher and throw the extra $ to low income/scholarship program. As we all know, the price of the ticket is just a fraction of the cost of attending.

If anyone is arguing to keep the tier system because because some folks will altruistically opt for a higher price, know that they will be punished for their altruism buy having less chance of getting a ticket. And if you switch it around and award the higher tiers first, you are turning the whole thing into a gamble with so many options that the process will become very stressful for some.

You are redoing the system, this is your chance to simplify and streamline.


Actually, if I understand trilobyte correctly, if you register for the top tier, you are automatically registered for the bottom two tiers, as well. So you won't be punished for choosing the higher price, rather you will be rewarded by also being entered in the 2 lower drawings.

Which doesn't make sense to me, because it takes away the benefit of the lower tiers being there for the lower-incomed individuals. Now they are just there for the ones who choose the highest tier, but get lucky in the lottery and get a cheaper ticket.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby Just_Joe » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:25 pm

23094460.jpg
They're gonna need a big holder for all those balls.

Number 24568 Tier 1!
Number 45603 Tier 3 !
Number 06001 SORRY, YOU LOSE
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby Eric » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:26 pm

essjay wrote:Which doesn't make sense to me, because it takes away the benefit of the lower tiers being there for the lower-incomed individuals. Now they are just there for the ones who choose the highest tier, but get lucky in the lottery and get a cheaper ticket.


Those bottom tiers haven't gone to the "lower-incomed" in years- they go to people who can get the time off work to sit at their computer and try for them. It's been total luck-of-the-draw, and if you remember last years opening day fiasco it was more unlucky than lucky.

The last time I even tried to get first day tickets was 2006, and even though I was on in the first few minutes I ended up with second tier. The first two tiers have sold out the first day the last few years- the new system actually gives people an equal or better chance of getting one of them, without the need to sit all day in front of your computer.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby bradtem » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:33 pm

Yes, there are a variety of traditional purposes for pricing tiers. In many cases, they are an incentive to buy in early to raise money early for conferences with cash-flow issues. They are also a basic form of price discrimination -- people who want to wait until the last minute or who are particularly keen pay a lot more.

In the non-commercial event market, tiers are often a way to price discriminate based on time and money. Often getting the lower price tickets means working hard, even literally camping on the street, to be early in line. There was a bit of that with Burning Man in the past, though it did not go all the way to waiting on the street. If you can find a way to make your low tier tickets require a lot of time and hassle, that works OK as price discrimination because people who value money more than time will get the low price and people who value time over money get the high price.

The idea of "Let the lower income people in first" is unusual, though it was also one of the ideas with Burning Man. It is debatable if that really works.

Now all that the tiers will do is let people declare that they want in the lottery but only at the lower price point. I don't know what allocation scheme they plan (ie. if there will be any preference in the tier 1 lottery to tier-1 only entrants) but one thing this will definitely do is reveal just exactly what the demand at each price level is. That's highly useful information.

But the complexity is also high, and the feeling of it being a crapshoot is high. There is not a way, for example to say, "Listen, I will pay T2 or T3, so if I win T1, charge me T2 and let some poor sucker who can only afford T1 get in" which was the old Burning Man ethic behind the tiers.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby essjay » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:35 pm

Eric wrote:
Those bottom tiers haven't gone to the "lower-incomed" in years- they go to people who can get the time off work to sit at their computer and try for them. It's been total luck-of-the-draw, and if you remember last years opening day fiasco it was more unlucky than lucky.

The last time I even tried to get first day tickets was 2006, and even though I was on in the first few minutes I ended up with second tier. The first two tiers have sold out the first day the last few years- the new system actually gives people an equal or better chance of getting one of them, without the need to sit all day in front of your computer.


I hadn't tried for the lower tiers in the past. I always waited to buy in the higher tiers because I thought I was doing the "right thing" by not going for the lower tiers when I could afford more. It feels odd not having that option. I would put in for the $390 because I can - but now there is a chance I end up with a $240 ticket when there is somebody who needs it more than me? Maybe the realities of the past dictate this, as explained in your post - it just feels odd.

Also, I think that, because there is no way to ensure the lower tiers are actually going to lower-income participants, I don't see the need for the tiers. I agree with the other posters who have suggested that they just come up with one price, rather than this silly lottery to give some people tickets cheaper than others for no reason besides pure luck.
Last edited by essjay on Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby EasterEggBuzz » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:36 pm

Most people I know are planning to register for every tier, multiple times (through friends, family, and so on), and are willing to sell any extras for a profit (as one person just texted me, "it's my way of saying thank you for them listening so carefully to our suggestions." the whole process is now tipped toward: a) scalpers. B) those with the $$$ and resources to register multiple times.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby BBadger » Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:39 pm

The tiers this year are a bit strange. There is still purpose to them, in that it allows people to limit their price to only a certain tier. However, the "great big lottery" system dilutes the effect of the tiers because even, if you're the type who would opt for a Tier-3 ticket to reserve some lower tiers for lower-income people, to maximize your chances of even getting a ticket at all you should sign up for all three tiers.

However, I'm not convinced that this is any different than it was before. How many people actually opted for higher-priced tiers even if they could technically afford them? I certainly didn't and I won't even apologize or feel bad for it. I do lament that I can't have the same advantage as last year though.

If BMorg wants to enforce a type of "tiering" that still preserves this low-income system, they would need to limit the pool of tickets you're in the lottery for so that if you select all three tiers, you'd only get entered for (roughly) 1/3rd of each tier's tickets. Still, I don't think it makes much difference in the end.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby bradtem » Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:50 pm

As noted, one goal of tiers is to allow people with lower income and more time than money to get a lower price ticket.

One way to do that would be to offer the tier one ticket but charge $320 for it, though it is marked as a tier 1 ticket. Keep your tier 1 ticket because on Monday or later you can come join a Playa moop walk crew. You'll go out to moopy-areas and moop-walk, and after 4 hours and and handing in a sufficiently large bag of moop, you show your ticket, and it gets cancelled and you get handed $80. Now you might view this as paying people $20 per hour to moop-walk, but that's not the goal. The goal is to show you are dedicated enough to get that lower price ticket. The $20/hour rate just makes it not that worthwhile for you to try to sell the ticket to somebody else who wants to moop walk for money. Perhaps $15 or $10/hour is needed to avoid that.

Moop walking is good because it's relatively unskilled, and a crew can reasonably be led without too much supervision, though it's of most value at the end of the event. Because there are low income people who can't stay to Monday due to jobs they have on Tuesday, you might need to come up with another (even harder) task for them that is also unskilled, and requires low supervision but can be done mid-week. Or you can even pick skilled tasks and have them do hours of training on the tasks in addition to a shift of work. Though I presume volunteers are better than time-servers. The area of the burn needs lots of moop-walking Sunday morning and few can claim tey can't be there for their shift.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby lhorthy » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:14 pm

bradtem wrote:One way to do that would be to offer the tier one ticket but charge $320 for it, though it is marked as a tier 1 ticket. Keep your tier 1 ticket because on Monday or later you can come join a Playa moop walk crew. You'll go out to moopy-areas and moop-walk, and after 4 hours and and handing in a sufficiently large bag of moop, you show your ticket, and it gets cancelled and you get handed $80. Now you might view this as paying people $20 per hour to moop-walk, but that's not the goal. The goal is to show you are dedicated enough to get that lower price ticket. The $20/hour rate just makes it not that worthwhile for you to try to sell the ticket to somebody else who wants to moop walk for money. Perhaps $15 or $10/hour is needed to avoid that.


Interesting idea, but I'm not sure it would work. Usually the problem is, the low income burner does not have the extra cash for the more expensive ticket at the time it is on sale. And why have a special ticket for this, why not open it up to anyone who wants to help cleap up.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:17 pm

I pity the poor dpw members who have to babysit the indentured servants...
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby A Jester » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:36 pm

bradtem wrote:As noted, one goal of tiers is to allow people with lower income and more time than money to get a lower price ticket.

One way to do that would be to offer the tier one ticket but charge $320 for it, though it is marked as a tier 1 ticket. Keep your tier 1 ticket because on Monday or later you can come join a Playa moop walk crew. You'll go out to moopy-areas and moop-walk, and after 4 hours and and handing in a sufficiently large bag of moop, you show your ticket, and it gets cancelled and you get handed $80. Now you might view this as paying people $20 per hour to moop-walk, but that's not the goal. The goal is to show you are dedicated enough to get that lower price ticket. The $20/hour rate just makes it not that worthwhile for you to try to sell the ticket to somebody else who wants to moop walk for money. Perhaps $15 or $10/hour is needed to avoid that.

Moop walking is good because it's relatively unskilled, and a crew can reasonably be led without too much supervision, though it's of most value at the end of the event. Because there are low income people who can't stay to Monday due to jobs they have on Tuesday, you might need to come up with another (even harder) task for them that is also unskilled, and requires low supervision but can be done mid-week. Or you can even pick skilled tasks and have them do hours of training on the tasks in addition to a shift of work. Though I presume volunteers are better than time-servers. The area of the burn needs lots of moop-walking Sunday morning and few can claim tey can't be there for their shift.



I think they already have systems for incentivizing people to volunteer. One of those systems is a discounted or free ticket. It takes a lot more than 4 hours to get a either, I'm sure.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby A Jester » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:40 pm

EasterEggBuzz wrote:Most people I know are planning to register for every tier, multiple times (through friends, family, and so on), and are willing to sell any extras for a profit (as one person just texted me, "it's my way of saying thank you for them listening so carefully to our suggestions." the whole process is now tipped toward: a) scalpers. B) those with the $$$ and resources to register multiple times.


Most of the people you know are jerks.

Sure would be cool if it's not a sellout this year and you all get stuck with extra tickets, though.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby Marscrumbs » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:41 pm

Agree strongly. This lottery tier blend is crazy, stupid, unfair. Single early pricing!
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby A Jester » Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:19 pm

SparkyZanZibar wrote:Burning Man and There Capitalist Lottery!!

Is it really necessary to bring this element in to an event that we know and love?

Ticket lottery for the people who register over the first two weeks of ticket sales get surprised with a charge to their bank account for $240.00, $320.00 or $390.00 dollars a few weeks later. And for those of us that are buying a ticket for ourselves and our partner get to double that fun.

The ORG knows that over 25,000 tickets are going to be sold in this first two week period and people that are hoping to get a $240 dollar ticket are going to get shocked by not just a $390 sticker price but by an actual bank draft to their account.

Maybe you are team spent a bit too much time drinking the gamblers water in Reno post burn. I think that this kind of money game is not needed or necessary. It is a terrible thing to force upon the people that are the most committed to making Burning Man more than an event and a part of their lives.

You need to just charge one fee for the first 40,000 people!!

Since you know you need 13 million, 50 thousand dollars for this number of tickets than just charge everyone $326.25 per ticket for this range!!!

Your solution for your failed ticket system is a bad one.

In the words of a wise burner, "This is not very PLAYA of you!"


In the words of an unwise burner, "You SPAM your WHINE a lot!"
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby Kykyri » Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:27 pm

What is the main reason for employing such a complicated ticketing system?
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby oneeyeddick » Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:29 pm

Kykyri wrote:What is the main reason for employing such a complicated ticketing system?


Scalpers, lots of them fucked up the first come first serve system that has been so infallable in the past.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby bradtem » Sat Nov 19, 2011 10:36 pm

oneeyeddick wrote:
Kykyri wrote:What is the main reason for employing such a complicated ticketing system?


Scalpers, lots of them fucked up the first come first serve system that has been so infallable in the past.


Not true. In the past the event has not sold out and there has been no reason for scalpers to come in volume. Yes, there has been a reason for scalpers to pick up the cheap tier of tickets for a modest profit, but not the usual scalper level profit.

However, most people believe that because of the sell-out last year, this will change, and scalpers will identify this as an event with good margins to be had. And of course, if they scalp, they want to buy the cheapest tickets they can get for highest profit. So while in the past there was only modest scalper buying, there is a fear that this year there will be a lot. But nobody (except the scalpers) knows for sure, yet.

Scalpers like a sure thing, so they may even wait a year to come out in true force. On the other hand, the exact same lottery pattern will probably not be used again. Things will be learned from 2011 that will change 2012.
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby A Jester » Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:29 pm

oneeyeddick wrote:
Kykyri wrote:What is the main reason for employing such a complicated ticketing system?


Scalpers, lots of them fucked up the first come first serve system that has been so infallable in the past.


Brilliant!
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby yellowpants » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:00 pm

If you don't have tiers, what's the point of having a lottery?
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Re: if you have a Lottery, Why have tiers?

Postby bradtem » Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:27 pm

They are somewhat unrelated. Based on past trends, it is expected the event will sell out this year, and possibly quite early. (Though I don't know if anybody has a means to know how many people would have bought tickets beyond the cap last year.)

As such, there must be a system which decides who among those who want tickets will not get them. There are a variety of options, including market pricing, first in the digital line, making the event exclusive to invitees and a lottery. There may be others, but the org has decided on a lottery approach.

This approach also can be used to decide who gets the lower priced tiers. This makes less sense to many of us, because that really is a lottery of the money kind. If you are really lucky, you pay less money, and if you are really unlucky you pay a lot more money (aftermarket) or don't go at all.
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