Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby A Jester » Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:47 pm

Stephendragonfly wrote:Just out of curiosity, what would happen if all the longtime burners who didn't get tickets showed up en masse the same week with all of their stuff in another location, like Death Valley (Frying Man), The Grand Canyon (Falling Man), Niagra Falls (Drowning Man), The Petrified Forest (Stone Man), Mono Lake, (Pickled Man), or Devil's Tower (Viagra Man). (Ok most of those are probably out because they are national parks/monuments but use yer imaginations, there are other cool places) Could y'all create an even cooler event competing directly with Burning Man (and thus dropping population pressures). Just a thought for all of the angry, frustrated, ticketless Burners.

(No, I haven't got a ticket, yet. Pretty much the only way in for me this year is Low Income)



That's a fantastic idea. Though, I'd suggest starting a bit small so you have some time to work the kinks out (or in). In a few years you may consider that your new home.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby BBadger » Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:54 pm

Stephendragonfly wrote:Just out of curiosity, what would happen if all the longtime burners who didn't get tickets showed up en masse the same week with all of their stuff in another location, like Death Valley (Frying Man), The Grand Canyon (Falling Man), Niagra Falls (Drowning Man), The Petrified Forest (Stone Man), Mono Lake, (Pickled Man), or Devil's Tower (Viagra Man). (Ok most of those are probably out because they are national parks/monuments but use yer imaginations, there are other cool places) Could y'all create an even cooler event competing directly with Burning Man (and thus dropping population pressures). Just a thought for all of the angry, frustrated, ticketless Burners.


Haha nice -Man names.

That's kind of like what the Rainbow Gathering does. They just show up in some pristine wilderness area, ruin the place with a big hippie camp and their toilet trenches, lose a lot of pet dogs that have to be rounded up or shot, and cause a bunch of problems for whatever national forest they choose to defile. They're somewhat better these days since some people stay behind and try to make things right after they leave (you know, so the Forest Service doesn't seriously call in the police to round them up and force them out), but they still get no permission cause some havoc. Hopefully those ex-burners conduct themselves in a more appropriate manner.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby KestrelSF » Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:42 pm

kp_higgs wrote:So the only way to combat this is to announce that tickets can only be transferred or gifted through STEP, online, no paper tickets will be issued, and you will have to use your ID at the gate.

The gate entry system will have to be totally overhauled as well as the STEP program to allow gifting and online transfering...even returning your ticket to someone on the waitlist. Burners not wanting to use their ID's at the gate will rant about it...but they ranted years ago about using their credit card to purchase tickets...and now they're doing it this year.


There are 2 ways I can think of making tickets non-transferrable that would work. When you order your tickets, upload a picture and have that printed on the ticket, like Glastonbury does. No need to show ID, so folks wouldn't freak out about the "show your papers" stuff, if you think that's a valid concern anyway. You don't want a system that requires scanning because scanners would require electronics which would cost money and get destroyed in the dust. (Although they seem to work OK for scanning early arrival passes, so it might be an option). Or make all tickets Will-Call and show your ID or CC you used to purchase. If you did will call, you could order 2 tickets and bring someone with you that you are gifting a ticket to.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby Key Man » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:13 pm

I understand what you're saying, but I don't see how, under the circumstances, a photo can be enough. Photo ID can get very gray area. Costume-y looks could make people hard to identify. What are gate personnel supposed do do if someone shows up who looks a "little different" than the photo? Maybe it's night time and dusty, gate gal is looking at the ticket under a flashlight in adverse conditions. Gray area.

If tickets are registered, a percentage of people WILL TRY to break the rules and sneak in - it's guaranteed.

Fast forward to a typical scene. Someone has spent days preparing, packing, traveling to the gate but they have someone else's ticket. They're with a group of friends who all have legit tickets. Being turned away and sent home, when a comfortable way home is not even available, is the worst possible nightmare to this person. It's not like Glastonbury because you're 100 miles from anywhere, maybe thousands of miles from home, maybe with no way home. I can imagine a lot of tears, and sometimes a violent reaction. Thinking about this on your laptop at home you might say "too bad, you brought it on yourself" but this is a VERY TENSE SCENE. This is a big deal.

And, keep in mind the parallel risk of turning someone away who really is the proper owner of the ticket, because...the picture just wasn't a very good likeness. A bit like executing someone for a crime they didn't commit. This is even worse than the above nightmare scenario!

No, no no. That gate person needs PROOF POSITIVE that the ticket is or isn't linked to you, if they are going to make that call and do the deed of turning someone away. You need to show a legal ID, and prove that it's you.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby Colonel Monk » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:04 pm

Key Man wrote:
Fast forward to a typical scene. Someone has spent days preparing, packing, traveling to the gate but they have someone else's ticket. They're with a group of friends who all have legit tickets. Being turned away and sent home, when a comfortable way home is not even available, is the worst possible nightmare to this person. It's not like Glastonbury because you're 100 miles from anywhere, maybe thousands of miles from home, maybe with no way home. I can imagine a lot of tears, and sometimes a violent reaction. Thinking about this on your laptop at home you might say "too bad, you brought it on yourself" but this is a VERY TENSE SCENE. This is a big deal.



This is already a problem. You don't actually think that an event of 50K people happens and nobody forgets their ticket? And yeah, it totally sucks to be that person, and they end up back in gerlach in the Burning Man office trying to find a way home.

Just last year, my co-pilot realized around Sacramento that he forgot his ticket at home. Wanted to turn around and go back for it after we had just driven my ancient hobo freak show 200 miles. NO. Lucky, that my burner network was able to bring that ticket to Gerlach the following day.

If you were from Kentucky, you're gonna need someone to overnight it to you in Gerlach, there's just no other way.

Now, people keep saying how you can't do this, but I'M SAYING how can you not? It will be difficult the first year, but no more difficult than what we are facing right now.

Did you see the post above where the guy's friend's father was told by "his neighbors" to buy Burning Man tickets so they could sell them and make a profit? If lot's of amateurs are scalping this could be bad. This is a disaster that has to stop, no matter how painful it might be.

I think the borg should pull the trigger and DO IT THIS YEAR. Right now. Leave the Scalpers in ruin, but give them an out. Let them use the STEP program to get their money back, so that the tickets can be redistributed.

There is an upside - if so many tickets were bought by those intending to scalp them, they can be rerouted to actual burners! And the worry that 40% of the lottery was newbs will be untrue, and we can get back to our lives.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby vargaso » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:35 pm

Colonel Monk wrote:
Key Man wrote:
Fast forward to a typical scene. Someone has spent days preparing, packing, traveling to the gate but they have someone else's ticket. They're with a group of friends who all have legit tickets. Being turned away and sent home, when a comfortable way home is not even available, is the worst possible nightmare to this person. It's not like Glastonbury because you're 100 miles from anywhere, maybe thousands of miles from home, maybe with no way home. I can imagine a lot of tears, and sometimes a violent reaction. Thinking about this on your laptop at home you might say "too bad, you brought it on yourself" but this is a VERY TENSE SCENE. This is a big deal.



This is already a problem. You don't actually think that an event of 50K people happens and nobody forgets their ticket? And yeah, it totally sucks to be that person, and they end up back in gerlach in the Burning Man office trying to find a way home.

Just last year, my co-pilot realized around Sacramento that he forgot his ticket at home. Wanted to turn around and go back for it after we had just driven my ancient hobo freak show 200 miles. NO. Lucky, that my burner network was able to bring that ticket to Gerlach the following day.

If you were from Kentucky, you're gonna need someone to overnight it to you in Gerlach, there's just no other way.

Now, people keep saying how you can't do this, but I'M SAYING how can you not? It will be difficult the first year, but no more difficult than what we are facing right now.

Did you see the post above where the guy's friend's father was told by "his neighbors" to buy Burning Man tickets so they could sell them and make a profit? If lot's of amateurs are scalping this could be bad. This is a disaster that has to stop, no matter how painful it might be.

I think the borg should pull the trigger and DO IT THIS YEAR. Right now. Leave the Scalpers in ruin, but give them an out. Let them use the STEP program to get their money back, so that the tickets can be redistributed.

There is an upside - if so many tickets were bought by those intending to scalp them, they can be rerouted to actual burners! And the worry that 40% of the lottery was newbs will be untrue, and we can get back to our lives.


Well, I'm somewhat reticent to bring it up as it was roundly ridiculed last July when I previously mentioned it, and some even accused me of mischief (oh heavens, not mischief, on a Burning Man board!!), but in the official 2011 operating plan that the BMORG was required to provide to the BLM, it's stated that a small number of tickets is to be retained in the case of people showing up and either not having a ticket, having a fake, or some other problem and also, not having a way back home. Oh I know, I'm full of shit, but it's right here on page 52 (http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/ ... 20Plan.pdf):

" However, if BRC/LLC stops sales then it will reserve a limited number of tickets to be sold at the Box Office for participants who show up at the Gate and have nowhere else to go. This will avoid the issue of loitering in Gerlach and Empire, as well as avoid camping in the ClosureOrder area. This small number of tickets will already be factored into the overall number of participants that BRC can support"


I mention this only because it illustrates that something like you propose above could be done, while also having a contingency plan for those who might be stranded.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby lemur » Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:00 am

OH GREAT

now we will have 10,000 hippies with entire camps coming from pakistan (in their toyota hilux) who will be buying tickets at the gate now that you spilled the beans vargaso !!
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby Stephendragonfly » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:14 am

Some of the people here have suggested that the scalper problem isn't that bad because there aren't that many tickets out there on Stubhub and other sites. Trouble here is that they aren't thinking like a scumbag capitalist. The scalpers, especially the pros, are currently watching Stubhub and other ticketing sites to see just how high the prices will go. They are going to be trying to maximize their profits and that means dribbling out their tickets over time, not all at once. They want to keep an appearance of scarcity.
Some of the more cynical Burners may have had as many as six of their relatives in the lottery for them. The professional scalpers have networks in the hundreds. However they tend to like known quantities, like concerts and sporting events who are selling their tickets through regular outlets (Ticketmaster). The Sellout of Burning Man last year may have attracted the scalpers interest, but until they know which way the organization is going to jump, they may be reluctant to invest too much, probably testing the waters right now.
There are a lot of small time opportunists in the mix with Burning Man as well. They saw the EBAY sales of scalped tickets just after it sold out and now they want a piece of that pie. These are the guys putting up 8 tickets for 1500 bucks apiece on Stubhubbery to make a quick buck. Add to that the lottery system, which creates another layer of perceived scarcity, and you end up with only 30% of actual Burners getting lucky.

If Borg want to see a lot of ticket go to STEP, they should announce that the tickets are going to have the original purchasers name laser etched into them and that person has to be physically present with valid legal id and credit card at the gates to get the people with those tickets in (max of four, just like the rules already state). Would this be a nightmare for the entrance? No more than it already is with the right technology, And how will Borg get the extra money for that tech (cause they already spent the rest of the money, right?)

A Modest Suggestion: Take a fifty tickets and put them on EBAY, two at a time for the "Truly Ultimate Burning Man Experience", live with Burning Man Board of Directors on the Playa in their housing for the week. Hang with Larry Harvey and the rest of the top staff while thousands of volunteers cater to your every whim. You will have something noone else on the Playa has, indoor plumbing. Bidding Starts at $5000.00 (Reserve not met)

I'll bet there are a bunch of Silicon Valley Billionaires who would jump at the chance.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby pink » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:15 am

kp_higgs wrote:I agree. The actual percentage it totally speculative...but, I believe many tickets went to people wanting to sell them above face value. I think the prospect of making a lot of money scalping attracted many non-burner folks to enter into the lottery. My friends' dad who lives in Reno said his neighbors were telling him to enter the lottery so he could make money selling the tickets...said they heard about it on a local radio station. Plenty of non-burners (and maybe burners, too) dont see a problem with scalping the tickets.

So the only way to combat this is to announce that tickets can only be transferred or gifted through STEP, online, no paper tickets will be issued, and you will have to use your ID at the gate.

The gate entry system will have to be totally overhauled as well as the STEP program to allow gifting and online transfering...even returning your ticket to someone on the waitlist. Burners not wanting to use their ID's at the gate will rant about it...but they ranted years ago about using their credit card to purchase tickets...and now they're doing it this year.


If you find someone scalping tickets, BMorg can have their tickets revoked. Just read it on the 'terms & conditions' for this year. Wonder what radio station it was?
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby trilobyte » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:06 am

@Stephendragonfly - I'm watching the behavior of the same scalper scumbag capitalists on other events. It stands to reason that scalpers do their thing and use the same behavior from one event to another. If they were truly all in collusion to create an illusion of scarcity, then why are there more than 20x the tickets available for Coachella (an event with only 4x more tickets)? And why were there 1,305 tickets to the bay area Madonna shows (which has a little over 38K tickets in total) being offered online only 40 minutes after the event went on sale (and before they had even sold out)? I don't doubt that there are some people out there waiting until some future date to try and scalp their tickets, but looking at those two other events it seems clear that any problem with scalped Burning Man tickets is tiny compared to other hot tickets.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby Colonel Monk » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:29 am

trilobyte wrote:@Stephendragonfly - I'm watching the behavior of the same scalper scumbag capitalists on other events. It stands to reason that scalpers do their thing and use the same behavior from one event to another. If they were truly all in collusion to create an illusion of scarcity, then why are there more than 20x the tickets available for Coachella (an event with only 4x more tickets)? And why were there 1,305 tickets to the bay area Madonna shows (which has a little over 38K tickets in total) being offered online only 40 minutes after the event went on sale (and before they had even sold out)? I don't doubt that there are some people out there waiting until some future date to try and scalp their tickets, but looking at those two other events it seems clear that any problem with scalped Burning Man tickets is tiny compared to other hot tickets.


I'm not so sure - not that I'd know how they are scalping these days, but they DO kinda really need the tickets in hand before they can complete the transaction right? Are you considering that?

Whatever the pros might do, the amateur "my neighbor told me to" speculators and opportunists "we're not scalpers we're just scalping to pay for our theme camp" and "we're offering this wall street all inclusive travel package to pay for our camp" idiots are not going to put their tickets up until the general sale is complete, at a minimum.

IMHO of course, and all due respect to you sir. I think what's really happening will not be known for at least another 6 weeks, and even then it could be months to know just how many people are holding that don't really have an intention of attending.

This is why I think something decisive like "we emailed you your barcode, it's tied to your ID, you're going to need to use STEP to transfer tickets" should scare a bunch of these yahoos into getting a refund and putting the tickets back into the hands of our community at face value.

As Jeff "the dude" Lebowski would say: "There's a lot of ins, and alot of outs". No doubt. But those of us without tickets I think would all prefer to see something really concrete, decisive, and proactive that shows these idiots are not going to get away with this, rather than indecisive, "lets wait and see" because it may be too late then to change course.

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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby Stephendragonfly » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:21 pm

Trilobyte,
With reference to Coachella, the professional ticket resale agencies (hereafter referred to as scalpers) like known quantities, like sporting events and concerts. Coachella is a well known event with big name attractions. And it is only two months away. The timing of ticket sales is much closer to the actual event than for Burning Man. So the Scalpers are probably betting that putting tickets up now will generate the highest returns based on last years sales.

Since the scalpers don't know what Borg might do, because Borg is doing something totally new with the ticket sales, the scalpers are probably testing the waters this year. The scalpers may be waiting until after the final 10K tickets have been sold before putting their wares on display.

Let us say for a moment that as a scalper you had 99 buddies with credit cards enter into the lottery for two tickets apiece. If you had a success rate of ten percent, you now have twenty Burning Man tickets to sell. Would you put them all up for grabs now, while people still have shot at getting tickets through the Final Sale, Step, or Low Income/Scholarship, or do you wait until after every last legitimate ticket has been sold? If I had no ethics, I would put a couple of pairs up now at a median and a high price, to see what the market will bear. But I would hold the other sixteen back. Worst case scenario is that in August I might have to pretend to be an out of luck Burner with one or two tickets on Craigslist (I was gonna go, but now I can't cause...) to make my money back. Not much downside for the organized scalper.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby trilobyte » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:49 pm

@Colonel Monk - scalper sites don't need jack. They pretty regularly offer tickets they don't have in hand. eBay's rules may differ from state to state. As for Stubhub, I believe they'll allow ticket sales so long as the seller has a ticket confirmation (though I don't believe proof is required). While Coachella tickets may have recently mailed, those listings were up well before tickets were in anyone's hand, and in the case of the Madonna show those listings were up within the hour of the event officially going on sale. The most any of those sellers had was an email confirmation.

@stephendragonfly - I just don't see any kind of sign that scalpers have organized their efforts to take a uniquely different approach to this event. One person may think that particular way, and so might a few others. But getting half or any kind of majority (which is what it would take to account for the vast difference in the number of scalped tickets to Burning Man and other 'hot ticket' events… would require significant coordination among a pretty fiercely independent and competitive crowd.

The bay area Madonna gigs (with their 38K-ish tickets) isn't until October (after Burning Man), and when the numbers were measured it wasn't even a sellout yet. But on just those sites I checked there were listings for 1,305 tickets.

I'm open to the idea that scalpers could have gotten the lion's share of the tickets, I just haven't yet seen any evidence to support the claims. What I have seen, both here and on Facebook, is a HUGE swell in the number of people coming out of the woodwork to say they're coming to Burning Man for the first time this year. I haven't counted posts (and even that wouldn't be scientific), but anecdotally it's double or triple what I've seen in any previous year. The site's user ranks have swelled as well, though the numbers include both new participants as well as veterans who've signed up to voice their discontent and frustration.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby Stephendragonfly » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:27 pm

@ Trilobyte,
Just because the scalpers are likely using similar methods doesn't mean that they are collaborating. Incidentally, I don't believe that the Pro Scalpers have half the tickets, I believe that there are a lot of small time opportunists in the mix and a fair number of "I'll enter the lottery for an extra ticket, even though I don't know anything about Burning Man, or if I can get time off work, 'cause I saw this cool video on UTube, and I can always sell the extra ticket and make some money, 'cause it always sells out." The lottery really encouraged that kind of thinking.

Comparing Burning Man tickets to Madonna, apples and oranges. Madonna's concerts are a long way off, but the seating is assigned. All the best tickets have sold, but you can still get a ticket for behind the stage. Also Madonna is a known quantity for the scalpers, unlike Burning Man.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby bradtem » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:52 pm

One of the reasons electronic, photo-associated tickets are great is that you can't lose your ticket. Your ticket is a combination of some way to look up your ticket entry (your name, a printed number, a QR code) and your face. You won't forget your name, and you won't forget to bring your face. Tickets can't be scalped, and they can't be forged (except by identical twins if you have no online link in the ticket processing device.) The ticket processor is a phone or tablet. They generally work fine out there in the desert, and though some will break they are common and plentiful and older models are cheap so you have spares for that eventuality. The only thing not to love is the cost and the programming -- while this method will become standard in future, it is today used only in a few places.

Paper tickets get lost and forgotten. They get stolen. They get scalped. Every year people make up very nice looking forgeries and sell them to people who end up in tears at the gate, and sometimes worse. Their main advantage is their simplicity, and the fact that electronics failure does not hurt them. Hard to forge tickets actually cost a fair bit to print 50,000 of. Though people do like them as souvenirs, there are other ways to make nice souvenirs.

The forgeries remove one of the advantages of paper tickets -- that if you are bringing strangers in your vehicle, you can confirm they all have tickets. With online tickets you need to be online to confirm that, though a smartphone is online enough if need be, so you can still pick up a stranger at Reno airport and give them a ride. And they are easier to see in bright sunlight, I will give you that -- phones need a shadebox for that.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby trilobyte » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:59 pm

@stephendragonfly - you're still making the assumption that a significant number of scalpers are not just doing something contrary to their usual business practices for events, but that they're all doing the same thing. I agree with you in that much of the scalping we've seen are small time/amateurs, and probably a fair number of burner-opportunists (as we saw last year). We'll see how things play out over time.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby KestrelSF » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:16 pm

Here is something to ponder. I think we can all agree that we won't really know for sure how many tickets are in the hands of scalpers for sure until much later. Much too late for most of the folks that do most of the work involved in putting the city together to do that work. So let's say that we really do have some ridiculously inordinate amount of new people. Well, not a lot we can do or say, they have just as much right to go as anyone, go have fun kids! But let's say we plan for the worst case scenario and implement non transferrable tickets. What would happen if there really were a zillion people that decided they had to go to burning man this year because they saw a YouTube video? Well, those people would still be able to go, no harm no foul, no worries. LIsten, we know there will be a good number of speculated tickets this year. Is it 1%? 70%? 50%? we don't know yet. But in a situation like we have with so many folks not being able to get a ticket ANY percentage that could be taken out of the hands of speculators and scalpers and put back into the community will be well and truly appreciated. Whether it was professional or semiprofessional scalpers, individual speculators, or friends and family grabbing extra tickets to hedge bets, we know for sure a ton of people ordered tickets that really had little to no intention of going. The STEP system could very well work, but for a great many people who would need to start planning NOW to get projects done they just can't wait for months to know if they can get a ticket from that system or hold their noses and purchase it from a scalper. And I think this is the part that folks just aren't getting. Even if STEP works it will be way too late for a lot of people. The only way you keep people from buying up tickets they aren't going to use personally is to just put the bleepin picture on it already. It's not rocket surgery, other events do it, it's not hard to do, it won't keep any legitimate person from not being being able to go, and even if it turns out to be totally unnecessary because golly gee the system really did work perfectly and no scalpers at all got tickets then so what? When your ticket gets inspected they take the extra 2 1/2 seconds to look at your face. It seems to me that folks are just way too invested in defending the system they devised. You know what, we don't need to assign blame, we just need to fix it and move on.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby bradtem » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:10 am

Scalpers want high prices. Normally these are in the period just before a sold-out event, but that's a rule for concerts and less for Burning Man. I believe if scalpers had tickets, now would be a good time at least during the period of initial panic. You would want to sell into the panic for quick profit, but not everything because who knows where it will go. But of course nobody has tickets -- I presume not even pre-sale people actually have tickets in hand. So you can't sell on ebay or other places that demand tickets in hand, and even if you sell in a place that doesn't demand that, it's hard to sell to a stranger when you can't prove you actually have a ticket and won't give the ticket up until the summer. I could see somebody with a superb ebay reputation getting away with it, and I can see it happening with stubhub's guarantee, but even so it's just too early once you get over the panic.

If new events reduce the scarcity, it's bad for scalpers but not tremendously bad. If the STEP and secondary sale do not resolve the problem, you will see a 2nd round on panic. But this year I don't think there will be an August panic like last year. Last year people who had been planning to go for a while, but lazy about their tickets were shocked when they learned it sold out. This year, if you don't have tickets you are not going to just continue planning your giant mega-camp and putting deposits down in the hope that you'll pick something up from scalpers in August. August will be for people who decide at the last minute to go and mostly spectate.

So the late release of the paper tickets should cause big problems for the scalpers. They can't easily sell what they don't have right now, and by the time the paper tickets come out, people will have already settled their plans, I suspect.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby JStep » Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:03 am

quema del mono wrote:Can a retailer (such as BMORG) determine if a particular CC # is from a pre-paid card?



In a word; no.

If your card starts with 4616 then it's a VISA card. Payment processing systems do not know whether that card is a credit card, a prepaid card or a debit card. Nor should it really. Having a credit card doesn't ensure you're good for the money... Having a debit card doesn't mean that you might not have a line of credit backing up the account to cover possible over-drafts. The onus should not be placed on the seller to ensure that you're able to pay for the item, that's your responsibility. (Doesn't have much bearing on the discussion here, just providing the info for clarification.)

@Trilo, FYI eBay's rules do not differ from state to state.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby marcgorcey » Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:49 am

KestrelSF wrote:Here is something to ponder. I think we can all agree that we won't really know for sure how many tickets are in the hands of scalpers for sure until much later. Much too late for most of the folks that do most of the work involved in putting the city together to do that work. So let's say that we really do have some ridiculously inordinate amount of new people. Well, not a lot we can do or say, they have just as much right to go as anyone, go have fun kids! But let's say we plan for the worst case scenario and implement non transferrable tickets. What would happen if there really were a zillion people that decided they had to go to burning man this year because they saw a YouTube video? Well, those people would still be able to go, no harm no foul, no worries.


Yes - furthermore if you wanted to gift a ticket you could provide the name (or even a picture under your plan) and they would have their gifted tickets. There could be no last minute gifting or maybe tickets but the event just can't support that anymore.

I'm ready to put my name on a ticket NOW and to pay with the understanding that I will sell my ticket back at face value if I can't make it.

There are logistical questions but there's time to work that out. Let's make the burn for people who want to go to the burn, not just for people who want to hold on to tickets. Yes, it will be complicated but it can't be worse than the alternative, i.e. inability to plan, theme camps not being able to go and so on.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby bradtem » Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:34 am

In a no-transfer scheme these is no transfer, which means no gifting. You can gift a ticket if you planned to gift it when you bought it, by putting the recipient's face in the order. But after the order you can't gift it, you can only return it to the org where it goes to the first person on the waiting list.

I guess you could implement a gifting system as follows:

a) If you have a friend who has a decent place on the waiting list....
b) You return the ticket with the caveat that "If person X comes to the front of the waiting list before the event, let them have this ticket free"
c) If the person has not made it to the front of the list by date Y, sell it to the next in line.

This is of no value to scalpers so it could be done.

In addition, it is easy to set up a system so that multiple tickets are tagged to your face, so that you can bring that many people into the event if and only if they arrive with you. So you could gift tickets to those people, or even scalp to them. That's OK because it isn't really a very scalable way of scalping. At really high prices you could see scalpers who sit in Gerlach and will sell you a ticket for $1000 or so which really involves them having say 4 joined tickets, and they drive 3 people in and turn right back for $3,000 so it's a good profit -- but it's a hard way to scalp.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby vargaso » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:00 pm

Comes down to priorities, what's more important, to be able to gift tickets at will or to reduce scalping and ensure camps can plan? I vote for the latter. We've reached capacity, we can't have it all anymore. For that matter, I'm for tying tickets to a valid ID. Again, we have to give up something here, and I'm willing to show the BMORG my ID.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby Eric » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:14 pm

JStep wrote:
quema del mono wrote:Can a retailer (such as BMORG) determine if a particular CC # is from a pre-paid card?



In a word; no.

If your card starts with 4616 then it's a VISA card.


Minor correction- if your card starts with a "4" it's a Visa. Period.
("3" is Amex**, "5" is Mastercard, "6" is Discover).

Ah, the useless things you learn in 30 years of retail...


**Technically "34" or "37" is Amex as Diners Club/ Carte Blanche starts with a "3" as well, with more technical fiddly-bit details, but who uses them anymore?
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby Herring » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:29 pm

kp_higgs wrote: My friends' dad who lives in Reno said his neighbors were telling him to enter the lottery so he could make money selling the tickets...said they heard about it on a local radio station.


This bit really upsets me. I've worked in radio and scalpers ruin our promotional events. It hurts listeners which hurts sponsors which hurts us. It blows my mind that a radio personality would advocate scalping. If someone can verify this and tell me which DJ said this on which station, I'll happily start calling both the station and its sponsors explaining that I won't be in Reno to purchase anything from their fine establishments this year thanks to the careless remarks of a radio station they give money to, and I'm passing the word along to burners who can make it through Reno not to shop at your head shop or sporting goods store or casino or eatery because of your financial support of that station's pro-scalper announcement.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby Colonel Monk » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:36 pm

bradtem wrote:That's OK because it isn't really a very scalable way of scalping. At really high prices you could see scalpers who sit in Gerlach and will sell you a ticket for $1000 or so which really involves them having say 4 joined tickets, and they drive 3 people in and turn right back for $3,000 so it's a good profit -- but it's a hard way to scalp.


Hah, yeah really, scalpers would have to have some gigantic nutsack to try and pull that off. I know Trilo said we can't use ePlaya to organize an att*ck, but if scalpers try to pull that shit at our gate they better have automatic weapons because I would not hesitate to put a SERIOUS hurting on any scalper that dared to do so.

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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby Colonel Monk » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:38 pm

Herring wrote:
kp_higgs wrote: My friends' dad who lives in Reno said his neighbors were telling him to enter the lottery so he could make money selling the tickets...said they heard about it on a local radio station.


This bit really upsets me. I've worked in radio and scalpers ruin our promotional events. It hurts listeners which hurts sponsors which hurts us. It blows my mind that a radio personality would advocate scalping. If someone can verify this and tell me which DJ said this on which station, I'll happily start calling both the station and its sponsors explaining that I won't be in Reno to purchase anything from their fine establishments this year thanks to the careless remarks of a radio station they give money to, and I'm passing the word along to burners who can make it through Reno not to shop at your head shop or sporting goods store or casino or eatery because of your financial support of that station's pro-scalper announcement.


Go Herring, GO!

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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby Colonel Monk » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:46 pm

vargaso wrote:Comes down to priorities, what's more important, to be able to gift tickets at will or to reduce scalping and ensure camps can plan? I vote for the latter. We've reached capacity, we can't have it all anymore. For that matter, I'm for tying tickets to a valid ID. Again, we have to give up something here, and I'm willing to show the BMORG my ID.


^^^^ What he said.

As a sometimes utopian thinker, I'm also a realist. Can't have it both ways on a grand scale. We are at the point where we can't even get tickets for ourselves, so "who cares about gifting tickets" at this point?

As Brad said above though, it could still be done, you would need to have the person you want to gift the ticket to with you for verification when you go thru the gate - no big deal. Seems doable to me.

Hmmm.... like I said somewhere else on this thread or another (who knows?) though, this discussion focuses on the problem that we are convinced we can solve which is getting the tickets back from scalpers (amateur and pro alike), burning man opportunists (I'm paying for my camp bro) and hoarders into the hands of burners that need a ticket.

It can't help with what the larger problem *might* be which is there's not enough. Probably the org is right and there's not enough, but I think it will be months before we know just how many tickets are in the hands of people who don't intend to go.

Keep chin up people, it ain't over yet.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby vargaso » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:51 pm

I think the DJ pranking an established event is a little more in the spirit of Burning Man than a consumer boycott.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby Herring » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:01 pm

Well it may just be that all the DJ said was that it was sold out last year and that the ticket lottery was happening And Higg's dad's neighbors just decided to become amateur scalpers and enter the lottery based on that information with no encouragement from the DJ. But if that kind of thing was intentionally encouraged by a public broadcast figure than no I don't really see it as a funny prank. Consumerism pre-burn is out of control anyway, any excuse not to spend money in Reno is probably a good thing for burners.
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Re: Do the math: over 50% of tickets went to scalpers

Postby Colonel Monk » Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:29 pm

vargaso wrote:I think the DJ pranking an established event is a little more in the spirit of Burning Man than a consumer boycott.


Good Point. Some BRC pranks are pretty, uh, harsh. Chupacabra Policia?
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