BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

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BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby SprinkmanPat » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:50 am

Got up this morning and after 2 cups of "Peets coffee" I was cruz'n the net when I decieded to check out BM 2012 Tickets on Ebay. Well fuck me...what a frigg'n RIP OFF...the low there was $1,000 for one ticket and the high was $5,500 for two tickets. STEP does not have a chance as long as people are willing to pay these Scalper Assholes this kind of money...please boys & girls do not line the scalper pockets for tickets costing this much money. As long as there is a demand for tickets that exceeds the number of tickets printed Scalpers will prevail...I am on board with seeking out a new home that will handle the vast number of people that wish to be Burners...and put BRC in my rearview mirror.
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby JStep » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:10 am

Get the auctions removed.
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby Trishntek » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:22 am

They can only actually SELL for that much if somebody is stupid enough to PAY that price. They can advertise whatever price they want,,,, that does not mean they will sell it.
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby AntiM » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:28 pm

Copy the URLs of those auctions and forward them to the ticket office. Their email addy is on the bottom of the main ticket page under "contact". It is the weekend, don't expect much over night. Let them deal with it, as they have effective means of dealing with those situations.
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby bradtem » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:55 pm

eBay does not allow the sale of tickets that are not actually in hand, so auctions for tickets there are being removed quickly. Once tickets are actually distributed I believe you will see them on eBay. eBay terms say you have to apply with local laws -- 11 states and various other regions prohibit scalping, another dozen have restrictions on it. I do not know if eBay enforces contractual terms (such as BM has) on ticket resale over face value. In the past tickets have often appeared on eBay at auction -- even when tickets were still for sale from the org, though the availability of those tickets tended to stop auctions from running away.
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby JStep » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:51 pm

bradtem wrote:eBay does not allow the sale of tickets that are not actually in hand, so auctions for tickets there are being removed quickly. Once tickets are actually distributed I believe you will see them on eBay. eBay terms say you have to apply with local laws -- 11 states and various other regions prohibit scalping, another dozen have restrictions on it. I do not know if eBay enforces contractual terms (such as BM has) on ticket resale over face value. In the past tickets have often appeared on eBay at auction -- even when tickets were still for sale from the org, though the availability of those tickets tended to stop auctions from running away.


Partly true. This all applies to eBay specifically, but you are allowed to sell tickets that are not in your possession on StubHub (an eBay company) as long as you own the tickets. StubHub listings are tricky, because you cannot contact the seller so you have no way to link them to known scalpers and no way for the LLC to find out if that person's card has been run. If we could verify whether or not any credit cards have been run yet we could try to take action on StubHub listings. If no one's card has been run yet, then all of the StubHub listings are speculative listings which are not allowed on StubHub and can be removed.

I already put forth the suggestion to the ticket lackeys that a possible help to the whole StubHub problem is to delay running anyone's cards until the last possible moment (like right before they're mailed out) so that any listings that appear before then are provably speculative and can be removed.

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/event-tickets.html

http://www.stubhub.com/user_agreement/

From StubHub User Agreement: "Speculative Tickets.Speculative tickets or 'spec tickets' are tickets that are listed for sale or sold before the seller actually owns the tickets. Listing or selling speculative tickets is not permitted. StubHub reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to remove your listing, cancel a sale, require you to send your tickets to the Buyer within a specific time after your tickets sell, issue you a warning, or temporarily or permanently suspend you from using StubHub's Site or Services if it suspects you of listing or selling speculative tickets."
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby Mosquitopilate » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:04 pm

I hope people understand if you do not buy from these people on ebay/stubhub there will be more tix available on STEP maybe not right away but slowly but surely,It will keep prices down too. just relax and the tix will be there. I know there will be people who do not get some but every ticket counts either way if one person buys a ticket on ebay for 1,500$ we are doomed cause that man/woman who is sitting on a ticket or two is waiting to see if people will bite, will just do the same to pay for there trip
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby moonrise » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:11 pm

Mosquitopilate wrote:I hope people understand if you do not buy from these people on ebay/stubhub there will be more tix available on STEP maybe not right away but slowly but surely,It will keep prices down too. just relax and the tix will be there. I know there will be people who do not get some but every ticket counts either way if one person buys a ticket on ebay for 1,500$ we are doomed cause that man/woman who is sitting on a ticket or two is waiting to see if people will bite, will just do the same to pay for there trip



I'm rootin' for ya'! You're so polite and consistent. I have a feeling you'll get a tic for face or less. You have class, I'll give that too!
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby bradtem » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:15 pm

Stubhub has faced legal challenges before. The Patriots sued stubhub (and it countersued.) They eventually settled with little changing. Patriots tickets show up on stubhub, and the Patriots claim they cancel out the season tickets of people who sell through stubhub. The season ticket cancellation is a big weapon, bigger than BMOrg has here.

Scalping is legal in 38 states. Trying to claim people don't own their tickets is an interesting thought but I could see a lot of trouble from that. Both from people who think they bought the tickets (they have already been charged) and would not like their ownership defined away, and from those who would protest any change in terms. While BMOrg retains the right to cancel out any ticket, and in particular retains it in the event of scalping, that doesn't mean you don't own the ticket.

Quite often the law goes the other way on scalping, understand. The law does not like an organization trying to control all its tickets, forbidding resale etc. That's restraint of trade. Tickets are a strange thing, because in some areas the law attacks the scalpers and in other areas it defends them. The reality is that you can't prevent scalping, even by making it illegal. Scalping is caused when a venue decides to sell tickets below market value for various other reasons. In the case of BMOrg its a non-commercial tradition. But you can't fight the market out in the default world, even if you can do it on the playa.

And don't forget -- whatever fraction of tickets went to scalpers in the main sale lottery, that fraction of the STEP applicants will also be scalpers. Possibly more, if the scalpers take a special effort to get into STEP. Possibly most, if the scalpers write software to give them an advantage in the step queue. In addition, with the one ticket per entrant rule, some burners who go as a couple may give up if STEP only offers one ticket (or they will plan to buy another from a scalper.) Scalpers, on the other hand, will all participate in STEP as long as they believe there is good margin to be made.
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby JStep » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:54 pm

bradtem wrote:Trying to claim people don't own their tickets is an interesting thought but I could see a lot of trouble from that. Both from people who think they bought the tickets (they have already been charged) and would not like their ownership defined away, and from those who would protest any change in terms. While BMOrg retains the right to cancel out any ticket, and in particular retains it in the event of scalping, that doesn't mean you don't own the ticket.


Quite the contrary. Until the card is run and the sale is "completed", the buyer does not own the item. This applies to all items, tickets or otherwise. The buyer has entered into an agreement wherein they allow the seller to charge their card in exchange for an item (ticket). But, until the merchant has received the funds ("completed" the transaction) the "sale" has not taken place and the seller still owns the item. If these definitions did not hold, online commerce would be impossible. Sales could not be canceled, sellers could not refuse to hand over the item when the credit card company denies the transaction, etc. If, as you state, the buyer has already been charged (the merchant has "completed" the transaction) then then buyer does own the ticket. That's why I put forth the idea of holding off on charging the credit card until the item (ticket) ships out. This is common practice with large retailers. This is why you might see an "authorization" on your credit card or bank account, but they have not captured the funds at that point. Many of them won't capture the funds ("complete" transaction) until the item ships. This allows them to save a lot of money in merchant account fees with the credit card companies. If the item is out of stock before it can be shipped, they lose money in fees by having to then refund the completed transaction. There are fees for both charging the card initially and another fee for refunding the account. -- Now I understand there are a lot of people who don't understand this standard practice, and would raise a stink, but frankly that's their F'n problem for not understanding the standard sales practices involved in online commerce.

Quite often the law goes the other way on scalping, understand. The law does not like an organization trying to control all its tickets, forbidding resale etc. That's restraint of trade. Tickets are a strange thing, because in some areas the law attacks the scalpers and in other areas it defends them. The reality is that you can't prevent scalping, even by making it illegal. Scalping is caused when a venue decides to sell tickets below market value for various other reasons. In the case of BMOrg its a non-commercial tradition. But you can't fight the market out in the default world, even if you can do it on the playa.


Yes, we really need to get our act together, Federally, on a scalping policy. The states defending scalpers are adhering to the spirit of law in regards to anti-trust regulations. The states defending event ticket sellers are adhering to the spirit of the law in regards to fair use, fair and equal access, etc.
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby bradtem » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:54 pm

It was my understanding that people have been charged for their tickets, that in fact if when the lottery was done the charge was not successful you lost your win. If they've been charged, they are their tickets.

I don't think there is much of a clear answer, or if anything I think the clear answer is the opposite of what you feel it should be. There's a lot to be said for "If I pay for something, it's mine" in so many fields we deal with and fighting the various forces who want to control what you do with what you are sold. The Burning Man ethic that it's wrong to sell for more than face value is quite rare. And it's a different situation from normal ones where companies trying to limit resale of their products are doing it largely for evil reasons. But there are reasons to think both ways, and we won't resolve that here, really -- the point is that the law varies from state to state.

I continue to think the best answer is for Burning Man to sell about 70% of its tickets at market prices with full transfer rights, and about 30% at subsidized below-market prices with no transfer rights. Selling a large fraction at market prices eliminates the bulk of scalping, and allows that full value to feed back into the community to subsidize the other set of tickets and to fund even more art. The other 30% can be allocated by any number of ways -- lottery, FCFS, merit/volunteering/artist/theme-camp, low income, you name it.

A system that gets significant scalping means that burners spend about as much money as a market system, but a bunch of that money just goes to scalpers with no value to the community.
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby JStep » Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:19 pm

Well, I would have to think on that for awhile, but you're talking about a more nuanced process to deal with the problem of scalping writ large. I'm suggesting ways to help mitigate the scalping, and reduce the amount of time in which it is even possible, with minimal impact to the current system as it stands.

Regarding your larger points about the market and scalping;
The reason, I think, the problem exists is precisely because event hosts do not want to limit the segment of the population that can experience the event to only the very well off. If ticket prices to an event are allowed to be dictated solely by market forces, that is the result, as long as there is strong demand from the people who can afford it, by default of the fact there can never be enough supply to fulfill demand. This puts event tickets into a special category all their own. If you're selling widgets you can simply make more widgets to satisfy demand, which regulates prices. You can't simply print more tickets, whether it's Burning Man or a Nicks game. There is always a capacity which you can't exceed.

Here's where anti-trust is a subjective thing; The reason people hate scalpers is because they interpose themselves in between the event and it's fans (or participants, in our case) through means and methods not available to the average (or ethical) person. They get to then exploit the demand, in contravention of the interests of the event and it's participants, to demand ridiculous markup prices for their sole benefit. You can use anti-trust to argue both sides of the debate; Scalper; you're violating anti-trust laws by not allowing me to purchase something on the open market or sell something I own for which there is demand. Event host; you're violating anti-trust laws by using technology and methods only available to a small number of people to corner the market on tickets and inflate the price, thus preventing most people from being able to purchase the tickets.

I believe a Federal law making event ticket scalping illegal is the only long term answer. But in the short term we should look at every possible avenue to expose and destroy scalping.
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby bradtem » Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:04 pm

Actually, it's an unanswered question what the market price for tickets would be. After all, prior to 2011, the event did not sell out, meaning the market price would have been lower than what was charged, or would have been whatever minimum was set. In 2011 I don't think the overall market price would have been a great deal higher.

This year, it would have been higher but we don't know how much. That's because we don't know what generated the 120,000 lottery entries -- whether it was scalpers or newbies or people entering multiple times. If it was a true increase in demand, that would push up the market price, but how much? Not that many over, as I understood it, bit at $420/ticket -- what was the pre-sale result? But if I were to take a guess, I would figure the market price would have settled somewhere in the mid $400s, $500 would be pushing it. That's more than in the past, to be sure, and some people could not afford it. But a large fraction of the population pays far more than that in other expenses -- several times more. It might be a bunch lower, since a lot of the old market included groups of people who entered the main sale at $240 or $320. We have not seen numbers published about how many lottery entries were at those prices, but those all represent either scalpers or people who were declaring they would rather not go than pay $390.

But wait, tickets appear to be selling for $1000 or more... That's because they are scarce. The market price would be on 35,000 tickets and as such would not be anywhere near the scarce price. In fact, the market price could easily have been under $390 because it's entirely possible there are not actually 35,000 people who would be willing to pay $390. I don't know that, I just say it's not inconsistent with what we have been told.

But if we take a guess and say it would have been 35,000 @ $400 and 3,000 @ $420 or $15.26M which is enough to cover the budget for the event. The remaining 15,000 could be sold as cheap as you like or the money charged could be used to fund more art. That would have made a fabulous playa.

I could be wrong. Perhaps there are 35,000 people ready to pay $500 or $600 per ticket. In that event, yes the message would be, "If you want to be sure of going this year, pony up serious cash. Otherwise take your chances in another method (lottery etc.) and pay less." I don't think that's all that bad a message but others may disagree.

One reason we don't have as much data is that in the past, the tiers didn't tell us much. Most people, rich or poor, probably tried for tier 1 in the past. Tickets are all the same, so it takes a particularly generous soul (of which we do have many, I will admit) to not want to pay the lowest price they can get. In the past, you tried and you just paid whatever you got based on how early you got in. Or, if you didn't care a lot, you waited and picked up tickets later at a higher cost and avoided the crush.

I think the BMOrg was too scared of what the market price would be, or rather of what the community reaction would be to a high market price. But we never learned what the market price would have been. I think a lot of ill has come from being afraid the the market price or the reaction to it. Now I will agree that over time, if demand grows a great deal, the market price could become scary. If BM has really reached a million people's bucket lists, if there really are 100,000 people who would pay $1,000 to go then a solution is very hard to find. But we are not at that level yet. It is hard to research the market price without actually doing a real market, unfortunately.

PS: I should add that you still will get some scalpers with a market price sellout, because there will be people who decide later that they want to go, and there will be people who ignore all the warnings about how to bid in a uniform price auction and bid lower than they truly feel and then get desperate after losing. But you get a lot less of that. In spite of eBay training the world on 2nd price auctions we still see a lot of bidder's remorse, and it is hard to get people to understand how you bid in such an auction. The rule, by the way, is you say, "Bid so that if the closing price is $25 more than your bid, you are HAPPY THAT YOU LOST, truly feeling you would rather not go than spend that much."
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby JStep » Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:17 pm

bradtem wrote:
But wait, tickets appear to be selling for $1000 or more... That's because they are scarce. The market price would be on 35,000 tickets and as such would not be anywhere near the scarce price. In fact, the market price could easily have been under $390 because it's entirely possible there are not actually 35,000 people who would be willing to pay $390. I don't know that, I just say it's not inconsistent with what we have been told.


This is part of the point I'm making; Scalpers corner the market and inflate the prices due to an inherently limited supply. The actual open market value of a finite supply of tickets is going to be a function of demand. Apparently we're looking at a demand that is roughly 3x the available supply. When the scalper steps in to corner the market away from the original seller, he inflates the price to the maximum that people are willing to pay, which changes the demographic of who is allowed to participate; only those who can afford that price plus all the other costs of the event (considerable in our case). Not knowing the actual number is irrelevant. It would be a different number if we were talking about Euros, or the Thai Baht. The thing we know is that as along as demand exceeds supply, then the price is going to be the maximum people who are wealthy will be willing to pay, as long as scalpers are allowed to interpose themselves into the process with their artificial buying power.
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby lucky420 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:02 pm

SprinkmanPat
STEP does not have a chance as long as people are willing to pay these Scalper Assholes this kind of money...



Scalper Assholes do not have a chance as long as people are willing to only go through STEP and or only pay face elsewhere... 8)
Oh my god, it's HUGE!
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby 7chix&me » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:03 pm

Right on, Lucky!
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby bradtem » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:05 pm

Yes, scalpers like to push the scarcity. They would rather sell 2,000 tickets for $1200 than 5,000 tickets for $700 even though the latter makes a bit more money, it's a lot more work. Fortunately they generally don't work in concert. But Burning Man is a bit different. You are going to sell pretty much all you buy, at least if you can sell them soon enough. The 25% cut of stubhub is pretty high though.

But if there is a large market sale that closes at a price like $450, what it says is that there just are not very many people who are ready to pay a lot more than $450 and didn't already get tickets. There is not much point in buying the tickets in the sale at $450 -- at least not that many of them. Because all you will sell is to people who decide at the last minute to go and who have a lot of dough. There are some, but a few hundred or even 1,000 tickets to them doesn't change the equation much. If you can get tickets for $240, $320 and $390 you have a ton of people ready to buy them at a premium -- all the lottery losers on top of the last-minute deciders.
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby bradtem » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:40 pm

bradtem wrote:
And don't forget -- whatever fraction of tickets went to scalpers in the main sale lottery, that fraction of the STEP applicants will also be scalpers. Possibly more, if the scalpers take a special effort to get into STEP. Possibly most, if the scalpers write software to give them an advantage in the step queue. In addition, with the one ticket per entrant rule, some burners who go as a couple may give up if STEP only offers one ticket (or they will plan to buy another from a scalper.) Scalpers, on the other hand, will all participate in STEP as long as they believe there is good margin to be made.


I should correct this, as I forgot that the STEP tickets are non-transferable, and as such scalpers would not buy through STEP. (Well, unless they have a buyer lined up, in which case they might buy through STEP but specify the buyer's name when purchasing. Stubhub does not allow such sales, nor does eBay, so they might be difficult to pull off. On the other hand you have 72 hours to respond to a STEP ticket, and as such a scalper might put up a short term sale on a site like stubhub which allows you to sell tickets you don't have in hand but are sure to get. ) BMOrg could require STEP tickets to go to the name on the credit card, but that prevents you from buying a STEP ticket for somebody else which I suspect some people want to do. Of course there is no downside to a scalper registering for STEP -- if they don't have a buyer within 72 hours of getting the offer, they can let it lapse at no cost.
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Re: BM 2012 Tic's on Ebay

Postby SprinkmanPat » Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:34 pm

lucky420...well stated !!! :D
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