Worth, price, and scalping

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.

Worth, price, and scalping

Postby BBadger » Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:06 pm

I've been thinking... Worth and price paid are entirely different things. The ticket may indeed be worth $1000 to someone; the dollar amount on the ticket is simply what the first owner paid. Is a Tier 1 ticket ($210) worth any less than a Tier 4 ticket ($320)? They both get you in the door. I feel it's just the culture/expectations that makes people think that the ticket should only be priced at its face value as if "profit" doesn't exist in the presence of Burning Man. In many ways, I also feel that this "sell at face value" is just a tactic used to try and moralize people into cheaper prices, despite the fact that the system should reward those who planned ahead over those who did not.

I don't have problems with people selling BM tickets above face value, at least how things are running now. There I said it. My reasoning, and it's been stated before:

- We all had 6 months to buy tickets at face value. Scalpers didn't cause the tickets to sell out, demand did, and late-hitting demand.
- BM is an event you should plan for long in advance, and likewise purchasing the ticket is the first thing you should do for it. Working outside this regime is a gamble.

On a more philosophical view however, I feel that these market forces provide opportunities for buyers, even if the opportunities can't be taken advantaged of by some people. Why? The prices prioritizes those who really want the product over those who don't. People complain about gouged prices, but usually in the context of a ticket that they have the opportunity to buy, but not the means to; still, that situation is not consistent across all buyers.

On the flip-side, I like to also think about how would things play out in the if all the ticket sales were locked to face value. More than likely, nearly all available tickets would be bought up quickly and the same people who are unable or unwilling to pay more than face value would still have no access to a ticket, even if the price would be fair. This would happen, of course, after the event actually sells out because the tickets were already priced "fairly" before that.

So what is really worse: fairness but no opportunity, or opportunity but as a function of your means? I say the former, as a fair price, but nothing to buy does me nothing. I think most people would prefer it too even if they're pissed, and still unwilling to pay above face value on principle for this event. Still, we should ask ourselves: is the revulsion with scalpers the idea that profit is being made via Burning Man, or the fact that said tickets favor those who greater means? Is this scalping really any worse than the tier system that creates cash flow in January? After all, only a limited number of people who got "in line" early got their tickets for substantial discounts. Isn't this "unfair" (in the above fairness context) to the people purchasing after? Would we really gained anything by making things "fair"? Everyone paying the same, even if it's more, and whether or not you prepare better than someone else?

Others see the scalping this year as a hint of things to come. We'll see. The conditions for "scalping" this year were very weak; the scarcity of tickets near the end was because of demand, not scalping. This event is not as accessible as most events that attract scalping, and I fully expect that many of the "scalpers" will be stuck with a ticket by the time BM comes around. The benefit next year may be that people take more responsibility for purchasing their ticket in the timeframe in which they're available, which is generous. Early birds and worms and all that.
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby graidawg » Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:47 pm

badger its got nothing to do with "fair" or unfair its all about decommidifcation. are you in favour of a food court at center camp? t shirt vendors on every street? people selling things at there camp to cover there costs or make a profit? becauase if you feel that encouraging people to buy tickets to sell when they sell out, which they will do if they see tickets going for sale at $1000+ this year they will.
sure everyone hates the give me aticketbecausei'msogreat threads but seem to have the attitude of "oh well we live in a capatalist society so it's all right" now. If we burners do not at least try to stop this now, right fucking now next year every batard that has not bought a ticket because they cant afford to go is going to buy an extra ticket or two to sell on possibly at enough profit to cover there costs and the people who put on the fantastic shows wont get one, after all they will want to get paid if other people are, then what do you end up with? glastonbury where people go for the bands that are headlining.
FOR FUCKS SAKE PEOPLE DONT YOU GET IT?

THIS IS OUR HOME WHERE WE GO TO BE WHO WE WANT TO BE TO DO WHAT WE WANT TO DO ITS OURS. OURS NOT LARRYS OR BMORGS WE MAKE IT AND IF WE HAVE TO SPEND $1500 EXTRA TO GO ITS NO DIFFERENT FROM A FUCKING CRUISE ROUND THE MED WHERE EVERYTHING IS DONE FOR YOU

sweet zombie jesus dont you see, this is the thin end of the wedge, the same as that package on ebay 6 months ago if you dont resist if you don't try and keep people true to the principles then you might as well just invite friends to your back garden and set fire to some old furniture. you're saying its ok to make money off BM - even larry made it non profit this year so why should we encourage this by not discouraging it?
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby Scatter42 » Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:05 pm

graidawg wrote:badger its got nothing to do with "fair" or unfair its all about decommidifcation. are you in favour of a food court at center camp? t shirt vendors on every street? people selling things at there camp to cover there costs or make a profit? becauase if you feel that encouraging people to buy tickets to sell when they sell out, which they will do if they see tickets going for sale at $1000+ this year they will.
sure everyone hates the give me aticketbecausei'msogreat threads but seem to have the attitude of "oh well we live in a capatalist society so it's all right" now. If we burners do not at least try to stop this now, right fucking now next year every batard that has not bought a ticket because they cant afford to go is going to buy an extra ticket or two to sell on possibly at enough profit to cover there costs and the people who put on the fantastic shows wont get one, after all they will want to get paid if other people are, then what do you end up with? glastonbury where people go for the bands that are headlining.
FOR FUCKS SAKE PEOPLE DONT YOU GET IT?

THIS IS OUR HOME WHERE WE GO TO BE WHO WE WANT TO BE TO DO WHAT WE WANT TO DO ITS OURS. OURS NOT LARRYS OR BMORGS WE MAKE IT AND IF WE HAVE TO SPEND $1500 EXTRA TO GO ITS NO DIFFERENT FROM A FUCKING CRUISE ROUND THE MED WHERE EVERYTHING IS DONE FOR YOU

sweet zombie jesus dont you see, this is the thin end of the wedge, the same as that package on ebay 6 months ago if you dont resist if you don't try and keep people true to the principles then you might as well just invite friends to your back garden and set fire to some old furniture. you're saying its ok to make money off BM - even larry made it non profit this year so why should we encourage this by not discouraging it?



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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby BBadger » Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:24 pm

graidawg wrote:badger its got nothing to do with "fair" or unfair its all about decommidifcation. are you in favour of a food court at center camp? t shirt vendors on every street? people selling things at there camp to cover there costs or make a profit? becauase if you feel that encouraging people to buy tickets to sell when they sell out, which they will do if they see tickets going for sale at $1000+ this year they will.


Where did I encourage it? I'm saying that when or if market forces take hold (i.e. if it sells out) the prices should reflect the value people place on having a ticket. I'm saying that you have even less chance of getting a ticket at fixed prices in such conditions than if there is price gouging. That implies nothing about commodification at the event, even if it were allowed. What you're describing is the means people will use to pay for a ticket should the prices go up. How are those means any different than what people do anyway to pay for a ticket, fixed-price or not? Is it now different because there was some middleman because the purchaser was late to buying?

sure everyone hates the give me aticketbecausei'msogreat threads but seem to have the attitude of "oh well we live in a capatalist society so it's all right" now. If we burners do not at least try to stop this now, right fucking now next year every batard that has not bought a ticket because they cant afford to go is going to buy an extra ticket or two to sell on possibly at enough profit to cover there costs and the people who put on the fantastic shows wont get one, after all they will want to get paid if other people are, then what do you end up with? glastonbury where people go for the bands that are headlining.
FOR FUCKS SAKE PEOPLE DONT YOU GET IT?


If, or ever, that happens there will be a glut of tickets on the market. I also have little faith that people will have the foresight to even carry out such a plan seeing that so many people couldn't even handle buying tickets for themselves when they were available. Furthermore, your analysis is incorrect, in that if someone were buying that extra ticket to sell, they wouldn't need to "cover costs" for the ticket they got at the reasonable price in the first place. So what I see here is that maybe, just maybe, people will think ahead and buy their ticket early like they should anyway, or else face the consequences.

THIS IS OUR HOME WHERE WE GO TO BE WHO WE WANT TO BE TO DO WHAT WE WANT TO DO ITS OURS. OURS NOT LARRYS OR BMORGS WE MAKE IT AND IF WE HAVE TO SPEND $1500 EXTRA TO GO ITS NO DIFFERENT FROM A FUCKING CRUISE ROUND THE MED WHERE EVERYTHING IS DONE FOR YOU

sweet zombie jesus dont you see, this is the thin end of the wedge, the same as that package on ebay 6 months ago if you dont resist if you don't try and keep people true to the principles then you might as well just invite friends to your back garden and set fire to some old furniture. you're saying its ok to make money off BM - even larry made it non profit this year so why should we encourage this by not discouraging it?


There's nothing here even remotely approximating that package on eBay. Scalpers aren't selling all-inclusive vacations; they're selling tickets to desperate people. Who are those desperate people who are willing to buy tickets at the sweet spot of $900? People who were already heavily invested in going in the first place but for some stupid reason didn't buy the ticket in time. This is not a beach cruise. BM is the cruise-equivalent of being allowed on a boat and having access to the toilets. Cruise-people don't buy tickets for that; they want everything else provided for them.

Tip of the iceberg being what? One year of a sell-out, six months after the January ticket opening, and all of a sudden the BM world is going to end? I don't think so. Burning Man sold out because it is popular, and the only reason scalpers appeared this year is because there was a high probability of sell-out from the JRS warnings, and it being a transition year for the BLM permit (possibly meaning that the cap was not raised 6% as in the previous years). Some people jumped on the news and benefited.

However, looking at the population trend, BM is not a good event to predict good scalping conditions. While the event population follows a linear projection, the population has oscillated quite a bit the years preceding 2010 2010 was actually directly on the linear projection, but being a permit transition year, maybe the population couldn't increase. All of this occurred without ticket-sellouts implying nothing about the actual number of tickets available. I expect this sell-out could be a one-off incident, and the population to perhaps even go down next year because of economic conditions. It may be hilarious to see would-be scalpers with tickets in-hand when the event takes place; their efforts and money wasted.

population.png
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby MyDearFriend » Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:30 pm

graidawg wrote:badger its got nothing to do with "fair" or unfair its all about decommidifcation. are you in favour of a food court at center camp? t shirt vendors on every street? people selling things at there camp to cover there costs or make a profit? becauase if you feel that encouraging people to buy tickets to sell when they sell out, which they will do if they see tickets going for sale at $1000+ this year they will.
sure everyone hates the give me aticketbecausei'msogreat threads but seem to have the attitude of "oh well we live in a capatalist society so it's all right" now. If we burners do not at least try to stop this now, right fucking now next year every batard that has not bought a ticket because they cant afford to go is going to buy an extra ticket or two to sell on possibly at enough profit to cover there costs and the people who put on the fantastic shows wont get one, after all they will want to get paid if other people are, then what do you end up with? glastonbury where people go for the bands that are headlining.
FOR FUCKS SAKE PEOPLE DONT YOU GET IT?

THIS IS OUR HOME WHERE WE GO TO BE WHO WE WANT TO BE TO DO WHAT WE WANT TO DO ITS OURS. OURS NOT LARRYS OR BMORGS WE MAKE IT AND IF WE HAVE TO SPEND $1500 EXTRA TO GO ITS NO DIFFERENT FROM A FUCKING CRUISE ROUND THE MED WHERE EVERYTHING IS DONE FOR YOU

sweet zombie jesus dont you see, this is the thin end of the wedge, the same as that package on ebay 6 months ago if you dont resist if you don't try and keep people true to the principles then you might as well just invite friends to your back garden and set fire to some old furniture. you're saying its ok to make money off BM - even larry made it non profit this year so why should we encourage this by not discouraging it?


Thank you, Grai. This is what is wrong with scalping tickets, aside from the commodification of a transformative spiritual experience, or the opportunity for one at least... the problem with these pricey scalped tickets is that the people who buy them expect to be passively entertained. They are consumers of entertainment rather than participants in a community. They are in for a rude shock, some of them, so we should, as Halcyon suggests, be prepared to greet and guide them as they discover the reality of BRC.

There might not be anything we can do to stop people from scalping tickets, but we can refrain from doing it ourselves, and we can decline to agree that this is an acceptable practice.
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby BBadger » Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:58 pm

MyDearFriend wrote:Thank you, Grai. This is what is wrong with scalping tickets, aside from the commodification of a transformative spiritual experience, or the opportunity for one at least... the problem with these pricey scalped tickets is that the people who buy them expect to be passively entertained. They are consumers of entertainment rather than participants in a community. They are in for a rude shock, some of them, so we should, as Halcyon suggests, be prepared to greet and guide them as they discover the reality of BRC.


That assumption is completely unqualified. What implies that someone who was desperate, or even well-off enough, to pay $900 for a ticket is the kind who only goes to be passively entertained? Really, I want to know. Let me ask you something: do you ask people how much they paid for their ticket when you get on the playa, and does that number factor into your assessment as to whether the person is merely a "spectator" or a "participant"? It seems like a very flimsy metric.
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby motskyroonmatick » Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:29 pm

My answer to the problem.

More potties!!!!!!
And by that I mean an upper limit on population(negotiated with the BLM)that exceeds demand for attendance. Then there will be no sellout(and the sky will be prevented from falling(sorry)).

That is allot of Duck Tape for all the potty signs. Instead of a fuckload we may need a truckload of Duck Tape. That may be hard to transport with a sensible import station wagon but where there is a will there is a way.

Really. I think we can solve this problem with approval for more infrastructure to deal with people's shit.
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby unjonharley » Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:44 pm

\
I figure a little differently..

Maybe the "Next Big Thing Buyers" reacted when they heard "selling out" like pavlov's dogs when the bell rang.. There are going to be a bunch of sorry ass droolers at BM this year if the above is true..
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby trilobyte » Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:43 pm

graidawg wrote:glastonbury where people go for the bands that are headlining.

It's worth pointing out that Glastonbury tickets are sold (and sell out) a good six months before the lineups are announced. Sure, many go on the gamble that one of the big headliners will be one of their favorites, but most are going for the overall experience of the festival, and trust that of the umpteen zillion artists performing and tens of thousands of people there, they'll have a good time.
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby trilobyte » Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:21 pm

That said, I'm very much against scalping and profiteering on tickets. I understand why people do it, but I don't like it one bit. It's a very graywater area.

I think people are getting a little too worked up over the lynch mob mentality over it. I also wonder where was this same sense of outrage and insistence on fairness in the last 20 years (or however many years they've been selling tickets), when the same law of supply and demand left many burners in a position where they sold their ticket for less than they paid for it. Not because they were trying to gift the community, but because people didn't want to pay face. Prior to 2011, face value was the most anyone would ever pay for a ticket.

I think we've got a few years yet before professional scalpers become a real concern/threat. And fortunately, there are festivals out there like Glastonbury (and many others) who have tried all kinds of things to limit scalping, so the BMOrg and the ticketing company have places to look for ideas on how to keep them at bay. My girlfriend and I went through the Glasto registration process a couple years back, and holy crap was it crazy. Had to provide name, address, and email along with a photo that met strict guidelines for image size and face being clear and all that - they used image recognition software to determine it was a unique face). All that, just to be approved to register for the presale and put down the deposit (we got registered, but ended up not signing up for tickets or going to the event).

Next year will be very interesting to see. Will the BLM raise the cap? Will the population increase? Will the pricing/tiers change? Will the event sell out again? If so, how much sooner? And most importantly.. Will people learn from this year's sellout? As I try to keep up with the threads, I noticed that an awful lot of the need-ticket thread starters are either a) brand new to ePlaya (we've had 1800 new members since the event sold out), or b) were posting need-ticket threads last year, and the year before, and sometimes even the year before.
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby BBadger » Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:42 am

I'm curious about what the actual attendance numbers end up being. I almost think that BM had to cap the tickets to a number because of the permit transition. The limit is supposed to be "around" 50,000 people per-day, dictated by the facilities available. If the population went over, the Org could submit contingency plans to handle the extra people so that if the Org overcompensated with facilities they could probably take in more if needed. In the end, the population supposedly went over 50,000 by about 1,500 as part of the "natural growth" of the city.

This year it's a transition/stop-gap year, and the traditional 6% increase is being negotiated for 2012-2016 ending at 70,000 participants. 2011 may have fallen into the hole in between, defaulting to 50,000. I also wonder if "maximum" of 50,000 is being enforced as dictated by the permit decision, where prior documents mention "average" of 50,000. There sure would be an uproar if the population statistics showed a total less than 50,000 this year.
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby MyDearFriend » Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:16 am

BBadger wrote:
MyDearFriend wrote:Thank you, Grai. This is what is wrong with scalping tickets, aside from the commodification of a transformative spiritual experience, or the opportunity for one at least... the problem with these pricey scalped tickets is that the people who buy them expect to be passively entertained. They are consumers of entertainment rather than participants in a community. They are in for a rude shock, some of them, so we should, as Halcyon suggests, be prepared to greet and guide them as they discover the reality of BRC.


That assumption is completely unqualified. What implies that someone who was desperate, or even well-off enough, to pay $900 for a ticket is the kind who only goes to be passively entertained? Really, I want to know. Let me ask you something: do you ask people how much they paid for their ticket when you get on the playa, and does that number factor into your assessment as to whether the person is merely a "spectator" or a "participant"? It seems like a very flimsy metric.


BBadger my dear there are plausible exceptions to every behavioral metric, but, people are generally behave consistently over time. Buying an overpriced ticket at the last minute is much more congruent with consumer expectations than participant planning. Buying a scalped ticket is not congruent with the months-long investment of time, money and creative energy required to attend with the comfortable surplus that enables generosity in a harsh environment. And it is in no way consistent with the enormous personal investment, careful budgeting, and community support required to bring art to the playa.

Not saying that every scalped ticket admits a spectator; it's just that scalping tickets will inevitably drag the numbers in that direction. And away from participation. :cry:
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby Elderberry » Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:31 am

MyDearFriend wrote:
BBadger my dear there are plausible exceptions to every behavioral metric, but, people are generally behave consistently over time. Buying an overpriced ticket at the last minute is much more congruent with consumer expectations than participant planning. Buying a scalped ticket is not congruent with the months-long investment of time, money and creative energy required to attend with the comfortable surplus that enables generosity in a harsh environment. And it is in no way consistent with the enormous personal investment, careful budgeting, and community support required to bring art to the playa.

Not saying that every scalped ticket admits a spectator; it's just that scalping tickets will inevitably drag the numbers in that direction. And away from participation. :cry:

That reply sounds like you haven't been reading many of the "I need a ticket" posts. Many of those people have spent thousands of dollars and considerable labor in preparation, yet still forgot to buy their ticket first. For those people, the extra cost of tickets is no more than the cost of insuring their initial investment is protected.
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby graidawg » Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:39 am

jkisha wrote:
MyDearFriend wrote:
BBadger my dear there are plausible exceptions to every behavioral metric, but, people are generally behave consistently over time. Buying an overpriced ticket at the last minute is much more congruent with consumer expectations than participant planning. Buying a scalped ticket is not congruent with the months-long investment of time, money and creative energy required to attend with the comfortable surplus that enables generosity in a harsh environment. And it is in no way consistent with the enormous personal investment, careful budgeting, and community support required to bring art to the playa.

Not saying that every scalped ticket admits a spectator; it's just that scalping tickets will inevitably drag the numbers in that direction. And away from participation. :cry:

That reply sounds like you haven't been reading many of the "I need a ticket" posts. Many of those people have spent thousands of dollars and considerable labor in preparation, yet still forgot to buy their ticket first. For those people, the extra cost of tickets is no more than the cost of insuring their initial investment is protected.


c'mon jk a very good many of those posts are people trying to get a ticket to resell - as shown by the responses
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby Elderberry » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:18 am

I'm thinking that accounts for a small number of people. (actually, I never considered that scenario as a possibility) It may reassure you that I do feel that is not right. I do make a distinction between honesty and capitalism.

graidawg wrote:c'mon jk a very good many of those posts are people trying to get a ticket to resell - as shown by the responses
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby Magpie Sparkles » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:52 am

Coming from the UK I have to deal with the annual scrum that is Glastonbury tickets - 180k tickets sell out in 3 hours. So my thoughts re: Burning Man tickets are: if you want to go - plan to buy your ticket when they go onsale! Kind of have little sympathy with those whining about ticket selling out.

So maybe the org just need to introduce some anti-scalping measures like Glastonbury festival have in place? Max 2 tickets per purchase... print name, address and photo on the ticket (pre registration required).

A little more admin but it means scalpers literally cannot buy up tickets in advance to sell at a profit.
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby The CO » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:54 pm

(Re-cross posted in an attempt to get people to understand scalpers are not the bogeyman they think they are)

Lets do a little math.

50000 tickets at at average of $300 each =$15,000,000

In order to insure that they control the majority (2/3rds) of tickets, this mythical scalping conglomerate need ten million dollars. TEN MILLION DOLLARS.

Next, you can only by four (4) tickets per credit card. That means they need 8334 credit cards to purchase them, entering each number individually.

Then, they have to buy them all on the first day. Let's call it January 15th.

Now, they have to sit on a TEN MILLION DOLLAR ($10,000,000) investment for the next 8 months. If they try to sell before August, people will not buy them.

Scalpers do not work at long term investments. They want to get a ticket & turn it around @ a profit in the shortest amount of time possible. As in hours. Not days. Not weeks. Not months. Not three-quarters of a year.

Some one that can drop that kind of cash and sit on it for 8 months.... is not going to invest it in scalping tickets; he's got a banker/broker, and his banker/broker makes more than you by making that guy shitloads of money.
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby graidawg » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:12 pm

CO the problem is not proffesionnal scalpers its the people that choose to buy 4 tickets instead of one knowing that can sell 2 or 3 of them later on at a profit, thats what wse need to stop, if everybody point blank refuses to buy a ticket for more than say $400 (maximum face value + shipping) then people will not buy them to resell for a profit.
the problem with maths like that is that it assumes one person doing the buying what if its 10% of the potential population? 5000 people who have 2 cards and they buy 4 tickets on each - bang thats 40 000 tickets in the control of people who want to make a profit. the figures aren't to far fetched we've seen nearly 3000 people sign up to eplaya in this last month.
So maybe scalping businesses arent the problem but individuals who see the ticket sales as a way to make some of their investment in burning man back? there are many people who have posted "i dont want to but because of financial problems i have to sell my tickets so ican pay rent next month (or whatever) $750 ea."
If they see that they can do it this year they may well think "i can do it next year then i can make a profit AND go"
so please if you love BM and i guess you do please stamp HARD on the shits that are doing this.
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby BBadger » Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:49 am

MyDearFriend wrote:BBadger my dear there are plausible exceptions to every behavioral metric, but, people are generally behave consistently over time. Buying an overpriced ticket at the last minute is much more congruent with consumer expectations than participant planning. Buying a scalped ticket is not congruent with the months-long investment of time, money and creative energy required to attend with the comfortable surplus that enables generosity in a harsh environment. And it is in no way consistent with the enormous personal investment, careful budgeting, and community support required to bring art to the playa.


On the contrary, I feel that someone willing to shove out money for a scalped ticket is desperate and already so heavily invested in going that the cost of the ticket is acceptable. The person probably thought the tickets would be available all the way up to the burn, like every single year before, and after exhausting sources of "face value tickets" is forced to resort to a scalped ticket. A fair-weather burner is not the kind who is going to just drop $500 or $900 at the last moment for something that isn't even important to the person, and that would be hard to prepare for at the last moment regardless of motive.
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby The CO » Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:43 am

graidawg wrote:CO the problem is not proffesionnal scalpers... ...the figures aren't to far fetched we've seen nearly 3000 people sign up to eplaya in this last month.
So maybe scalping businesses arent the problem but individuals who see the ticket sales as a way to make some of their investment in burning man back?



This is precisely what I was trying to point out in the above posts. The people that are worried about "the great scalper network" are focusing on the wrong things. The individuals charging more than face value & idiots willing to pay it are the biggest issue I see.
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby Ace of Kittens » Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:58 pm

This is such an interesting topic that I have emerged from my typical quiet lurking. :)

A bit of background: I've been watching the 2011 Ticket threads on behalf of friends who have been caught in the "2011 Ticket Sell-Out Debacle." I run a theme camp and I was able to purchase my tickets the day they went on sale. Everyone in my camp has their ticket. My sister camp, full of long-time Burners, procrastinated. Post Ticket-Sell-Out-Day, they needed 9 (!!!!!!) tickets. I go back and forth between feeling irritated and flabbergasted that this happened and feeling sorry for them and trying to help them out (hence, looking at the ticket threads).

Why did they all wait when they "should have known better?" I can't speak for everyone, but for at least one of my unfortunate stragglers, money is not an issue and they don't mind paying "more" for a final-Tier ticket. It's not worth their time to spend the entire day in virtual line to tray and grab a Tier 1 ($210) ticket -- they have always simply waited til closer to the event and either paid "full price," or easily purchased a lower tier third-party ticket.

From BBadger's original post:**
[quote="BBadger"]Is this scalping really any worse than the tier system that creates cash flow in January? After all, only a limited number of people who got "in line" early got their tickets for substantial discounts. Isn't this "unfair" (in the above fairness context) to the people purchasing after? Would we really gained anything by making things "fair"? Everyone paying the same, even if it's more, and whether or not you prepare better than someone else?[/quote]
**I have BB Code enabled - I don't know why it won't show up as a quote. :(

I think there is little to no difference, because I think that the Tiered ticket system is incredibly flawed. I am sure this has been said a gazillion times before. There's no real guarantee that the cheaper tickets on opening day are going to people who are otherwise unable to pay full price. It's a matter of luck and persistence and it feeds into people wanting to grab a limited hot commodity while it's available. In addition, the "2 ticket limit" on the cheaper Tier is easily bypassed. I met someone (not particularly poverty-stricken or needy) who proudly told me about how he was able to grab 6 (!!!!) Tier 1 tickets by using 3 computers, VPN, and a friend's credit card. He felt perfectly justified in doing so.

So I can understand when people also feel justified in selling their $210 ticket at the $360+ value, because there really is no difference in worth, just a difference in price. In addition, there's also the time investment, e.g. "I sat online for 6 hours to get these tickets, so you are paying for my time." I personally didn't do it, when I sold my 2nd T1 ticket at face value to my sister camp, but plenty of people urged me to charge more. Well, I certainly could have used an extra $150 right about now (ahem, Home Depot is calling), but I couldn't bring myself to "gouge" my friend or charge "Stupid Tax," even though I can't believe they didn't have their tickets yet. Yet this same friend was not going to think twice about having to pay $360 at a walk-in outlet. So it's a gray area and I can see how people might feel really torn. I don't know what the solution to this mess is going to be.

The other thing I was mulling after days of reading the boards was: if there's all these "real burners" / "old timers" / "deserving DJs" who are shut out (as many as 7,000+ in the ticket deficit according to another post), was it just new people who were on the ball, or is the community growing this quickly or what? If everyone who now needs a ticket had purchased early, who would be shut out instead? It's just an interesting topic to ponder.

On a different note, I want to say that while I am not an eplaya regular poster, reading the ticket thread is making me pretty irritable. Why can't people in search of tickets read the sticky posts & just post to the OFFERED threads? Why are they clogging the board with sparkle pony "I'm a true burner, please gift me a ticket" sob stories? :D I'm amazed as to how many people were planning to buy their ticket THAT FATEFUL DAY when they sold out...
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby BBadger » Wed Aug 10, 2011 12:28 am

Ace of Kittens: See if you've disabled BBcode in the options below your post. Sometimes you can accidentally hit that.

The tiered system does its job. Despite all the tier feel-good nonsense about helping the less financially able, and that those who can afford it should pay for a more expensive ticket, the tier system has only one real purpose: to generate that instant cash flow to kickstart the event funding. 27,000 tickets sold in about two days helps a lot for grant/overhead/planning money, and they won't do away with it any time soon.

Getting a tiered ticket was definitely a hassle. It wasn't quite as bad as trying to get in on Sparkfun's free $100 worth of stuff giveaway, but the servers were slow, it took hours to resolve the problems, and I was fortunate enough to have a screenshot of my session ID to get my spot back. Fun? Not at all, but still worth the effort as it saved us about $200 we could use for other things on the trip, and in the end my group actually had more tickets than we needed, which we sold (yes, for face value) to people in our camp.

This whole fiasco sure has revealed a lot about the people who buy tickets for this event. Still, it's always a good place for humor; I just love the snark on this board.
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Scalping is Evil / History of BM

Postby nocturnal_steve » Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:52 am

Scalping is Evil

(And so is Facebook but that is a topic for another time, another thread)
For a brief history of finances / ticket prices and the BORG see viewtopic.php?f=190&t=42395&start=90#p713733
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby C.f.M. » Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:34 am

Tony Montana: You know what capitalism is? Getting fucked!

Look, if somebody out there will pay $1000 for a $250 ticket, let them. If I was in a position to sell mine for that kind of profit, I'd do it.

It's the most simplest principle that our country's economy is based on: supply and demand. Scalping isn't evil. Why is everybody hating on people selling their tickets at more than they paid for them? It's the PEOPLE WHO ARE PAYING THE INFLATED COSTS that are the ONLY REASON "scalping" is going on! If people demanded the normal price, that's what they'd get.

The tier system is shit to do with kindness, and everything to do with setting a lower price initially to encourage people to buy more tickets so that BM has some money to start with.

There's no debacle to this sell out. I went to the post office last week, they were out of the envelope I needed. Did I march up to the counter yelling about how I have been mailing stuff for YEARS, and people will not get their Ebay purchase without ME, and it's not FAIR that because OTHER PEOPLE got there FIRST that meant there's no envelopes left for ME?? And imagine if, for months, I'd been getting emails from the post office warning me that envelopes are very popular this year...they are almost out of envelopes...seriously, we have like five envelopes left...and I showed up and was like, where are my !@#$%^ envelopes?

...as much as I love the smart, self-reliant, generous, wonderful Community, equally am I dismayed and downright appalled at the self-entitlement, ignorance and lack of proper perspective around here.

If Temple of Techno doesn't show up, IT DOESN'T MATTER. If someone who's gone for ten years didn't get a ticket, IT DOESN'T MATTER. NOBODY is more deserving to attend than ANYONE ELSE. Larry fucking Harvey can sit the fuck home, if he didn't get a ticket. You want to go? You get a ticket. THE END.

Rant over. I hope next year they don't allow ticket whining threads and get a more stream-lined system for offers. Between the ticket nonsense and the spam, I don't bother coming here as much as I would otherwise (which isn't a bad thing :mrgreen: ).
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby Foxfur » Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:19 am

Thanks CFM. I feel validated.
But what do I know. I'm a newbie and gladly bought a ticket from the ORG at $320. I could afford it.
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby Dr Jet Sinister » Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:55 am

I believe BBadger and Ace of Kittens have it spot on. The event was over it's population cap last year and couldn't up the cap this year because of the BLM one year lease. Since the event does grow on most years, it makes perfect sense that the event would sell out. Every person that I know that had to scramble for tickets at the last minute was based on finances or default world just getting in the way. It doesn't make all of them lazy or unprepared noobs since 'shit happens' for all of us and it certainly doesn't automatically make them a spectator. Why would anyone's behavior at the burn change based on the price or time they bought a ticket? That's kind of a ridiculous thing to assume. Thankfully, the ticket-less I know were all able to find tickets at face value and that would be very radically self reliant in my book. It's not any less 'self reliant' if they paid more than face value since 'value' is really subjective.

Being able to sell something at a profit to handle your business in real life is self reliant too, but based in our default world instead of the world we create on the playa for one week a year. It doesn't mean you have to like it. Lots of people do stuff every day that I don't like, but who am I to impose my reality on them? I'm not entitled to everyone following some set of principles in their life. Just as someone else isn't entitled to not be offended by my actions.

It's always foolish to make assumptions about people's motivations based on so little evidence. There are posts everyday on The Eplaya telling people our culture here is NOT the same as The Playa. Why? To tell people not to make an assumption based on this small percentage of burners.
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby junglesmacks » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:00 am

+10000

C.f.M. wrote:Tony Montana: You know what capitalism is? Getting fucked!

Look, if somebody out there will pay $1000 for a $250 ticket, let them. If I was in a position to sell mine for that kind of profit, I'd do it.

It's the most simplest principle that our country's economy is based on: supply and demand. Scalping isn't evil. Why is everybody hating on people selling their tickets at more than they paid for them? It's the PEOPLE WHO ARE PAYING THE INFLATED COSTS that are the ONLY REASON "scalping" is going on! If people demanded the normal price, that's what they'd get.

The tier system is shit to do with kindness, and everything to do with setting a lower price initially to encourage people to buy more tickets so that BM has some money to start with.

There's no debacle to this sell out. I went to the post office last week, they were out of the envelope I needed. Did I march up to the counter yelling about how I have been mailing stuff for YEARS, and people will not get their Ebay purchase without ME, and it's not FAIR that because OTHER PEOPLE got there FIRST that meant there's no envelopes left for ME?? And imagine if, for months, I'd been getting emails from the post office warning me that envelopes are very popular this year...they are almost out of envelopes...seriously, we have like five envelopes left...and I showed up and was like, where are my !@#$%^ envelopes?

...as much as I love the smart, self-reliant, generous, wonderful Community, equally am I dismayed and downright appalled at the self-entitlement, ignorance and lack of proper perspective around here.

If Temple of Techno doesn't show up, IT DOESN'T MATTER. If someone who's gone for ten years didn't get a ticket, IT DOESN'T MATTER. NOBODY is more deserving to attend than ANYONE ELSE. Larry fucking Harvey can sit the fuck home, if he didn't get a ticket. You want to go? You get a ticket. THE END.

Rant over. I hope next year they don't allow ticket whining threads and get a more stream-lined system for offers. Between the ticket nonsense and the spam, I don't bother coming here as much as I would otherwise (which isn't a bad thing :mrgreen: ).
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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby mdmf007 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:47 pm

To be honest and in my opinion for what its worth I see it like this.

Many people see BM as a "transformational" type of experience, others see it as a religious experience almost Hajj like in proportions for them. Then there is another group that sees burningman as a wild party in the desert, with fireworks, booze and all the sights and sounds of a carnival and week long piss up.

Depending on how you look at BM greatly dictates your reaction to scalpers, profits and the sold out ticket situation. For me BM is a time to chill and nto worry about or fix other peoples problems - it is therapy for me, but not a religious event.

To profit or not profit. I am a big believer in the free market, Don't buy a ticket YOU feel is too priced. Sell a ticket for 2000.00 bucks you paid 300.00 for? That makes you gifted in my book. Buy that ticket for 2000.00 good for you, you paid what you think going to BM is worth. Simple as that (in my book).

just my thoughts.

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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby ygmir » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:51 pm

mdmf007 wrote:To be honest and in my opinion for what its worth I see it like this.

Many people see BM as a "transformational" type of experience, others see it as a religious experience almost Hajj like in proportions for them. Then there is another group that sees burningman as a wild party in the desert, with fireworks, booze and all the sights and sounds of a carnival and week long piss up.

Depending on how you look at BM greatly dictates your reaction to scalpers, profits and the sold out ticket situation. For me BM is a time to chill and nto worry about or fix other peoples problems - it is therapy for me, but not a religious event.

any thoughts?


This, from an EMS guy who's always helping someone? You're a good dude, to do what you do.

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Re: Worth, price, and scalping

Postby graidawg » Sat Aug 13, 2011 1:10 am

we spend our lives in a world based on worth cost and value. burning man tickets are cheap really cheap, as others have said go spend a week at a normal camp site, it will cost you more than $320 just to stay there for a week with no sound camps no entertainment of any sort unless you pay for it,which you almost certainly will have to.
Burning man is different, you get through the gate you know exactly how you are going to spend because you have already spent it. Why? because 100's of people volounteer their time for nothing other than to make burning man accessible to pretty much everyone, know this for a fact, because its why i can go. I started my rite of passage this year able to afford the cost, then couldnt but could still go because people GAVE their hard earned time to me, meaning i could still plan my burn. now i can go and will try to give others my hard earned time to enjoy their time at bm at bit more.
Because of BM i got a Free ticket to an english festival based on bm, i couldnt go. why? because the moment i walked in the gate i had to spend money, for food, for drink for everything. I simply did not have the money to pay for it. If it had been BM i could have gone, i could have taken enough to eat (no cooking at the english festival) cheap beer (only allowed to take 12 cans with you at the english festival).
so i ask you do you work for nothing so someone else can profit of your hard and free work? i bet your answer is no. do you volounteer at BM? i bet your answer is probably yes. will you do it still if BMorg sells the tickets for $1000 and larry and his minions bank $50 milllion after costs? i bet the answer will be NO.
people participate in BM because its a thing we can do without thinking about cost, value and RESALE value we do ti because we love it, the people here spend a lot of time they could spend doing other things because they something that is beyond the capatilist system we live in.
So scalpers and individuals seeing BM as way to make money fucks it all up, will you give your time so somebody else can make $700 or more i bet the answer is no, but you will work for a decent wage, which will push the ticket price up to what it actually costs, someone do the math of what BM would cost if all the volounteers where paid for their time, even at minimum wage. I reckon what we would see would be BYE BYE BURNING MAN YOU HAD A GOOD RUN.
so in my opinion every one of the wankers thats pays over $360 (+shipping) is helping to destroy the very thing that they need to go to, because many of the people that go won't if they have to pay an extra $700 for a ticket because BMorg has to pay the volounteers next year or put up Tshirt stalls or just let people sell stuff (mcdonalds on the playa anyone?)
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