Identity based tickets.... Why not?

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Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby Kimo » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:50 am

IMHO, The 2 REAL reasons the BMorg won't implement identity based tickets is greed and flat out laziness. Although the implementation of identity based tickets is quite simple, due to:

1) their database had the identity of each ticket purchaser via the ticket registration process
2) physical tickets have not yet been printed or distributed (they don't even have approval from the BLM yet)
3) InTicketing, the ticketing agency in bed with BMorg, has identity based ticketing capabilities as advertised on their website

So, why not do identity based tickets? Because there's a cost associated with that. And for the BMorg to take a smaller profit margin from the ticket sales would throw off their pensions that we, the community, are funding.

It's a classic case of greed and laziness. The show will go on, the BMorg will make their millions, and we, the community will make the event what it is, as we have always done. BMorg basically brokers the land use agreement with the BLM, recruits a few thousand volunteers, and takes a percentage of the ticket sales and hands it over to the Temple crew, Flaming Lotus Girls and a few other art projects to create their spectacles. But remember this people, it is us, the community that makes this event what it is.

Maybe we should all just sell our tickets back to STEP and create our own gig in protest of the terrible mismanagement of the BMorg and them not listening to our pleas. We asked for no lottery - they didn't listen, we ask for identity based tickets - and they're not listening. They dictate the rules of the game and constantly change them midstream. They're good at one thing.... Turning this years event into a huge clusterfuck!
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby AntiM » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:11 am

You first, and you can be happy in knowing that all STEP tickets are non-transferable.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:16 am

AntiM wrote:You first, and you can be happy in knowing that all STEP tickets are non-transferable.



As are the 10k assigned tickets as well.




Next topic.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby vargaso » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:56 am

Kimo wrote:IMHO, The 2 REAL reasons the BMorg won't implement identity based tickets is greed and flat out laziness. Although the implementation of identity based tickets is quite simple, due to:

1) their database had the identity of each ticket purchaser via the ticket registration process
2) physical tickets have not yet been printed or distributed (they don't even have approval from the BLM yet)
3) InTicketing, the ticketing agency in bed with BMorg, has identity based ticketing capabilities as advertised on their website

So, why not do identity based tickets? Because there's a cost associated with that. And for the BMorg to take a smaller profit margin from the ticket sales would throw off their pensions that we, the community, are funding.

It's a classic case of greed and laziness. The show will go on, the BMorg will make their millions, and we, the community will make the event what it is, as we have always done. BMorg basically brokers the land use agreement with the BLM, recruits a few thousand volunteers, and takes a percentage of the ticket sales and hands it over to the Temple crew, Flaming Lotus Girls and a few other art projects to create their spectacles. But remember this people, it is us, the community that makes this event what it is.

Maybe we should all just sell our tickets back to STEP and create our own gig in protest of the terrible mismanagement of the BMorg and them not listening to our pleas. We asked for no lottery - they didn't listen, we ask for identity based tickets - and they're not listening. They dictate the rules of the game and constantly change them midstream. They're good at one thing.... Turning this years event into a huge clusterfuck!


I think it's more about sticking to some kind of principle more than anything, as there are a lot of burners who for whatever reasons are very against having to show an ID. I'm willing to bet that next year we'll see something like it, though. I hope so.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby Stephendragonfly » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:11 am

If the Bmorg were really as greedy as some people claim they could have simply charged $500.00 or more per ticket.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby bradtem » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:13 am

There are various advantages and disadvantages to identity linked tickets:

The biggest disadvantage is that they involve a significant effort. If you use name-based tickets, you need a modest effort to tie names to tickets, but the biggest cost is a large extra burden at the gate, and the gate is already a major bottleneck.

Face-based tickets require much less effort at the gate -- no requirement that people have and get out IDs (which, in spite of all warnings, they will still have somewhere in their big pile of stuff when they roll up to the gate) but do require more technology. Tablet-based face-based tickets actually can be faster to check than paper tickets, and have the nice attribute that they can't be forgotten or lost, but the technological effort here is the highest.

With identity tickets there is no means to transfer tickets within the community or even your own close circle unless the others are coming into the gate with you. So you can't get a ticket for one person who is working on your art project and have them bail out and transfer the ticket to somebody else who wants to work on that project. You can't get a ticket for your boyfriend in January and give it to your new boyfriend after he dumps you in June. All you can do is return the ticket for refund and allocation to the next person in the general line. You can't gift a ticket if you didn't know who you were gifting it to when you bought it, unless they come in with you at the gate.

The biggest advantage is that there's no scalping. So the question one must ask becomes: Is the scalping problem bad enough to merit those disadvantages above?

The second advantage is new this year, because of the lottery. If you go further and say that tickets don't get a full refund and have something like a $100 "restocking fee" then it reduces (but does not eliminate) people applying for more tickets than they need in a lottery. I say only reduces because many groups would rather pay a $100 price for every extra ticket they get than risk not getting enough tickets. Even completely non-refundable tickets would not discourage some oversubscribers.

I don't know enough to judge if the scalping problem is bad enough to merit this. An electronic system does have other advantages -- a faster gate, no ticket forgery, harder to scalp, no will call, no ability to lose/forget your ticket, free-delivery anywhere in the world by e-mail, and that's why a lot of venues have moved to electronic ticketing. However, those advantages are orthogonal to the question of identity based ticketing.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby glitter-mouse » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:44 am

the reason why identity based tickets will never happen is that the gate crew is totally incompetent at pretty much everything except drinking jack and smoking pot. everyone who ever got kicked out of DPW went to work at the gate. did you know the barcode readers for early arrivals don't even have batteries? it's all a farce.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby Kimo » Mon Mar 05, 2012 11:57 am

The main reason to initiate identity based tickets is to kill the black market. Do you whine about the inconvenience of identity based tickets when you buy an airline ticket? It makes sense and is very easy to utilize. As far as the last minute changes - well, that all comes down to good planning. If you made it so that the ticket holder can have one person accompany them with no ID required.... Well that would take care of the last minute switch of boyfriend or girlfriend.

If you want to gift a ticket. Give that person the money to buy the ticket themselves, or buy it for them in their name.

It's very upsetting to see the selfishness in people that are taking advantage of others by inflating prices for tickets. Even burners were asking for a premium last year on CL and such, because they could. I say fuck them.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby Trishntek » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:10 pm

Kimo wrote:The main reason to initiate identity based tickets is to kill the black market. Do you whine about the inconvenience of identity based tickets when you buy an airline ticket? It makes sense and is very easy to utilize. As far as the last minute changes - well, that all comes down to good planning. If you made it so that the ticket holder can have one person accompany them with no ID required.... Well that would take care of the last minute switch of boyfriend or girlfriend.

If you want to gift a ticket. Give that person the money to buy the ticket themselves, or buy it for them in their name.

It's very upsetting to see the selfishness in people that are taking advantage of others by inflating prices for tickets. Even burners were asking for a premium last year on CL and such, because they could. I say fuck them.


Right now I have a certain number of tickets for my camp. I have extended an offer to some proven members who do not yet have a ticket, but encourage them to continue seeking one on their own. ",,,that all comes down to good planning." Really? Do you have any clue what it takes to orchestrate a project on the playa?

BMorg has forced us to purchase early. Many of my camp mates are not sure how much time they can get off of work, whether they can enter early or stay late, or if they can come at all. My PLANNING includes the flexibility to offer a ticket to who NEEDS a ticket two or three months from now!

Tagging any particular ticket to an individual at this point is a huge logistical addition to an already complicated exercise of herding cats. I need flexibility, not confinement.
Last edited by Trishntek on Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby BBadger » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:13 pm

Kimo wrote:If you want to gift a ticket. Give that person the money to buy the ticket themselves, or buy it for them in their name.


And if your friend finds out that he can't go, but your other friend can? With 8 months, that's a lot of time for something like that to happen.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby Rice » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:29 pm

glitter-mouse wrote:the reason why identity based tickets will never happen is that the gate crew is totally incompetent at pretty much everything except drinking jack and smoking pot. everyone who ever got kicked out of DPW went to work at the gate. did you know the barcode readers for early arrivals don't even have batteries? it's all a farce.


So, what you are saying is you really have no idea how gate works...
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby bradtem » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:06 pm

Trishntek wrote:
BMorg has forced us to purchase early. Many of my camp mates are not sure how much time they can get off of work, whether they can enter early or stay late, or if they can come at all. My PLANNING includes the flexibility to offer a ticket to who NEEDS a ticket two or three months from now!



That made sense before. The problem is that in the current system, in order for you to have these unassigned tickets for people who can't figure out whether they can make it, or for "some member of my camp, I am not sure who," requires that somebody else, who does know now that they want to go does not get a ticket.

Yes, it's great to have the flexibility, and it will be sorely missed, but is giving you that flexibility worth somebody else not going, or sending them to the scalpers?

Burning Man grew up with a non-commercial ethic, and this has made people resist the solution the rest of the world uses for scarcity. Time and time again it's been shown that such resistance is futile -- you would think the Borg would understand that, wouldn't you? :-)

My comments apply not just to the particular circumstance above. Anything that gets you and extra ticket means somebody else doesn't go. Who goes and who doesn't? You can base that on how flexible you are, how far in advance you can plan, how much you contribute to the city, how much money you want to spend, how good you are at gaming systems, who you are connected to, whether you refreshed a ticket web site at the right moment and a random roll of the dice.

Burning Man chose the random roll of the dice. And that's turned into a combination of the dice and many of the above factors, since now the ways to have gotten tickets including gaming the lottery, knowing people who will allocate an extra ticket to you, money (for those who go to scalpers), how much you contribute (theme camp tickets) and how good you were at hitting the ticket web site for STEP.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby Trishntek » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:41 pm

bradtem wrote:
Burning Man grew up with a non-commercial ethic, and this has made people resist the solution the rest of the world uses for scarcity. Time and time again it's been shown that such resistance is futile -- you would think the Borg would understand that, wouldn't you?

Burning Man is not "the rest of the world"
1- those in attendance are not spectators, they are participants
2- those in attendance plan, invest time and effort to participate
3- the rest of the world relies on marketing and advertising, should BM do that too?
4- the participants create the event, BMorg simply facilitates the opportunity
5- opportunity is equal among all; success or failure has indeed become fortuitous as-far-as acquiring a ticket is concerned
6- if a participant has a demonstrated history of actually participating above and beyond, I will do everything I possibly can to offer that individual an enhanced (by me, not BMorg) opportunity to participate again
7- if someone thinks a ticket to Burning Man is anything like getting on an airplane or going to a concert, they need to give their head a fucking shake
8- to say possessing extra tickets prevents someone from attending is absurd. The tickets will be used and,,,, guess what? a person will attend AND PARTICIPATE because of that extra ticket
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby Eric » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:49 pm

Trishntek wrote:7- if someone thinks a ticket to Burning Man is anything like getting on an airplane or going to a concert, they need to give their head a fucking shake


Thank you TnT- those two analogies have been driving me crazy the past few months.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby bradtem » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:52 pm

Burning Man is not the rest of the world. But that doesn't tell us that much, because it is of course very much like the rest of the world and other events in so many ways, and unlike it in other ways.

There are many other events I go to that are membership or participant based, that is not unique to BM, and #2 applies in many other things as well.

Burning Man, because of its population limit, does not seek to grow quickly, and so it does not market or advertise -- what makes you think somebody would suggest it should? There are also many other events that avoid this.

There has never been much doubt about all your points up to 7, but point #8 I am afraid is what has changed. There are more people who, by and large, meet the description of what a burner is and want to go than there is room for under the current rules. As such, something will pick who goes and who does not. As I noted, there are many somethings that can make that selection, and in fact many of them are in play here.

I am not trying to guilt anybody. Yes, it is true that if you go, there is somebody else who truly wants to go who won't. That's just a hard fact, but you are not inherently less or more deserving than that other person.

However, what we're talking about is not a generic "you" but rather "a yet to be decided friend." And I point out that this is different. I think one can make a judgement on whether somebody who is lined up, money in hand, ready to commit is more or less deserving than somebody else's "yet to be decided friend."

There are many factors that will control who is included and who is excluded. The hope is to use the factors that most fit our values. People fear using money as not fitting our values, and there is certainly an argument that it doesn't. But the reality is that money will be a strong factor unless you work very hard to block it out. But more important is whether other factors being used, like a roll of the dice, or who games the system best, or who knows the right people, or who has the most spare time -- do these fit our values better?
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby vargaso » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:06 pm

I agree with bradtem, the matter of scarcity is now unavoidable, it's how tickets will be distributed that we can control, and to limit the variables in that regard I think is the best solution. It would be very clear if tickets were identity-based and non-transferable that the only variable coming into play would be scarcity and luck of the draw when registering online. No over-ordering, no advantage to those who are more connected, etc.

I agree BM is a unique event, but the outside factors determining who can get a ticket are very much mundane and part of the rest of the world.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby Trishntek » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:30 pm

Scarcity happens. For Millenia tribes, villages and entire nations contend for things due to scarcity. Again, I will do everything I can for the sake of my camp. BMorg has deemed it appropriate to offer projects ticket availability. In like manner, as camp sponsor, I distribute those ticket availabilities to whom I deem appropriate.

The identity of those recipients is yet to be determined and, to get back to the OP, to tag said tickets with a specific individual at this point would be counterproductive.

I understand the money in hand, ready to buy point of view. But, just so you know, I've personally ALREADY paid out $$$$ to BMorg and don't have a single ticket in hand. So I will not personally believe "MY TICKET" exists until I'm holding it in my hot little hand. If it had my name on it, would that make any difference?

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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby bradtem » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:53 pm

There is scarcity, and there is a shortage, and they are two different, but related things. In scarcity, resources go to those who work hardest to get them, most commonly those willing to pay the most money. In a shortage, you are unable to get the scarce item using your resources, rather it is allocated by forces you can't control (like lotteries, ration cards, special invitation, status in society etc.)

But oddly, you get scarcity all the time, in fact most of the things in the world other than air have some scarcity, but shortages you get by choice.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby laffingblonde » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:32 pm

Stephendragonfly wrote:If the Bmorg were really as greedy as some people claim they could have simply charged $500.00 or more per ticket.


Have bought the highest tier tickets the last two years as plans come about late. The price of this ticket has risen $90 in two years (not including fees). Not judging, just wondering why this increase? In the beginning you just showed up. Capacity is higher each year, but would love to see some transparent financials from the borg. In BRC Weekly last year there was some speculation as to the price of the buyout that will happen as the LLC turns into a not for profit for the folks that started all of this back when I was a wee babe. Honesty on this front could prove eye opening as well.

All in all the price of these tickets isn't out of line with other festivals. I'm sure we'd all just like to know where it goes since we're the ones who put on the show other than the water trucks, port-a-johns and clean up. A lot of that work is also done by volunteers.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:09 pm

To start with $60 a day is pretty fleabag for a motel... Depending on location and season, of course. I don't know what that would buy on the broadway musical front. Or the march madness front. Or the Ice Capades.

And the show's much better.

And you can always look at the afterburns, for a start...
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby 48_love » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:12 pm

bradtem wrote:There is scarcity, and there is a shortage, and they are two different, but related things. In scarcity, resources go to those who work hardest to get them, most commonly those willing to pay the most money. In a shortage, you are unable to get the scarce item using your resources, rather it is allocated by forces you can't control (like lotteries, ration cards, special invitation, status in society etc.)

But oddly, you get scarcity all the time, in fact most of the things in the world other than air have some scarcity, but shortages you get by choice.


Is your point that shortages lead to scarcity? Are you saying tickets weren't scarce? Because, I thought scarcity simply meant that demand exceeded supply ... shortage or otherwise.

And the fact is that scalping transactions will very likely happen thereby making one's resources a real way to obtain tickets in the shortage. So, it all comes back to supply and demand and scarcity and paying the most you are willing to obtain a good.

I don't think the lottery tried to address scarcity. The Org had no idea demand would be such as it is. Nobody did, right?

With all the tumult and upset around the 10K being guided to Theme Camps and STEP being limited in its HAVEs and abundant in its WANTs, I think the most negligble force in the equation is scaplers. Which in a lot of ways seems like what the Org was trying to thwart the most with the Lottery machincations in the first place (plus some of the tech and FCFS issues and whatnot).

What is the highest guess for percentage gone to scalpers? I would bet it is less than the 10K the Org redirected.

So, identity based tickets is a non-issue. I also happen to believe scalping is a non-issue.

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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby bradtem » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:29 pm

In the real world, there are not generally shortages, because prices are adjusted so that demand (at that price) equals supply. Only when prices are kept artificially low can you get a shortage. In the real world, scarcity is the norm, but shortages are rare.

Indeed scalpers alter that, by raising prices, and pocketing all the difference for themselves. This is bad because the money goes to the scalpers, not into the community or into the supplier. While a monopoly supplier can just keep the money, the norm is that other forces usually limit truly extreme profits, and so the higher prices result in better quality product or service. For example, if the org captured the value, it could make more and larger art grants. That has a risk if driving the price even higher, as people are willing to pay even more because the event is better, but it normally stabilizes.

Alas, lots and lots of people expected the lottery to go as it did, and many posted about it here. And of course, obviously all the people who oversubscribed by large margins expected it to go as it did, but they don't talk about it much here.

I don't know how many tickets went to scalpers. It's quite possible it's small enough to not be worth a great deal of energy. But regardless of how small it is, I would rather that it was the BMorg that was charging the obscene prices than the scalpers doing it. Because the money would be going to making the city better. But in spite of the rationality of that, if the org did this, people would scream to high heaven.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:37 pm

If I could hotlink the animated GIF of the dog chasing his tail via my phone right now, I would.


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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby lemur » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:40 pm

didnt we already have this thread like 10 times..
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:47 pm

Nothing like returning to an old favorite...
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby wraith » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:24 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:To start with $60 a day is pretty fleabag for a motel... Depending on location and season, of course. I don't know what that would buy on the broadway musical front. Or the march madness front. Or the Ice Capades.

And the show's much better.

And you can always look at the afterburns, for a start...


$60's great profit for a 'bring your own motel' motel.

In other words, your comparison's a bit off.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby gyre » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:34 am

Airlines only put names on tickets so they could refuse refunds.
Just fraud.

Fucking concerts?
http://www.memphisinmay.org/music-lineup

Tickets opened at $55 for three days.
$25 per day now.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:17 am

$5 for camping and 55 for everything else? Still a bargain.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby 48_love » Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:21 pm

bradtem wrote:
Indeed scalpers alter that, by raising prices,

Alas, lots and lots of people expected the lottery to go as it did


Scalpers do not actually raise prices. They ask for more later when supply and demand dictate a different value of the good. The pricing structure was adhered to as set by the BMOrg. They captured the value they set on the ticket sales. They lost and stand to lose nothing. When later tickets are sold, that is water under the bridge and doesn't affect the BMOrg (except somehow ideologically, which is all fine and good but not an actual negative externality for the BMOrg). Plus, there is pretty much zero evidence that scalpers hold a significant number of tickets.

How did people expect the lottery to go as it did? I didn't read a single comment about the growth in demand, and that has been the issue ... not the Lottery in and of itself.

And if the number of scalpers is negligle as I expect, any distribution mechanism would have the same results vis a vis the ticketless hordes. There weren't enough tickets to go around. Complaining about the process at this point is barking up the wrong tree.

But the interwebz being the interwebz, that is lost in the angst that finds it way into people's posts. After a while though, the imaginary monster becomes real ... it reminds me of global monolithic communism. That never existed either and 50 years of International Relations was consumed by the myth. What a waste of time and energy, a lot like this scenario.
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Re: Identity based tickets.... Why not?

Postby bradtem » Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:16 pm

Scalpers do raise prices. When a price is set too low (by design or mistake) and you get a sell-out, scalpers buy as many tickets as they think they can resell, and then offer them for much higher prices. These tickets are taken out of the pool that was for sale (thus actually increasing the odds of a sell-out, often as part of the scalper plan) and so overall prices paid by buyers for tickets goes up. The scalper pool is sold at market prices, though often at inefficient market prices. (Traditional scalping is done to people as they go to an event who do not have good information. Scalping on the internet is done to a more efficient market.)

Many people feel scalpers provide a service. They make it so that no event is truly sold out. They allow those with more money than time to get tickets when they want them. Others feel scalpers are a curse, particularly when they create a fake sell-out to artificially decrease the supply.

When I refer to "the value" I mean the amount of money the buyers are willing to pay for tickets. If the vendor sells for less than that (as BMOrg does) they are not capturing that value. (This is economics-speak.) You can either find scalpers capturing the value, or it can go to lucky burners (who got tickets for less than they would have paid) or it can just be frustrated.

I think the tragic situation of the scalper is that we have a group of Burners willing to pay $1,000 to go to the event. I am sure there are at least 1,000 of them, so that's a million dollars. BMOrg got $325,000 of that, and scalpers will get $675,000 of it. I think it is a much better situation if that $675,000 were to go into art grants.

There were huge numbers of comments about how people would ask for 2x or more the number of tickets they needed in order to be sure of winning enough times. Looks like people went even beyond 2x. There was much talk of scalpers, though how many scalpers there were is unknown. You are right that there was less talk of a major demand spike, though all knew that there would be a demand increase, because of the sell-out in the prior year, and the nice weather. I still don't know how much of a demand increase there was. We saw a report of 40% virgins but I don't know what the normal percentage of virgins is -- I would presume it's not much less than 40%, perhaps 30%.
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