Graphic by Tristan Ipock
Ticketing bot scalpers—the bane of every concert goer’s existence.
Recently, I found myself on a Young the Giant kick after listening to the band’s 2016 album, “Home of the Strange” on repeat. Despite listening to the band’s music since its eponymous studio album, I have yet to see the band in concert.
Listening to “Home” for what felt like the hundredth time in a row, I pondered the idea of seeing Young the Giant in concert. So, I took to the Internet to check for upcoming tour dates.
I was excited to see two shows listed for Austin in Feb.; however, I was immediately dismayed to see both shows sold out. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I knew the shows weren’t actually sold out. So, I took to the infamous Stubhub.com.
As a frequent concert goer, I’m all too familiar with websites such as Stubhub and Vivid Seats who employ ticket buying bots.
Ticket buying bots are pieces of computer software that can scoop up thousands of tickets in mere seconds, resulting in those tickets being sold for an insane markup price. Scalpers who use ticketing bots cheat concert goers out of hundreds of dollars.
For instance, the price of a general admission ticket listed on stubbsaustin.com is $29.50. On Stubhub, the same ticket is listed at $94.89, which is an increase of 221.66 percent. A quick skimming of the various and increasingly expensive prices on Stubhub dashed any hopes of attending a Young the Giant show.
Then, I remembered a recent bill passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
In Dec. 2016, Congress passed a bill banning the practice of ticket buying bots. Under the bill, ticket buying bots are considered “an unfair and deceptive practice” in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
The bill was sponsored by Kansas Senator Jerry Moran. In an article for Consequence of Sound, Moran stated the legislation will “level the playing field” for those frequenting ticket sites.
On Dec. 15, 2016, former President Obama signed the “Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016.”
According to congress.gov, the bill prohibits the circumvention of control measures used by Internet ticket sellers to ensure equitable consumer access to tickets for certain events.
Under the new law, it is illegal for anyone to use a bot or other software to obtain more tickets than a specific amount. It also makes it illegal to resell any tickets bought with the help of ticket bot.
The BOTS Act also gives state government the power to bring a civil suit to U.S. district court on behalf of its residents. The law gives the Federal Trade Commission the power to intervene in those civil cases as well.
As a frequent visitor of ticket sites, I look forward to the level playing field. Ticketing bot scalpers rob potential concert goers out of hundreds of dollars, and soon, they will be processed accordingly.