Wednesday, April 14, 2004

LET'S NOT LOSE SIGHT OF THE REAL VICTIMS: There's going to be a top-level pushing of the blame ("summit") following the debacle, shambles and shame of the Glastonbury ticket sales this year. Michael Eavis, of course, has already pointed his finger at the technological infrastructure, but now the chap responsible for trying to sell the tickets, David Blackburn of Seetickets, has said that it's not their fault, it's all those people trying to buy tickets who broke the system:

"It is a huge event with huge demand, 20 times the demand we had last year," Mr Blackburn told Music Week. In his view, it would have taken an additional "one million telephone operators" to service the massive demand, which was not financially viable.
According to Blackburn, around three million calls were logged on 1 April, the day the tickets went on sale - with some 200 million redials. "This is really a story about the huge demand for Glastonbury," said Mr Blackburn.
[Source: BBC News]

Hang about... why would it have taken all those extra telephone operators? Surely to sell even the entire tranche of tickets over the phone would only have required at most 60,000, who could have each sold a pair of tickets at eight pm and then buggered off home. Blackburn seems to miss the point here - nobody is going to mind holding for a few minutes to get Glastonbury tickets; it was the sitting up for hours on end and not even getting "You're being held in a queue" which seemed to be hacking most people off - and to avoid that, you wouldn't need a single extra operator, just a bit more investment in the technology. Presumably, on Blackburn's basis, to avoid the poor performance of the website would have meant taking on three million people with computers. Is he trying to suggest that nobody knew the demand was going to be sky-high, what with there only being outlet for tickets this year, and the absolute insistence that there was no way tix were going to be allowed to be turning up on Ebay. (We wonder how much strain it would have taken off the system to have allowed that little steam release?) And if Seeticket doesn't feel able to bear the investment required to ensure that people's calls are answered fairly promptly, are they the most fit people to be selling Glastonbury tickets in the first place? We're also curious where his figures come from - "200 million redials"? How could you possibly begin to know how many times people hit their redial button?

Is it just us, or does someone who thinks 'Glastonbury tickets are much sought after' is a news story and 'Hundreds of thousands left frustrated by failure of ticket sales process' isn't, should perhaps consider if he's working in the right industry.

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