Monday, February 23, 2009

Semi-professional touting

The Concert Promoters Association are anti-touts. They don't think you should be able to sell on tickets you've come into legitimately. And the wanted the government to crack down and stop people making money out of flogging tickets on.

The government said no, so the CPA have suddenly decided they're going to make money from flogging tickets on.

They've launched a website which will allow purchase of second-hand tickets with a degree of confidence. It's called, and if you want to sell a ticket, you'll be called upon to provide enough details to allow the concert promoter to say "that's fine". And, if things do go wrong, the CPA have some vague promise about recompense:

In the event that a buyer is let down by a seller, the CPA says attempts will be made to get the fan into the gig anyway or offer a 100 per cent refund.

And you can see what makes it attractive to the CPA - offering a safe, guaranteed space for ticket resale will presumably make it harder for the bad guys to thrive. A site with guarantees - what possible disincentive could there be for honest chaps to sell their tickets through it, making it clear that any other sites offering tickets must be slightly dodgy?
The new website, called, will operate "at cost" rather than "for profit" and will charge a 12.5 per cent booking fee to the buyer - whilst it's free for the seller.

Ah, a massive mark-up. "If you want to sell your tickets here, they'll appear to be massively inflated compared with other sites." That's quite a pitch.

How, incidentally, have the CPA come up with this hefty mark-up as being "at cost"? And how can a percentage amount dumped on top of the ticket be costs-based? Surely the cost of processing a £10 ticket is the same as the cost of processing a £100 ticket? Or does the extra key stroke really put that much strain on the system?

Presumably an element of this money must be getting earmarked to provide refunds - but that seems morally questionable, in the sense that the money is coming explicitly from the purchaser and not the seller: in effect, it's forcing customers to insure the guarantee that CPA is providing. And not costing the seller a bean, despite the seller being the weak link in the chain.

Not quite sure how the CPA plans to make this sort-of-legitimate system work with photo ids and mobile phone tickets and all the other paraphernalia of proposals floating about.

Or, indeed, how the CPA can continue to offer a resale service while printing "not transferable" on gig tickets - isn't that a little like the US government selling peanuts and cocktail napkins during prohibition.