If you have 8-year-old children in your home you know how difficult it is to get Hannah Montana tickets at the issued price of $63.00. Seats to her 54-date tour, kicking off in St Louis on 18 Oct 2007 have sold out in less than five minutes. Scalpers are getting four to five times that amount and outrageously on stubhub, eBay's newest marketplace for event tickets, the asking price (for some venues and seats) is $9,630 per ticket!!!???$%#*^%.
It happens that I have two granddaughters of that age and in order for me to get 4 tickets without paying scalpers I had to hire a few immigrants to get on computers and log in at exactly 10 A.M. on 29 Sep to buy tickets. We had about 30 people on different computers (to avoid coming in on the same IP address and thus getting blocked). Since the ticket sellers void any sales of more than 4 tickets paid with credit cards from the same billing address, I had arranged to use about half a dozen credit cards from friends and relatives to make any purchases. If the immigrant was lucky enough to score he had two minutes to put in a valid credit card number which he got by calling me on my cell. Luckily, in this manner we scored two sets of 4 tickets.
My older son, his wife and their two children will actually attend a concert so the other 4 tickets were put on sale and already sold for a tidy profit, even after paying the immigrants $10 each for 5 minutes work. So we got Hannah Montana Tickets not only for free but we made a little money.
Last October I reported on how I made money on purchasing a Sony PS3 by using immigrants. This time it was easier since there were no long waits on lines.
Now I only do this on a small scale just so I can buy a few tickets for personal use and make a small profit. But the Internet now makes possible the scalping of tickets on a massive scale. There are scalping companies out there who allegedly use bots,
Silicon Valley Insider,
5 Oct 2007,
Why Hannah Montana Should Sell $200 Tickets
The WSJ reports (1) on the fascinating court battle between IAC's Ticketmaster and RMG Technologies, a Pittsburgh company that runs TicketBrokerTools.com, a scalping/reselling service. IAC says RMG has created bots that can outsmart Ticketmaster's "captcha" boxes and allow it to buy up huge blocks of tickets. It then resells them at a steep markup. RMG says it's not using bots, but says what it is doing is perfectly legal.
There have been so many complaints from frustrated parents that some Attorneys General in various states are already looking into the matter:
The Tampa Bay Juice,
8 Oct 2007,
Ark. AG wants some Hannah Montana tix
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has demanded that five companies — Ticketliquidator.com, StubHub.com, Tickets-For-Events.com, TicketsNow.com and Gotickets.com — turn over documents concerning the Miley Cyrus show, Star reports.
The AG says he suspects that ticket brokers and resellers used newfangled computer software that blocked legitimate customers and allowed them to buy the lion’s share of stubs to the 54-date Best of Both Worlds Tour so they could scalp them at a premium. (A seller on eBay is currently offering four tickets in section 110, at the far end of the floor, to the Nov. 19 Tampa show for $2,795.)
8 Oct 2007,
Hannah Montana Ticket Uproar Prompts Lawsuits
Public outcry over the secondary market's impact on Hannah Montana ticket sales has spurred state attorneys general in Missouri, Arkansas and Pennsylvania to take action. ... Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon last week sued three ticket resellers on charges they violated state consumer protection laws. Also last week, Arkansas AG Dustin McDaniel said he was investigating resellers in that state, as is Pennsylvania AG Tom Corbett.
In one regard, there may be a silver lining to this imbroglio:
9 Oct 2007,
Scalpers vs Teenage Girls
But the Cyrus/Montana issue has spilled over into my world in a most unusual way. If you’ve tried to buy concert tickets over the past decade or so, you know the sad truth: the system is broken. Not just sort of not healthy, it’s downright broken. Ordinary concert-goers are finding it increasingly impossible to purchase decent seats at a ticket’s face value. The cost of buying a ticket has risen dramatically — in concert with the increase in cash flow for the core audience — but if you don’t get lucky and score those tickets within a minute of sale time, you’re either in the nosebleed section or paying inflated prices to scalp–er, ticket brokers.
And that’s not factoring in the outrageous "service charges” tacked on top of the ticket price. We really do need a concert-goers union.
While most of us have seethed quietly and a few of us have shouted to no avail, it seems the current Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana tour has done something nobody else could: raised awareness of the concert ticket problem. Millions of hysterical young girls have torn the roof (2) off the racket.
When a normal grownup finds that he cannot afford a ticket to the Superbowl he merely shrugs and gives up. But when a child is crying for Hannah Montana, some parents find they have to borrow from the college fund to pay thousands for 3 or 4 tickets to the concert. While a grownup usually will attend a concert event alone or with perhaps one friend or mate, parents have to buy two tickets for themselves and another one, two or even three for their children. This has resulted in a stampede that has made Hannah Montana tickets more expensive than tickets for the Police, Genesis, or anyone else out there.
So to answer the question in my article title: the supra-perfect storm has arrived:
- Today's children are, it seems, unaccustomed to disappointment
- the Parent/child dynamic where 2,3 or more tickets must be purchased
- scalping enterprises like StubHub are now mainstream
- Scalpers have a venue more sophisticated than merely waiting outside a theater
- Automated software that can bypass the captcha forms of ticket sellers
- It's a Disney show and one of their best
Wall Street Journal,
5 Oct 2007,
Hannah Montana Battles the Bots
Ticketing giant Ticketmaster is taking aim at what it says is a new obstacle for fans hoping to attend concerts by hot acts like Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen and Hannah Montana: computer software that enables brokers and scalpers to swarm the company's Web site and snap up tickets faster than consumers can.
IAC/InterActiveCorp's Ticketmaster earlier this year filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against RMG Technologies Inc., a small Pittsburgh-based company that runs TicketBrokerTools.com. According to papers filed with the lawsuit, RMG rents to scalpers software that can inundate Ticketmaster's computers with thousands of requests for seats, "in effect allowing them to cut in line," according to Joe Freeman, a Ticketmaster vice president.
Last month, Ticketmaster filed a motion for a preliminary injunction that would prohibit RMG from selling such software; Judge Audrey B. Collins is expected to rule on the motion this month.
'Hannah Montana' stirs a U.S. tizzy
There's been parental panic in Portland, Ore., severe tropical depression in Tampa, Fla., and a mad scramble in Minneapolis. There was so much outrage among families in Little Rock that the Arkansas attorney general promised a swift investigation, as did his counterpart in Missouri after seeing the dust-up in Kansas City.
All over the country, little girls are crying that they want -- they need -- tickets to see their idol, a 14-year-old named Miley Cyrus (a.k.a. Hannah Montana) in concert, and from coast to coast that has pushed mommies and daddies to extreme measures. That's why some scalpers and brokers are asking for as much as $3,000 a ticket, politicians have been staging news conferences and Ticketmaster officials have been ducking for cover.