Published: Thu, September 20, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Ticketmaster Has Its Own Secret Scalping Program, Canadian Journalists Report

Ticketmaster Has Its Own Secret Scalping Program, Canadian Journalists Report

According to an undercover investigative report conducted by CBC News and Toronto Star, Ticketmaster knowingly operates an approved secondary seller market within its own company with the aim of doubling or tripling its own profits.

Reporters from the Star and CBC, posing as small-time scalpers from Canada, listened as sales staff pitched a proprietary Ticketmaster software program created to help bulk buyers resell thousands of tickets.

Another benefit of Trade Desk is that it means they can have as many accounts as they want to purchase these tickets. That's where they found Ticketmaster representatives appearing to pitch a company-owned resale platform used by ticket scalpers.

"I'm hoping from an investigation like this, we're really bringing transparency so that people could look at this and ask whether this is right, moral, ethical, legal", Seglins said.

The system allows Ticketmaster to collect two fees from the tickets it sells: the first comes from selling to the scalpers, while the second is from the inflated resale price.

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Ticketmaster says that as long as there is an imbalance between supply and demand in live event tickets, "there will inevitably be a secondary market". The software is not listed anywhere on Ticketmaster's website.

Casey Klein, Ticketmaster Resale director, held a session that was closed to the media called "We appreciate your partnership: More brokers are listing with Ticketmaster than ever before".

A presenter said the company's resale division does not police TradeDesk users using bots and fake identities to skirt ticket buying limits, despite having a "buyer abuse" division charged with monitoring suspicious online activity and the act being in direct violation of the company's terms of use.

"We've spent millions of dollars on this tool". For example, the CBC writes, "As scalpers hit milestones such as $500,000 or $1 million in annual sales, Ticketmaster will knock a percentage point off its fees". For Ticketmaster, this market is "particularly lucrative", CBC reported. West Hollywood-based Ticketmaster told the Canadian news outlets that it operated its ticketing marketplace more transparently and securely than any other company. Live Nation agreed to pay ticketing company Songkick $110 million and to buy some of its assets, including an anti-scalping algorithm.

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