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Couldn’t get BTS tickets? Maybe blame the bots swarming Ticketmaster and other sites

Couldn’t get BTS tickets? Maybe blame the bots swarming Ticketmaster and other sites
[Photo: Rachel Lynette French/Unsplash]

If you have ever tried to get tickets to see BTS on tour–or Bikini Kill or The National or Bruce Springsteen—you probably know the pain and frustration of not being able to give Ticketmaster your money. As fans know, even if you log in the second tickets go on sale, there’s a good chance the entire stadium is already sold out.

According to a new report, the culprits are not just fans with faster fingers, but bots, buying up tickets to jack up the price for the resale market.

The report from Distil Networks, which is, naturally, a bot mitigation company, released an in-depth study into the impact of bots on the ticketing industry. Its research team analyzed 26.3 billion requests from 180 domains between September and December 2018, and found that nearly 40% of traffic flooding ticket purchasing sites is from bots. These clever bots, frequently featuring human-like characteristics that help them evade detection by bot filters, are sent out by ticket brokers and scalpers, but also reportedly hospitality agencies eager to give their loyalty program members tickets to in-demand shows.

The result of that army of bots is denial of inventory, spinning, and scalping, scraping seat map inventory, fan account takeover, and fraud, impacting not only the fans but the integrity of ticketing websites.

The report also found a prominence of ticketing bots in the United States, despite legislative action (the BOTS Act) and growing pressure from artists to intervene.

A few other interesting facts, before you read the full report here.

  • 78% of bots on ticketing websites are classified as sophisticated or moderately sophisticated, with more human-like characteristics that often evade detection.
  • 85% of the ticketing bots originated in North America.
  • 42.4% of bad bots use Google’s Chrome to do their work.
  • Primary markets have a higher volume of bot traffic (42.2%), compared to secondary markets (23.9%) and venues (26.5%).
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