Ticketmaster Reportedly Profiting from Mass ‘Scalping Program’
The Toronto Star (Canada) newspaper reported on recently that Ticketmaster has developed a secret tool called TradeDesk used to assist professional ticket scalpers in selling tickets. A clear violation of Ticketmaster’s own terms and conditions, this program is reportedly running a high profit for the ticket-selling giant.
Two journalists with the Toronto Star went undercover with hidden cameras and posed as professional scalpers at the Ticket Summit 2018 convention held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The footage obtained by the journalists shows a TradeDesk representative boasting that some of his colleagues are operating with “literally a couple of hundred” Ticketmaster accounts used to purchase tickets for reselling.
Scalpers are reportedly creating numerous fake accounts to purchase tickets in bulk since Ticketmaster limits the number of tickets one account can purchase. Those tickets are then flipped on TradeDesk, where they are sold at inflated prices to customers. Ticketmaster can then make money off the fees of the initial ticket sale and the resold ticket.
According to the report, a Ticketmaster employee says that over 100 resellers are currently utilizing TradeDesk to sell anywhere from a few thousand to over one million tickets per year. One representative said, “I think our biggest broker right now has probably grabbed around five million.”
A document made public from the investigation says that Ticketmaster even has a handbook for resellers, outlining a detailed reward system. 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.” This entire process is reportedly extremely lucrative for Ticketmaster. The Star writes, “For example, if Ticketmaster collects $25.75 on a $209.50 ticket on the initial sale, when the owner posts it for resale for $400 on the site, the company stands to collect an additional $76 on the same ticket.”
Ticketmaster released a statement denying these allegations, stating: “Ticketmaster’s Seller Code of Conduct specifically prohibits resellers from purchasing tickets that exceed the posted ticket limit for an event. In addition, our policy also prohibits the creation of fictitious user accounts for the purpose of circumventing ticket limit detection in order to amass tickets intended for resale.”
As for participating in validating TradeDesk accounts created to resell bulk amount of tickets, the company stated: “ We do not condone the statements made by the employee as the conduct described clearly violates our terms of service,” before adding they will be “putting additional measures in place to proactively monitor for this type of inappropriate activity.”