If users speak “Kelly Clarkson tour” into their voice remote, they’re sent to a dedicated Kelly Clarkson destination (which, surprisingly, isn’t a purgatory of bland pop power ballads).To be clear, customers can’t actually complete an order using the voice tool. Instead they can get set to this destination where they will receive a prompt to buy tickets and then opt in to receive a text with a code that will enable them to buy tickets online. If that sounds like an incredibly circuitous and unwieldy process to find tickets to concerts nearby for artists someone likes, that’s because it is.
Ticketing titan Ticketmaster has responded to the anti-competition lawsuit initiated by rival StubHub, callling the case “baseless” and entirely “without merit.” News emerged yesterday that eBay-owned StubHub was taking action to stop what it calls “unfair and illegal anti-competitive business practices that prevent fans from deciding how they want to resell their tickets and which artificially drive up ticket prices.” The problem, according to StubHub, is that NBA basketball team the Golden State Warriors has inked an exclusive deal to push Ticketmaster as the official secondary ticketing platform, where fans who can no longer attend a game can sell their tickets. That in itself is fine, but StubHub says that the Ticketmaster and the Golden State Warriors have issued warnings and cancelled some fans’ tickets who have elected to use StubHub and “other competitive exchanges” to shift tickets they no longer require. “Ticketmaster and the Warriors’ front office broke the law by unlawfully threatening fans with cancellation to force them to use Ticketmaster’s resale exchange exclusively,” part of the complaint read. In response, Jared Smith, president of Ticketmaster in North America, denies that Ticketmaster has forced any customer to use a particular platform to resell tickets — and he even has a dig at StubHub, aligning the secondary-ticketing platform with scalpers and fraudsters. “We are disappointed that StubHub has filed a baseless lawsuit that asks the courts to help prop up its business against true fan-friendly competition,” says Smith, in a statement obtained by VentureBeat. “NBA teams like the Golden State Warriors have implemented ticket exchanges powered by Ticketmaster because they want ticket resale to be a secure experience, not an opportunity for scalping and fraud. The exchanges are growing in popularity because Ticketmaster and its partners have worked hard to make ticket resale much safer and more transparent, uniquely serving true fans. Ticketmaster does not force any customer to resell tickets on any particular platform and will vigorously defend these specious charges.” It’s interesting that Ticketmaster has specifically denied that it hasn’t forced any customer to use its own platform to resell tickets, rather than pointing to any contractual obligation that may stipulate that fans must use Ticketmaster to sell unwanted tickets. This perhaps partly acknowledges that if any such “forceful” actions had taken place, that it may indeed be in breach of anti-competition laws. But it also serves to direct any existing blame back towards the NBA team itself, which will have to issue a separate rebuttal of StubHub’s allegations itself.
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Stubhub, the eBay-owned secondary ticket marketplace for live events, has announced that it’s filing a lawsuit against fellow ticketing company Ticketmaster and NBA basketball team the Golden State Warriors. The suit seeks to stop “unfair and illegal anti-competitive business practices that prevent fans from deciding how they want to resell their tickets and which artificially drive up ticket prices,” according to the Stubhub statement. As the official primary and secondary ticketing partner of the NBA since 2007, Ticketmaster has tighty aligned itself with U.S. basketball for a while already. But it’s the secondary element to the deal that is key here — it means that basketball fans who buy tickets on Ticketmaster but subsequently can’t attend the game, can sell their tickets through the team’s website using Ticketmaster’s Ticketexchange service. Founded out of San Francisco in 2000 by former Stanford Business School students and investment bankers, Stubhub became a major force in the online ticketing space throughout the noughties, which led to its acquisition by eBay in a $310 million deal back in 2007. Its core raison d’être is the “secondary” market — a place for people to resell tickets to any live events. While Stubhub is used legitimately by people to reclaim their money for events they can no longer attend, it has also garnered a reputation as a platform for scalpers — ABC recently said it has become the “ticket scalper of the digital age, the ultimate middleman to shake up the way people interact to buy and sell tickets to almost any concert, theater performance or sporting event.” And this is where the crux of the problem sits for Stubhub in its gripe against Ticketmaster and Golden State Warriors. As per the lawsuit, which you can read in full here, Ticketmaster and the Golden State Warriors cancelled fans’ season tickets and playoff-game tickets when they elected to use Stubhub and “other competitive exchanges” to resell their tickets. “Ticketmaster and the Warriors’ front office broke the law by unlawfully threatening fans with cancellation to force them to use Ticketmaster’s resale exchange exclusively,” the complaint reads. In effect, Stubhub is accusing Ticketmaster of being monopolistic — and this isn’t the first time such accusations have been levied against Ticketmaster. Before its merger with venue operator Live Nation, many bodies voiced their concern that it would reduce competition, and also lead to Ticketmaster favoring Live Nation venues over ones that elect to use alternative ticketing companies. Such actions were forbidden, however, as part of the eventual green light this deal was given in 2010.
It will be interestig to see how this one plays out. On the one hand, the Golden State Warriors does have an exclusive secondary ticketing deal with Ticketmaster, but on the other Stubhub points to anti-competition law which it says is being broken here. It’s likely there will be many more twists and turns before this arrives at an amicable conclusion.
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After acquiring Belgian ticketing company Sherpa.be yesterday, Ticketmaster has bought one more: Eventjoy, a little startup that provides do-it-yourself tools for event organizers. Although it’s joining Ticketmaster, the company will continue to operate and support its products. In its announcement, Eventjoy writes:
Back by Y Combinator, Eventjoy built a mobile-first suite of tools for event organizers that includes online ticketing, event websites, event mobile apps (iOS and Android), analytics, social media, and attendee communications. It’s bit like a cross between Eventbrite and Bizzabo, if you will. In turn, the custom websites and apps that Evenjoy creates can make an event’s experience much more enjoyable for attendees as they can find maps, agendas, and so on from a quick and easy point of access. They can also communicate with other attendees. Eventjoy got its start during a Startup Weekend, and after catching that organization’s attention, was subsequently used for 14 Startup Weekend events. Eventjoy was founded by Karl White and Todd Goldberg, and is based in Menlo Park, Calif. It participated in Y Combinator’s Winter 2014 batch.
With this partnership, we’ll have access to more resources so we can develop Eventjoy even faster and empower a larger number of people to put on their own events.
So what does this mean for you? You’ll have more tools and an even better product to organize and experience amazing events. We’re going to continue focusing on building a mobile and social events platform and are excited for you to continue along with us throughout the journey.
<a href="https://gigaom.com/2014/07/29/the-story-of-livenation-labs-how-the-event-giant-got-its-very-own-startup-to-prep-for-musics-future/?utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&%23038;utm_campaign=feed">Continue reading…</a>.
Ticketmaster has a new challenger in Canada. U.S. ticketing platform Ticketfly today entered its first international market by striking a deal with Canada’s largest independent concert promotion company Union Events, and acquiring Canadian ticketer Prime Box Office. Ticketfly’s CEO and co-founder tells me the moves will bring lower service fees and better tech to Canadian ticket buying.
Ticketfly’s platform provides venues and concert promoters with a stable platform for selling tickets that can handle huge traffic spikes when popular shows go on sale. It also lets them cheaply market their shows on multiple social networks simultaneously and monitor analytics to make sure their concerts sell out.
The startup was co-founded by Dreskin who previously started TicketWeb, built it into a serious U.S. player, and then sold it to Ticketmaster. Now he’s back at it with Ticketfly, and is relying on efficient software to go head to head with his old employer. Ticketfly grew its total funding to $37 million by recently raising a $22 million Series C to enter the sports ticketing market, prep for an IPO, and pay for its expansion beyond the United States.
Dreskin says “We’re certainly interested in international. Canada is a logical first step.” When pressed where it might look next, Dreskin said there was room in South America and Asia but declined to lay out a roadmap, noting “We’re examining all international opportunities.”
Handling ticketing for Union Events, one of the world’s top 50 concert promoters and the largest independently-owned one in Canada, will certainly get Ticketfly’s foot in the door. The Calgary-headquartered company has a solid presence in the rock and dance music scenes. Ticketfly has also partnered with another promoter, Toronto’s Collective Concerts, who handles all of top Canuck band Arcade Fire’s Canadian shows.
Union Events’ director Harvey Cohen says “Ticketfly’s integrated platform and detailed analytics help us to save time, better market our events and sell more tickets.”
To bolster its connections with venues in Canada, Ticketfly also acquired regional Calgary ticketing company Prime Box Office. Its president Greg Stephenson is now Ticketfly’s director of sales for Alberta. Also joining the Ticketfly team is Bruce Morrison, former head of sales for prestigious Toronto venue the Sony Centre For The Performing Arts.
Despite Canada being a highly wired nation active on social networks who will buy and share tickets online, Ticketfly has a tough road ahead. Dreskin admits Ticketmaster is a “well-entrenched incumbent competitor.” He says convincing venues to go with Ticketfly’s software which he considers more modern and flexible “will be a process of education.” Ticketmaster’s long venue contracts and connections to musicians through Live Nation Entertainment who it merged with 2010 make it hard to disrupt.
Ticketfly has one weapon for winning the hearts and minds of Canadians, though. Dreskin says “The service fees for Union Events and Collective Concerts will both be cheaper than they were before.”
Ticketmaster could get away with high service fees because it’s one of the few ticketing options for huge venues, but not anymore. Ticketfly can now power sales for any reserved seating venue, not just general admission shows, with today’s relaunch of its ticketing platform. Considering 70% of advanced event ticket sales in North America are for reserved seats, this triples Ticketfly’s addressable market.
Along with the freedom to ditch Ticketmaster, Ticketfly’s social tools for efficiently marketing tickets on Facebook and Twitter are now available to concert halls, arenas, and sports stadiums that are too big for GA free-for-alls. And this could all mean lower ticket service fees for you.
Ticketfly considers itself a software company first — and a high-performing and fast-growing one at that. The 500 venues it powers saw a 17% increase in their tickets sold last year compared to the industry average of 3% growth. It doubled its client base in 2011 and is up another 65% so far in 2012 with only around 100 employees.
The Ticketfly software-as-a-service lets venues quickly map out a visual model of their general admission or reserved seat floor plans. Venue managers can set different prices and whether fans can pick their seats or only buy the “best available, and instantly put their show up for sale on stable platform that won’t crash when hundreds of thousands of people rush to purchase Radiohead, Lady Gaga, or Rolling Stones tickets.
Rather than having to rebuild their seat map for each show, venues can reuse templates. Ticketfly clients can also edit prices and add seats on the fly (har har). For comparison, Ticketfly’s co-founder and CEO Andrew Dreskin says his competitor Ticketmaster’s platform takes days to create an event, and venues have to start from scratch to change prices and seating options. I’m awaiting a response from Ticketmaster on that claim, though Dreskin should have good insight considering he sold his last company Ticketweb to Ticketmaster a few years ago.
Reserved venues that partner with Ticketfly and pay it a fee per ticket will also get access to its social marketing tools. These let venues automatically create Facebook events for their shows, schedule tweets to promote them, and quickly generate email marketing blasts.
The Facebook integration includes deep hooks into Facebook’s Open Graph so a user can automatically RSVP to the Facebook event, publish to the Ticker and Timeline that they’re attending, or Like artists on the bill. Ticketfly clients also get analytics about which channels are driving sales so they can spend their marketing dollars in the right place.
Ticketfly still has a lot of work to do. It can’t handle season ticket sales, ticket subscriptions, or donations which it will need to serve performing arts and sports events. It also lacks Ticketmaster’s awesome concert recommendations based on your Spotify and other music streaming listening habits. And it doesn’t yet allow buyers to see where their friends are sitting so they can buy seats next to them, which you can do on Ticketmaster. Expect that in an upcoming Ticketfly product update, though.
It’s going to be an uphill battle to displace the domineering Live Nation / Ticketmaster. Most huge venues have signed three year contracts with Ticketmaster, so Ticketfly will only get a shot to steal 1/3 of them away each year. But if it can focus on efficiency, affordable rates, and powerful marketing tools that let venues sell more tickets at lower prices, event promoters will hopefully pass the savings on to their customers. It might even force its Ticketmaster to lower its fees to compete.
So if you don’t feel gouged the next time you buy a concert ticket, you can thank technology!
Media issues like advertising and discovery along with commerce dominated the activity in social and real-time Web technologies during the first quarter of 2012. Google raised some hackles, Facebook responded to demands from traditional advertisers, and Yahoo got a new chief executive. The quarter also saw Pinterest, the newest social media star, showing signs of staying power; it is starting to be a force in content discovery. This report examines these trends and more, as well as provides a near-term outlook for the next 12 to 18 months.
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Facebook is testing a pilot program that allows participating advertisers to sponsor open graph actions and use them in sponsored story-type ads.
We’d gotten a tip about this yesterday from Eti Suruzon, vice president of media at Blink. Ticker stories about Pinterest included an arrow that only needed to be hovered over to open a window featuring the link her friend.
Right now, advertisers currently can only use user-initiated actions on their pages, applications, or local business places. But if the pilot program expands, it creates opportunities such as bands sponsoring when Facebook users listen to their songs, or TV studios sponsoring viewings of their fare on Hulu and Netflix.
Online ticketing service ScoreBig will use “save” and “made an offer” as its action verbs, and its vice president of products, Laura Goldberg, told VatorNews:
This new open graph function is a very exciting opportunity. It really brings social commerce and social events right onto a social platform, which adds to the experience.
Readers: Have you seen any ads that incorporate open graph actions?
We asked Wade Gerten, chief executive officer of 8thBridge, about its ticketing application developed in partnership with Ticketmaster for timeline.
A fair amount of the stuff announced last night isn’t showing up in the right-hand column of our timelines yet. Can you point us toward some live action in your app?
Everything we announced is live already. Users who click on the “I want to go” action will see a story show up in the timeline if its a relevant event.
Only the most interesting activities that you share with your friends will become a part of your timeline.
I noticed this morning that I already have a “recent activity” update on my timeline that reported all of the Ticketmaster concerts I was interested in last night after the launch.
How many tickets have sold in the new actions since the announcement?
The number of users on the Ticketmaster application has been growing rapidly all day today since last night’s launch but we don’t share sales numbers.
The goal of launching the social ticketing app on Facebook is not just to drive sale transactions on Facebook.com. We expect many people will still buy their tickets on Ticketmaster.com.
The real value of social commerce is to make it easier for people to share and discover offers with their friends and for a brand to become part of your identity.
In Ticketmaster’s case, the number one way we discover new music or find out about upcoming concerts is through our friends. You’re now far less likely to miss your favorite band next time they come to town!
Thousands of people have already added their concert interests and activity to their Facebook timeline because the bands you follow and the music you listen to help to define your identity.
Your timeline is a digital presentation of your life story. Brands like Ticketmaster have an incredible opportunity to literally become a more important part of someone’s lifestory.
E-commerce has proven to be very convenient but it just hasn’t become meaningful or pleasurable. Social commerce changes all that and promises to drive online revenue to a level that ecommerce alone has been able to achieve on its own.
What options do you offer for people to limit whether and to what extent ticketing actions go out to news feeds?
We’ve been super careful to make sure users understand what is being shared. It starts with the initial opt-in when you connect to the app. When you purchase a ticket we remind you that a story has been published and give you a one-click way to remove the story from Facebook.
How much of an increase in ticketing do you expect to see as a result of these new actions?
The ability to indicate “I want to go” or “I bought tickets” is geared to spur more sales as Facebook friends connect on the shows they want to attend and the shows they have purchased tickets.
Historically, the best weapon in a tour’s arsenal has always been positive word of mouth so we’re confident this will drive sales.
What else do you want to tell AllFacebook readers about the new 8thBridge and Ticketmaster actions?
This was 8thBridge’s beta launch of our new Open Graph-integrated social commerce platform, code-named Graphite.
We’re excited about the opportunity timeline and the Open Graph represent for social commerce for three reasons:
- It gives 8thBridge and other developers a way to create valuable social commerce applications that can run in any channel, not just on Facebook. In fact, most of the merchants in our next wave of go-lives are implementing Open Graph actions on their websites first where most of their current traffic is.
- It gives people an easier and more specific way to express how they feel about a brand, products, or offers with their friends. This will unleash far more advocacy and sharing than we’ve seen to-date.
- It gives merchants an opportunity to use the generated social graph data to better personalize the shopping experience. The Ticketmaster example is superb because we’re recommending concerts to you based on music you and your friends are listening to on Spotify and other social graph data.
At the end of the day, our online shopping experience is going to dramatically improve in the coming months by introducing people at the center of ecommerce instead a web page or a product catalog.