10/12/2005

Standing in ZOO Station...without a ticket

My column in the Herald about missing out on U2 tickets and the subsequent scalping of the tickets on Trademe.co.nz provoked a mixed bag of replies. A lot of fans are bitter at Ticketmaster, the ticketing company handling the two gigs to be held on March the 17th and 18th.

I can understand their frustration at missing out on the tickets but get real folks, U2 is the best band in the world, they're only here for a few days, they'll play their gigs, pack up their jumbo jets and leave 75,000 happy, concert-going fans behind. Tough luck to everyone who missed out and the best ticketing systems in the world won't magically increase the size of the rat shit, accoustically challenged Ericsson stadium.

As one poster on Trademe rightly said: "Dry your eyes and buy a CD". I couldn't agree more. If you haven't got it already, get yourself a copy of Achtung Baby, U2's early nineties swerve towards hard rock and electronica. It's their best album. Also check out The Unforgettable Fire, the album that confirmed U2's trademark sound.

I managed to score a standing ticket of a mate who waited outside Real Groovy all night so I'll make it to the gig after all. St. Patrick's day 2006 is going to be one huge party!


From Simon:

I take your points about the 'free market' vis a vis TradeMe, but isn't there a serious flaw in the Ticketmaster system if so many people can be so easily disappointed? Sure, one could argue that 38,000 weren't disappointed but like yourself (and everyone I've spoken to) I wasted a day trying to book online, by phone, and in person -- and still no ticket. Why do Ticketmaster insist on saying their system did not crash? Is it to protect themselves when rivals Ticketek pitch for the next big concert? How can the system have not failed if even the Post Shops could not sell tickets at 9.15am? If Ticketmaster want to 'throttle' the sytsem why don't they just make ALL tickets available through the Eketahuna Post Office only?

I appreciate you're just the IT guy @ the Herald, but really ... there's a story here somewhere - but the media aren't chasing it. If there was nothing wrong with the Ticketmaster system why are they waiting a whole week to put the second concert on-sale? If tickets went on sale the following day they could have capitalised on all the disappointed punters and dealt to the scalpers at the same time.

Maybe it's Coppel selling those tickets on TradeMe ...!?!


From Steve:

So how much are you willing to pay for a ticket? I've got mine! :-)

Just in relation to your story, I believe the ticketmaster site failed miserably under the load. Since NZ and Aussie are the same site the NZ site was completely inaccessible for the rest of the day when Aussietickets went on sale. I managed to get my tickets online at 0940 after40 mins of trying but even that was a bad experience - after I got through I had a page pop up giving me ticket options and had no imagesload obviously due to the heavy load.

Because their stupid web designerdidn't use any for their images I guessed that one of the nonexistant images was the one for continue and then got a page which gaveme seat numbers and then booted me out. I then got a confirmation emailabout a minute later so was grateful that I did have tickets but it was10pm at night before I could actually get into the 'check my order' partof the site to actually confirm I did have tickets and to find out myseat numbers despite having tried probably 100 times throughout the dayand early evening. Once you are in the booking system itself thereshould be sufficient bandwidth for me to actually use the site properly,this was definitely not the case.

While I'm a bit of a geek I'm no expert on web site loading but it's obvious their system seriously struggled under the load and had poordesign from the start - you couldn't even log onto the site or create anaccount, the main booking part of the site should be on a different boxthat at least allows access to the ticketmaster main site which wasoverloaded as well.

I guess you can't expect much however running a siteon Microsoft Software and ASP - maybe they should be looking at Linux alternatives for a database backend! It was also interesting to see NZ Post failed so miserably as well, do you actually know how their systems are interfaced to ticketmaster? Howcome so many post shops said all their tickets were sold and thensuddenly got new allocations?

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