Ticketing Meltdown for ’08 Beijing Olympics

Yeah, I know I am weeks late writing about this, and I’ve even written about other things in the mean time…. Well, sorry, but this one just kind of kept getting pushed back, unfortunate ’cause it’s important!
Ticketmaster had a meltdown when they recently put tickets on-sale for the summer 2008 Beijing Olympics. There have been a number of articles about it (ValleyWag.com, News.com, Wall Street Journal). In the end, they had to suspend the on-sale because it appears that the servers couldn’t handle the glut of requests….
Why would they have a meltdown you wonder, in this day and age of huge server farms, etc. why would they not be able to handle the volume…? Well, I guess that it wasn’t the front end, the web service/interface, that had the problem. The Ticketmaster system is a hodgepodge of old and new. While the web interface and all the fancy stuff runs well, runs on the front-end and does so on relatively new technology and servers… the “host system” which is the actual ticketing software (or at least the meat and potatoes of it) is where the bottle neck happened.
Don’t get me wrong, the Ticketmaster host system is an amazing thing for what it does and for it’s age. The bottle neck, if it was even caused at this point, was in no part due to the host handling transactions, i am guessing it was about “user” capacity to get on the host system. The one weakness that I could think of in this type of situation is the host not being able to handle that many “users” concurrently….. ah, legacy systems :-)!
They will get it figured out I’m sure… or if not, they will find a work-around. Until then, I’ll keep writing and telling you my thoughts, until I finally get around to doing ticketing “right” and developing a new system and even more importantly, business model for ticketing :-)!!!

Under the Heading… “Good Luck, But Don’t Hold Your Breath!”

So I am reading the usual sources today and I come across this article at News.com. It’s about a group in the U.K. that wants to share in concert ticket re-sale revenue. Basically, they want a cut from the broker/secondary/scalper market…. Good luck :-)!
This is a market, while despised and not giving back to the artist/group/promoter, they really aren’t doing anything that is illegal. And when they change the law, they find a way to work within it to still achieve their end results.
Both sides do make valid arguments however, and I find myself in agreement with both…. The Harry Potter book example I can identify with, but then again, tickets aren’t a right, it’s the rental of that seat space. Not to mention that there is often fine-print “legalese” that puts limits on what can be done with the ticket: Not for re-sale unless through an authorized agent, Not for promotional use, Not responsible for injury or harm, etc…..
So what are these promoter/venue people thinking? They’ll just walk up and ask nice for a piece of the profit and the secondary market will gladly hand it over…? If you really want to change the way the ticketing business works and to bring profits back in-line for those that are out there taking the risks (artists/groups/promoters/venues), it’s not about how they can grab money from others, it’s about how the business models can change.
In the world of ticketing, there is a way to make it a much larger profit center for the risk takers mentioned. They will have to have some faith and take a bit of risk too, on a new company, but it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before and in return for that, they will have a much higher income stream from ticketing….
Now I just have to find someone to fund my ticketing company idea so that we can provide the service that will help all of these promoters/venues…. 🙂