A solution to scalping?

June 30th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

There’s been outrage over people scalping Super 15 tickets on Trade Me. No practical way to stop this unless you require photo ID with tickets to get into events. Also making tickets non transferable means if you get sick or injured or the like, then your tickets are wasted and your seats go empty.

The basic “problem” is that there is a fixed supply, and high demand. The secondary market allows those who want to pay a premium to get to go, after missing out due to the vagaries of online booking systems.

Now one may say it is unfair that the scalpers make the money, rather than the sports code. This is true. So why not have the sporting code itself auction off some tickets?

Sell half the tickets at a fixed rate (so some fans can get to got for an affordable price), and auction off the remaining half with the top say 4,000 bids getting four tickets each?

Salient satire

March 18th, 2012 at 3:17 pm by David Farrar

Salient have kindly added me to their distribution list, and have just been reading their first few issues. Had a good laugh at a satirical article on Trevor Mallard’s scalping, which they have on their website also. An extract:

In a shocking turn of events, it has emerged that the sell-out sales to this week’s O-Week events was not due to popular student demand, but was rather the result of a new business venture by Labour Party politician and entrepreneur, Trevor Mallard MP.

Salient understands that the MP had bought all 1,000 tickets to the Mt Eden and Roots Manuva shows, set to be held as part of Victoria University’s O-Week 2012, in an attempt to scalp them on Trade me for a negligible to modest profit.

In a written statement to Salient, Mr. Mallard stated that the initiative was part of a broader fiscal scheme to bolster his personal income.

“The pay down at Parliament is bloody dire, to be honest,” he said.

“I mean, for fuck’s sake, what else was I meant to do?” …

In the face of these accusations, Mr. Mallard has refused to capitulate to demands to return the tickets to the student body, vowing to fill the venue himself.

“It’s a matter of honour now,” he said, “But it’s all good. I’ll bring my Parliament bros along. Trev and the boys can always bring the party!”

Mr. Mallard claims he may just be able to scrape together a half-capacity crowd. All he needs to do is round up in one room everyone who wanted Phil Goff to be Prime Minister.

Heh, very good. Even better was Michelle A’Court on the same topic Seven Days on Friday night. I won’t quote her exact words, but let’s just say it was very funny.

Scalpers unpopular

March 12th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Amelia Wade at NZ herald reports:

Sold-out tickets to boy band One Direction’s concerts are selling in online auctions for more than four times their face value.

But some Trade Me users are fighting back against the large profits and are sabotaging the auctions by placing large, “silly” bids with no intention of paying.

One mother of a disappointed 12-year-old girl who missed out on a ticket has questioned whether it’s fair that reselling Rugby World Cup tickets was illegal but reselling One Direction tickets is not.

Maybe she should raise the issue with the then Minister who introduced the anti-scalping law?

Of course there is a significant possibility that the former Minister is one of those buying up tickets to One Directions and onselling them for a profit to 12 year olds.

The $92 tickets for the three April shows in Auckland and Wellington sold out in minutes but within hours some had been listed on Trade Me. The bids have sky-rocketed as more tickets were listed. Last night there were almost 40 listings, with pairs of tickets costing as much as $735.

Do any of them have buy now prices? I understand they are very difficult to work out how to do.

Question 12

February 16th, 2012 at 6:44 pm by David Farrar

Enjoy it!

Helping Trevor out

February 16th, 2012 at 10:13 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Labour MP Trevor Mallard says he didn’t know how to set a “buy now” option on Trade Me – despite being a member since 2005 and on-selling tickets to Homegrown and the Wellington Sevens in the past.

Under fire for ticket scalping after selling four tickets to the sold-out Homegrown festival at a $276 profit, Mr Mallard told Radio Live this morning that he hadn’t been aware he could put a “buy now” price on the auction.

However, his TradeMe account shows he has been a member of the online auction site since 2005, and has sold plenty of tickets in the past.

Did not know how to set a buy now option? Really? Well in case Trevor needs a hand in future, I’m happy to assist.

If you are selling tickets to a concert on Trade Me, this is the screen you will see.

As is obvious, setting a buy now price is incredibly simple. You just enter the price you want in.

Mallard the scalper

February 16th, 2012 at 8:26 am by David Farrar

Jody O’Callaghan writes at Stuff:

Labour MP Trevor Mallard has been accused of scalping tickets to a Wellington music festival.

The tickets to Saturday’s sold-out Homegrown festival have a face value of $95 each.

Whitireia music student Laura Signal, 19, and her three friends were desperate to attend so they bid for four tickets on Trade Me, paying a final price of $656.

Miss Signal was surprised when the trader turned out to be the Hutt South MP, who used his parliamentary email address for the auction.

You wonder how Trevor finds the time to be an MP in-between cycling and scalping.

The students said they asked Mr Mallard about a “buy now” price during the auction, but he replied that he would let the auction run.

Some may condemn Trevor forcing poor struggling students to pay more, so that he makes a profit on top of his $170,000 or so parliamentary remuneration, but I think it is great to see a Labour MP show his commitment to free markets and  profits.

In November 2006, Mr Mallard initiated legislation – now the Major Events Management Act 2007 – to protect event sponsors from people making money out of major events with which they had no formal association.

He said at the time: “When there is bulk-buying of tickets to such events simply for the purpose of profiteering, scalping is a ripoff that could deny many people the opportunity to see an event.”

No, no, no. Scalping is not a rip off. What is wrong with a 60% return on capital?

Mr Mallard told The Dominion Post yesterday that the sale was neither scalping nor dodgy. He bought the tickets last year but now had another engagement.

“I’m slightly surprised if promoters with whom I spend several hundred dollars a year on tickets complain when I sell some I can’t use to someone who wants them using a Kiwi-based online auction.”

He listed the tickets at face value, but let the auction run above $500 because he “knew that they were worth more”.

I purchased ten tickets for the Sevens this year. Two people in our group pulled out a few days beforehand. I sold the tickets at face value via Facebook as I didn’t want to make money out of them – just get reimbursed for the cost.

He believed the students had breached his privacy by revealing him as the ticket trader.

Hmmn, threatening the students. Perhaps Trevor could specify what part of the Privacy Act he alleges they have breached?

The Herald story on the same issue finds Trevor also scalped tickets in 2009 and 2010 for the same event.

UPDATE: A thought has occurred to me. It is curious that for three of the last four years Trevor has been auctioning tickets for Homegrown on Trade Me. It is possible he does not in fact buy the tickets, but they are complementary tickets given to local MPs? Can any other local MPs clarify whether they get complementary tickets?


October 19th, 2009 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Goonix defends scalpers at TVHE:

Events in high demand that have limited capacity sell out. See for example the Wellington Sevens or Toast Martinborough, which sold out in three minutes and thirteen minutes respectively. These events sell out as demand far outstrips supply at the price that the seller sets. In other words, many of those purchasing the tickets would be willing to pay much more than they actually do pay in order to attend said event.

High demand events such as these are the capitalist world’s version of queuing for basic food items in a communist shit-hole. When buyers are unable to adequately express their willingness to pay, due to blunt ‘one-for-all’ pricing and an inability of the seller to price discriminate, shortage ensues.

Enter the scalper. Scalpers are typically demonised by the media in New Zealand. However, scalpers simply allow buyers to reveal their true willingness to pay. When a scalper auctions off a ticket on Trademe, buyers are able to pay exactly what they value their attendance at said event at. What ensues is the efficient allocation of resources – scarce resources are allocated to those that value them highest – an admirable economic goal. Contrast this with the lottery that is the current ‘log-in and hope’ method of ticket allocation. Rather than be vilified, scalpers should be commended for their actions that facilitate the clearing of the market!

Indeed, a commentator at the NBR goes further, calling scalpers “unsung entrepreneurs”. I tend to agree with this sentiment.

I can only agree also. My only restriction would be to limit how many tickets one can buy, so one company doesn’t buy up every ticker to resell them.

I wonder if the more efficient way might be to auction off tickets for events like the Sevens. People can bid for blocks of tickets and the highest bidders win.

Or, if there is some reasons you want to fix the maximum price, it would be better to have a proper lottery with random selection of those who want tickets at that price. That would be preferable to the nonsense of 100,000+ people all trying to buy tickets within 180 seconds online, and everything overloading.