Concerts and other ticketed events are slowly reopening after being closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, but the ever-annoying bots that eat up the tickets before anybody else can get them are also slowly reopening.
People on the internet have begun to notice that bots used by scalpers to acquire tickets and resale them for a huge profit are reappearing, coinciding with people being able to attend various events such as concerts, performances, and sporting events.
Fans of Big Time Rush look to be the latest victims of ticket bots.
After the Nickelodeon band’s tickets were snapped up in seconds, many of adults have found themselves unable to fully recapture their childhood. Fans apparently waited in hour-long lineups only to discover that the only tickets left were ones that were being resold for hundreds of dollars more than the initial price.
Alexis Vigario expressed her idea on why no one, including herself, could seem to secure a Big Time Rush ticket in a now-viral TikTok. The explanation was obvious to Vigario: bots.
“Despite the limited number of tickets available, every resale website has a large number of them. It’s almost as if a group of bots went in, bought eight tickets per section because that’s the maximum, and then sold them for a 700% markup,” Vigario stated on TikTok.
Vigario’s tale isn’t unique. Fans of Harry Styles complained on Twitter in 2019 that bots were purchasing presale tickets on Ticketmaster. Fans wondered if the site’s rigorous verification process was more difficult for actual users than it was for the scalper bots it was supposed to stop.
So, do the bots have unrestricted access to boy band fans? In a technical sense, no.
What is means by BOTS Act?
There is a mechanism in place to stop ticket bots in theory.
The Better Online Ticket Sales Act (BOTS Act) was passed in 2016. It was made illegal to “circumvent a security measure, access control system, or other technological control or measure on an Internet website or online service that is used by the ticket issuer to enforce posted event ticket purchasing limits or to maintain the integrity of posted online ticket purchasing order rules” under this act.
Using credit cards to purchase and resale tickets is also illegal.
The act was signed “in the hope that the Federal Trade Commission will utilise its new authority to bring to heel the high-tech scoundrels who bedevil people seeking tickets to live events,” said FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter earlier this year.
Despite the fact that the BOTS Act has been around for a long time, no one has been charged until recently.
The usage of bots isn’t the only example of this behaviour. Using fictitious names, IP addresses, or numerous identities.
The FTC settled a complaint under the BOTS legislation in late January, fining three New York ticket brokers a whopping $31 million for allegedly using bots to buy and resell over 150,000 tickets.
The FTC claimed the three ticket brokers broke the law in a number of ways, including using automated ticket-buying software to search for and reserve tickets, creating “hundreds” of fake Ticketmaster accounts and credit cards, and concealing IP addresses with software, according to a somewhat sassy blog post.
Despite the fact that it has only been used once, it is likely to be used again soon. Bots’ strategies for scraping tickets have altered, and customers may be willing to pay on third-party websites after waiting more than a year to witness live events due to the pandemic.
“We used to see niche groups of people focusing on niche groups of things… but now we see that they may focus on things that aren’t that niche and make a lot of money. And that, for us, is the true switch.” In February, Thomas Platt, the head of ecommerce at the cybersecurity firm Netacea, told Wired.
The FTC did not respond to a Daily Dot request for comment on how the BOTS Act will be enforced in the future, especially with additional occurrences occurring after a halt during the peak of the pandemic.
The FTC action, on the other hand, appears to be sending a clear message: breaking the BOTS Act can result in a fine that is greater than the value of scalped Big Time Rush tickets.