Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Some one else replies

Here's some tips and an perhaps a better explanatin of what happened.

To begin with, your PC probably wasn't set to exactly the same time as the Ticketmaster server. So at 10am on your PC it may have only been 9:59:59am on Ticketmaster's servers.

Tip 1 - You should have just refreshed the Leonard Cohen / Paramount Theater event page.- - You wasted valuable seconds navigating back to the home page, through the search pages and then back to the event page.

At the same time you were looking for tickets, so were a couple of thousand other customers. Lets assume that the Paramount Theater holds 3000 people and that all 3000 seats were available for sale at 10am

If you assume that most people wanted to go with a friend to the show, that means there were 1500 people that were going to be successful in purchasing 2 tickets each.

At exactly 10:00am on Ticketmaster's servers, 2000 people refreshed the page and asked for the best 2 seats available. 1500 people got 2 tickets each and 500 people saw 'no tickets remain, try another section or price range'

That whole process took less than 5 seconds. In 5 seconds 1500 people got what they wanted and everyone else got shut out.

You were offered 2 seats in Balcony Row D, but in a split second you decided they weren't good enough and so put them back in the pool. Seconds later someone who had tried again and was offered those tickets. Knowing they had been shut out the first time, they immediately took thosetickets and completed their purchase.

And thus, is a matter of seconds many of the people trying to get tickets for that show succeeded while many others, including you, didn't.

Tip 2 - what you should have done was try and try and try again. For at least another 20 minutes. You see, one of those customers put 2 tickets in their cart and started to complete their order. Ticketmaster gave them 3 minutes to complete their purchase.

Tip 3 - Create an account in advance and make sure you're already logged in.

Those who had been successful in obtaining tickets entered their billing information and clicked submit - BOOM!! Credit Card Declined! They frantically searched for another card. BOOM!! Declined also (shut out by the credit crunch)

So they gave up. 1 minute later, those 2 tickets were returned to the pool.

That means that at 10:04am tickets were once available again. But you had given up at 10:03am !! Doh!

The same thing might have happened to a couple of other customers too. What about the customer who puts tickets in their basket at 10:03am? His card is declined and his tickets get put back into the pool at 10:08am

Many people like you give up at the first try, when in fact you should keep trying again and again. With declined cards, changed minds and other distractions even a small show can take 15-20 minutes to truly sell out.

Ticketmaster's system can sell over 10k tickets per minute. As with most Leonard Cohen shows, I'm sure, there were more people looking for tickets than there were tickets available.

So, 1 minute after tickets went on sale is a long time in ticket buying land. It only takes seconds to put tickets in your shopping cart. You lost valuable seconds navigating away from the page.

It used to be a bit easier to get good seats to hot shows, because you had to get out of bed an trudge down to the local Turtles and stand in line. Not everyone wanted to do that on a Saturday morning. Nowadays with the internet, its easy to try and buy tickets online while still in bed, so everyone's trying.

Next time - be prepared!

1. Make sure you're already on the event page.

2. Make sure you've already created an account and are logged in.

3. Have your credit card handy

4. Keep refreshing the page until tickets become available for purchase.

5. Decide ahead of time which seats you're willing to take. Don't decide on the fly.

6. Even if you get bad seats, you can always sell them!