Attack of the Bots

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  • February 16, 2015

At Fan Freedom UK, we want to protect the rights of fans to use tickets as they see fit. This, however, does not mean that the market should be exploited. One way in that we are increasingly seeing this happen is through the use of ‘bots’.

A bot is essentially a computer program that automates the process that a human would go through when buying a ticket online. This would be understandable if it was just one person trying to secure tickets for a rugby game or an opera show. What we are now seeing, however, are organisations – many of them criminal – using bots to buy up huge swathes of tickets at a time.

According to some statistics, bots now buy more than 60 per cent of the most desirable event tickets, making it incredibly difficult for anybody else to get a look-in. This has seen genuine fans frozen out of the ticket-buying process, while lining the pockets of those who use this sophisticated software.  We want to see an end to this invidious practice and the practice of using bots banned.

Recent moves by some members of the House of Lords to prevent fans from selling their tickets online are, however, misguided. It would take a blanket approach to tackling the issue, imposing penalties on the entire market instead of just those who deserve to be targeted.

We understand that a review of the ticketing market will soon take place in the UK. Given this, we expect the use of bots to become an ever-bigger issue, and one which we are determined to see end with a favourable result for real fans. This would do far more for the market than the crude plans that some members of the House of Lords have been trying to push through.

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