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Ticketmaster caught operating its own secret scalper program: report

Investigations are claiming that the juggernaut has been scalping you with more than just high ticket prices.

Last week, we published a story about Apple, a multi-billion dollar international corporation, systematically ripping off its customers. This week, we’re publishing a story about Ticketmaster, a multi-million dollar international corporation, illegally ripping off its customers. Oh capitalism, at least buy us dinner first.

Journalists from CBC News and the Toronto Star published their findings on Wednesday, detailing a secret scalping program run by Ticketmaster. Undercover journalists were sent to the Las Vegas Ticket Summit 2018, and were pitched via Ticketmaster’s professional reseller program.

In other words, Ticketmaster tried to recruit these fake scalpers to resell tickets at an inflated price via a their owned and operated platform named TradeDesk -- which gives Ticketmaster themselves a cut of the profit.

TradeDesk is a Ticketmaster-owned, invite-only platform that is allegedly not investigated by Ticketmaster’s “buyer abuse” division.

This investigation was sparked by Ticketmaster’s previous attempts to sue groups that used bots to hoard live event tickets with intent to resell, which had brought Ticketmaster under fire for allegedly supplying scalpers with bot software themselves.

While we’re here, hats off to the stellar undercover efforts from CBC News’ Dave Seglins, Rachel Houlihan and Laura Clementson, and the objective commentary provided by Alan Cross – investigative journalism lives to see another day.

Update, September 21: Ticketmaster has released a statement to Beat in light of these allegations. 

“It is categorically untrue that Ticketmaster has any program in place to enable resellers to acquire large volumes of tickets at the expense of consumers. 

"Ticketmaster’s Seller Code of Conduct specifically prohibits resellers from purchasing tickets that exceed the posted ticket limit for an event. In addition, our policy also prohibits the creation of fictitious user accounts for the purpose of circumventing ticket limit detection in order to amass tickets intended for resale. 

"A recent CBC story found that an employee of Ticketmaster’s resale division acknowledged being aware of some resellers having as many as 200 TradeDesk accounts for this purpose (TradeDesk is Ticketmaster’s professional reseller product that allows resellers to validate and distribute tickets to multiple marketplaces). We do not condone the statements made by the employee as the conduct described clearly violates our terms of service. 

"The company had already begun an internal review of our professional reseller accounts and employee practices to ensure that our policies are being upheld by all stakeholders. Moving forward we will be putting additional measures in place to proactively monitor for this type of inappropriate activity.”

You can read the full investigation here