Undercover Investigation Reveals Ticketmaster Hires Professional Scalpers to Drive Ticket Prices

A look at the convention floor where top-level scalpers mingled with representatives from industry leaders such as Ticketmaster

But earlier today The Star published an undercover video from a Las Vegas ticket broker conference showing Ticketmaster employees offering what appears to be an uploader service for ticket scalpers. They resell it via Trade Desk and raise the price.

Interesting reporting, but not particularly ground-breaking - we all know that Ticketmaster uses dynamic pricing, just like hotels and the airline industry, to scale tickets and drive yield. Ticketmaster makes money from the extra resale fees.

Be careful with the tickets you're buying and good luck. In addition, our policy also prohibits the creation of fictitious user accounts for the objective of circumventing ticket limit detection in order to amass tickets intended for resale.

"It doesn't matter to me", a TradeDesk sales executive told The Star.

"If we identify breaches of these limits ... we reserve the right to cancel any such orders", read Ticketmaster's general terms and conditions.

Undercover CBC reporter: "Half a million dollars?"

Ticketmaster has a "buyer abuse" division that monitors suspicious activity, but a presenter at the convention reportedly said the resale division doesn't call out users of TradeDesk.

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Ticketmaster says that as long as there is an imbalance between supply and demand in live event tickets, "there will inevitably be a secondary market".

When asked if the company will prohibit the use of multiple accounts, a Ticketmaster representative replied, "No, I have a gentleman who's got over 200 Ticketmaster.com accounts". When tickets are resold via TradeDesk, Ticketmaster receives a percentage of the sale.

Ticketmaster, which has a virtual monopoly on box office sales for sports and live music events in North America and the United Kingdom has long denounced scalpers, especially those who use bots to harvest thousands of tickets in seconds, making it much harder for fans to get tickets at face value.

"In addition to our work fighting the use of automated bots, we have also taken the most restrictive stance on speculative ticketing, not allowing any seller, professional or otherwise, to post tickets we have not validated".

"As the world's leading ticketing platform, representing thousands of teams, artists and venues, we believe it is our job to offer a marketplace that provides a safe and fair place for fans to shop, buy and sell tickets in both the primary and secondary markets".

At the convention, a Ticketmaster "resale director" held a session closed to the media, CBC reported.

In a blog post responding to the Times' allegations, Ticketmaster president Jared Smith wrote that the company's success "is not the result of any unfair advantages resulting from being a part of Live Nation Entertainment", but a result of its parent company's investments into its products, alluding to the complaints as having been filed by AEG, its chief competition.

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