Proposed Legislation Would Ban Ticket “Bots” In WA, Making Buying Easier – Affordable
You probably didn't know if you've purchased tickets for any event via the Internet over the last year or two, you might have been dealing with a "robot."
Not exactly the ones that come to mind in science fiction movies, or those amazing Japanese human-like contraptions on the news. But computer robots, or bots.
Bots is the general name used for automated computer programs that do everything from sending you wonderful spam e-mails, to overseeing routine maintenance on computer and other systems. Bots can even send you emails with a greeting with your name...kind of creepy.
But a certain type of bots could be a thing of the past if House Bill 1091 passes this year in the State Legislature. Spearheaded by Attorney General Bob Ferguson, the bill would ban the use of computerized purchasing programs when it comes to tickets sold in our state. According to Northwest Cable News, over the last few years, bots are used by companies to purchase large amounts of tickets for events ranging from Hawk games, to theatrical performances. These companies then turn around and sell the tickets at inflated prices on the internet. These are usually second or third-party vendors doing the "botting" and selling.
Ferguson says that's why consumers often face shocking ticket prices when they try to buy them online from these sources. The Seattle Theater Group recently was profiled as one of the groups against the bots. Group officials say they cannot prevent companies from buying their tickets, but the inflated prices keep consumers from selling out their performances.
Ferguson says the use of ticket bots amounts to 'digital scalping.' Instead of a person buying chunks of tickets through a box office or other official vendor, and then reselling them for higher prices, these computer bots do it faster, easier and sometimes even cheaper. Selling 'bot' purchased tickets online, says Ferguson, is no different than the guy outside a stadium or venue hawking tickets to fans who don't have them, and will pay higher prices just to get inside.
The bill has bi-partisan support, and supporters say it could have a dramatic effect on making Seahawk tickets more accessible and cheaper for fans across the state. It would also affect concerts, festivals and other popular events.