Survey: More Security, More Ticket Sales

More than 70 percent say they'd go to more events if buying online felt safer

  • by Brad Weissberg
  • Published: September 12, 2018

Among respondents in a new survey, 12 percent said they had bought tickets on the secondary market that turned out to be fakes. (VenuesNow staff)

Concertgoers said they would attend more events if buying tickets online felt more secure, according to a new study.

Results of the online survey, being released Thursday, show 72 percent of the survey-takers said they'd go to more concerts if they felt online ticketing were safer. The survey also found that 12 percent of respondents said they had bought tickets on the secondary market that turned out to be fraudulent.

It's usually at a venue that the consumer finds out tickets are no good and that creates headaches for the venue operators, said Annika Monari, co-founder of Aventus, a blockchain-based software firm that started in April 2016. 

Aventus put the survey together and, using Amazon's Mechanical Turk service, queried 1,000 U.S. consumers who have bought a concert ticket online. The margin of error for the survey results is plus or minus 3 percent.

"Often the venue will try to accommodate the guest, but that's just not possible in every case, and often the customer blames the venue for something that is totally out of their control," Monari said. "Many get back their money if they bought the ticket through a reputable secondary ticket firm, but that's no consolation for not seeing your favorite artist or helps in getting back the expenses incurred to get to the venue."

And it's not just the venues that wind up with a black eye. Of respondents who fell victim to a scam, 54 percent said it affected their perception of the artist negatively.

Blockchain may hold the key to solving this consumer crisis.

"Blockchain is a smart-contract platform that allows us to create digitally enforceable agreements," Monari said. "The agreements cannot be controlled by any one entity."

In the context of ticketing, it means that the industry can allow people to put their inventory on the blockchain and that the inventory is then secure and can't be manipulated, she said. "Everyone can see the chain," Monari said. "It's a public record of every transaction. Blockchain is the plumbing that connects the supply chain underneath."

Aventus' customers are ticket companies, venues and artists.

"Blockchain is tool that should alleviate ticket-buyers' fears that they are being scammed," said Aventus' other co-founder, Alan Vey. "Because of the unique way that blockchain records a ticket, it cannot be reproduced in any way except for when the blockchain sends that unique code to a specified digital wallet."

The survey results indicated that men are more likely than women to be conned when buying tickets. The study found that men were nearly 2.5 times more likely to be scammed than women.

"There are many reasons why this might be the case," Monari said. "It could be because men are socialized to be risk-takers more than women are and that men are much more likely to purchase tickets from scalpers. It could also be because we usually only know about the person buying the ticket, not the people going with them. If a man buys tickets for himself and his wife or a date, we only know about the man yet they've both been stung."

Because of bots buying large swaths of tickets almost the minute tickets go on sale, the survey results showed that 77 percent of respondents felt the need to purchase tickets immediately upon their release; 57 percent have waited online, ready to buy tickets as soon as they become available.

Of those who have waited online, 69 percent were still unable to purchase their tickets before the event sold out. After missing out on the original tickets, wannabe attendees are left to purchase tickets on a secondary marketplace, where they can face high markups and potential scams. Or, they will turn to scalpers, a low-tech solution that remains popular even with a more high-tech generations: Nearly 20 percent of millennial respondents had purchased tickets from a scalper.

Extra fees, which are often added to ticket prices, represent another important pain point for consumers according to survey results. Unsurprisingly, 89 percent of those surveyed find hidden fees during the checkout process frustrating, and 81 percent do not believe additional service fees are justified.

"Extra fees are a deterrent," Vey said. "Blockchain won't solve this issue. It's up to the ticketing agencies and the venues to restore confidence that the consumer is not be deceived by a low price only to find it much higher at checkout."

“We possess the tools and technology to change the event ticketing industry for the better,” Monari said. "We must work together to implement it, for the benefit of ticketing agencies, venues, artists and consumers alike.”

With two-thirds of the respondents saying they were worried about buying counterfeit tickets, it would be in everyone's best interests to tackle this issue as an industry, Vey said.

"Everyone will sell more tickets if we can convince the consumer the issue of fraudulent tickets has been solved," he said.

One thing to keep in mind, Monari added, is how blockchain is implemented. "The protocols must be in place that protect the integrity of the chain." she said. "If the blockchain is not designed correctly, the chain is of little use."


  • by Brad Weissberg
  • Published: September 12, 2018