In a bid to limit robot, automated, and ticket broker transactions on their website, Ticketmaster has introduced IP address rate limiting technology that stops users from looking at too many web pages on their site during a daily period. It has been reported that this magic number is ten pages per hour.
When Ticketmaster users try to access too many pages within a short period of time, they are confronted with a message that informs them that they have exceeded Ticketmaster’s web page request limit and will need to wait awhile before trying again:
Previously, Ticketmaster’s primary method for defeating robots was the use of the Captcha command, which requires the user to enter a unique series of letters and/or numbers into a box before a ticket request is successfully processed. The Captcha command is already annoying to many users who are performing multiple searches, but this new rate limiting measure additionally forces the customer to wait several minutes.
Theoretically the rate limiter could be advantageous to the average customer if it slows down the aggressive ticket brokers who are buying up all the inventory for high-demand shows. However, it’s a high price for customers to pay in terms of general aggravation. After all, it isn’t that unusual for a legitimate customer to want to do numerous searches in order to assess seat availability for a Broadway show, or they may want to check on what’s available for a single event over multiple dates. If that person is continually forced to wait for minutes at a time in the middle of their search, they may give up altogether.
While it is good to see Ticketmaster looking for ways to fight brokers, Ticketmaster isn’t by any means innocent when it comes to ticket brokering themselves. They have their own ticket broker website, TicketsNow, which has unfettered access to Ticketmaster tickets and this poses a huge conflict of interest for them. Competing ticket brokers are accusing Ticketmaster of manipulating the ticket market for their own benefit, but congress disagrees.
It remains to be seen whether or not this latest piece of technology in the war against brokers will stick around, or whether Ticketmaster finally removes it when they inevitably get a host of customer complaints or aggravation from show producers who cannot sell tickets to their shows because Ticketmaster is blocking their clients access to buy.