Events

New York Comic Con Ticket Sales – What Went Wrong

Tickets Sold OutWhen people went on to the New York Comic Con website this morning, they expected there to be a mad dash to claim 3-Day Passes – especially after the 4 Day Passes Sold out in record time. What people didn’t expect was the glorious sh*tstorm of technical difficulties and miscommunications that left too many without tickets and even more irrevocably upset with the famous New York convention. So what exactly happened? Here’s a complete play by play of every problem that was experienced by myself and everyone else who tried to log on earlier.

Preparation:

Even though the rush for NY Comic Con 3 Day Passes aren’t anything like the coveted VIP/4 Day Passes – and certainly not like the insanity of the larger San Diego Comic Con – fans still wait patiently at their computer so that they can be first in line to get their tickets and walk away victorious. Again, this wasn’t the case this time around because as the clock neared noon, it started.

Technical Difficulties (Part 1):

The moment the clock struck 11:59 the site went down and all users could see was a blank page with the small words up top “Not Found (Error to Origin). Despite constant refreshing and reloading, nothing could fix this. A few minutes later, New York Comic Con’s Facebook page posted that there was technical difficulties and that they would be fixed as soon as possible.

Fan stayed glued to both pages and waited for an update; but nothing. Finally the FB page posted a link that would take you to a Ticket Queue where you’d wait for your turn to get tickets. Sadly, the webpage didn’t post this link for quite some time so anyone not watching the FB page was already at a disadvantage. But this wouldn’t be the only FB vs Webpage problem.

Miscommunication (Part 1):

Once on the Queue page, we read what the page entailed and it explicitly stated that the page would automatically refresh itself. Manually refreshing the page wouldn’t help you move faster; however, it also wouldn’t make you lose your place in line. It wasn’t until over 10 minutes later that their Facebook page urged users to NOT hit refresh as this would return them to the back of the line.

Wait . . . Refresh or not to refresh. Which NYCC person do i believe

Wait . . . Refresh or not to refresh. Which NYCC person do i believe

It was this misconception that led people to wait in excess of a half hour just to be taken to the ticket screen. I refreshed only once – right before the FB comment was released – and still waited for over 45 minutes before I finally got taken to the check out screen. Of course, 45 minutes later 3 Day Passes were sold out . . . or were they?

Miscommunication (Part 2):

I learned from my friends who were at the ticket page – because I was STILL in the Queue – that the tickets were apparnelty already sold out for 3 Day. This happened barely 20 minutes after the whole fiasco started and I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t until I got to the ticket page 45 minutes later that the FB page finally reported that this was also incorrect and that we should ‘refresh’ the ticket page to see that there are tickets.

Technical Difficulties (Part 2):

So when I got there – as did many – I refreshed once, twice, 50 times and surprisingly the tickets did appear. But by time you selected how many 3 Day Passes you wanted and clicked ‘But Tickets’, you were informed that the purchase couldn’t be made because they were sold out. You then went back to refreshing and once again went through the same problem. Whether six tickets, three tickets or one 3 Day Pass, each time you hit purchase tickets the page reloaded and said that the purchase couldn’t be made.

Stranger still, when the page reloaded once in a while it took you to a ticket checkout page with a random number of tickets already selected. AMAZING, right? Wrong; because when you hit the confirm and moved on everything either crashed or froze on you – and you returned to square one.

Why not? You let me select them a second ago :(

Why not? You let me select them a second ago :(

Who Wins? – Hint: It’s Not Us:

If all of this was just an unfortunate series of luck and events; then that would be one thing. Though sadly, it’s not. This is my 3rd year applying for NYCC 3-Day Passes and it’s never been like this. Maybe they sell out in two hours or maybe a Day, it’s never like this. Now maybe a bunch of new people suddenly got interested, which would be amazing. That is, if it was the right kind of people.

The very thing that NYCC has spoken out against for so long is the actual winners in this situation. StubHub is already selling 3 Day Passes for 400% of their original ticket price. It’s not even 1 or two tickets. Earleir today they had 58 tickets for sale at about $160 each; now there’s over 67 tickets – the lowest selling for $235.

Now some will say NYCC has a backroom deal with Scalpers; but the evidence to this seems all circumstantial right now and I’m not about to accuse them of something that I have no clear and defined evidence for. Though the fact remains, people are upset. When asked about the quick sell outs of tickets, NYCC replied via email:

“Scalpers have been and continue to be a problem on the show. We’ve taken steps to limit the activity but sadly, capitalism is a strong force. Where there is demand, someone will come up with the supply to meet it.”

We have to take NYCC at their word unless someone has definitive evidence to the contrary. Though if they have been trying to limit scalpers inflience, why does it seem like this year was the worst of all. Instead of fixing the problem, they seem to be making it worse. Yes capitalism will always dictate supply and demand; but there’s a ‘straw man’ in that argument – a straw man in an argument is a fake opponent to distract you from the real case.

We the people ‘demand’ tickets so there should be a ‘supply’ of tickets to go to the show. The supply isn’t dictated by the scalpers; but rather NYCC itself. When Scalpers buy tickets, they don’t play into the supply & demand scenario, they merely transfer it. The scalpers become a middle man and the supply and demand remains unchanged. If we are going to use ‘supply and demand’ to address this problem, then there is only one thing to do. NYCC should release 3 Day Passes to the general public and then ticket seller sites separately. If you want to pass the buck to an abstract idea, then at least use it properly.

Looks like Stud Hub didn't have any problems getting tickets . . . and raising the price from $65 to 200+

Looks like some people didn’t have any problems getting tickets . . . and then putting them on StubHub and raising the price from $65 to 200+

Down the Road:

Whether NYCC was being a devious super villain in all this or just a distraction, they need to step up their game in many ways. What used to be a source of joy and excitement for me and tens of thousands of others turned into an afternoon of stress and malice – which we have enough of in our lives as it is. I sense a shift is coming soon to more at-home small scale cons, places where the Con-goer is more important than the Con-con-artist . Hopefully NYCC can remain the joyous event it has always been. I for one want them to succeed; but not if it means screwing over everyone who has loved them for so long.

*Special Thanks to everyone who shared their stories with me and I hope I was able to put your frustrations to words.

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23 thoughts on “New York Comic Con Ticket Sales – What Went Wrong

  1. Pingback: New York Comic Con's Ticket Sales End in Epic Fail | DailyScene.comDailyScene.com

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  6. The problem with smaller-scale cons in NYC is the amount of money needed to start up and maintain a con. Though there are a few here and there, it’s not really that easy, or sustainable. A lot of it has to do with the cost of venue, cost of guests and their accommodations/travel, and in this city those costs are ridiculously high, even if you’re given a good rate.

    This why NYCC, an industry run convention, is so much more successful than any fan run conventions. They have the money to not only back it fully, but really promote it, which is so so necessary for any event to survive in this city.

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  10. Pingback: Glitches, ticket sellouts frustrate New York Comic Con hopefuls | Robot 6 @ Comic Book ResourcesRobot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

  11. The solution to scalping is simple: Adopt the Gallifrey One model of one ticket, one person. You can buy up to four, but each one is attached to an actual physical person with an ID and may only be transferred once. SDCC does this with press passes also — If Mary Sue Cosplayer buys a ticket in there system (or Mary Sue’s friend buys four, one of them registered to Mary Sue’s name), it had better be Mary Sue Cosplayer showing up to claim that lanyard at registration, with a valid photo ID, and not Bob Mjolnir, who is not in their system.

  12. Do like my local Con (Connecticon) does; each pass is registered to ONE person and can only be picked up by that person, no extra passes under one name nothing. Although we’re a non industry con run by volunteers we’re still one of the bigger cons in our area (over 13000 last year, can’t wait for the head count this year) Things like that stop the scalpers.

    • Thats an excellent idea Kimmie! And yes, ConCon lol might not be as big but it still seems pretty big and popular to me. I feel Cons like that will start getting even more attention after situations like this if things aren’t rectified. Hopefully NYCC adopts that strategy.

  13. You do realize that StubHub doesn’t buy tickets to events right. All of their listings are from actual people who have used StubHub to list their tickets. Not that I like yew situation, but you should probably check your facts before accusing someone of wrongdoing.

    • Please read the article again. Stubhub was mentioned only once to show the presence of Scalpers – since it is a site which gets its supply from scalpers as you said.

      I did not once accuse them of wrong doing; but rather Scalpers who are the apparent and undisputed root of this fiasco.

  14. Pingback: New York Comic Con’s Ticket Sales End in Epic Fail | Dudelizious.com

  15. I have heard from friends who are NYCC fans that scalpers and brokers are causing huge problems for fans, the tickets we bought online last year in the third week of AUGUST were not available the third week of JUNE. NYCC needs to get its act together.
    We did not have to deal w/ “stand in line on-line” last year. I just went on the site, clicked on Buy Tickets and was done 10 minutes later. They have pretty much guaranteed we won’t be going back if it’s this much trouble just to get in the door.

  16. You summarized everything I felt. The scalper issue was the part that angered me the most. When I called ReedPop directly to ask them about this, the man on the line got a big attitude with me and said “we have no control over scalpers; how do YOU suggest we change it?”. Pompous asshole. Maybe if ReedPop didn’t sell 6 tickets at a time, scalpers wouldn’t have the ability to set up 3-4 computers in a queue, buy the max amount of tickets, and resell them at an insane upcharge. I’m disgusted by the whole process and can’t believe that, after 4 years of going to NYCC, I will miss out – all because of their incompetence.

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