New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

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burningmanmike
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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by burningmanmike » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:52 pm

I am not thrilled with this new process, but since I do want to attend/participate, I'll have to suck it up and go with the flow.
Of, I can fuck off, and do something else.

I don't run the BORG. I don't make the rules, but I do enjoy the event. I DO HOWEVER SUPPORT A NON-TRANSFERABLE TICKET PROCESS, with opportunity for return with a RESTOCKING FEE.

Those who don't like the changes, go do something else, so it will increase my odds of getting tickets, for my 5th and last burn.
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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by EspressoDude » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:55 pm

amazing how many people have JUST SIGNED UP for eplaya to post on this one thread

71 new members today!!
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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by ygmir » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:57 pm

seems as long as not too many more than 50K people apply for the lottery, it won't matter anyway........perhaps the "tier" you get, but, otherwise........
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sulli
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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by sulli » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:58 pm

Football clubs in Europe require membership before you can buy a ticket. Maybe that's the way to make sure the serious burners (aka oldsters like us) get in? The key is to reserve some for the n00bs, else the burn turns into a Grateful Dead concert with ONLY old-timers.

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by pinemom » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:58 pm

I will play the devils optimist here and say this lottery gets tossed back into research and development. They will bring the price median to just one tier.Anyone needing more then 10 tickets should have to write an essay.(because some Theme camps do provide tickets to members in their fee).

Burner Baby said, "ya right, ok when i sign up for the lottery, do I just bid $5.00 cause right before the holidays,Im lucky if I have that on my debit card!"

Tax season is our budget time for ticket buying.


And...if I was still running The BOOBY BAR, Oh holy shit, I'd be running around in this thread like a fucking chicken with my head cut off!!!!
Names pinemom, but my friends call me "Piney".

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by theduchess » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:59 pm

I wholeheartedly disagree with the lottery idea,
It is a SHITE idea.

the scalpers will have their minions buy tickets for them, it does not get around that problem at all.
I agree with the person who posted this:

1. Large camps may end up losing key members due to sheer bad luck.
2. Small camps may end up losing people who are NECESSARY to actually get there (i.e: transportation).
3. Families might end up with one member getting a ticket and another member not, meaning the entire family can't go.
4. Bands (I'm not even talking about the popular ones) might lose a member for no reason.
5. For people with low limits on their credit cards, it means they have to constantly monitor their usage so their card doesn't get declined (instead of having the correct balance ready at the right moment).
6. And yes, it screws with people's cost planning.

People can say this is "whiny entitled bullshit" but really, this event is supposed to be about having fun and a good time. Getting out there is stressful enough, what with all the planning and expenses, and this just adds the stress of uncertainty. Which camp member will end up fucked out of a ticket due to sheer bad luck? Which limited-income person will get placed into the highest tier of tickets due to random chance?

If scalpers are the issue, make the tickets non-transferrable! If someone wants to sell their ticket, have them send it in, destroy it, and issue the new person a new ticket for a nominal fee! That solves so many of the "scarcity" problems out there all by itself, which would be far easier to implement and far more popular to boot.

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by Stickygreen » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:00 pm

you know there are allot of factors to consider, and this new lottery system may be the best option. First off, the BLM is currently negotiation with BMorg for a new land use contract, the current contract expired before last years event. that's right, last year was held on a temporary one year BLM permit. Also factor in that the BLM, has some issues with the event getting any larger, I don't know the exact details, but you can bet the traffic and road conditions around the playa are very high on that list. Also the native tribe have been expressing concern over issues with all the traffic from Reno-Gerlach for years. These things need to be addressed by BMorg before a new land use permit is granted. In years past the permit has allowed for a rise in population of 5000 people/year. But the last couple years it has stayed flat, and that coupled with unexpected high interest in the 2010 burn, is why the event sold out.
This presents the next major issue that BMorg needs to address. That is the exterior market effects of a sell out event. Nobody wants to see what happened last year become the norm, so how to alleviate a demand that is already exceeding supply...? Not to mention all the ticket scalper company's that got wind of people making HUGE profits on BM tickets. ( I really did see an Ebay auction for 2 tickets sell for $10,000, not just listed, but SOLD!) that shit really happened, and there are profiteering vultures circling the event in the desert. they need to be kept at bay, or the entire thing will become a douchbag fest like you've never seen. The lottery system is a good option, sure it means uncertainty, but guess what it's fuckin Burning Man, It's not supposed to be easy, and pre planned with methodical precision. Shit happens and you'll need to deal with it. Just think of the Lottery as a Big ass dust storm, some people get blasted, others have blue skies... sit back and enjoy the ride, it's only a week in the desert.
2 seconds ago · Like
)'(

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by Space CowGirl » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:00 pm

I don't think seniority should necessarily count by how many years you've been... 2012 will be my 4th if all works out well, but I don't think someone who's been for 20 years, or hasn't been before but is going for their first time, should have an equal opportunity. I say leave everything the way it was, and if people end up S.O.L., then too bad for you...

I like the idea of making the tickets non-transferable thought and having an administrative fee for refunding them so cut down on scalpers. That shit was wrong yo.

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by data_b » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:03 pm

Having only attended this past year, I felt that the previous system (aside from the server issues) worked. As it had for many years.
You snooze, you lose.

I do understand that there needed to be a change, but i believe that this is in the wrong direction.
you get what you need, not what you want. )'(

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by pixeltrance » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:04 pm

As a family coming from the other side of the pond this is bad news indeed.

I understand that it might not a big deal for those who only have to worry about getting one ticket for themselves and live in the US but it is a huge deal for people in a similar situation as us, a group of people traveling from overseas.
The amount of planning, organizing and preparing is quite different than from the days as a single backpacking hitchhiker, as I am sure any burner-parent is well aware of. When you only are responsible for yourself, you can afford a much higher level of flexibility and "roll with the punches" sort of speak. As a family on the other hand there are several people involved and that limits the flexibility and also require a higher level of preparation.

The rest of my family and I, sincerely hope that bmorg reconsiders and scrap this lottery system in favor of a standard, although regulated, sale.

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by moonrise » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:07 pm

EspressoDude wrote:amazing how many people have JUST SIGNED UP for eplaya to post on this one thread

71 new members today!!
I have a feeling a new record or two will be made on eplaya due to this recent news.
Highest number online at one time and new memebrs signed up.

Welcome everyone! Now let's solve this mess for the LLC :roll: and the community :mrgreen:
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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by wincel » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:08 pm

Sorry but that is an insanely short sighted decision. But if you intent to make a smaller event that certainly will do ..
Burning Man needs a lot of preparation for first timers especially so these will less likely come if they can not buy tickets for sure earlier on.
A week long vacation is difficult to plan for people with full time jobs and children and since Burning Man is not exactly cheap most people attending are fully employed. If one can't plan anymore by buying tickets that is hurting these people.
Families and couples will not be willing to gamble if all receive tickets.
Camps make it much for easier for people to be there and get everything organized and set up, that needs long term planning as well.

All the above includes my husband and me, we have too much struggle getting time off for Burning Man and planing this time wise so it works, I'm not going to bet on some "maybe". And even less on some "maybe only one ticket".

And this lottery thing is not helping for people buying tickets for resale as well, these will just keep gambling and now actually have higher chances selling their tickets once they got them. Because they SELL them.

So no, major fail that decision. If you want to keep a company or individuals out of making that a profit game, have tickets person bound.

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by mgb327 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:12 pm

I cannot make any plans now, not knowing if I can win a ticket, let alone winning two so I can take my sig. other. How late in the summer might I have to prepare if I am a winner? I am pissed because I don't gamble or play the lottery in the default world, now you take BM away from me if I am a "loser". The odds are againt me here, I am saddened that I need to drop my pre-planning mid-stream now. Sad. I am so disheartened. Really changes my view of one of the things I love the most.
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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by Turkeyfoot » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:16 pm

Wow this is a really bad idea. All of the uncertenty points aside, I don't make a lot of money and have so save all year for a Burning Man ticket. There is no way that if I am selected I will have four hundred dollars just taking up space in my bank account ready to be pulled out. I have a feeling if plans for the lottery system go through a lot of veteran Burners will be left at in the default rather than with their families at home.

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by Timezone LaFontaine » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:21 pm

I for one am waiting to find out if the further details to be released include the revelation that this will function like Shirley Jackson's lottery system.
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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by Zipper » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:24 pm

I say NO to the lottery concept.

First of all I would rather slug out the wait on opening day and take my chances or just buy my ticket a little bit later after the big rush. The stress of that is momentary and temporary.
The stress of not knowing whether I'm going to get a ticket at all, regardless of the tier level, (potentially all summer long) would be an ongoing torture.

This year ticket resales occured at a slow rate on eBay until the "sold out" announcement, when prices shot up dramatically overnight. In a lottery system, I think you could see resale prices escalate sooner rather than later just because some people will want the certainty of having a ticket in hand versus the ongoing angst of not knowing whether they will get one at all.

Secondly, I feel the issue of scalped tickets is overated. I speculated how many ebay ticket auctions were consumated between the "sold out" announcement and before the event opened based on the "average" number of listings closing per day. The number was in the low hundreds. Ad in an arbitrary number of craigslist offerings (based on observation here in SoCal) and it is still a relatively small number.

I agree with other posters that unless Burning Man gets into the ticket buyback department, there are going to be private transfers and resales of tickets. And that, IMHO, is mostly because peoples plans change.

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by moonrise » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:24 pm

Stickygreen wrote:you know there are allot of factors to consider, and this new lottery system may be the best option. First off, the BLM is currently negotiation with BMorg for a new land use contract, the current contract expired before last years event. that's right, last year was held on a temporary one year BLM permit. Also factor in that the BLM, has some issues with the event getting any larger, I don't know the exact details, but you can bet the traffic and road conditions around the playa are very high on that list. Also the native tribe have been expressing concern over issues with all the traffic from Reno-Gerlach for years. These things need to be addressed by BMorg before a new land use permit is granted. In years past the permit has allowed for a rise in population of 5000 people/year. But the last couple years it has stayed flat, and that coupled with unexpected high interest in the 2010 burn, is why the event sold out.
This presents the next major issue that BMorg needs to address. That is the exterior market effects of a sell out event. Nobody wants to see what happened last year become the norm, so how to alleviate a demand that is already exceeding supply...? Not to mention all the ticket scalper company's that got wind of people making HUGE profits on BM tickets. ( I really did see an Ebay auction for 2 tickets sell for $10,000, not just listed, but SOLD!) that shit really happened, and there are profiteering vultures circling the event in the desert. they need to be kept at bay, or the entire thing will become a douchbag fest like you've never seen. The lottery system is a good option, sure it means uncertainty, but guess what it's fuckin Burning Man, It's not supposed to be easy, and pre planned with methodical precision. Shit happens and you'll need to deal with it. Just think of the Lottery as a Big ass dust storm, some people get blasted, others have blue skies... sit back and enjoy the ride, it's only a week in the desert.
2 seconds ago · Like
Do you just fly in from Canada and join a camp? Or do you spend 20k each year & work fulltime jobs and plan and work on your camp 51 weeks of the year, for oh say, at least 5 years in a row, and then what, you get fucked out of participating? (that's 100k for one camp, not including the time and love put into it) The camp I am referring to NEVER asked for ONE dime, not even camp dues. They paid for everything, regular middle class people. Yea, it's Burning Man, but they might juuuust get blasted and not return. Enjoy your blue skies...you must simply 'fly in' otherwise I doubt you'd make the statement above. I could be wrong about you stickygreen, but the lottery ain't working for many.
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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by Space CowGirl » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:31 pm

Plus like, the mayans even said, if we don't go to Burning Man 2012, then we won't cross over... or something...

kidding <3

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by TinkerMom » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:33 pm

Exactly!!! I have to wait till tax time to even think if I'm going. I don't have credit cards and I live pay check to pay check.
I can't even enjoy a night out with my kids. Last year was special for me.
The tiers didn't bother me, neither did the prices. And I waited in line like everybody else. I just didn't
start untill I got home from work around 11pm.
And I certainly won't have money waiting in que in my bank to "Just in case I win"
I will have to hope that my chances to be in it will be after I do my taxes.
And then question will be, will my family get in on this, too.
Turkeyfoot wrote:Wow this is a really bad idea. All of the uncertenty points aside, I don't make a lot of money and have so save all year for a Burning Man ticket. There is no way that if I am selected I will have four hundred dollars just taking up space in my bank account ready to be pulled out. I have a feeling if plans for the lottery system go through a lot of veteran Burners will be left at in the default rather than with their families at home.
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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by Rreet » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:34 pm

Much like Netflix's misguided venture to Quikster...and BofA's dabble into ATM fees..... THIS IS A HORRIBLE IDEA that i hope will be re-evaluated and retracted quickly.

As an event planner and also a customer experience designer....i see how you got here..... but let me assure you....this plan is SERIOUSLY flawed. Please reconsider.

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by Space CowGirl » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:37 pm

Maybe this is just a joke and BMORG is secretly just seeing how we all react to this while they FINE TUNE this ridiculous plan? Let's all think on that tip and manifest an amendment!

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by Stickygreen » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:44 pm

moonrise wrote:
Stickygreen wrote:you know there are allot of factors to consider, and this new lottery system may be the best option. First off, the BLM is currently negotiation with BMorg for a new land use contract, the current contract expired before last years event. that's right, last year was held on a temporary one year BLM permit. Also factor in that the BLM, has some issues with the event getting any larger, I don't know the exact details, but you can bet the traffic and road conditions around the playa are very high on that list. Also the native tribe have been expressing concern over issues with all the traffic from Reno-Gerlach for years. These things need to be addressed by BMorg before a new land use permit is granted. In years past the permit has allowed for a rise in population of 5000 people/year. But the last couple years it has stayed flat, and that coupled with unexpected high interest in the 2010 burn, is why the event sold out.
This presents the next major issue that BMorg needs to address. That is the exterior market effects of a sell out event. Nobody wants to see what happened last year become the norm, so how to alleviate a demand that is already exceeding supply...? Not to mention all the ticket scalper company's that got wind of people making HUGE profits on BM tickets. ( I really did see an Ebay auction for 2 tickets sell for $10,000, not just listed, but SOLD!) that shit really happened, and there are profiteering vultures circling the event in the desert. they need to be kept at bay, or the entire thing will become a douchbag fest like you've never seen. The lottery system is a good option, sure it means uncertainty, but guess what it's fuckin Burning Man, It's not supposed to be easy, and pre planned with methodical precision. Shit happens and you'll need to deal with it. Just think of the Lottery as a Big ass dust storm, some people get blasted, others have blue skies... sit back and enjoy the ride, it's only a week in the desert.
2 seconds ago · Like
Do you just fly in from Canada and join a camp? Or do you spend 20k each year & work fulltime jobs and plan and work on your camp 51 weeks of the year, for oh say, at least 5 years in a row, and then what, you get fucked out of participating? (that's 100k for one camp, not including the time and love put into it) The camp I am referring to NEVER asked for ONE dime, not even camp dues. They paid for everything, regular middle class people. Yea, it's Burning Man, but they might juuuust get blasted and not return. Enjoy your blue skies...you must simply 'fly in' otherwise I doubt you'd make the statement above. I could be wrong about you stickygreen, but the lottery ain't working for many.
No I do not fly in.. I drive my ass all the way down there, and back. Work with lots of great people on various projects, and camps. I have said to myself I will never do the same camp twice, and in the 4 years I've gone, I have experienced very different things. I have organized my own theme camp, project managed a video instillation at a large sound camp, and also thrown a one afternoon event that was pretty epic if I do say so myself... also while I'm proving my playa worthiness to some random douche on the interwebs. I also was the event producer for my city's regional decompression. It was a major success i may add, we sold out a week in advance, had more people than any past regional event, and made more money for the arts non profit society that sponsored it, than any previous event before....

So yes, i know all about working hard for my burning values. I don't just whine and complain on eplaya about some shit that isn't even a big deal...
)'(

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Stickygreen
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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by Stickygreen » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:48 pm

Moonshine you drive from Tahoe, and you try calling me out for being a BRC airportkid... Thats some funny shit!

I spend days in my loaded down truck and spend a small fortune on fuel to get there!

Tahoe hahahahaha! :roll:
)'(

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by xefxproductions » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:48 pm

In response to the new "Ticket Lottery" Burning man is proposing, I say this: The idea I have is to require everyone that buys a ticket to have their name specifically for that ticket number. At the gate they must show their valid ID with their ticket and the two must match. If you buy it as a gift you buy it in the gifted persons name. If the ticket doesn't match the ID, the ticket is void and worthless. This would solve all ticket problems. If you loose your ticket you are still in the database, tickets can be scanned at the gate. No price scalping, no ebay auctions. If you are serious about going you buy your ticket, its in your name and that's it. no scams This can also be set to if you cannot go and know in a reasonable time, you submit your name to a list the Org controls and your ticket is transferred through the org to someone on the waiting list

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by Zipper » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:52 pm

Stickygreen wrote:you know there are allot of factors to consider, and this new lottery system may be the best option. First off, the BLM is currently negotiation with BMorg for a new land use contract, the current contract expired before last years event. that's right, last year was held on a temporary one year BLM permit. Also factor in that the BLM, has some issues with the event getting any larger, I don't know the exact details, but you can bet the traffic and road conditions around the playa are very high on that list. Also the native tribe have been expressing concern over issues with all the traffic from Reno-Gerlach for years. These things need to be addressed by BMorg before a new land use permit is granted. In years past the permit has allowed for a rise in population of 5000 people/year. But the last couple years it has stayed flat, and that coupled with unexpected high interest in the 2010 burn, is why the event sold out.
This presents the next major issue that BMorg needs to address. That is the exterior market effects of a sell out event. Nobody wants to see what happened last year become the norm, so how to alleviate a demand that is already exceeding supply...? Not to mention all the ticket scalper company's that got wind of people making HUGE profits on BM tickets. ( I really did see an Ebay auction for 2 tickets sell for $10,000, not just listed, but SOLD!) that shit really happened, and there are profiteering vultures circling the event in the desert. they need to be kept at bay, or the entire thing will become a douchbag fest like you've never seen. The lottery system is a good option, sure it means uncertainty, but guess what it's fuckin Burning Man, It's not supposed to be easy, and pre planned with methodical precision. Shit happens and you'll need to deal with it. Just think of the Lottery as a Big ass dust storm, some people get blasted, others have blue skies... sit back and enjoy the ride, it's only a week in the desert.
2 seconds ago · Like
I saw those "sales" too. I know that there was a contingent of burners who were bidding up auctions in order to: outbid actual buyers, win the auction, then reneg on the payment, leaving the seller having to re-list the ticket and go through the same process all over again. The object being to repat the process enough time to leave the seller with no real sale up to gate opening, and thus punish him for trying to scalp a ticket. I don't beleive that the $10,000 auction was ever paid for. It was a shil bidder not someone who actually wanted the ticket . Oh yeah, remember the one auction priced at $1,000,000? That one made the local tv news. Did the seller actually get a mil? Of course not.

What I noticed watching the ebay sales was that after the initial "Sold Out" announcement, when people panic-ed and bid prices way up, the high inital prices quickly gave way to a downward trend where prices approached actual costs of acquiring a ticket from Burning Man.

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by unjonharley » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:59 pm

junglesmacks wrote:The biggest questions that I have are:

- How many lotteries will there be total?

- What are the frequency/dates of these lotteries?

Burning Man will no longer be an art fest.. The small artist wont be in "the fix"

The fat checked art will not be noticed.. Not one of the ego powered bastards will look at another artis

It took only a glance to show me I'm out of going to Burning Man..

There is no way I can go up against the big boys for ticket..

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by Stickygreen » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:59 pm

Zipper wrote: I saw those "sales" too. I know that there was a contingent of burners who were bidding up auctions in order to: outbid actual buyers, win the auction, then reneg on the payment, leaving the seller having to re-list the ticket and go through the same process all over again. The object being to repat the process enough time to leave the seller with no real sale up to gate opening, and thus punish him for trying to scalp a ticket. I don't beleive that the $10,000 auction was ever paid for. It was a shil bidder not someone who actually wanted the ticket . Oh yeah, remember the one auction priced at $1,000,000? That one made the local tv news. Did the seller actually get a mil? Of course not.

What I noticed watching the ebay sales was that after the initial "Sold Out" announcement, when people panic-ed and bid prices way up, the high inital prices quickly gave way to a downward trend where prices approached actual costs of acquiring a ticket from Burning Man.
your probably correct that the $10,000 Ebay auction was never paid, but it was a legit contract, and is a credible reference, if not for this discussions sake, but for the reference to the ticket scalpers that are eyeing up BM to make a buck next year. They see that kind of shit and get excited!

Also that particular auction that I cited, ended a few hours after the "Larry Harvey says 2011 is the last year" bogus thread was going around. That joke got out pretty far, I saw it on Twitter, and Facebook, so an uneducated newbie could have seen that post plus the sell out, and just bought it.
)'(

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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by mgb327 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:02 pm

Well, after re-reading JRS, and the forum here, I did what any non-gambler would do in this situation. All ahead STOP. I just went to the work-shop and ...turned off the lights. I will not invest any more time or money into something I may or may not "win" a chance to go to. I drive 6000 miles round trip. Yes, thats about $1600.00 in fuel, as well as the 6 days of hard driving. Since I am against gambling, I will not chance investing any more into my trip from here. I would hate to be finished and ready to go and find out late summer I can't. And the next year? Nope. Not gonna do it. Really saddened. Really.
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Steel Kitty
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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by Steel Kitty » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:09 pm

Think maybe it's time to stop going after 13 years, and support one of the local alternative festivals.

End of an era. I can't imagine any theme camps actually investing in infrastructure if they *may* not go due to bad luck. I know that I would be reluctant to build anything substantial with the uncertainty of a lottery hovering over my head. Especially when I go several weeks early (and still pay for a FULL price ticket because I believe in supporting the event) to support everyone going. People that know me, know that I go to build/create/do shit because I BELIEVE in the experience for everyone. This type of system just fucks everyone equally -- well, except if you're one of the rich burners.. but they get to camp in/next to First Camp and have perks that most of us will never see.
Last edited by Steel Kitty on Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Burningman Ticket Process - 2012

Post by lh88e » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:10 pm

Lottery is a terrible idea that favors the arbitrary and disfavors everything else.

Why not have tiers as usual for a certain period of time only, but only for people who have purchased tickets in the past, with a limit of one ticket per valid email address (also of a person who has attended in the past). Also, since last year's race for the earliest tickets and least expensive tiers was such an ordeal, how about opening with the middle tiers, working out the kinks in less of a land rush, then offering the least expensive tiers a couple of weeks in.

Then at a date certain, close open purchasing by tiers and have a lottery for whatever remains.

Make all tickets non-transferrable, with a refund less a 10% or 15% turn-back fee that increases the closer it gets to the event.

At the very end, offer remaining tickets in some way that will benefit the org or the event over scalpers - i.e., Dutch or other auction on eBay or by the usual ticket office. Or lottery for free tickets for people who really couldn't pay earlier.

Lotsa tactical issues with the above, but running a lottery is not so easy, either.

Just some ideas to consider...
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