Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

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ACfromSAC
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Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

Post by ACfromSAC » Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:43 pm

In years past (since the 2011 sell out) aftermarket ticket prices have tended to drop significantly this close to the event with many available for below face value. It appears that as of this year, the popularity of Burning Man has finally reached the point where those days are gone. With this change and the sky high demand, do you think the Org should take additional steps to stop the scalpers? I am certainly not the only person out there who is making note of the guaranteed profits involved with selling a Burning Man ticket on the aftermarket. This guaranteed profit is sure to bring more scalpers along for future ticket sales. Over the past few years there has been a lot of discussion on this subject and many ideas bounced around about how to fix it. Do you think the Org should start exploring solutions to fix the issue or do you think the nature of supply and demand is what it is and the Org shouldn't be expected to fix the issue of greedy people problems? Seeing so many veteran burners on the search for ticket this late in the game scares me when I think about getting tickets to future burns!

Here's one idea I have that seems minimally invasive to the org: They should implement a 'RAT ON A SCALPER' program where if you're sold a ticket for over face value, you provide the serial number of the ticket to the Org and they block that person from all future ticket sales AND cancel the rest of the order. Proof of some sort would be required, of course, but a sale through paypal or stubhub would have a nice paper trail. Thoughts?

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Re: Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

Post by Sham » Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:56 pm

Scalpers are a problem with no easy fix. The org encourages everyone to sell unneeded tickets at face value. It's nearly impossible to police every ticket sold.

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Re: Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

Post by Simon of the Playa » Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:09 pm

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Re: Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

Post by Eric » Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:11 pm

Your "solution" encourages people to buy tickets over face value & use them, while ratting out the person who sold it to them - who may not be the person who purchased them. You're basically saying "it's okay to pay over face value, as long as you tell us", which will just drive the aftermarket pricing sky high. It's the opposite of what you want to happen.

Scalping (reselling tickets for over face value) is legal in Nevada, and the event runs under the laws of Nevada - however, under the terms & conditions you agree to when you buy the ticket, any ticket found to have been sold for that price can be voided. The BMorgs policy of actively going after tickets they find to have been sold for over face value & voiding them handles the problem at the source - people who are willing to pay anything to attend. If no Burner would pay over face value, there would be no issue. Human nature isn't that way, so they treat it the best they can within the laws of the state, by punishing the person who is willing to break the rules to get their hands on the ticket.

As always, you are free to volunteer to join the ticket team, which has spent years working on these very issues, and lend your expertise in the trenches. Harsh reality reality often crushes philosophical mulling of ideas, however.
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Re: Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

Post by ACfromSAC » Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:10 pm

I totally agree with and abide by the don't feed the scalpers policy but the reality is that they will always sell. People just want to go. It's a complex issue but not one without possible fixes... or at least limitations. I'm sure the Org has spent hours and hours talking about it and hopefully some day there will be a solution that limits the scalping by doing something like handling all transfers through STEP. Last minute ticket transfers wouldn't be quite as simple but would still be doable. There would be limiting factors to all solutions but that doesn't make them not worth trying. It's a bummer seeing so many being scalped for such high prices this year while tons of veteran burners are missing out.

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Re: Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

Post by andy » Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:19 pm

As frustrating as the situation may be, I was watching tickets actually sold on eBay and found that while the prices were still sky high, the number of tickets actually sold each day is maybe 10 or so. So it's not as if most tickets are in the hands of scalpers.

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Re: Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

Post by theCryptofishist » Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:28 pm

ACfromSAC wrote:I'm sure the Org has spent hours and hours talking about it and hopefully some day there will be a solution that limits the scalping by doing something like handling all transfers through STEP.
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Re: Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

Post by trilobyte » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:14 pm

Incentivizing people to go buy overpriced tickets ("feeding the bears" if you will) is a terrible, terrible idea.

As it stands now, people found to be selling tickets for more than face value plus fees risk having their entire order canceled, and will find themselves on a high risk list that may hinder their attempts to purchase tickets in the future. It's worked incredibly well - while tickets to the event are listed above face on various sites that trade in that sort of thing, the overall percentage of tickets that wind up in scalpers' hands is extremely small compared to other festivals and events. For us, it's generally single digit percentages, other high demand events see 50-65% of the supply in the hands of profiteers.

This year's late summer ticket situation was pretty much expected (and I think I posted to that effect, too). The only people who thought it would be raining tickets were idiots (no offense) who weren't really giving it much thought. That last minute windfall that occurred in 2012 was due to the BLM granting Burning Man permission to sell quite a few more tickets when the permit was issues (that was published and mentioned in a few places). It was also the first year of the OMG sale, which helped to flood the market and drive prices down. 2013 was a tougher year - both because there was no massive ticket windfall from the BLM (there was one, but it was smaller), and lots of people just assumed that something that happened once was guaranteed to happen every year. It wasn't, resulting in lots of last minute ticket scrounging last year. This year, we knew there'd be even less of a BLM windfall, tickets would be harder to find. I was kind of surprised to see so many people boneheadedly still promoting the idea that it would be raining tickets come late summer, and what I've seen so far has been ludicrous. I've talked to dozens (if not hundreds) who honestly believed that by registering for STEP, they were somehow guaranteed tickets. And failing that, they'd have no trouble getting tickets in the OMG sale. If you've seen how Burning Man after-market sales tend to go, it was very clear as early as June that there were significantly more people looking for fewer available tickets. That's as expected - 2014's total numbers won't be that much higher than 2013's, and just following the normal annual growth rate, it meant more people would want tickets than there were to have.

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Re: Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

Post by pink » Tue Aug 19, 2014 3:05 am

Why have there been no more voided tickets posted?
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Re: Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

Post by ACfromSAC » Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:53 am

trilobyte wrote:Incentivizing people to go buy overpriced tickets ("feeding the bears" if you will) is a terrible, terrible idea.
Totally agreed. I didn't mean for it to sound like an incentive as much as just allowing people to report the sale. The tickets will be purchased, there's no way around it. It would be nice if there was a way to stick it to the scalper and just report the sale without the risk of then having the ticket you purchased cancelled and leaving yourself out of luck as well.

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Re: Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:37 am

Let me guess. If you were a fanatic christian, you'd be one of those who goes out for pancakes after church and then leaves the waitress a bible tract for a tip, because after all, she shouldn't be working on Sunday.
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Re: Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

Post by ACfromSAC » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:50 am

theCryptofishist wrote:Let me guess. If you were a fanatic christian, you'd be one of those who goes out for pancakes after church and then leaves the waitress a bible tract for a tip, because after all, she shouldn't be working on Sunday.
Mr. Pink doesn't tip.

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Re: Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

Post by pink » Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:19 pm

But Ms. Pink tips quite well. All former waitresses do I think. Even if your last time waiting tables was 28 years ago.
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Re: Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

Post by danibel » Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:54 pm

This will be my 6th year and I go knowing full well it may be my last. The ticket situation is probably going to get worse, not better. I will not ever pay more than face value for a ticket. I simply won't. Demand is out stripping supply and them's the breaks.

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Re: Death, Taxes and Profits for your Burning Man ticket.

Post by ACfromSAC » Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:24 pm

Dead on Dan. I couldn't imagine NOT being there for a year but the reality is it may happen. Once the expensive presale tickets start going in a matter of minutes, that's when I'll know it's gonna be really tought. I wonder if there are any good camping spots in the hills overlooking BRC? A Friday, Saturday trip in the hills overlooking the burn nights could be fun...

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