What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

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danibel
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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by danibel » Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:09 pm

AlexMN1984 wrote:Print-at-home tickets are the obvious solution. Counterfeiting/photocopying issues could be addressed by allowing tickets to be trasferred electronically, so that once I transfer a ticket to you, it would get a new barcode and my original ticket would no longer scan.

If this is technologically doable (I don't know, I am not the in ticketing business), it makes the most sense. I would miss my pretty arty embossed stub, but anything to make this whole process easier/less counterfeitable/less scalperish is better in my book.
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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by Ratty » Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:15 pm

Then every Tom Dick and Harry would be selling a piece of paper that won't get you entrance. The point of all that fancy printing on the beautiful tickets is to make them harder to replicate.
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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by FIGJAM » Mon Feb 16, 2015 4:00 pm

I agree with Ratty.

I choose not to trust in too much tech!!! 8)
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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by VultureChow » Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:25 pm

Also, as opposed to most concerts and sporting events, burning man is two hours away from civilization and people spend thousands of dollars on preparation and travel to the event. It's as though you flew your family down to Florida to go to Disney, and when you got there your entry tickets were counterfeit, you couldn't buy a ticket at the gate, and you couldn't get into any of the other theme parks.

It would not only be a logistical nightmare for burning man if this happened with printable tickets, but a public relations nightmare.

The only reason printable tickets work for plane tickets and other events like Glastonbury is because they're tied to identification. Your ticket has to match your government ID. Until they start enforcing IDs, printable tickets can't work.
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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by danibel » Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:52 pm

VultureChow wrote:
The only reason printable tickets work for plane tickets and other events like Glastonbury is because they're tied to identification. Your ticket has to match your government ID. Until they start enforcing IDs, printable tickets can't work.

I am one of those rare people that think that ID's tied to tickets are fine. I know there are lots of people that disagree, and that is okay.
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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by trilobyte » Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:05 pm

Print at home tickets does not reduce either scalping or counterfeiting issues, it actually significantly increases the risk of counterfeiting. That's bad enough when it's not a sold out event and you just have to buy tickets at the door, and horribly painful when it's a sold-out event and you're not only out your money but driving back home in defeat... but when it's a sold out event that you've traveled a huge distance and put tons of effort into preparing for, heartbreaking.

Most event production companies (ticketmaster, livenation, et al) only care about counterfeiting so much as they are able to detect bogus tickets at the gate (and since they went barcode, that's been pretty easy for them to do). If someone gets scammed into buying a dead barcode or a completely fabricated ticket, they could care less.

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by maladroit » Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:37 pm

What would be great is some way to check whether the ticket is valid before you get to Gate. Maybe type in your number and name and it tells you if it's a match. The Voided Tickets list had only 9 numbers on it since early in 2014 and still has 9 today, so that's obviously not a useful resource.

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by Popeye » Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:13 am

maladroit wrote:What would be great is some way to check whether the ticket is valid before you get to Gate. Maybe type in your number and name and it tells you if it's a match. The Voided Tickets list had only 9 numbers on it since early in 2014 and still has 9 today, so that's obviously not a useful resource.
If there is a web accessible list of names and numbers of good tickets then someone will try to crack it. Knowing that Joe Burner has a ticket then his name can be entered in the first field and a cracking program used to find which 14 or so digit number is associated with it. Not quite that simple but...

We have had three factor identification, the fancy print job, your name and ticket number which has to match. Ticketing does a pretty good job of keeping tickets secure but if a counterfitter can match names and numbers then fake tickets are easily printed. If you show up at gate with the 10th ticket with the same number you won't get in even if you where the first to buy it.
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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by trilobyte » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:27 am

Exactly - such lists basically turn into tools for counterfeiters. It's impossible to publish a list of all invalid numbers, since that's basically every conceivable alphanumeric combination except for the list of valid numbers. Last year had a very small list of voided tickets, but that wasn't because Burning Man was voiding tickets and not updating the list, it's that not very many tickets were voided post-mailing. That was due largely to tickets getting into peoples' hands later in the season. As for last year's list, I wouldn't call late July 'early in the season' and as far as 'to this day' Burning Man does not typically update the list post-event ;)

I plan to continue to work with ticketing to post the voided tickets/passes list on the board, as we get updates from ticketing.

Burning Man is no longer able to provide ticket verification services for after-market purchases - the reason STEP was created was to do exactly what the name says, provide a secure ticket exchange program. All other after-market purchases carry some degree of risk.

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by jburn » Tue Feb 17, 2015 2:51 pm

I didn't go last year but will-call was a mess in 2013 too. I think we waited for 3-4 hours Sunday night. Why can't they get it together? From reading the comments it sounds like it was the same primary issue as 2013 - not enough windows/staff. If volunteers are being relied upon to provide the person-power - that's completely lame. These should be compensated, staffed up positions and plenty of them.

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by tatonka » Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:17 pm

arrived to the playa at 10:30 pm sunday then 2 hrs later im diverted to will call . I get in line ( about 80 people in line or so ) Im just about to the covered area and it starts raining :( . Got under the tarp in a few, and got my ticket about 6:00 AM. Went back to my rig and got in a line . The playa was closed all day and some time later Monday I got let in and set up camp. I did not sleep till Mon. night and the food I had was a spagetti dinner the people in front of me shared :) .
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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by trilobyte » Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:50 pm

Yeah, the rain didn't help, since everything just has to shut down. Here's hoping that we don't see any of the wet stuff during the event in 2015!

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by pink » Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:44 pm

Pray tell why would will call shut down during the rain?
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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by trilobyte » Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:15 pm

The gate shuts down completely in the rain, and always has. No driving is allowed, and the power grid and internet connection are shut down.

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by AlexMN1984 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:35 am

All of the major sports leagues (or at least MLB and NFL) do electronic transfer, and it works well. The way they do it is that you log into their site to transfer a ticket, and the person you're transfering it to gets an email from the sports team (not from the seller) with a link that will transfer the ticket to the buyer's account with a new barcode #. So if someone is selling tickets, the buyer can demand that they actually transfer the ticket to their account, as opposed to just emailing a pdf file. So, if the ticket is in your account, the only way someone could have a copy of it (making yours not scan) is if you sent them the copy yourself.
trilobyte wrote:Print at home tickets does not reduce either scalping or counterfeiting issues, it actually significantly increases the risk of counterfeiting. That's bad enough when it's not a sold out event and you just have to buy tickets at the door, and horribly painful when it's a sold-out event and you're not only out your money but driving back home in defeat... but when it's a sold out event that you've traveled a huge distance and put tons of effort into preparing for, heartbreaking.

Most event production companies (ticketmaster, livenation, et al) only care about counterfeiting so much as they are able to detect bogus tickets at the gate (and since they went barcode, that's been pretty easy for them to do). If someone gets scammed into buying a dead barcode or a completely fabricated ticket, they could care less.

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by AlexMN1984 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:48 am

I agree with the above post that box office/will call should absolutely be paid staffers, not volunteers. Also, removing the 4 shift requirement for volunteering would be a good start too. I checked box office on the volunteer questionnairre to get more info, but I'm not sure that I can commit to 4 6 hour shifts.

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by Ratty » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:49 am

Alex, It's so sweet, the way you think people are smart. Scalpers are already selling 'print at home' tickets. AND THEY DON'T EXIST. Imagine what a field day they would have. There would be an entire suburb outside the gates with all the fakely ticketed people.

Did you read the reason why they have a 4 shift minimum?
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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by AlexMN1984 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:55 am

You're right, you can't cure stupid. I would argue that if you're dumb enough to buy a print at home ticket now (as you said, they don't exist), then you probably don't have any business spending a week in the desert in August. My point above was that print at home would be a good idea, but ONLY if there is a way to transfer tickets between accounts, with a new barcode being issued whenever there is a transfer. If the only way to transfer a PaH ticket is to email a pdf file, then I agree it's a terrible idea.
Ratty wrote:Alex, It's so sweet, the way you think people are smart. Scalpers are already selling 'print at home' tickets. AND THEY DON'T EXIST. Imagine what a field day they would have. There would be an entire suburb outside the gates with all the fakely ticketed people.

Did you read the reason why they have a 4 shift minimum?

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by trilobyte » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:20 am

It works well in that they're able to catch and block counterfeit tickets from entering the building, but it absolutely fails as a means to prevent counterfeiters from preying on those events. Thousands of rubes a week nationwide, and thousands of suckers at major sporting events are turned away with invalid tickets (I've seen a number of articles on event ticket counterfeiting that claim the number of cases is at an all-time high... so it doesn't work well in the scam prevention department).

I'm sorry that you're having a hard time understanding what I'm saying, I'll try to explain it better. The goal is not the same. It's not simply how to enable transfers and turn away the fakes at the gate, it's how to enable transfers and turn away fakes, as well as how to limit the number of people with fakes that show up to begin with.

It's one thing when someone got screwed buying a ticket at the corner outside the park, but another thing entirely when the person drove or flew hundreds if not thousands of miles to get to Reno, then drove a couple more hours down a lonely stretch of highway to get to the gates with a vehicle full of supplies... only to find that their whole vehicle is getting turned back around because one member of the group got suckered into a print at home scam.

The ticket team does a lot of work year-round looking into options and technologies as well as talking with other event production and ticketing companies. I agree with their findings as far as print at home are concerned. It's a convenient as hell system and I've used it regularly for other events, but it makes things much easier for scammers (the counterfeiter's goal isn't to get the buyer through the door, just to get the buyer to give them their money). I understand the need to fewer people working more shifts in that space, since it's basically a high security room full of spendy tickets. Kind of like the cashier's office or count room in a casino, it's better to have fewer trusted people than more people that you don't know as well.

Anyhow, looking back towards the blog post, I'm glad to see that they're opening up STEP and OMG sales to have tickets mailed out. That alone should make a difference, and beefing up their staffing and systems will help a lot too. I wish I was able to commit to the shifts, but between the stuff already on my plate I'm generally stretched pretty thin pre-event and in the first couple days after the gate.

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by AlexMN1984 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:21 am

I understand what you're saying, but if tickets can be transferred between accounts, then buyers can demand that the seller actually transfer the ticket to them, as opposed to just emailing them a pdf file. That would cut down on the numbers showing up with fakes, because people would be 100% certain that their ticket is real if it's in their account. As far as people buying tickets from scalpers at sporting events and being turned away at the gate because they're fake, most fake sports tickets are counterfeits of hard tickets, not print at home tickets with fake barcodes. This is because most people don't know exactly what the hard tickets are supposed to look like. You'd have to be out of your mind to buy a print at home ticket from someone off the street. Right now with Burning Man, that's what we have; buying tickets from someone you don't know is a crap shoot. STEP isn't good enough; there needs to be a way to transfer a ticket to someone you know rather than just the person at the front of the line.

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by Ratty » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:23 am

I thought you can transfer it to someone you know. If it's will call you need to show up first and then you can transfer the 2nd ticket to their name.

I think step is a great way to distribute the extras that people can't use. It's fair and safe.
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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by Jovankat » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:26 am

Yep you can. There were stories of people being ripped off last year by someone who was able the *show* multiple people that they'd transfered the ticket into their name for will call pick up but they hadn't

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by trilobyte » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:38 am

The system they're using is already significantly better at reducing the number of counterfeit tickets than any print at home system.

The challenge is not how to enable print at home (btw, you'd still need a box office for the ppl who showed up without a printout), the challenge is how to improve the flow of will call. That can be done without significantly making things easier for scammers/counterfeiters, and as the blog post talks about, the ticket team is working on it.

I disagree with named transfers on STEP (versus a first come first serve queue), opening up the secure ticket exchange like that would only make it easier for above-face sellers (people who say "pay me $100 above the cost in STEP and I'll transfer it to you").

We'll have to agree to disagree, as I'm done with it. If you (or anyone reading this) believes that you've got a solution that the ticket team hasn't considered, or personal/professional expertise that you can offer to help... by all means, reach out to them.

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by trilobyte » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:38 am

You can transfer tickets to another person, but not through STEP.

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by maladroit » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:14 pm

Last year we had tickets in-hand. Well, we finally got them in-hand a couple weeks before the event, so that was cause for some nail biting. And technically, they were not in-hand...they were on-fridge, which sparked a cold sweat of horror when that fact sprang to mind 4 hours into the trip.

However, after the hours stuck on Gate Road due to the rain, wandering over and watching the Will-Call line...forgetting the tickets and remembering them 4 hours away from home was STILL faster and less of a pain.

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by AntiM » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:54 pm

Ticket check! Who has the tickets!?

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by theCryptofishist » Sun Feb 22, 2015 7:10 am

jburn wrote: - not enough windows/staff. If volunteers are being relied upon to provide the person-power - that's completely lame _______*. These should be compensated, staffed up positions and plenty of them.
How much more are you willing to pay for this?




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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by paulo999 » Thu Apr 23, 2015 9:19 am

VultureChow wrote:The only reason printable tickets work for plane tickets and other events like Glastonbury is because they're tied to identification.
Small but maybe important point: Glastonbury tickets are tied to your face - no ID is required :)

For a year or two they tried the ID thing, but it was easily circumvented, and also caused difficulties at the gate. Extra time to verify, and handling people who'd not brought their ID but were potentially genuine.

So they replaced it with a system where you register a photo, and then that gets printed on the ticket. It's largely killed off scalping and fakes. You can get a refund up until about 6 weeks before (in effect similar to STEP - until that deadline), then after that, tickets are printed and there's no money back.

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by rideincircles » Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:14 pm

I will second the Glastonbury approach. I went in 2010 and they have completely eliminated scalpers with the picture printed on the ticket approach. The tickets are more like currency than they are tickets. Lots of safeguards in place to prevent scalpers.

This year 135000 tickets for Glastonbury sold out in less than 30 minutes. I tried this year but had no luck, same with the other years I have tried since I went (I will go again if I can get tickets, its absolutely amazing).

You only have to pay a 50 pound deposit up front, then pay it off in February or bail and get refunded. The secondary resale was this week I think for the people who bailed. They may have one or two more smaller resales later on, then after that, if you don't go, you miss out.

The big issue with Glastonbury is if you want to fly across the pond, you really need to get your ticket on the first sale. The odds of getting a ticket after that are very small.

Funfunfunfest in Austin had major issues (understaffed with computer problems) last year with will call with people waiting hours in line missing most of the shows on Friday to the point where they just let everyone in line inside for the last hour or 2 of the festival that day.

Anyways, just elaborating on the Glastonbury ticket mechanism. I will always prefer to have tickets in hand than pick them up at the festival.

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Re: What the heck happened with Will-Call last year?

Post by AlexMN1984 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:05 am

Scalpers aren't really the problem, the problem is counterfeiters and more people picking up their tickets on-site than will call is able to handle. Mailing out STEP and OMG tickets this year will hopefully make a difference, but I reiterate that the ultimate solution will be print-at-home tickets, as long as there is the capabilty to transfer tickets between accounts. That will elimate the possibility of anyone showing up with a ticket that is counterfeit/won't scan, unless they're an idiot.

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