Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should work

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Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should work

Post by bradtem » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:35 pm

Burning Man is an unusual beast -- it is a community (with an anti-commercial ethic) and also an event business with ticket sales and quotas and insiders and bucket-listers.

Normally, when you have an oversubscribed commodity, like playa tickets, markets are used to solve the problem. In particular, game theorists, who are the mathematicians who specialize in this branch of economics, know that the time-tested best solution for this is a special type of auction, known as a sealed bid second price auction, or its cousin the Dutch auction. But because Burning Man is a community with an anti-commercial ethic (even if that's not what is written in the 10 principles) the idea of an auction seems antithetical, because it suggests that BM is for the rich, and the poor need not apply. As such, tickets have been allocated by a "luck of the draw" online ticket sale, awarded to whoever loaded the ticket page at the right time, or in a lottery which drew even greater ire. All the systems leave many unsatisfied burners, and also create a lot of uncertainty in the planning of dedicated burners.

I have wondered if there is a middle ground. Here is what I would propose.

(TL;DR: Dutch Auction on 50,000 tickets -- overpayment goes to subsidize cheap tickets distributed by luck, and art grants. No scalping. No overloaded ticket servers. Predictability on whether you are going.)

1) Establish a budget for the event, what it is expected that ticket sales will raise. Say $28 million dollars from 70,000 tickets.

2) Hold a Dutch auction. for 50,000 of the tickets.
  • In a Dutch auction, tickets open at a high price, say $1,000. Each day the price goes down $20. You can enter a bid at any time, though conventionally you enter a bid with the day's price.
  • At the end of the day, the number of tickets sold is published. As the price drops, that number goes up.
  • One day, the number of bids exceeds 50,000. The auction is over. Say it happens on the day the price is $500.
  • All winners who get tickets will pay $500. Even if they bid on day one with $1,000, or day N-1 with $520. This is very important.
  • On the final day, you do need to allocate winners and losers as there are not enough. You can use random selection, or first to bid, or just decide to sell more tickets in this sale if need be.
3) The Dutch auction has raised $25 million in this example. Because of that, the remaining 20,000 tickets can now be sold for just $2 million -- just $100 per ticket.

4) These $100 tickets can be sold via a lottery or a first-come-first-served or any other method that you think is fair. The $100 tickets are non-transferable. You can get only two, and they must be coded to one name. Even if the auction tickets are not print-at-home, the $100 tickets are print at home, because your ID will be checked when you enter. Tickets can be returned for refund to a STEP style program, but not sold.

Why is this the right system?
  • Some people get a guaranteed way to get in for yes, filthy lucre. If your group bids together you either all get in or you all don't (except on the last day.)
  • The rich bitches get in, but the extra they pay provides cheap tickets for those who can't afford it, and they fund art.
  • Scalping is generally non-productive. This is one of the virtues of the Dutch Auction. Tickets sold for $500 because there just weren't any more people who were willing to bid more. Thus the number of people who will pay more than face value for tickets is few -- otherwise they could have just put in a bid at that number. There will be people who changed their minds, or did not understand how to bid their true value, or who decide at the last minute to go. But there won't be a lot of them to drive a big scalping market.
  • Bidding is done slowly, and smart people do it in advance. So there are no overloads on ticket servers or timeouts or furtive reloads. Low capacity equipment can handle it.
  • Because there won't be a lot of people to buy scalped tickets, few of the tickets sold in the auction will be to speculators, so the price will not be driven artificially high -- it's counterproductive to the scalper to do this.
This does require people learn a hard skill -- bidding your true heart. To bid your true heart, you bid the price at which you are happy if you win, and happy if you lose. Ie. if you bid $500, and it goes for $400 you are happy. If it goes for $500 you are satisfied, though not overjoyed. If it goes for $520 you lose and you are happy, because $520 was just too much for you. If you accurately bid your heart, then every bidder goes away happy, and most bidders go away very happy. In practice people have trouble learning that. After they lose by just $20 they say, "If I knew it would only have been $20 more I would have bid it!" That means they did not bid their heart, because to do so you have to ask yourself in advance how you feel if it goes for $20 over your bid, and you should bid higher if you are not OK with losing at that price. I have found when I explain it this way, people get it. (on eBay people get confused because they see items go for just $1 over their bid when they came 2nd, but in fact the 1st place winner bid much more than $1 over you and the regret is misplaced.)

I should note that a more likely outcome for the last day of the auction is that it ends a day early. Which is to say, once the bidding closes at $520 with 1,000 tickets left, the system will notice it has over 1,000 pre-bids of $500, and declare the first 1,000 of those the winners and end the auction. Bid early!

It's possible that the tickets might go for $600. In that case there is $30M ($2M over budget.) That means the 20,000 tickets are FREE, plus there is an extra $2M in art grants. Everybody wins. (Well, I would not do them for free, I would put a basic minimum on them and use it for more art grants because free would attract too many entrants.)

If the auction goes all the way down to $400, it stops there, as that's the price needed to fund the budget. This means the event did not sell out, and there are no subsidy tickets. (A higher floor might allow some subsidy tickets but it depends on how much the event sells out.)

A few more improvements:
  • For will call, you upload a jpeg of your face, not your name. Your face is printed on the envelope with your playa name (or real name). Show up, they pull the envelope, look at your face and hand you the ticket -- a much more streamlined process. If the will-call room were naked, they could even let you find the envelope with your face on it and show it to exit. You're naked to assure you are not stealing any other envelope. Not cool with naked? Use the slower line.
  • In spite of what BMOrg says, tons of high priced, high attendance events use print-at-home tickets securely and quickly. You need scanners and a local network, but It actually costs less than all that printing and mailing. No souvenir ticket, but also no will call, no lost tickets, no ticket fraud. It's the 21st century.
  • I have not discussed vehicle tickets but a similar system can be used for these as well.
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by maladroit » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:58 pm

Ugh.

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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by bradtem » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:09 pm

Ugh because it seems complex? Or because you think it breaks the illusion that more money doesn't give you a better shot at tickets?

This is a very well time-tested system. It is close to the system eBay uses a million times a day and the method used for trillion dollar financial markets. It's related to how Google did their IPO. It is actually simpler to understand in the pure form -- everybody submits a sealed bit with their true number, and then the winning price (which everybody pays) is revealed. Less experienced bidders like seeing the price go down and the number of bids go up rather than figuring out their sealed bid.

I would say "Ugh" to what's happened in the past, with people dealing with overloaded web sites, random queue times and half of them not getting tickets and uncertain if they will go for months to come. People are who uncertain if they will go are more likely to spectate than participate because they can't make the big plans those of us who plan long ahead do. Ugh was the lottery system which tore camps apart and rent the city. Ugh is 50,000 people waiting an hour on a web site. Ugh is large numbers waiting in a multi hour will-call at a multi-hour gate. Ugh is people getting to the Playa to learn they bought fake tickets, or that they lost their tickets. Ugh is scalpers offering tickets for thousands on stubhub and craigslist and all that extra money going to the scalpers rather than to run our event, fund art or subsidize tickets for those of low income. That's Ugh.
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by Eric » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:41 pm

"Ugh" is the simple, unalterable fact that the demand is more than double the amount of tickets that can be sold, and that any plan that doesn't at it's core deal with human greed in getting their hands on an extremely limited item is bound to fail. The demand is so high that those tickets in your plan will be sold out before they get close to $900, and anyone who can't afford that amount will be screwed. It truly will turn into the playground for the rich that everyone is freaking out about.
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by bradtem » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:55 pm

What evidence do you have that there are 50,000 people willing to pay more than $900? That's not a normal demand curve. It looks like there might be about 120,000 people willing to pay $400 to $600, and that does not usually map that way. Burning Man could (and should) do a "how much would you pay" survey to find this out in advance. Remember that just a few years ago, it didn't sell out, and so there were not even 50,000 people willing to pay face value. And the tickets that go on StubHub etc. only go for greater than $1,000 in modest numbers.

But in fact, 2nd price bulk auctions are the system best regarded by experts in the field of dealing, at its core as you say, with human greed in getting their hands on a limited commodity. People have studied this for centuries and this is what they conclude (though admittedly with some complications.) The big issue here are the ethics of Burning Man, which resist the idea of using such solutions. That's why a proposal to mix the best known solution with something that funds lower income people and art. What we do know for sure is that anything other than the 2nd price auction produces inferior results, and so the goal should be to minimize how inferior they are and stay within the community ethos.

Note that the Borg could leave it as an option, if they got 50,000 bids over $900, to still sell them for $600 or whatever price makes sense to fund the budget and the subsidy tickets. Or they could just send the excess to the non-profit. They could not promise this in advance, of course, since it is essential that people who bid $900 accept that they might in fact pay $900, but the org could do such a gifting.

At least once. If it becomes true, as you fear, that there are 50,000 people willing to pay $900, then there is nothing you can do to prevent such a wall of money from having its way. You can try, and have lotteries and crashed ticket servers which are really lotteries that try not to look like lotteries, but in the end it is far better to use that giant resource of money to benefit the community, including getting in a large population who can't afford that price. Like a progressive tax, if you wish.

Other reasons I don't think there is really 50,000 x $900 demand is that there is no scalping after a working Dutch auction. I think a fair bit of the high-price demand is driven by people who wish to speculate. Of course, if speculators are a big problem, you can move to non-transferable tickets, but for now the org does not wish to do this, and so doesn't think they are a huge problem yet.
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by maladroit » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:13 pm

"Ugh" == BMORG is doing OK with this new situation (sold out tickets) after a few mistakes. Getting overly dramatic about the ticket sale process is so 2012. Creating a "Dutch auction" for the tickets has zero discernible positive effect, yet opens up the risk of many negative effects. Don't have to think too hard about that...either the tickets soar in price and a lot of people can't afford to go, or the tickets actually drop in price and now BMORG has to figure out how to plug the hole in their budget, or even discontinue low-income tickets altogether. Fancy "match ticket to person" schemes have been hashed over in here until we're ALL SICK OF IT.

This is how it happens now: BMORG sets a price to cover their estimated budget. Arguing about the size of their budget is a different matter. In any case, they announce the prices up front so everyone can include that information in their personal budgets. A sale happens, with increasingly fewer technical problems, and the tickets all get out there somehow. Most burners with half a brain manage to find a ticket through STEP or their local burner network, with a few sillies allowing themselves to be scammed over eBay or craigslist.

There are just so many other ACTUAL problems to backseat-drive than the fucking TICKETS.

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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by Elderberry » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:17 pm

If it takes that many words to explain it and I still can't understand it (and don't like what parts I did understand) I'm not going to be reading it again until I do. Dutch Auction my ass. :twisted: :shock:

Or in other words: Ugh
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by Ratty » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:19 pm

Bradtem, 20 years ago most people had never heard of Texas hold-em. Then came internet poker sites and TV coverage of the World Series of Poker. The same thing happened to this event. You can't site the past history of how many people attended and what you think they are willing to pay. That was before it became a big news story. Now that I didn't get a ticket today I'll probably buy the expensive ticket next year. What's $1,000 when it's my yearly vacation.
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by bradtem » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:30 pm

Sure, there are other problems than tickets, but this is the ticket forum, and this is ticket day.

And from what I can tell, we had a lottery again, they just don't call it that. Tons of people went in, they all loaded the page within a few seconds of the start of ticket buying, and some fraction of them got them, and some didn't, and their willingness to pay or eagerness to be online at the exact right moment doesn't appear to have had a lot to do with their result. Or the question of whether they got a vehicle pass, which was decided by whether the system picked them early or late. (If it picked them to get tix at all.)

So no, you don't get the really bad crap of the other lottery -- praise the dust devils -- but you get a lot of it.

My point is that solving this sort of problem is not a mystery. Economists and mathematicians have known how to solve it for centuries. If you went to any of them and asked how to sell a hot limited commodity and deliver the maximum satisfaction to everybody, they would tell you to do an auction similar to the one described. There would not even be a thread. They would not even consider the problem interesting until you added the unusual constraint of "avoid having people feel that money is the only path to attending the event." Over that we scratch our heads, but I have to say I don't think the current systems are working that well.

Oh, they have their attractions. If you lost out in today's lottery, and you really want to work hard, or alternately pay a lot, you can find a ticket, or so it has been in the last few years. Perhaps that satisfies some. I like the idea that being willing to work hard to get a ticket helps you get a ticket. I even like the idea that being willing to pay a lot gets you a ticket, but I decry that that extra money goes to a scalper who hurts our community rather than doing things like fund art or low income tickets. What I really don't like is that all the people who lost today are in limbo, not sure if they are going or not. As we all know, for a lot of us, going is a big production. You just don't do that big production when you "may" get a ticket. Even if you will 90% get one. I envy those who can learn 2 weeks before the event that they are going, and grab some camping gear and stick out their thumbs. But I value even more those who contribute a lot to the city, and plan for it long in advance.

As to how hard it is to understand, I find that the more pure auction has a shorter description which you might prefer:
Everybody bids their maximum bid, in secret. The top 50,000 bids win, and all pay the price of the 50,000th highest bid. The rest go home. Surplus money goes to subsidize low-income tickets allocated by luck in prior fashion.
The reason I gave the longer description is that some people picture it better if it's spread over time. This more pure form is too sudden for some.
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by Tiahaar » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:40 am

I miss eBay's Dutch Auction feature...used to get some great deals because many bidders didn't take the time to learn how to use it. Plus it was fun, and indeed at the end very satisfying especially when the last winning bid in was a low one :D
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by maladroit » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:40 am

I can evaporate your proposal down to an even more concentrated sludge: Raise ticket prices until enough people can't afford to go. That's it.

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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by ranger magnum » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:57 am

I like your thinking bradtem. It's cool that there are people out there thinking about ways to solve a problem, rather than simply bitch about it.
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by bradtem » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:04 am

I can evaporate your proposal down to an even more concentrated sludge: Raise ticket prices until enough people can't afford to go. That's it.
Well, you can think that, but it is the opposite of what I propose. You can balance the numbers of how many tickets are sold at auction with how many get subsidies to attain whatever goal of affordability you like. You could sell only 20,000 at auction and perhaps then you would get $900 each (though I doubt it based on the pre-sale) and then sell the others at ordinary and subsidized prices as you like. The first time you do it, you also learn a lot for future auctions about just what level of demand there is at each price point, so you can tune things perfectly to get the ideal level of subsidy for people who can't afford the market price.

And they grasp at that today. There is a pre-sale at a high price to make it easier for rich people to be sure of tickets, and they then do subsidize the other tickets. The difference is that doing it that way involves guesswork -- you have to figure out how many tickets to sell at what level, and you won't do it perfectly and people will go away unhappy.

That's why auctions are so well regarded. No guesswork. The burners set the price. You maximize bidder satisfaction and revenue and in this case the revenue goes into the community.

There is another option when you are a non-profit. That's an auction where the people pay what they bid. Ie. you bid $1,000 and you pay $1,000. You bid $600, you pay $600, until they are gone. This is generally viewed as inferior because it causes a lot of bidder's remorse -- you paid $1,000 and others paid $600 and that seems unfair and you wish you bid less. With a non-profit, you might not have as much regret -- you are helping people out with the extra you paid. And in this case, you could also get a tax deduction for the difference between your payment and the final price. But generally it's not the best way. It turns out with 2nd price auctions people know they are likely to pay much less than their bid, and thus are more willing to bid their true heart. When you pay what you bid you debate about economizing. Bidding $1,000 really means "I will pay $1,000 if that's what it takes, but I will probably pay much less" and so you get real bids.
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by maladroit » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:21 am

I understand you took a lot of time to think about this, and even more time to type it all out, but it's based on a false assumption about the market as well as the item being sold. This isn't an eBay auction for a stereo, where the losers know they can just shop around for another option. It's a yearly event, and most people know that there is a limit to the total number of times they will ever attend. So people like me...yes, it hurts to pay $400 for this, but I'd think long and hard about paying $800 rather than missing it altogether. I'm not rich, that's a fairly hefty chunk of money to me.

Your entire premise is based on jacking up the price until it just barely falls within the maximum budget of the final (numerically) bidder. There will be a few percent willing to pay multiple thousands of dollars, some that couldn't afford more than $1000, and a large pack in the middle who could (painfully) afford $600-$700.

The reason your idea sucks is that it's not an auction for a ticket, it's an auction for an experience, it's a moment in time...something that when gone, is GONE. People aren't weighing the value, monetarily, of this experience, and BMORG isn't telling us that this experience is valued at $400 this year. The important driver here is punishment (of not going), and THAT will create artificial inflation. It's the same mechanism that makes people clean out the grocery stores of bread and milk when a big snowstorm is coming, because they know that everyone else will. The only reason it doesn't spiral out of control is because BMORG sets the price in stone ahead of time, and constantly battles scalpers.

And seriously, even you know your idea is ridiculous...you're backpedalling and trying to reshape it until it's almost exactly what BMORG is already doing now.

Ugh.

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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by graidawg » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:52 am

I actually agree with this concept, sure people are knocking it. We as a community knock everthing to do with tickets But i see it solves one problem pretty eficiently, the people who buy a ticket and then decide not to go. If you have to think about how much you are willing to pay and then pay it, you make it a solid plan to go. So we have a lot less people who have to run around for a ticket hoping to get one at the last minute.
The ticket problem is going to get worse every year, more and more people are going to want to go and less and less vets are going to want the hassle of getting a ticket or organising for the event when they may end up not getting a ticket.
The thing that makes bm great is everything that happens apart from the man and temple burn are organised by us. Everything. so what happens when 50% of the people involved in pink mammoth or Barbie death camp infrastructure don't get a ticket. they dont happen. not saying thats a bad thing, but its going to happen eventually.
personall i realise the ticket price is kept artificially low by the fact that bm works by volounteers, they build the damn city, they make the art and staff the hospital, the guard our party and make sure nobody gets in with guns and fireworks or without a ticket.
so ask yourself how much would you pay for a ticket, and how much would you like to know that you are going to get a ticket for that price, or less. And to know that if you dont get a ticket its very unlikely you will get one later on. So no planning for the trip hoping to get a ticket, then not getting one.
Seriously take a look at glastonbury and they sell a 1/4 million tickets.
I know I wouldn't pay 900 bucks for a ticket so i wouldn't bid that, but if bmorg put the price up to say 600 i would bite the bullet and pay it, would i pay 700? maybe but i doubt it. I know i would hate to be in the position of not having a ticket, having booked 4 weeks off work bought a plane ticket 6 months in advance because its way cheaper han geting one 2 weeks in advance then spnding 6 months hoping to get one.
and of course what we, the uninformed are forgetting is this, its science. not guesswork
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by FlyingMonkey » Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:38 am

Elderberry wrote:If it takes that many words to explain it and I still can't understand it (and don't like what parts I did understand) I'm not going to be reading it again until I do. Dutch Auction my ass. :twisted: :shock:

Or in other words: Ugh

I refuse to read posts that don't fit on one screen without scrolling. But I did read the replies & want to throw my "Ugh" in for good measure. We always have people saving us with solutions this time of year.

I for one think the ticket purchasing went very well this year. It's kind of like the 30 minute Exodus last year. (still shaking head "did that just happen?")

The reality is that not everyone who wants a ticket will get one (NO MATTER WHAT SYSTEM IS USED). I don't count on getting one (even in the pre-sale) every year & appreciate it when I do.

Trust me, I know the suck of sitting out a year.
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by chuckularone » Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:42 am

The first year, hordes of people will bid $1000 figuring that "the other guy" will bid lower and I'll get my tickets for their price too. Then the auction will close with 50,000 tickets sold in under an hour and a whole lot of people defaulting on their bid.

The next year will be slightly better....

Edited to add: UGH!
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:59 am

UGH!
What we need is a character limit on eplaya posts.
What little interest that idea might have gotten is lost in the drudgery of reading through posts that long.

Here's whats wrong with it, Mr. Time Tested Proof: did you see how crazy fast this year's $800 presale tickets sold out? I know if we had that system, I'd bid $1000 on day one for sure.
Problem two, the supposed cheap leftovers. There's no "fair" way of distributing those.

All your plan will do is instantly raise ticket prices $600.
I doubt your proven prior examples are quite comparable to this particular event.
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by Bless » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:04 am

What about a Dutch Rudder?
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:30 am

.... or oven
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by FlyingMonkey » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:30 am

graidawg wrote:
so what happens when 50% of the people involved in pink mammoth or Barbie death camp infrastructure don't get a ticket. they dont happen. not saying thats a bad thing, but its going to happen eventually.
No! That is a bad thing.

Since DGS tickets have been offered is this still a problem for "the camps that make it happen"? Sure some people will miss out but not 50% of the heart & soul of a camp.

Seems to me that the Dutch Auction would provide a lot of tickets to people who can afford $1000 or more & very few for normal(and I use that term loosely) people who can afford tickets at todays rates.

I think that would be tragic & adversely change the event. You think the exclusive RV camps are bad now..........
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by jneilvindy » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:25 am

And ultimately, no matter what system is in place for ticket sales. Half the people wanting tickets are simply not going to get them.

Even if the reason is they ended up at a price point they aren't willing to pay so they decided not to try and attend.

You're still just thinning the herd. Instead of a wild 5 second server stampede you're thinning it with prices.

Even at 1,000 per ticket, that's a pretty fair price for a week's worth of vacation time. And to me that's the scary thing I give thanks to the ORG for (keeping prices down.)

I have no doubt if next year the raised ALL tickets to a flat 1,000 the event would still sell out and there would still be people online complaining about how the system failed them in the queue lines, server crashes and conspiracy insider line jumping issues.

I feel bad for everyone who didn't get a ticket. It's gotta suck being the ORG and seeing so much money left on the table due to infrastructure (roadways to/from event) limits.

I mean what business wants to turn away 1/2 of their customers begging to throw money at them if only they can get a ticket?

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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by Elderberry » Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:54 am

jneilvindy wrote:
I have no doubt if next year the raised ALL tickets to a flat 1,000 the event would still sell out and there would still be people online complaining about how the system failed them in the queue lines, server crashes and conspiracy insider line jumping issues.
This.
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:06 am

If I wanted to go I'd buy a $1000 ticket.
But I'd probably decide (again) that Hawaii was a better deal!
Let me recommend that anyone who didn't get a BM ticket have a good look at options like that.
BM is awesome but it's not cheap and you can do some other awesome things with the kind of money it takes to go to a hot dirty desert.
I didn't miss the playa last year at all, lounging in the warm surf on a beautiful, un-crowded beach as the sun set over the Pacific. Not at all.
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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by AntiM » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:44 am

Valley of the Gods is a lovey, empty, not quite so dusty BLM managed desert. Everyone go there!

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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by Jovankat » Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:14 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:.... or oven

I can't be the only one whose first thought on seeing this thread was that it was going to be about getting a ticket by withstanding prolonged intense exposure to someone else's farts. Right? :lol:

I am intrigued by the idea of scientific theory being used to improve the process but I think the knowledge of how mismatched demand and supply are would overwhelm the "true heart" concept. The fact is the scarcity shifts people's idea on what a "fair" price is. There would be a lot of folks today willing to pay $800 for a ticket who passed on the opportunity when offered it a few weeks ago in the Presale.

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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by zorro sings » Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:39 am

Jovankat wrote:[quote="]

There would be a lot of folks today willing to pay $800 for a ticket who passed on the opportunity when offered it a few weeks ago in the Presale.[/quote][/quote][/quote][/quote]

How true. Peace of mind,especially for those coming from a good distance, had to be worth $400. In retrospect of course.
Be careful. You can spend all your money in there..............................Oriental Visitor

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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by jneilvindy » Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:41 am

Jovankat wrote:
There would be a lot of folks today willing to pay $800 for a ticket who passed on the opportunity when offered it a few weeks ago in the Presale.
^this^

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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by zeigen » Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:27 am

Brad, I like the idea, and I even agree it's more rational than the current system.

I don't think people have gotten the point you're making: It's a lottery TODAY. Some people clicked the green button at 12:00:03 and didn't get a ticket. Some people clicked the green button at 12:01 or later and did get a ticket. The difference between who got one and who didn't is basically randomness from Ticketfly's process.

So, do we continue with this irrational process year after year, or investigate other options? Brad's the only one putting out proposals for more rational solutions. Instead of saying "ugh" can you come up with something better? I can't.

All that said, it's doubtful the BMOrg would ever adopt a Dutch Auction system, and at some point in the future, it's likely all the tickets would go at the highest price.

--Z.

P.S. Brad, was 2011 the last time you attended? Are you going to go this year? I have always enjoyed your panoramas at http://pic.templetons.com/brad/pano/ and I spoke with you in person about them in 2002 and 2004.

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Re: Dutch Auctions are the answer for how tickets should wor

Post by bradtem » Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:54 am

No, I was there in 2013 (the 15th burn for me.) I skipped 2012 in part because of the lottery fiasco. Whole camps of friends of mine skipped that year when they found only a third of the camp had tickets, and they made those decisions before the directed sale offers came. BMOrg even wrote me when it saw I did not have tickets to offer them, so I don't propose these alternate systems because of my own lack of tickets -- like most experienced burners I know how to find them if need be.

The example I gave of 50,000 auction, 20,000 subsidy is just one plan. You can have a directed sale for theme camps and artists as there is now. For a theme camp not in a directed sale, there are a few options. One is to get together as a camp and decide the bid everybody will use, so everybody wins or everybody loses. Richer folks in the camp can agree to subsidize poorer folks to keep the camp's bid the same. Alternately, as has been proposed for the various lottery ideas, you can have a way for people to declare a group affiliation when they register for tickets, so the system knows to either pick all of them or none of them. Nobody likes whole theme camps not going, but it's better than having a random half of your theme camp going for many. (You could choose to bind together or bid independently as you wish.)

There is truth to the fact that people who would pay $800 decided to skip the pre-sale and take their chances in the individual sale. We don't know how many. This is one of the things people like about dutch auctions, there is much less bidder's remorse. People dislike paying $800 for something they could have gotten for $390, that most other people got for $390. They probably didn't think that twice as many people would register for the individual sale as there were tickets. They might have decided it was worth $410 to take the risk, feeling that will a bunch of work they could find a ticket if they lost. They may have felt that they could pick one up for $1,000 in the scalper market in a pinch. But I am pretty sure there are not even 20,000 who would bid $1,000 for example. If there were, then the other 50,000 could get tickets for $160 to reach a $28M budget, and we would actually have done a better job of getting people who can't afford a lot to the playa. There might be some bidder's remorse here, but I don't think show, because the $160 tickets would a crapshoot and the high bidders would be happy not to have taken that risk.

No, the fact that this is an experience rather than a good doesn't alter the economic theory behind the dutch auctions. There is no question the Burning Man experience is highly valuable to a lot of people. What this system does is flow that value into the community as subsidies for lower income folks.
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