Steven Tavares, East Bay Express
A secret software program created by Ticketmaster to help buyers purchase large quantities of tickets to sporting events and concerts and then later re-sell them on the secondary market with huge mark-ups in price has caused an uproar in the ticket-selling industry ever since the practice was highlighted in an investigative report last year.
A bill introduced by Hayward Assemblyman Bill Quirk banning the use of software by ticket sellers in California was unanimously approved by the State Legislature two weeks ago and signed into law Monday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Although, California has existing laws prohibiting the use of so-called computer bots to quickly process ticket purchases, it did not specifically cover the type of software used by Ticketmaster named TradeDesk, which acts more like a service offered on the side to professional ticket scalpers.
Quirk's office has said the bill, AB 1032 was inspired by an investigative report in the Toronto Sun and the Canadian Broadcasting Company last year in which Ticketmaster employees at a trade show in Las Vegas described how professional ticket brokers could use the TradeDesk system to avoid the risk of violating some of Ticketmaster's own rules and regulations when purchasing large amounts of tickets.
Some ticket brokers are known to set up hundreds of unique Ticketmaster accounts in hopes of procuring an inventory of tickets to highly sought after events. The TradeDesk software allows the brokers to seamlessly gather the accounts in a single program and then post the newly purchased tickets on various resale sites such as StubHub. Ticketmaster, therefore, receives two commissions from the operation–one from the initial purchase, and a cut of the verified resale.
"It shouldn't matter if scalpers are using custom-made bots or use sophisticated services like TradeDesk," Quirk said, in a statement Monday. "There is no reason consumers should pay hundreds of dollars over face value for concerts or musicals just because they are competing against software for a limited amount of tickets. I'm glad Governor Newsom agreed with my logic and signed this measure into law."