If you’ve ever tried to buy tickets online for an event – whether for a popular Broadway play, a Las Vegas event, a concert in a local city or even a popular science fiction blockbuster movie months in advance – chances are you’ve struggled with being able to obtain tickets at regular price. Part of the problem is that many online scalpers have perfected the art of snatching tickets up as soon as they’re available to the public with the use of bots. Fans can breathe a sigh of relief, however, because just this week, President Obama signed The Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act to help combat this.
It’s unfortunate that this online ticket scalping problem has become so rampant that it’s taken governmental action to try to put an end to it. That blows our minds. But, in our opinion, the BOTS Act should be good for the consumer (and it’s about time!). It’ll allow for more tickets to be available at face value for consumers online than ever before. Event ticket vendor Ticketmaster commented yesterday, “On behalf of artists, venues, teams, and especially fans, we applaud the BOTS Act being signed into federal law.”
The BOTS Act won’t be good for everyone, though. For consumers with fatter wallets who’ve grown accustomed to purchasing tickets last minute, and at inflated prices, the availability of those second-chance tickets may now be slim to none.
The BOTS Act doesn’t really impact AlertBot, but if someone had been considering the creation of an automated script on our system for use in buying highly sought after tickets as soon as they come on sale, that won’t be possible anymore. That’s not a use case we’ve ever thought of before, but we suppose it was a possible scenario. As of this week, however, the AlertBot team will not be allowing any scripts of this nature to be used on the AlertBot system (and as far as we know, there have never been). However, if you work for a ticket sales website and have been thinking of monitoring your own ticket purchasing pages and shopping cart, you can still do that with AlertBot. That’s exactly what AlertBot is meant for, and the BOTS Act provides an exception in the law to allow online ticketing operators to use bots to monitor and test their own systems for flaws. That’s a good thing! As we know, some of these ticket vending sites could use some improvement.
In mid-July of this year, the BOTS Act was first presented to the Senate and, on December 7th, the House passed/agreed to it without objection. It was then presented to the President on Monday this week, which he then signed. This Act, which applies to online sales for any public event exceeding 200 people, was the first of its kind pertaining to online bots and can be viewed in its entirety here.