Solving the Ticketmaster UX Problem.

I'm on the train thinking about this ticket buying system.

I mentioned today that the experience of buying tickets was the "worst" user experience which I'm sure leads to excess traffic which in turn leads to the web site falling over and a bunch of people being extremely unhappy.

The Problem:

More demand than supply, no ability to queue for tickets in the traditional sense. No indication of ticket volume or availability.

A Solution:

"I call it the lolly scramble approach."

1. Get interested people to pre register at the ticket master website.

2. Work out the number of tickets & the number of registered users.

3. Put people in manageable groups. More people than tickets available.

4. Invite everyone into a "room" just before the tickets go on sale.

S. Drop the tickets in move them around the screen and have people "try" and click on a ticket. Hell even have more crowded rooms for people wanting to buy a bundle of multiple tickets.

6. Once the tickets have all been clicked game over and everyone would have had a shot of buying some.

This system would be easy to build in .Net with a WPF/E or flash UI.

Is no one thinking about this stuff?

Comments (5)

  1. Jamie says:

    Or they could just raise the price of the tickets.

  2. Zef says:

    Good idea – I like the fun factor.

    One person who’s been thinking about ticketing is Alastair Bruerton. Check out his ‘social ticketing’ concept at

    I discussed with Darryl Burling yesterday how the only software companies seriously doing ‘web2.0’ type stuff are start-ups – this is because they are starting from scratch and have full control over the technology and business models.

    For service companies it’s not so easy – we’re having to work with many clients who are still stuck in the web1.0 mind space – some take alot of convincing to try new things (but we’re working on it!).

    While there’s lots of good work going on by the likes of yourself educating designers and developers about tools like WPF/E and MS Live etc – the software/web industry also needs to focus on educating clients about what’s actually possible (or will be once WPF/E is mainstream) and creating visions for the future.

  3. Ben says:

    Or… they could arrange the ticket sales far enough out to allow for the demand to inform the supply. Imagine 3 months out they announce 1 or 2 shows – to be confirmed (get on the waiting list). If there are enough interested, adjust supply, throw another concert. Obviously it’d be done discreetly to avoid publicly shaming lame acts (or not).  

    Perhaps by only rearranging the purchase interaction, simply a ‘different’ set of people may end up purchasing tickets, but without adjusting supply, the same total number of people will miss out.

    Is a ‘different’ way of establishing rights-to-buy better than any other? – what’s the real difference between being the first person to hit ‘submit’ and being the first person to chase the ticket and click it?

    Ahh on the other hand – your concept would eliminate slow-clickers and douche-bags from the race – and that idea has legs (nobody likes slow-clickers). Heh

    Love your thinking – keep it rolling

  4. Ben says:

    Hmm, here is a rather nasty update:

    Is there an equivalent risk with an online situation?


  5. Did you ever see that talking frogs review of ticketmaster? It was ages ago and used those Ze Frank frogs. Hilarious, but also spot on to some of Ticketmaster’s flaws. Site has since been redesigned but still makes for entertaining watching…

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