Introducing Mandatory Check-In For Ticketing
Ticketing is encountering a lot of issues at the moment, most of which could be solved by keeping each ticket “on the grid,” according to Alan Gelfand, founder and CEO of Canada-based Fair Ticket Solutions.
Fair Ticket Solutions
His solution, which was developed over five years, is called Authenticket, an authentication platform that plugs into any primary ticketing company.
“Once plugged in, we set up an invisible gate at the venue that nobody can get through until they check in,” Gelfand said. In other words, Authenticket blocks communication between the scanners at the door and the server in the venue that tells the scanners whether a ticket has already been scanned or is authentic at all. Ticket holders who bought their ticket on any of the primary sites receive a notice when approaching the venue.
This is achieved through GPS and Beacon technology.
The notice asks the ticket holder to check in.
“As soon as they tap their phone or scan their credit card at a kiosk [provided by Fair Ticket Solutions], we open up the invisible gate and tell the scanners that their ticket is good to be scanned,” says Gelfand.
This mechanism enables a couple of things: Firstly, Authenticket serves as an authenticator, guaranteeing buyers to be purchasing a valid ticket no matter what site they go to.
Customers are currently lacking this peace of mind for various reasons: the many different offerings, some primary, some secondary, some authorized, some not and mostly appearing in reverse order on Google being just one.
“This lack of confidence can be enough to deter a fan from going and seeing their favorite artist – something that hurts the industry more every day,” Gelfand said. The check-in requirement makes sure no tickets that have been bought “off the grid” or by an unauthorized reseller are allowed entry.
“It’s almost identical to the airline industry where they won’t let you on their plane until you have proven it’s you whom the ticket was purchased for,” Gelfand explains.
It’s the implications for the secondary market where Authenticket becomes really interesting.
That is, as long as artists or venues can be convinced to use one central secondary marketplace only.
Artists like Adele (Twickets) and primary ticketing sites like See Tickets (Fan-to-Fan) have already made that decision.
Venues that are owned by one of the large promoters also have their own preferred secondary site.
Which of these secondary sites is used for any given concert – or sports event for that matter – is negotiable, but it has to be one only, according to Gelfand.
He cites the stock exchange as an example, where there are many primary sellers but only one reselling marketplace, which is a requirement for all participants to be sure they’re trading with authentic securities.
Authenticket enables the same principle in ticketing.
“Because the authorized exchange is connected to the primary seller, who are the only ones that can transfer the new attendees’ identification (i.e. credit card or email) to us, we know what is going to be used to check in,” Gelfand said. “What’s important about that is no tickets can be transferred or sold without the primary ticketing companies’ permission, thereby eliminating fraud. The artists have the right to ‘cap’ ticket re-sale prices, for example by choosing Twickets as reseller. Now the Bots won’t buy Adele tickets because they can only resell them on Twickets where they won’t make a profit.
“If they bought them and tried to sell them on an unauthorized site, the new purchaser would not be able to check in because the venue doesn’t know about them. They would not get the check-in notification nor would they have the credit card used to purchase the tickets originally from the primary market.”
According to Gelfand, this will lead to all unauthorized secondary sites de-listing all the events for which they haven’t been chosen as reseller, “because they don’t want to deal with every transaction on their site facing problems at the gate and not being allowed in.”
Using one secondary marketplace only would also allow for greater personalization: “If there were only one official exchange, as soon as I list my tickets, the persons on both sides of me could receive an email from the artist saying that two seats next to them just became available, and that if they wanted to purchase those tickets and bring a couple more people to the show, they would receive (as an example) a hot dog/popcorn/drink special for 25 percent off. Chances are, the person who is already committed to going will purchase the seats next to them.”
Lastly, one secondary marketplace would make life for legitimate resellers easier, because they could be sure that everybody looking to buy is using the same site they are using to sell, which is currently not the case and yet another source for potential empty seats at the venue.
Ticketmaster’s North America president, Jared Smith, said at the recent MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston that “unlike the airline industry that can recognize and reward their best customers at the airport, we can’t reward our best customers when they walk into a stadium.”
Gelfand would answer that now you can.
He claims a third-party solution is the only solution that gives stakeholders complete control over what happens to their tickets.
“The bulk of ticket fraud, bots, unprotected scalping, and unregulated ‘shorting’ of tickets would nearly disappear overnight if the ticketing industry were to twin the best practices of the airline industry with a centralized NYSE-style marketplace.
“Moreover, this approach would keep critical funding well within the entertainment and hospitality eco-system – funding that directly contributes to the propagation of arts and culture, and bring back that $8 billion Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said last year were being left on the table.”
Authenticket has already raised $2.5 million to patent its product and tested it at Winnipeg’s
His company claims to be “ready to deploy” and is now looking for the support of the primary sellers and industry overall to embrace Authenticket as the third-party verification platform.