An outsider’s opinion of the ticket purchase process

An outsider's opinion of the ticket purchase process

Sometimes it is a good idea to listen to an outsider's opinion, even if that opinion is a little rude.

The full-time job of selling tickets can sometimes cause an insulating bubble to form. That bubble may make one unaware of how others view the event ticket purchase process. After announcing a change to the way people buy tickets, industry giant Ticketmaster was criticized by a prominent tech-industry personality. Listening to the "constructive" criticism might pop any insulating bubbles that have formed around the business of selling tickets.

Ticketmaster's executive Vice President Kip Levin recently announced the ticketing industry giant would be eliminating the standard way in which the Completely Automated Public Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, or "CAPTCHA", is performed.

CAPTCHAs are usually presented as a string of letters, often intentionally distorted, that one must type into a web page text box. If you are in the event ticketing industry, you are well aware of what CATCHAs are, and may also be aware of the friction they can introduce into the purchase process.

CAPTCHAs, while a necessary security practice, are not very popular with the ticket buying buying public. That lack of popularity is why Ticketmaster is eliminating the traditional CAPTCHAs from their ticket purchase process. From Ticketmaster's blog post:

Every day I hear from fans about how much they dislike CAPTCHA (those squiggly lines at checkout). CAPTCHA is one of the things we do to get as many tickets as possible to fans who want to go to the show versus people whose only intent for purchasing is to resell for an astronomical profit. While the current CAPTCHA solution is effective in helping us identify and slow down BOTS (for more info on what BOTS are and what we do to fight them, check out this blog post) that unfairly cut the line, and swoop up some of the best seats to popular shows, it isn't a great fan experience.

I could not be more excited to share with you today that we are dramatically improving this for you, on both and our Ticketmaster mobile App for iPhone (and coming soon to the Android App). For the past year we have worked and searched for a better, more fan-friendly solution that still is secure and harder for BOTS.

To Ticketmaster's credit, listening to ticket buyer complaints and attempting to improve is admirable, so the effort must be acknowledged.

No matter how you may feel about Ticketmaster, the removal of the CAPTCHAs should make the buying experience a little bit better. Taking the customer's opinion into account is an important standard business practice you are most likely already observing - but what about a an outsider's opinion?

Soon after Ticketmaster announced it was eliminating CAPTCHAs (and replacing them with paid advertising) a popular technology industry personality chimed in with what he thinks of the event ticket purchase process as a whole (video above).

The web-only show is called The Tech Feed, and its host, Scott Bromley, took not only Ticketmaster, buy the entire ticketing industry to task.

In the the video Bromley criticizes the event ticket purchase process, and in a mildly rude way, mocks the ticketing industry for not making enough of an effort to improve the user experience. Bromley's point of view may be slightly skewed though, since he mostly reviews and comments on technology products like the Apple iPhone and Microsoft Windows.

Apple and Microsoft are gigantic corporations with billions of dollars to spend on focus groups and minuscule improvement to the overall experience. Even Ticketmaster cannot match Apple's budget for improving how humans interact with its products, let alone the hard working venue owner.

Time will tell if Ticketmaster's new CAPTCHA-less purchase process makes things better (or worse?) for ticket buyers. Until then, you can take the tech industry's opinion with a grain of salt and review your own ticket purchase process. Should the self-imposed user experience audit reveal that the ticketing software you are currently using is the cause of cart abandonment, consider switching to ThunderTix.

ThnderTix online ticketing software observes the industry standards for end-user work flows. And unlike the Ticketmaster solution, we do not introduce a third party service into your customer's experience. Your customer's data is yours and we do not make use of it for our business purposes. We also offer custom surveys that you can present to your customers during the ticket purchase process. These surveys can be used to ask for feedback and gain understanding of your customer's needs.