Industry News

Bots guru Lowson offers to help Ticketmaster catch scalpers

A man considered a pioneer of the use of bots in the ticketing industry has claimed Ticketmaster could identify and ban supertouts in a matter of minutes.

While Ticketmaster has recently introduced its anti-bots Verified Fan programme to acclaim from some users, artists and promoters, there is still widespread criticism of the ticketing industry’s general response to scalping.

American Ken Lowson, described by the Daily Record as “the most notorious ticket tout in history”, told the newspaper that it would take him a matter of minutes to recode Ticketmaster’s platform to immediately flag up and ban supertouts.

However, he suggested there is a lack of will in dealing with scalpers because the major primary ticketing agencies have links to secondary marketplaces.

Lowson, whose Wiseguy Ticketing, bought up 1.5 million tickets between 2001 and 2010 when his Californian offices were raided by the FBI, told the Daily Record: “Ticketmaster can stop bots whenever they like. The computer code needed is kindergarten a simple filtering system.

“Ticketmaster’s entire business model depends on touting. Their obligation to stockholders of Live Nation is to sell as many tickets for as much money as possible.

“Stopping touting happens when Live Nation/Ticketmaster and others change priorities to the best interests of artist/team and their fans.”

Lowson, 47, earned more than $25m (£19.5m/€23.0m) in profit in 10 years after developing bots software to harvest tickets ahead of regular fans.

He has now launched the TIXFAN agency, which seeks to help artists enforce ticket limits and use ticket presales to favour genuine fans.

He said: “Transparency about who is selling tickets and would solve the huge majority of problems. Fans would not mind. Only a tout or corrupt dealer would care about their anonymity being lost.”

Ticketmaster said it enforces ticket limits “set by event organisers, in accordance with their instructions”.

The Ticketing Business yesterday reported that Ticketmaster Canada’s Patti-Anne Tarlton said the company is blocking five billion bot attacks per year in North America alone.