Featured News

FTC session demands harsher sanctions on bot users

An online ticket sales workshop held by the US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) has called for a clamp down on bots, increased transparency and including fees up front.

The forum, entitled That’s the Ticket, welcomed lawmakers, industry representatives from both primary and secondary markets and academics to discuss industry-wide advertising and pricing issues, and looked at ways to address deception beyond traditional law enforcement.

Tuesday’s event included contributions from Ticketmaster’s head of music in North America, David Marcus, Live Nation president of US concerts Bob Roux, SeatGeek founder Russell D’Souza and International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) chair Michael Marion.

During the FTC workshop, it was said that sanctions against those using bots are not harsh enough. The US has a bill in place to deal with automated software, the Better Online Ticket Sales Act (BOTS Act), though industry insiders said more needs to be done.

It also pointed to the possibility of imposing new rules to make ticketing sites present fees alongside the price of a ticket, as well as informing customers about the number of ticket holdbacks when they go on sale.

According to Law360 via CMU, Joe Ridout of consumer rights group Consumer Action said that fines for those using automated software to buy tickets are not a big enough deterrent.

“The penalties just aren’t sufficient to deter bad actors without criminal penalties,” he said, urging the FTC to also bring tech firms into the debate on bots. “We need to do more if we’re going to get to the bottom of who’s behind bots.”