“Scalping” Tickets with Ticketmaster’s Blessing (for a Fee)?

business_ethics_highlights_2Attempting to profit in a secondary market for event tickets is often called by the pejorative name “scalping”—suggesting that the seller of tickets in the secondary market is injuring the customer who buys those tickets. In this Variety piece republished in the New York Post, the reader learns of allegations that Ticketmaster, the primary-market event ticket retailer that has gone to considerable lengths to discourage scalping, has launched a secondary-market selling site that will, for a fee, facilitate scalping.

The article and its related links raise two interesting ethical questions:

(1) Is “scalping” tickets wrong on the merits? Or do “scalpers” provide a valuable service to their customers for which higher ticket prices is the appropriate compensation?

(2) If Ticketmaster has taken the public position that scalping is wrong and ought to be combatted, is it inconsistent of Ticketmaster to facilitate secondary-market ticket brokers’ efforts to profit for a fee? That is, does the fee somehow mitigate the presumed wrongness of “scalping” that informs Ticketmaster’s efforts to combat it?>>>

LINK: Shocking report accuses Ticketmaster of colluding with scalpers (by Jem Aswad for Variety via New York Post)

Ticketmaster is essentially accused of colluding with scalpers — and collecting double fees in the process — in a bruising weeks-long investigation published by CBC and the Toronto Star Tuesday and today. …

The platform enables resellers to purchase tickets in bulk from Ticketmaster’s site, and then resell them for higher prices — with Ticketmaster taking a percentage of both sales — raising or dropping prices with the click of a button based on their assessment of fan demand. While Ticketmaster has taken highly publicized legal action against bots and flagrant profiteers in the secondary market — including its own Verified Fan program, used recently by Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift and others — the report captures a rep on camera saying that Ticketmaster’s “buyer abuse” team will look the other way when such practices take place on its own platforms. The rep, whose identity is blurred in the video, says “I have brokers that have literally a couple of hundred accounts,” for buying tickets in bulk on TradeDesk. “It’s not something that we look at or report.”

What do you think?


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