New initiative to stop ticket buying ‘bots’

National Consumers League, Consumer Action and Fan Freedom Project invite ticket industry cooperation

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WASHINGTON – A coalition of consumer organizations today invited leading sports, concert and event ticketing companies to join forces in a new effort to thwart the use of anti-consumer automated ticket-purchasing software, also known as “bots.”

Following many of the concert industry’s near-instant sellouts, artists, promoters and ticket companies have blamed scalpers and their use of bots, which are digital purchasing tools that bombard online digital box offices, such as Ticketmaster, and block regular consumers from access to face value tickets.

“Many of these sellouts are happening so quickly that unscrupulous resellers using bots may be to blame," said Jon Potter, President of the Fan Freedom Project. “If this is the case, bots are cutting to the front of the line and cheating consumers out of the best tickets.”

Opposition to bots is nearly unanimous, yet until now, little has been done to stop them.

“All parties involved, including artists, fans and ticketing companies, have an interest in ensuring that consumers have fair access to face-value tickets at the box office,” said Linda Sherry, Director of National Priorities at Consumer Action.

In a letter sent today, the three consumer organizations invited Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard, Paciolan CEO Dave Butler and Veritix CEO Samuel Gerace to join in a common effort opposing bot use. (Click here for the letter.)

The groups proposed four areas for cooperation:

  1. Jointly encourage all resale exchanges to include in their Seller Terms of Service:
    • an explicit prohibition against reselling tickets that have been obtained with bots;
    • a requirement that resellers permit anti-bot audits; and
    • a requirement that resellers cooperate with government inquiries of alleged bot purchases.
  2. Jointly request the Federal Trade Commission and National Association of Attorneys General to create a task force to investigate the use of bots, and agree to cooperate with that task force’s work.
  3. Jointly support anti-bot legislation in states that do not already have anti-bot statutes.
  4. Jointly promote the creation of an industry-wide confidential data service to measure bot usage.

“While we have not always seen eye-to-eye with the primary ticketing industry, the need to find a pro-consumer, pro-competition solution to the bot problem is one area that everyone should agree on,” said John Breyault, Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud at the National Consumers League.


About Consumer Action

Consumer Action has been a champion of underrepresented consumers nationwide since 1971. A nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, Consumer Action focuses on financial education that empowers low to moderate income and limited-English-speaking consumers to financially prosper. Our diverse staff provides expert commentary on key consumer issues supported by solid data. We offer access to victim testimony, as well as expertise on current financial issues affecting low to moderate income and limited-English-speaking consumers.

About The Fan Freedom Project

Launched in February, 2011 the Fan Freedom Project is supported by more than 100,000 live event fans, and is backed by leading consumer and business organizations such as the American Conservative Union, National Consumers League, Consumer Action, the Institute for Liberty, the League of Fans, the Computer and Communications Industry Association and Net Choice.

About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit




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