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12th December 2012

Botnets and 'Power Sellers' exposed again - why they will always get the tickets you want first

Ever wondered why you couldn’t ever get the best tickets? We’ve been telling you for years and now the wider media catches on…

Safeconcerts have been campaigning against ticket scams and ticket touts for years. We've been shouting about the shady and sleazy practices within the ticket industry and urging those in the know to take swift and prompt action. The Channel 4 Dispatches programme back in February showed what we at Safeconcerts knew years ago; primary and secondary markets for major live events have become impaired and dysfunctional, with levels of corruption that an Eastern Block country would be proud of.

Just how do the criminals actually manage to get their hands on such large numbers of tickets?

The answer, as we have been saying for quite some time, is the use of what are called Botnets. Botnets are automatic ticket buying robots (it's just a name for software, nothing as exciting as a real robot) that can purchase hundreds of tickets in a matter of minutes. These botnets are used by people like eBay Power Sellers and touts to trawl the ticket sites and buy up tickets for major events at face value in the blink of an eye. Does anyone really think that those "Power Sellers" are just ordinary people who happen to be quicker than you or I at obtaining these tickets when they go on sale?

Today and over the next few days one such "Power Seller" will be exposed in the national media. Christopher Stewart from Milton Keynes is one of a network of individuals using the technology available to obtain massive numbers of tickets, including the best seats available, and then selling them on via all the usual secondary outlets. A quick check on Christopher Stewart's eBay history tells you instantly that the number of tickets being flogged by this individual is well beyond the means of any ordinary fan - check out his eBay history here.

This man, known by his Power Seller handle of ticket_hut, currently has thousands of tickets listed for sale including 449 tickets listed on eBay alone for Girls Aloud and over 78 for Pink - all at hugely inflated prices. There can be little doubt that Christopher Stewart is making an absolute fortune from tickets that we believe have been obtained illegally using Botnets. Though the Government seems less interested in the practice of touting, I imagine that they would be more interested in whether he is paying tax on the profits?

More importantly the sites he is using as a Power Seller cannot have failed to notice the volume of tickets he lists, it would seem impossible to believe that they could for one minute have thought that these tickets were obtained legitimately.

We know that the individuals involved in this activity have their own networks and websites dedicated to sharing information and knowledge, certainly Christopher Stewart is but one example of the people involved in this frankly criminal activity that prevent the real music fan from being able to access tickets at face value. In our opinion it is the complicity of the ticketing industry and their failure to act to protect ordinary music fans that allows the situation to proliferate unchecked.

The behaviour of Christopher Stewart is set to be exposed in Friday's Daily Mirror (14th December 2012) and will be followed up by BBC Radio 1. So for the results of the investigation into this individual and his methods be sure to check out the Mirror and Radio 1 over the next couple of days. We await the response to this latest expose and for the usual suspects to jump on the bandwagon calling for yet more meetings to discuss the issue.

Meanwhile we ask just why the ticketing industry have failed to tackle the issue of Botnets on their websites?

  • Why have the industry not put mechanisms in place to prevent these attacks and to stop these individuals from buying up all the best tickets?
  • Why have the primary sites not introduced a re-sale section for fans that genuinely can't get to the gig of their choice?
  • Why have the industry not cancelled off tickets they know to have been bought and sold on by touts, profiteers and criminals?
  • Why does this situation continue unchecked?
  • Where is the big investigation into the criminality involved in the ticket market?

Remember, Dispatches showed very clearly that just about everybody had their finger in the pie, no one came out of that investigative programme smelling of roses. 

So, spread the word - Safeconcerts Be Ticket Safe Ticket Directory® will allow the ordinary music fan to know exactly what sort of ticket site they are buying from, we believe that fans have rights to a hassle free and ethical ticket buying experience, it's time the ticketing industry listened to the consumer and took appropriate action.

Music fans have a right to be very angry and this latest expose, and it is just one among many, it should make them shout from the rooftops for a full and trough police investigation into the criminal activity behind the ticket industry.

You can read the Mirror article here.

Your Ratings & Comments
Written by Dr Dave | 14th Dec 2012
Selling tickets is not, of course, a criminal activity.

But, under most primary ticket-sellers' terms and conditions, re-selling tickets bought from them is not permitted, and doing so voids the ticket.

By re-selling a ticket, the reseller implicitly claims to have authority to sell that ticket, when in fact he doesn't. When you buy from a tout, the primary seller could *already* have cancelled the ticket.

Isn't it fraud if you purport to sell something and represent that you have authority to sell, when actually you don't?

I think this may be one of the crimes referred to in the article.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
How can this happen then if it is so widely known.
Written by theticketbutcher | 13th Dec 2012
Why do the ticket companies let this happen?

Because they do not care as long as the tickets are sold and they make handsome profits and keep shareholders happy.

Written by WhatTheF | 13th Dec 2012
I know this guy rather well. I've met him a number of times of the last few years.

He pays his tax and is VAT regsitered. Go to Companies House and do a search if your too lazy to believe me.

The botnet illigality lies with the ticketing Platforms. Ticketmaster etc say the use of their platforms using bots is illegal. Thats fsair enough as its the T&C's of the platform that is used.

The Author indicates "....certainly Christopher Stewart is but one example of the people involved in this frankly criminal activity that prevent the real music fan from being able to access tickets at face value...."

So....Selling Tickets is a criminal activity??? Please indicate where in the Legislation it indicates this to be. I'd be very interested to know?
Written by nancyhaven | 13th Dec 2012
Another interesting article.

Do we know for sure it's illegal to use bots to buy tickets? Is it any more illegal than the Stan Flashmans of yesteryear who had someone "straightened up" in every box office in the country?

And do we know for sure that this guy doesn't pay tax?

Meanwhile we ask just why the ticketing industry have failed to tackle the issue of Botnets on their websites?

Do you not think the ticketing industry doesn't give two hoots about who buys the tickets and how - as long as they are sold, they've done their job.

No doubt that great intellectual tome, The Mirror, will reveal all tomorrow.
Botnets and 'Power Sellers' exposed again - why they will always get the tickets you want first

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