Ticketmasters print-it-yourself barcode tickets

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From: Rohit Khare (rohit@uci.edu)
Date: Tue Jan 25 2000 - 13:29:38 PST

[they have this dead wrong - it IS a scalper's dream, because no
one's verifying the right person gets there *first* to the scanner --
and then all others, even legitimate owners, are blocked. So scalp
away with a xerox machine -- the conned won't know til the gate and
you'll be gone.

The only way to do etickets is to reconfirm customer identity, a la
airline's conspiracy. And that means NO resales! a much sneakier, and
much-more to the point evil gesture from TicketMaster... RK]

anuary 25, 2000
Ticketmaster Will Permit Home Printing of Tickets
Safety Measures Planned Against Scalpers

In a plan that at first blush sounds like a scalper's dream,
Ticketmaster-Online CitySearch Inc. said yesterday that starting in
April, it would allow customers to print tickets to events directly
from their computer printers.

Tom Stockham, executive vice president of Ticketmaster-Online
CitySearch, said consumers would need no additional software or
hardware for the service.

"All they need is a printer with 300 d.p.i. or better," Mr. Stockham said.

A resolution of 300 d.p.i., or dots-per-inch, is common to all but
the very oldest dot-matrix printers, he said. The more dots a printer
can squeeze into an inch, the less jagged and more readable are
printed text and graphics. Laser printers and ink-jet printers
typically have resolutions of 600 d.p.i. or more, but none have less
than 300.

And scalpers need not salivate. Mr. Stockham said the tickets, which
will print out on a standard-size sheet of paper, would include a bar
code to insure that only one person would occupy a given seat. Once
that ticket was scanned at the gate, no one with a ticket bearing the
same bar code would be allowed to enter.
Ticketmaster said the system would spare consumers delivery charges
and give them a respite from lines at will-call windows. In addition,
customers would receive coupons for local restaurants or parking, as
well as directions to the event.

Mr. Stockham said that anyplace wishing to accept the tickets would
have to be equipped with bar code scanners -- machines that are not
yet in use even at all large arenas. The company has not yet
determined the extent to which it would help pay for such equipment,
Mr. Stockham said.

He said he did not know what percentage of Ticketmaster affiliates
already had bar code scanners.

But David Card, an analyst with Jupiter Communications, an Internet
consulting firm, said arenas and theaters "won't put in bar code
readers unless Ticketmaster funds them or a lot of people want to do
it, and I just don't see a lot of people wanting to do this."
Whoever pays for them, Mr. Stockham said the bar code scanners would
"not require a massive incremental capital investment," since they
cost about $100 each, and the ticket databases they would integrate
with are already in place at each site.

As a result, he said, the new system might be to the advantage of
smaller sites that would require only one or two scanners, "but there
are a lot of incentives for Madison Square Garden to do it, too."

"People do get nervous about not having the physical tickets, as with
electronic tickets for airlines, but that's a hump people are getting
over," Mr. Card said. "It'll be useful for kids, or people with no
ID's or credit cards" who cannot pick up tickets at the will-call
window, Mr. Card added, "and it might help me avoid the will-call
window, but that's not a huge deal."

Mr. Stockham declined to forecast what revenue might be realized from
offering discounts to places like hotels, restaurants and parking

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