A Definitive Guide to Ticket Scalping: What It Is and How to Prevent It

As an event organizer, you know that planning a top-quality event comes with plenty of challenges. One challenge, in particular, that has plagued the industry for decades is ticket scalping.  

What is Ticket Scalping?

Ticket scalping is the act of purchasing event tickets, often in bulk, to resell them at a higher price. As a result, many genuine fans are priced out of attending their favorite concerts, fairs, or shows. The costs may become prohibitive for families or groups that need to purchase multiple tickets. When it goes unregulated, ticket scalping can turn attendees away and tarnish the reputation of your event.

 How Does Ticket Scalping Work?

Ticket scalping operates on the principle of supply and demand. Scalpers employ a variety of tactics—from bots to bulk purchases to price algorithm manipulation—to secure a large number of tickets. Following the initial purchase, they resell the tickets on secondary market platforms at inflated prices.

Leveraging the scarcity of tickets, scalpers create an artificial market where prices are determined more by profit motives than the event's actual value. Ultimately, many potential attendees leave the checkout page empty-handed, unable to find fair-priced tickets as they compete against an automated system

What Different Types of Scalping Bots Are There?

Scalping bots come in various forms, each one designed to exploit a different aspect of the ticketing process. 

Sniper bots snag tickets fast by rapidly adding them to the cart and purchasing the moment they become available. 

Scraping bots extract large bulk quantities of tickets from primary ticketing websites, often creating a fast road to an artificially sold-out event.

Price-hiking bots manipulate prices based on demand by purchasing tickets and hiking the prices shortly after they’re released.

As you can see, all of these bots give scalpers a competitive edge and disadvantage attendees during the ticket sale period. 

Is Ticket Scalping Illegal?

While the legality of ticket resale varies, the use of scalping bots is explicitly prohibited in most cases. Many ticket resellers are fraudulent, although reputable ticket resale platforms do exist. If you want to create a safe and controlled environment for secondary ticket sales to legitimate fans, consider partnering with a reputable platform. If you need to prohibit third-party sales of your event tickets, on the other hand, make this information obvious on your website.

Follow the scalping prevention strategies in this guide to ensure a fair and fun experience for all your attendees.

Strategies to Prevent Ticket Scalping

Offer Dynamic Pricing

Consider implementing a dynamic pricing strategy that adjusts ticket prices based on factors such as demand, time of day, or day of the week. This approach can deter scalpers because, compared to fixed pricing, it makes it more difficult for them to predict and exploit.

Pro tip: Have questions about how to set up demand pricing? This article will show you how!

Limit Ticket Quantities

When scalpers take advantage of high demand by purchasing tickets in bulk and reselling the scalped tickets at a much higher price, it wreaks havoc on the rest of the purchasers. One way to prevent this is to set a limit on the number of tickets purchased in a single transaction. 

Use Captcha and Anti-Bot Measures

To deter automated bots from scooping up tickets faster than fans, integrate captcha and other anti-bot measures during the ticket purchasing process.

Require Registration

Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour prevented scalpers by requiring people to register as a verified fan before purchasing tickets. When you make it mandatory for attendees to register an account, the additional layer of identification and accountability makes it much more challenging for scalpers to operate anonymously.

Implement Secure Ticket Delivery Methods

Choose secure ticket delivery methods that require identification. A mobile ticket with a personal QR code is linked to the information of the ticket purchaser. This will help prevent the duplicating and reselling of physical tickets and enhance the overall event security.

Final Takeaways

With the right strategies in place, you can take significant steps toward eliminating ticket scalping. 

To keep ticket scalping at bay, start with the suggested strategies in this guide and keep your eyes peeled for any unusual activity. Cheers to keeping your event accessible and enjoyable. don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team.

We’re here to help you have the best event ever!

— The TicketSpice Team