Viagogo and related leeches

Ed Sheeran’s Australian tour was announced the other day, with tickets at two price points, neither excessive: $70 or $165. Of course, no good deed goes unpunished: Scalpers thwart Ed Sheeran’s noble gesture for Australian fans with tickets offered on ticket flipping sites like Viagogo for $1500.

It would be nice if sites like Viagogo were outlawed. Easier said than done though, when they aren’t physically located in Australia. And for all the promoters’ tut-tutting about scalping, they’re making their money, and there’s little downside for them when people flip tickets like this.

But resale sites need a critical mass of buyers and sellers to be successful. I think the only way they could be starved out is if Visa, MasterCard, Amex and PayPal refused to offer them payment gateway facilities. If they were forced to handle payments using bitcoin, Western Union or some other niche method, their business model collapses. Unfortunately there’s no great incentive for the card companies to do this either, of course. But the cost to those companies is inconsequential, and the goodwill possibly quite significant.

That’s the only solution I see.

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