For a place that says they’re against scalpers using bots to buy tickets, StubHub sure doesn’t seem to have that big of an issue with it. Honestly, it sort of seems like they’re encouraging it.
At least that’s how it looks after the Paradise Papers got leaked last week.
CBC and the Toronto Star went through the leaks and have found a massive scalping operation that seems to be run by a Canadian named Julien Lavallée where he would “somehow” be able to buy thousands of tickets to shows seconds after the went on sale. The reason I put somehow in quotation marks is because we all know how he’s doing it: with bots and programs.
If you still somehow doubt that, the report shows he was buying these tickets from multiple places around the world at the same time. In one case he bought 310 tickets for a show using 15 different names in 12 different places in only 25 minutes, despite there being a four ticket limit per person.
Now how does StubHub work it’s way in to this? Well it turns out that StubHub is rewarding mega-scalpers like Lavallée with their “top sellers program”. Basically what that is, it’s when someone sells a bunch of tickets, like $50,000 worth for one of the tiers, StubHub goes and gives them a bigger cut of the profits. The more tickets you sell, the money you get from them. Which is not technically a bad thing, that’s just rewarding people for using their site, but one of the tiers that someone can reach is $5,000,000 worth of tickets sold in a single year.
Lets be realistic here for a second, the only people who could possibly move 5 million bucks worth of tickets in a year are either the venues who put them up directly on to StubHub, or scalpers who are probably using bots and programs to buy their tickets.
So really what this comes down to is StubHub paying people, rewarding people for using bots and programs to buy their tickets, despite the fact that they are anti-scalper-bot.
“StubHub agrees that the use of bots to procure tickets is unfair and anti-consumer. StubHub has always supported anti-bots legislation and encourages policy-makers to look comprehensively at the host of factors that impact a fan’s ability to fairly access, buy, resell, or even give away tickets in a competitive ticket market.”
Now Lavallée isn’t the only person doing, there’s probably hundreds if not thousands of people doing this, which begs the question: how do you stop this?
With both BC and Ontario trying to make scalping bots illegal, and StubHub themselves saying they support anti-bot legislation, will it really do anything when at the same time StubHub is saying that they’re also paying the people who use those bots millions of dollars?
If you want to read the whole report from CBC, you can find it here.