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Study: bots generate 40% of all ticketing traffic

A recent study shows the extent to which illegal ticket-buying software is used across primary and secondary ticketing platforms

By Anna Grace on 01 Mar 2019

Tiffany Kleeman Distil Networks

Tiffany Kleemann

Distil Networks, a global leader in bot mitigation, has released an in-depth study into the impact of bots on the ticketing industry, finding that nearly 40% of ticketing traffic is comprised of “bad bots”.

The study, developed by the Distil Research Lab, analysed 26.3 billion requests from 180 domains between September and December 2018. The results show that ticket bots – the automated software used by scalpers to bulk buy concert tickets and resell at inflated prices – are major drivers of traffic on ticketing platforms.

Bots lead to high infrastructure costs and poor website performance. The activity also “compromises the integrity of ticketing websites and impacts the user experience,” according to Distil Networks.

The study finds that primary ticketing markets are the main targets of bot activity, experiencing a higher volume of traffic from bots (42%) than secondary ticketing platforms (24%) and venues (27%).

The vast majority of bots launched against ticketing companies (85%) originated in North America, and 78% of bots classified as sophisticated or moderately sophisticated, often evading detection.

“Although the ticketing industry has led the way in terms of bot legislation, websites still face a huge hurdle when protecting against bad bots,” says Tiffany Kleemann, chief executive of Distil Networks.

“Although the ticketing industry has led the way in terms of bot legislation, websites still face a huge hurdle when protecting against bad bots”

“These automated tools attack ticketing websites every day, leveraging more advanced and nuanced techniques that evade detection. Any website that sells tickets can fall prey to this criminal activity, and a better understanding of the threat landscape can ensure the proper protective protocol is put in place,” adds Kleemann.

The usage of bots has come to the forefront of the music industry’s consciousness in recent years. Former US president Barack Obama passed the Better Online Ticket Sales (Bots) Act in December 2016, making the use of ticket-buying software a crime nationwide. The state of New York had previously initiated a statewide ban on bots.

The UK government followed suit in 2018, criminalising the usage of ticketing bots, along with Ontario, Canada, and the Australian states of Adelaide and New South Wales.

Distil Networks’ figures indicate the prevalence of ticketing bots and may serve to assuage concerns among music industry professionals that ticketing bots are a “red herring” in the debate concerning secondary ticketing.

Suspicions have arisen surrounding the lack of correspondence between the implementation of anti-bot technology and the prevalence of secondary ticketing, as well as the support that secondary ticketing platforms have voiced for the banning of ticketing bots.

A full version of the Distil Networks report can be found here.


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