May 28 2013, 5:41am CDT | by Sumayah Aamir
With the start of concerts at a certain time of the year, bots come in to action and start requesting tickets via online access to the music industry sites. Some may even order as many as a hundred thousand thereby creating a serious problem for the concert heads. And according to The New York Times
, this phenomenon is not restricted to the United States. It extends to Russia and even India. Bots consist of computer bugs used by unscrupulous programmers to create a nuisance for music companies. They siphon of many tickets online and have formed a virtual black market for these valued goods. Pop stars, fans and industry tycoons are all frustrated with bots and desperately want to be rid of them. They appear to scalp more than half of the tickets.
The company Live Nation Entertainment and its sub-organization Ticketmaster have tried their best to eradicate bots but it is an uphill battle. So far they haven’t had much success. It resembles the scenario with cyber spies. News security code may be created this very day but by tomorrow the hackers will have broken it via their cunning and crafty methods of sabotage. Thus it becomes a case of one-upmanship.
The company has employed John Carnahan, an expert in these matters to exterminate the danger. While his program is very subtle and shows depth it is far from foolproof. Whereas humans click once or twice on an option, bots are identified by their constant clicking behavior. The method of dealing with bots is termed “speed-bumping” which essentially means that the fans are given preference over these alien entities. Although there exist laws regarding these bots and their operations, getting to the source of these nosey intruders is a pain in the neck. Most of the laws have proved ineffective in curbing bad “bot” behavior.
While Ticketmaster has beefed up its security status the fact of the matter is that it is not known exactly what percentage of concert tickets are being bought by bots. The statistics come under the dark figure. Bots seem to have wrought financial and social chaos on a scale hitherto unheard of. There have been prosecutions of various individuals in court for using bots to buy tickets but they were let off with light sentences. It is a controversial issue since many say that it is not that serious a crime. Many special area concert tickets get reserved for VIPs and other bigwigs. When rabid fans want to gain access to them by buying them from a scalper they are blamed along with the middleman. Whatever the case, the matter is not expected to be resolved any time soon.
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