back to article Wiseguy ticket scalpers used botnets to outwit Captchas

A gang of ticket touts have admitted that they hired networks of compromised PCs to defeat CAPTCHAs that would normally have thwarted their plan to automatically purchase tickets for high interest events. The trio - who operated a firm called Wiseguy Tickets (now there's a name you can trust - Ed) snapped up tickets for gigs …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Other than the "they hired networks of compromised PCs", what part of their operation was illegal? They paid for the tickets, and resold them.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Legality

      In some jurisdictions selling a ticket for more than its face value or a nominal percentage above its face value - scalping - is illegal.

      The terms of sale for some events limit the number of tickets a person can buy. Buying up hundreds of them is quite obviously a breach of this part of the customer's contract with the promoter.

      Etc. etc. etc.

  2. Zippy the Pinhead


    This could easily be resolved by enforcing the ticket price that is clearly printed on each ticket.. I know in Ohio its illegal to sell a ticket for more than it's face value.

    1. Velv Silver badge


      I'm willing to bet that in Ohio it is also illegal to walk into a bank with a gun and demand money from the staff.

      Doesn't stop it happening though.

  3. Timo

    Cloud computing!

    Maybe the marketers will latch onto this... and call it cloud computing! What a brilliant way to get around a bunch of the fraud checks - distributed networks of computers.

    I still don't understand why ticket sellers and/or venues don't go to an auction model - rather than set the prices and hand a fair chunk of profit to scalpers.

  4. Timo

    another point

    Not sure why Ticketmaster would even care from a financial standpoint. Sure it makes the average guy hate them just that much more, but at the same time, Ticketmaster may have sold more tickets than they expected, and then captured more "convenience fees FFS" than they might have. The scalpers then take on the financial risk that they'd be able to sell the tickets.

  5. A J Stiles

    ..... And how to fix it

    Back in the late 80s / early 90s, before the World Wide Web, purchasing gig tickets was done by going to a local record shop; and priority for tickets unofficially went to regular customers and partners of employees. This distributed distribution network meant there was no single point of failure. If one shop sold out, you could find tickets at another within a bus journey. And even if it was economically viable for touts to buy up all the tickets in a region, the record store owners -- who were in contact with one another -- would never let them.

    By the way: The way to put a ticket tout out of business is simply *not to pay the prices they charge*. After the gig, they will be left with so many worthless pieces of paper.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Best way yes..

      Or wait 'til ten minutes into the support act when you can pick the ticket up for a fraction of face value

  6. Anonymous Coward


    I think they should have bought all of the tickets to a single concert....and not resold them. Don't you think it would have been worth the money spent to hear about a concert played to NOBODY.

  7. Alan Brown Silver badge

    As if this isn't happening in the uk too......

    They just haven't been caught.

    By the way it's easier to setup a pornsite and get thousands of spotty teenagers to break captchas for you than it is to use a botnet.

  8. David Hicks


    Arseholes like these are the reason that tickets sell out ten minutes after they go on sale, and then immediately appear on ebay and other sites.

    Hanging's too good for 'em.

  9. Ben Rosenthal


    yes and no.

    you don't have to buy from the scalpers.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    I could never understand quite why so much fuss is made about this, or why it's illegal in some places.

    It's a straightforward transaction. Someone has a product (a ticket) and they want to sell it and for any product, a seller is able to put any old price they like on it. Whether you, as the local idiot choose to pay those prices is entirely up to you. No one is forcing you to pay.

    But then I'm probably not so damn anal that I must have a ticket at any cost - and that's for anything.

    I bought some tickets recently on Ebay from someone who had bought tickets for a London Westend show some time ago, but due to a clash of commitments was unable to use them.

    Not a problem, they were up for auction and got 'em at a very good price. So as he is re-selling his, does that make what he is doing illegal?

    Don't buy the tickets at an over-inflated price. Simples!

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