Have you ever gone to buy tickets for your favourite band, festival or sporting event - but as soon as they go on sale, they've already sold out? Within minutes they're appearing on other sites for several times the price, because ticket touts are cheating the system using internet bots.
It’s annoying. It’s frustrating. They’re ripping off fans, and pocketing the profit.
Botnets or ‘Bots’ are software that buys up thousands of tickets in one go, much quicker than a single real fan could purchase one. These tickets are then put on sale on secondary ticketing sites at hugely inflated costs.
I raised the issue of this industrial-scale market abuse last week, as research by Labour’s Culture, Media and Sport team found examples of rugby Autumn International tickets being sold on secondary ticketing websites at 1,200% over the face value price.
On Monday, I joined MPs from different political parties as well as figures from the entertainment industry outside parliament, where we called on the Government to take urgent action on the UK's broken secondary ticketing market.
The event was put together in co-ordination with FanFair Alliance, and initiated on Labour’s side by Sharon Hodgson, co-chair of the APPG on ticket abuse. Here's me with Sharon, You Me At Six, and our Shadow Minister for Arts, Culture Media and Heritage, Kevin Brennan MP:
The event happened as the Digital Economy Bill was debated in the House of Commons on Monday with a cross-party amendment put down to ban ‘bots’ in secondary ticketing.
This battle won't end with bots, but it's a crucial step in the right direction and I will continue to campaign on this vital issue. It’s time we closed the curtain on the big ticket rip off and finally deliver fairness for fans.
If you agree, please sign and share our #BanTheBots petition: