Ebay bought online ticket reseller StubHub.com for $310 million. This purchase of this tech company should accomplish more for eBay than buying Skype for $2.6 billion in 2005. An S&P analyst says eBay bought StubHub.com for a good price, three times its 2006 revenues. (Michael Arrington pushes a rumor that the price was 30-times EBITDA and describes the “dirty but lucrative” business of ticket reselling.) And unlike Skype to use the service a customer has to shell out some cash.
Jim Goodman, the founder of Ticketmaster.com wonders,
The other thing that really comes into question for me is how long these businesses are going to last (the electronic secondary market that is)? I am obviously very familiar with a Ticketmaster contract, having negotiated a few in my day . Basically what it says is that Ticketmaster is the exclusive computerized ticketing source. Not to mention the rules printed on the back of a season ticket (which are often sold in the secondary market), which often states that it can’t be resold.
One of these days, contracts/rules, etc. are going to be enforced and there are going to be a lot of invalidated tickets out there. There are going to be a lot of very angry customers. And legitimate businesses that were doing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue will be left with very little. The secondary market is a very, very fine line!!!
We’ll soon see a day where tickets have RFID tags to prove they’re legit and to prevent reselling. When that happens fans will have a cow and politicians will hold hearings.
The theoretical beauty of an online store is you don’t have to worry about crowds getting in the way. People come with a click of the mouse, with a few more clicks and a credit card they purchase some bits, then wander off to enjoy their purchase. That’s the theory of friction-free shopping. In the real world a popular thing–you know, made of atoms–like the iPod can cause a mighty tech company to shudder under the strain:
Swarms of online shoppers armed with new iPods and iTunes gift cards apparently overwhelmed the Apple’s iTunes music store over the holiday, prompting error messages and slowdowns of 20 minutes or more for downloads of a single song.
Frazzled users began posting urgent help messages Monday and Tuesday on Apple’s technical forum for iTunes, complaining they were either not allowed into the store or were told the system couldn’t process their request to download songs and videos.
It was not immediately clear how many people were affected by the slowdowns, and Apple Computer Inc. would not immediately comment Wednesday on what caused the slowdown and whether it had been fixed.
Blame the schools for being so generous as to give kids a Christmas vacation and parents who didn’t think it was all-important to shop the day after Christmas.
Popularity that leads to increased revenues is good. Being popular with federal prosecutors isn’t good.