News March 1, 2019

Report: ‘Bad’ bots make up to 40% of ticketing traffic

Report: ‘Bad’ bots make up to 40% of ticketing traffic

Australia is regarded as one of the leaders in stamping out bot software in the concert and sports ticketing process.

NSW and South Australia introduced legislation banning their use, with heavy penalties, while other states are working with the federal government.

Australia’s disadvantage – and which has been the case with places like North America and the UK – is it has no data on the extent to which the laws have been a deterrent, the size of its detrimental effect and if new sophisticated technology still creates a major problem.

Australia’s Ticketek has previously estimated bots account for up to 70% of activity on its website.

Now comes a new a study that is based on US data, but could give the Australian industry an approximate indication.

How Bots Affect Ticketing is a study by San Francisco-based Distil Networks, a global leader in bot mitigation.

It was developed by the Distil Research Lab and analysed 26.3 billion requests from 180 domains between September and December 2018.

It found that 39.9% of ticketing traffic is comprised of bad bots. The report also found a prominence of ticketing bots in the United States, despite legislative action and growing pressure from artists to intervene.

  • Primary markets have a higher volume of bot traffic (42.2%) of bot traffic compared to secondary markets (23.9%) and venues (26.5%)
  • 78% of bots on ticketing websites are classified as sophisticated or moderately sophisticated, with more human-like characteristics that often evade detection
  • 85% of the bad bots launched against ticketing companies originated in North America

“Although the ticketing industry has led the way in terms of bot legislation, as seen with the BOTS Act in the U.S. and similar rulings in Ontario, the UK, Australia and more, websites still face a huge hurdle when protecting against bad bots,” said Tiffany Kleemann, CEO of Distil Networks.

“These automated tools attack ticketing websites every day, leveraging more advanced and nuanced techniques that evade detection.

“Whether a venue, primary marketplace, or secondary marketplace, 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.”

According to the report, bots are leveraged by brokers, scalpers, hospitality agencies, “and other criminals” to execute a number of attacks.

These include “denial of inventory, spinning and scalping, scraping seat map inventory, fan account takeover, and fraud.

“This unwanted activity not only leads to high infrastructure costs and poor website performance, but it also compromises the integrity of ticketing websites and impacts the user experience.”

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