Here's the hot tip: When ticket-booking websites are DOWN, you should go to the mobile version of their website. Chances are, there will be fewer visitors trying to make a connection and their website will still be functional. This allows you to go straight through to buy your tickets - b00m!
Here's how I beat the masses and got myself tickets to the hottest show in town.
Allow me to write about a classic first world problem. While there are people starving and parts of the world are hell-bent on ripping each other to bits, I encountered my own little fountain of frustration while I trying to secure a ticket to the soon-to-be hottest show in town: Coldplay.
No doubt many out there can relate to what I'm about to lay down. See a show, get online and get stuck in the 'digital cue' while a million other people attempt exactly what you're trying to do at the exact same time. There's really nobody to point the finger at here. One of the key indicators around a hype of a concert is how quickly tickets sell-out. In 2009, AC/DC sold 60,000 tickets in ten minutes; Robbie Williams managed to sell over 100,000 tickets in just over an hour in 2008 and further from home, last year Beyonce was able to sell out New York City's Roseland Ballroom in just 22 seconds.
Looking to buy tickets to the sold out Coldplay tour in Australia?
God-bless the internet for making it oh-so-easy for us to snag a seat at the big upcoming gigs, but with great advancements in technology also comes the potential for great disappointment. When Visa Entertainment (VE) announced the news that they were selling tickets to Coldplay - being a part of the scheme (courtesy of my Visa credit card) - I was not going to let this one slip through my fingers.
Allow me to digress for a short moment.
A bit of a backstory
I've written more reviews for Credit Card Finder than I care to remember and I have worked up a bit of a jaded opinion of Visa Entertainment and their cardholder benefits over the years. I remember writing about their flop reward in 2010, where Visa Signature cardholders had the opportunity to meet Cate Blanchett and husband Andrew Upton cancelled at the eleventh hour. But VE have had a history of bringing the big names out to Australia and I was willing to give them a second chance.
Back to the crux of the story. I knew this was going to be a big one - I could smell the anticipation on the streets of Sydney. But I wasn't going to be part of the '99%' who miss out on these things, I wanted tickets: and this is how I got them.
How to book tickets via the Visa Entertainment website when the rest of Australia wants tickets too - Step by step
I didn't get a chance to write down the details, but I remember the dates and time I saw in the ad for the Coldplay tickets in one of the Sydney daily newspapers. It said the pre-sale was going to begin at midday Thursday 17th May, 2012.
Step 1) Get the jump - get in early
Just minutes before (11.55am) the release, I logged on to VisaEntertainment.com.au, and promptly wasted my five minute head-start lost in the maze of their homepage searching for the 'Click More' button, so I could move onto the next page to get my tickets.
Step 2) Know your way around the maze
After clicking 'More >', I was taken to a landing page. Again, it was obvious I needed to click 'Go' to progress further in the process of buying the tickets; however, it wouldn't hurt if they allocated a few more pixels from their user interface budget to increase the size of the button people have to push to spend their money.
After clicking 'GO >', I was taken to a landing page; this time it was on the Ticketek website. This is when I realised with just a few minutes to go, it was lucky that I already had a Ticketek user account as this was going to save me time. At this point, I think that someone should contact both of these companies and give them a bit of advice on improving their call to action. Finding the 'Buy Now' button was almost as difficult as finding Wally in a Where's Wally book - although not as satisfying. Once you find 'Buy Now', click it!
Step 3) Patience is a virtue
Ah-ha! So now here's where the Visa 'gate' appears. Click 'OK 'and pull out your card (or your mate's if you don't have a Visa!).
So by this stage, it's got to be almost 'business time'. Hmm... no, it seems I'm in another 'Where's Wally' situation. I don't want to spoil it for you, but I will: click the drop down menu on the right that says 'Select Venue' and then enter in the password 'VISA'.
Now we're talking - a big yellow button that makes it obvious what to do next. Click 'Get Tickets'.
Step 4) Quick Thinking
From here on in, you don't need to use your brain as much. The UI is much more straightforward. Work through the 5 steps from selecting the Venue -Date through to confirming your payment, and you're done! But wait....
The Ticketek website is down - No!
Steps 5 through to 7 only work if the Ticketek website is live and functioning. The trick here is to think outside the box. If the desktop version of the site is down pull out your phone and have a crack through the mobile version of the site.Back to top
Visit the mobile version of the Ticketek website and make your booking via your Smartphone when the Ticketek website is down
Tip: If you are used to mobile sites that are designed with the user in mind, this isn't going to be one of them. Be prepared to cop a serious case of 'thumb scrollers' when searching for the necessary links and buttons to get you your tickets; but that's a little 'rock 'n' roll', right?
Raise your weapon
Whip out your smartphone. I have an iPhone 4, but I assume that the Ticketek website is going to work fine on any Android phone or modern smartphone.
Back to Visa Entertainment
Go to the Visa Entertainment website in the same way I demonstrated above. Follow the path all the way through until you hit the mobile Ticketek website. Finding the buttons on the mobile site isn't any easier; pull out your magnifying glass. If you're talented you can pinch and zoom.
Signing up for spam (jokes)
I don't know if you need to or not, but the mobile site says 'Sign up to Visa Entertainment Now'. When I attempted to buy the tickets on the desktop version of the site, I did sign-up; but as far as I can tell you are just signing up to an e-mail newsletter and it's not necessary as part of the ticket buying process. You will need to scroll down past their ad to find the Coldplay pre-sale info. Press the section on Coldplay
Simple Instructions to buying the Ticket on your Smartphone
Press 'OK' on the Visa 'gate' that pops up.
Scroll down and select your venue by pressing one of the available options. I went for 'Allianz Stadium'.
Enter in the password for the event, which was VISA.
Select your 'Price Category' for the ticket. At this point, the only available tickets were singles for 'Gold Reserve' or 'Silver Reserve' seating. Press 'Get Tickets' once you know what you want.
Select how many tickets you want. Press 'Continue'. A Processing load screen will appear.
Choose your Delivery Type for your tickets. I chose 'Venue / City Box Office Collection' as I didn't want to stuff around later in the year if I couldn't find the SMS from Ticketek.
From here on, you just need to login with your Ticketek account details.
Suscipio Non Fundo - Accept no defeat.
Bask in the glory of having successfully having bought your tickets whilst everyone is still waiting for the desktop website to load!
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Why was the mobile website for Ticketek still working?
Here is a very brief non-technical explanation as to why the mobile website worked for the ticket booking.
Standard Websites (typically www.domainname.com)
Web servers for ticket booking websites are optimised to deal with large amounts of visits. Sometimes, they can't handle the amount of traffic that comes through when there's an event that a lot of people want tickets for. To try and keep their website live and operational, they have to block new connections or send people to a 'website busy' landing page.
Mobile Websites (typically m.domainname.com)
For a number of reasons, it's much easier for websites to redirect mobile visitors to a mobile version of their website hosted off a sub-domain.
This is how this trick works.
Mobile visits account for roughly 8% of website visits1. So imagine if you had a funnel of website traffic, and applied this statistic to those people who were booking Coldplay tickets on that day. You would get a situation that looked a little like this...
Effectively, based purely on website traffic statistics and all other factors remaining equal, your chances of having the Ticketek website load are far greater as there are less users making requests against on the Mobile version of the website.
To summarise my thoughts, here is what I found to be...
- It's awesome to know there's a way to get tickets to my next concert when everyone is hitting the server at once. Be part of the 8%!
- I know more about Visa Entertainment, and I'm glad I've subscribed to their alerts. Bring on more pre-sale offers.
- I was able to find the time to write this article and share my tips with you.
- The user interface of these websites sucked. I'd suggest practicing the whole process beforehand if you know you have a concert you desperately want tickets to. This will give you much needed practice navigating through the User Interface when it comes to crunch time.
- You could probably speed up this process if you could identify patterns in the URLs, meaning the moment events become available with tickets to purchase, you can jump a few steps forward in the process.
- This process could work very well for ticket scalpers who buy and sell tickets for sell-out events for a profit. (DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT A SUGGESTION TO DO SO AND WE DON'T SUPPORT ANYONE WHO DOES THIS!)
I'd love to hear from you if you want more tips and hacks like this. There are many topic areas related to credit cards and making the most of their perks, and I'd love to continue sharing my tips if you think they are helpful.