Friday, September 22, 2023

How virtual concert queues work like Taylor Swift’s

With the sale of tickets for the concert of Taylor Swift of May 30, 2024 in Madrid, today the concept of virtual queues is put to the test again. A system that is increasingly used in the world when it comes to marketing tickets for mass attendance events. A very interesting technological solution, although not without controversy.

Therefore, we want to take advantage of these lines to explain in a simple way how virtual queues work. Of course we will not delve into technical issues, because the infrastructure for ticket sales varies depending on which company is in charge of certain concerts or shows.

However, the concept by which they are governed is basically the same for all platforms. It’s an absolute no-brainer, but we’re talking about the virtual equivalent of standing in line in real life with other people.. From the beginning we know how many tickets are available, and that not everyone in the queue will be able to get one.

This is how virtual queues work to get tickets for massive events

Entry to the virtual queue for the Taylor Swift concert in Madrid.

We return to what was said in previous lines: virtual queues may differ slightly depending on which company is in charge of ticket sales. However, the concept is the same in all of them. In the case of Taylor Swift, for example, marketing is done through Ticketmasterand those who wished to have the option to buy a ticket must first register on the platform and obtain an access code.

But in such a situation, getting the access code is only the first step. Once the virtual queue is enabled, fans will only they must enter and wait for their turn to try to complete the purchase. Said this way it sounds easy, but those who already have previous experience with virtual queues know that things can turn ugly at any moment.

Whether it’s for a Taylor Swift concert in Madrid, for the final of a sporting event, or whatever event you can imagine, fans usually “crowd” on the ticket sales platform’s website from minutes —or even hours— before for the process to start. The intention is clear: be among the first to click and enter the virtual queues as early as possible.

Although this does not always work. No matter how prepared an infrastructure is to receive tens of thousands of potential ticket buyers at the same time, delays or technical problems are usually quite recurring. However, if you earn a place in the virtual queue, there are no magic solutions: you must be patient.

What to do when you’re already in line

Photo by Levi Jones on Unsplash

If you manage to access the virtual queues, you don’t have much choice but to wait. Although it is true that there are some tips to try not to suffer connection losses, or to act quickly when it is your turn to buy a ticket, standing in line does not guarantee you a ticket.

In the case of being one of the lucky ones who gets to buy tickets, you must act quickly. virtual queue systems impose a time limit for the user to carry out the transaction, which never usually exceeds 10 minutes. In this way, what is sought is that the system does not overload and that the experience is as expeditious as possible for everyone. What happens if I run out of time? It is likely that the website will update and expel you to make room for another buyer. Or that you see an error message when doing the checkout of the purchase and you cannot finish it.

Unfortunately, in recent years the viralization of alleged tricks that promise to raise places in virtual queues has become recurrent. These appear as memes or jokes on social networks, quickly going viral, but they don’t work. It doesn’t matter how many key combinations you press, or what magic solution they propose to you, if they promise to jump 10,000 places in a second, they are lying to you.

In fact, if you are already in the virtual queue you should not refresh the page either. If you do, you may end up losing the space you had. Although it is important to mention that if other people who are before you decide to leave it, it is likely that you can advance a few places. The same if they lose their connection.

Finally, we must mention that one of the big problems of virtual queues is the hordes of bots. These not only usually appear at large events —such as the Taylor Swift concert for sure—, but also when pre-sales of highly desired products are carried out. These automated networks have become a very lucrative business, since they not only prevent other users from buying normally, but also feed a resale market at exorbitant prices.

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