Ticketmaster is testing identity-verification software to fight automated ticket-buying bots favored by scalpers.

The company, owned by Live Nation, created a software program called "Verified Fan" which uses customer personal data to confirm that a ticket-buyer is human before completing a sale, Recode reports. The program is meant to prevent scalping bots from buying large quantities of tickets to popular concerts in order to sell them on the secondary market at a profit. That secondary market is a $8 billion industry for scalpers, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino told Recode.

Initial tests have gone well, David Marcus, Ticketmaster's head of music for North America, told Recode. Over 99 percent of tickets sold using the software are bought by humans, Marcus says. Without the software, bots usually get a "double-digit percentage" of tickets, Marcus says. Ticketmaster will use the software during ticket pre-sales for the British musician Ed Sheeran's concert tour this week.

The software analyzes a potential customer's personal information, ticket-buying history, and social media activity to verify a ticket-buyer is human, according to reports. The program requires ticket-buyers to give their phone number, email, and a social media account, like a Facebook profile. If the software is able to confirm a person's identity as a human, the customer can buy the ticket.

Marcus says previous attempts to beat automated bots by selling tickets very quickly didn't work.

"Bots are about speed, and if you make distribution about speed, you're fighting a very hard battle," Marcus says. "If you make it about identity, it's much different.

Published on: Mar 14, 2017