The truth behind the “instant sellout” myth

Instant sellouts continue to dominate headlines as tickets appear to be sold out in mere moments. Queue-it CEO and Co-Founder Niels Henrik Sodemann provides a behind the scenes look at the ticketing timeout to demystify the myth.

shopping cart in parking lot on green background

It seems like every time a world-famous artist announces their next tour, tickets sell out in the blink of an eye. However, there’s more to the onsale story.

Niels starts by defining a ticket sellout as having all announced tickets purchased by individual buyers. All done within the space of a vendor’s basket timeout, typically ranging from 7 to 30 minutes.

This timeout affects the length of tickets selling out. Tickets can be reserved and appear unavailable to website visitors without really being sold out. This difference between reserved and sold tickets makes it impossible for sellouts to happen within minutes. As such, sellouts cannot happen in less than double the basket timeout period.

Having helped up to 400 onsales a day for the last 10 years at Queue-it, Niels has not seen any evidence to contradict this. Tickets simply cannot sellout in seconds.

A crucial problem with this myth stems from bad ticket bots. These fraudsters use the sellout story to their advantage during ticketing events. Niels elaborates on different malicious activities in the ticketing ecosystem, and how these activities take advantage of fan fears.

Locking ticket inventory with cube farms or bots, scalpers lure ticket buyers to secondary platforms where they pay steep prices before the bots have even managed to purchase the ticket from the primary vendor. Little monetary risk for fraudsters and a lot to gain.

What is Niels’ recommendation? Transparency. Before your onsale begins, be open about the process: its constraints and the inventory available. Include a longer pre-queue on your website to maintain your infrastructure, and only allow in users on your website that can possibly reach the end of their ticket-buying journey.

Join the fight for fair onsales!