Category Archives: Season Tickets

Mining for Tickets – Touts & Ticket Stealing Bots

My Face Value is preparing for launch on 31st December 2017. To keep up to date with the latest news follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Automated ticket mining bots can get around security measures designed to limit ticket purchases. These bots can hoover up hundreds of tickets within seconds of their release. The tickets then almost immediately appear at vastly inflated prices on resale websites.

In early 2017 Viagogo a secondary ticketing website was accused of “moral repugnance” for reselling tickets to an Ed Sheeran cancer charity gig for up to £5,000. An £85 seat to see Adele at the London O2 in 2016 was reportedly being sold online for £24,840.

The use of bots will soon become a criminal offence as part of a crackdown on resale websites. Touts who use bots to mine for concert tickets before selling them for massive profits – and blocking fans from seeing their favourite artists – will also face unlimited fines.

Ticketing firms must introduce tougher anti-bot measures and stronger enforcement of consumer rights laws. Presently, too much lip service is paid to the problem without any real steps being taken to combat it. 

Sources

  • Sky News
  • Sky Sports News

ENDS

Ticket Resellers, “Legal” Domestic Touts, Illegal Offshore Touts

My Face Value is preparing for launch on 31st December 2017. To keep up to date with the latest news follow us on Facebook and Twitter

It is important that fans understand that there are different types of secondary ticket companies. Some of these outfits have no affiliation with associations, football clubs, or supporters clubs and are often based offshore so that they are not subject to UK law.

The general resale of football tickets in the UK was banned in 1994 because of safety fears over the possibility of rival fans mingling together. Only outlets officially authorised by clubs can offer unwanted seats. But tickets are not always sold at face value on these websites even though they are authorised by a club to act as an authorised ticket reseller. Other clubs do have deals with resellers where tickets cannot be sold for more than face value.

But overseas firms can avoid UK consumer law and the Society of Ticket Agents & Retailers warns the online trade allows unscrupulous firms to “dupe unsuspecting ticket buyers”.

Under UK law, tickets advertised must include the cost and location of seats in the stadium. But during the course of 5 live Investigates research they found many examples where this did not happen or the tickets arrived late. The investigation also found that Premier League tickets with a face value of £23 were being be resold for as much as £130 each.

In a bid to clamp down on illegal trading clubs commenced seizing tickets in recent years.

Ticketbis

One firm, Ticketbis, was found to have distributed season tickets and it was also claimed it was reselling tickets associated with people already banned from a stadium. When asked to respond to the allegations, Ticketbis, which is based in Spain, said it is a “secure online platform that works as an intermediary between individuals that want to buy and sell tickets in 40 countries”. The company did not comment on the illegal sale of football tickets.

Acknowledgements & Sources

  • Alistair Magowan, Journalist (Article dated 22nd February 2016)
  • BBC Sport
  • Sky Sport
  • BBC 5 Live Investigates

ENDS

“The Last Official Buyer Will Be The Only Person Allowed Gain Entry” Rule

My Face Value is preparing for launch on 31st December 2017. To keep up to date with the latest news follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Recently a My Face Value community member asked our customer service team the following question:

“I got scammed today. Sold my ticket to a “mate” he said it was for his girlfriend. I ordered a paper ticket for her to pick up from the ticket office. It got touted for nearly double FV. How will My Face Value be able to stop this from happening?”

The community member asked that their identity not be disclosed but below is what we replied and how My Face Value propose to fight this problem:

We are very sorry to hear that. Its an endemic problem though and not surprising but as you say the “mate” was in quotes. Like all change this will be a gradual process however My Face Value have very specific offers to make to the football clubs with respect to managing the ticketing process and the enforcement of “the ‘last’ official buyer will be the only person allowed to gain entry rule”.

The Interim Solution 

Before the introduction of enforcement measures to ensure that “the ‘last’ official buyer will be the only person allowed to gain entry rule” we have implemented a process of “good standing” in the My Face Value community. While in the interim this will not stop the phenomenon that you describe – it will only allow a “tout” to do it once on our platform.

In parallel with this we have also developed a sophisticated process for “Tout Detection” which is covered briefly in this blog post to prevent the problem from occurring at all – not even once – but in reality one will always slip through from time to time and in those cases we will protect the community from a reoccurrence.

Keeping The My Face Value Community Tout Free 

My Face Value community members (hereafter “CM’s”) are uniquely identified by a combination of their email address and their phone number.

My Face Value CM’s have a “Good Standing” rating based on their activity on site, their BUY / SELL / SWAP order history and performance against other key criteria including pattern matching and algorithms to detect suspicious behaviour. The possible movement of CM’s between states are:

  1. Registered Inactive (No transactions completed);
  2. Registered Active (1 or more transactions completed);
  3. Active Suspended (Pending Appeal) – Marked as engaged in suspicious activity based on profiling and pattern matching and/or reports by other community members;
  4. Banned (Banned for Life) – Appeal denied.

Proposal To Football Clubs For Ticketing Enforcement & Control

In parallel with this My Face Value have developed technology and processes to implement rigorous enforcement and control of “the ‘last’ official buyer will be the only person allowed to gain entry rule” at the turnstiles as follows:

  1. Currently, season ticket holders Terms & Conditions necessitate that unused tickets are returned to the Club if not used and if the holder wishes to have them re-allocated;
  2. In cases where this is not done then the phenomenon that you describe is always possible because of a lack of “Enforcement & Control”.

In partnership with the football clubs My Face Value propose to combat the problem as follows:

  1. When a ticket is sold or swapped in the My Face Value community we will ultimately be seeking permission from the clubs to allocate a NEW ticket;
  2. The re-issued My Face Value ticket will be a mirror image of the original ticket with one significant difference – it will contain information unique to the My Face Value purchaser / swapper – namely an embedded photo, watermarking and a bar code;
  3. In the short term a visual inspection will verify that the person seeking to gain entry is the My Face Value purchaser / swapper;
  4. In the mid term this visual inspection will be augmented with a process where a scanner (which My Face Value will issue to the Clubs) will ensure with 100% certainty that the person seeking entry is the My Face Value purchaser / swapper and that the ticket is not a forgery;
  5. In the event that a “tout” or “forgery” is detected at the turnstiles by our scanners then all associated parties with that ticket will be immediately and automatically placed in the “Active Suspended (Pending Appeal)” Good Standing status on the My Face Value platform;
  6. This process is hugely summarised here to avoid writing a 50 page reply but this is the essence of our approach.

We hope that this answers your question. If you need any further clarifications please email us at support@myfacevalue.co.uk and don’t give that “mate” of yours any more tickets!

ENDS

Appoint My Face Value As Your Official Ticketing & Marketing Agent

My Face Value is preparing for launch on 31st December 2017. To keep up to date with the latest news follow us on Facebook and Twitter. 

My Face Value is not just about giving face value access to the most popular or sold out events and challenging the touts, corporate resale cartels and vested interests. That is only one part of what My Face Value are doing.

All Clubs, not just those who are in the top tiers, have fans who are not locals. Visiting fans who wish to go to games because they are in town. But these fans have a number of barriers to acquiring tickets.

The Club may not offer an online option to purchase tickets for games. The Club ticket shop may only be open for specific and restrictive hours each week. But before even calling the ticket hotline or accessing the Club website the fan must acquire the relevant information.

It can often seem like just a little too much hassle and often times results in lost potential ticket sales.

Focus On Your Strengths

My Face Value are not offering Ticketing Software Solutions that Clubs need to implement or embed in their websites or require any in-house IT skills. Clubs are in the business of football not IT. But if you want us to do that too – then we can and we will.

With My Face Value you do not have to market your website – a tricky exercise and expensive – instead the Club benefits from My Face Value brand awareness and reach. Your ticketing and marketing space on My Face Value will contain all of your own Club branding.

The Go-To Location for Tickets with Killer Features

Some of the killer features that your Club will get with My Face Value Ticketing & Marketing are:

  • Support for Paper and Digital Tickets;
  • Payment Fraud Prevention and Counterfeit Detection & Prevention;
  • Fan Registrations with Opt-In Email;
  • Sell Club Merchandise;
  • Sell Gift Vouchers;
  • Notify fans of Discount Codes to Drive Ticket & Merchandise Sales;
  • Run Fundraisers, Promotions, Competitions & Giveaways;
  • Blog to your Club’s Fan Base;
  • Tracking Your Sales Performance and Benefit From Better Forecasting.

And it’s free with all of the costs picked up by the fan in the form of a small transaction charge. There are no setup fees either.

Your Official Ticketing & Marketing Agent (OTMA) 

Register your interest in appointing My Face Value as your Clubs Official Ticketing & Marketing Agent (OTMA) please email PROclubs@myfacevalue.co.uk & we will manage everything on your Clubs behalf .

ENDS

Register Your Club To Use My Face Value Free Of Charge

My Face Value is preparing for launch on 31st December 2017. To keep up to date with the latest news follow us on Facebook and Twitter

What Will My Face Value Do For Your Club?

My Face Value will make our platform available for use by your Club – free of charge – for:

  • Ticketing – Selling Tickets To Your Games
  • Posting Your Fixtures & Results
  • Promotions – Announcing Events & General News
  • Running Competitions & Fundraisers
  • Merchandising – Your Club Shop Online
  • Blogging – Allowing You To Keep Your Fans & Community Informed
  • Other – We will take suggestions for other services that Clubs would like us to consider providing

Why Are My Face Value Doing This?

The My Face Value mission is to remove touts (street level and corporate) from the ticket supply chain.

Touting and ticket price gouging will always exist in one form or another. In time, the positive disruptive activities of My Face Value will make touting far less prevalent and see far less wasted money from honest punters on counterfeit tickets or genuine fans being priced out of attending events.

We need the Clubs support to achieve our goals. Especially around a universally accepted process that governs the secondary ticket market that we want to see operate at Face Value ONLY with NO touting of any kind.

My Face Value is committed to introducing positive change. To demonstrate the My Face Value commitment to the grassroots and the development and promotion of football and fairness at all levels of the game we stated at the outset that we would allow qualifying Clubs access to our platform – free of charge.

By doing so we are giving qualifying Clubs access to world class marketing tools, technology and best practices to promote their Clubs and their Communities.

Who Can Register?

Registration is available to all clubs in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland who do NOT play in the following leagues:

  • English Premier League
  • English Football League Championship
  • English League One
  • English League Two
  • English National League
  • English National League North
  • English National League South
  • Scottish Premiership
  • Scottish Championship
  • Scottish League One
  • Scottish League Two
  • Welsh Premier League
  • NIFL Premiership
  • NIFL Championship
  • League of Ireland Premier Division
  • League of Ireland First Division

To register your interest please email AMAclubs@myfacevalue.co.uk

ENDS

The My Face Value “Tout Free” Guarantee

My Face Value is preparing for launch on 31st December 2017. To keep up to date with the latest news follow us on Facebook and Twitter

The My Face Value ability to tackle the problem of touts using our community is key to  earning and retaining the trust of the My Face Value community. The algorithms that My Face Value have developed to solve this problem are only one of many unique selling points in the My Face Value promise to genuine fans.

Using Innovative Technology To Beat The Touts

Similar to the auditable Random Number Generator algorithms that our Random Picking Software utilises to ensure fairness & transparency when selecting winners of our competitions & promotions, our approach to Phishing Prevention, Intercept “Man in the Middle” Attacks and our proprietary Automated Tout Detection systems use our own set of proprietary processes and algorithms to keep My Face Value secure and “tout free”.

My Face Value have developed sophisticated mechanisms that protect the data that the My Face Value community entrust us with and prevent the My Face Value community unwittingly assisting touts in their efforts to buy tickets at face value.

Protection from Trolls and Hackers 

My Face Value expects to be the target of concerted campaigns by trolls (on a simplistic level) and hackers (in a sophisticated manner) because My Face Value are dislodging and disrupting a lucrative “street level” business as well as a “respectable” corporate sector who make large amounts of money from ticket touting and price gouging tickets to events.

The first target of these hacks as we see it would be to undermine the trust in the My Face Value community by targeting our community members’ data, in all its forms. But in particular our community members credit card details. Aside from the myriad white-hat hacker tests that we have conducted, our operating systems, applications and network configurations have been comprehensively penetration tested by leaders in the field.

The Safety of Your Data – Security & Encryption 

My Face Value uses security protocols that protect the My Face Value community member from malicious interception attacks. My Face Value use a secure and encrypted connection (HTTPS/SSL) when handling My Face Value community members’ data.

The My Face Value EV SSL certificate offers the highest available levels of trust and authentication to our website. When performing transactions, the green address bar prominently displays our company name and provides highly visual assurance to customers that our site is secure – immediately giving the My Face Value community member the confidence to complete their transaction.

Sensitive Data Storage

For a further level of comfort My Face Value use an external provider with PCI Service Provider Level 1 Certification (the most stringent level of certification) to manage the process of no-hassle security and compliance that meets all PCI-DSS requirements for desktop and mobile transactions [PCI-DSS: The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a proprietary information security standard for organisations that handle branded credit cards from the major card schemes including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and JCB.]

No sensitive data hits the My Face Value servers. To bolster this counter measure My Face Value have added an extra layer of security in the form of Two-Factor Authentication.

Phantom Community Members / Spam Accounts

But how do My Face Value detect touts posing as allegedly legitimate community members and avoid the scenario where the tout uses the My Face Value community as a source of leads to purchase tickets at face value and then tout.

The My Face Value community, without the measures that we have taken, would be a readily available environment with millions of community members which touts could “raid” for tickets.

The Value of Anonymity

This process is outlined in great detail on our website and on our social media pages. But in short, the answer to preventing the use of My Face Value as a ticket sourcing platform for touts is “anonymity”.

The information posted by My Face Value community members in relation to BUY/SELL/SWAP requests is not visible to the My Face Value community. Rather My Face Value store the data and identify matching BUY requests with SELL offers and SWAP requests with SWAP matches.

The relevant My Face Value Community members are then notified simultaneously by email. The email contains a link and when clicked this link will allocate the ticket on a First-Come-First-Served basis to the first My Face Value community member who secures the ticket by making the required payment.

The SELLER / SWAPPERS are then requested to send the ticket(s) to My Face Value for a counterfeit check and thereafter – assuming no issues relating to payment fraud or counterfeiting arise – My Face Value will post the ticket to the BUYER and pay the SELLER or in the case of SWAPS post the tickets to the respective My Face Value community members.

The process is managed from end-to-end by My Face Value to ensure compliance.

Detecting “Organised Touting” in the My Face Value Community

My Face Value will keep the community tout free. The BUY/SELL/SWAP Process is conducted thru a series of simple menu selections. This process is outlined in detail on our website and on our social media pages. Once completed and in order to SUBMIT the information to the My Face Value databases – the My Face Value community member is requested to LOGIN, if they have not already done so, or REGISTER – if they are not an existing My Face Value community member.

Now the science bit – the steps in the REGISTRATION process provide one level of protection against touting – but not enough. Sweat shops exist and the industry (organised crime element) are well capable of setting up hundreds of identities and email addresses using pre-paid cards in an attempt to circumvent this LOGIN or REGISTER Wall counter measure.

Tout Prevention & Community Compliance 

My Face Value have developed systems to encode expertise for detecting touts, in the form of rules. Employing Big Data Analysis / Data Mining to develop community member behaviour patterns and profiles for matching against a baseline to detect deviations and automatic responses / actions or in certain cases issue automated real time notifications to the  My Face Value Tout Prevention & Community Compliance Team for examination (See Level 1-4 below for details on this process).

The My Face Value Pattern Recognition techniques to detect clusters or patterns of suspicious behaviour are automated to ensure scaleability. Machine learning techniques automatically identify the characteristics of touting. The My Face Value algorithms learn suspicious patterns from samples which are then used later to detect breaches.

My Face Value deploy these detection algorithms on a number of levels using statistical techniques and artificial intelligence:

Level 1: Email addresses used by a community member, contact telephone number provided by a community member, frequency and time of day of logins by a community member, number and type of payment instruments used by a community member, transactions levels (numbers of transactions) by a community member, types of transactions conducted by a community member – BUY/SELL/SWAP;

Level 2: Combining source metadata, platform and device usage, IP address, browser type, geo-location (clustering), proxy spoofing and VPN detection to augment the Level 1 data My Face Value hold on behaviour patterns;

Level 3: Cross referencing My Face Value community member profiles with publicly available information on social media accounts for pattern matching and augmenting the community member risk profiling data to augment the Level 1 and Level 2 data;

Level 4: In the event that all the information points to a positive breach of the My Face Value Community Guidelines then the community member will be blocked. In circumstances where the information points to a possible breach of the My Face Value Community Guidelines then the My Face Value Tout Prevention & Community Compliance Team will request identification and documents to prove that the “member” is not a phantom account AND that the documents supplied to vouch for that assertion are genuine.

The My Face Value “Tout Free” Guarantee

By implementing Behaviour Analytics & Profiling with Context Data the My Face Value Machine-Learning Algorithms ensure a tout free environment. These processes reduce to almost zero the ability for touts to engage in the volume transactions that would make the effort commercially viable or feasible.

Whether dealing with touts as individuals or organised gangs their inability to fool the profiling algorithms and/or comply with the My Face Value escalating requests for proof of identity to determine if a suspicious account is in fact a genuine fan will keep our community tout free.

The My Face Value Tout Prevention & Community Compliance Team

 

Using Positive Disruption To Beat The Touts, The Cartels & The Vested Interests

My Face Value is preparing for launch on 31st December 2017. To keep up to date with the latest news follow us on Facebook and Twitter

My Face Value is engaged in positive disruption. Positive disruption is a vital catalyst for change. We are committed to 100% compliance with all of the Rules / Terms & Conditions associated with the buying, selling and swapping of tickets including the complex subset of rules that relate to the transfer and exchange of unused season tickets (rules which vary widely between Leagues and even at the Club level – some of the challenges are clearly described in this page from the Liverpool F.C. website).

My Face Value will be compliant with all of the prevailing legislation with respect to ticket reselling in all of the locations in which we will operate initially. Presently those locations are the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, France, Spain, Italy & Germany.

We will comply with all of the rules of all of the relevant governing bodies and / or associations who issue tickets which are processed in our community or the rules as stipulated by those who are responsible for the issuing of tickets on behalf of others.

Regardless of event type – Football, Cricket, Rugby, Concert, Festival – or geographic location there will be:

  • No compliance shortcuts;
  • No expedient “interpretations” of rules, regulations or terms & conditions;
  • No “let’s take a chance and see” attitude;
  • No headlong rush to “go live” & start generating revenues at the expense of compliance;

My Face Value are here for the long run to effect positive change. My Face Value has the patience, expertise & funding to see out the process to its conclusion. The positive disruption activities of My Face Value will and are upsetting the status quo.

My Face Value are challenging cartels & vested interests and barriers will and are being placed in our way.  The My Face Value Community Guidelines and Governance will be above reproach in order to prevent the vested interests / cartels / “competitors” from attempting to undermine our core mission – and they will try.

Our Core Mission?

Access to All Events – at Face Value – for True Fans

Our Commitment to Longevity 

My Face Value will not “go live” until all of the items on the critical path to ensure 100% compliance with all rules and regulations are complete and signed off by the relevant external interested parties.

With these prerequisites we estimate, at this time, that My Face Value will be in a position to “go live” for ticket BUY / SELL / SWAP functionality on:

Friday, 18th August 2017

This date is subject to change if needed and should an unforeseen delay occur in the compliance time line which is outside of the control of My Face Value.

Using Technology to Ensure Compliance & Eliminate Touting

The My Face Value Tech Team are currently completing the development of the My Face Value platform to support:

  • BUY/SELL/SWAP Features – Read about that in a future blog post;
  • Counterfeit Detection & Ticket Processing – Read about that in a future blog post;
  • Tout Detection – information on how we are preventing touting in the My Face Value community – Read about that in a future blog post;
  • Supporting the Grassroots – My Face Value are making our platform available for use by certain Clubs – free of charge – Read about that in a future blog post;
  • Completing the technology to support Affiliate Programs, Merchandising Sales, Travel & Accommodation Offers and Sportsbook Betting as incentives and rewards for My Face Value community members.

Getting The Support of The Clubs & Governing Bodies

My Face Value are also engaged in discussions with the Governing Bodies, Leagues and Clubs to clarify certain matters as they relate to ticket resales and ticket processing. My Face Value have developed technology and processes to implement rigorous enforcement and control of what we call “the ‘last’ official buyer will be the only person allowed to gain entry rule” at the turnstiles.

In partnership with the football clubs My Face Value proposes to combat the problem as follows:

  1. When a ticket is sold or swapped in the My Face Value community we will ultimately be seeking permission from the clubs to allocate a NEW ticket;
  2. The re-issued My Face Value ticket will be a mirror image of the original ticket with one significant difference – it will contain information unique to the My Face Value purchaser / swapper – namely an embedded photo, watermarking and a bar code;
  3. In the short term a visual inspection will verify that the person seeking to gain entry is the My Face Value purchaser / swapper;
  4. In the mid term this visual inspection will be augmented with a process where a scanner (which My Face Value will issue to the Clubs) will ensure with 100% certainty that the person seeking entry is the My Face Value purchaser / swapper and that the ticket is not a forgery;
  5. In the event that a “tout” or “forgery” is detected at the turnstiles by our scanners then all associated parties with that ticket will be immediately and automatically placed in the “Active Suspended (Pending Appeal)” Good Standing status on the My Face Value platform;
  6. This process is hugely summarised here to avoid writing a 50 page description but this is the essence of our approach.

My Face Value are not an Authorised Ticket Reseller for any league or club at this time. When we “go live” our only role will be to facilitate legal transactions. My Face Value will not sell tickets directly to community members but rather we will act as a facilitator for interactions between genuine fans who wish to BUY, SELL or SWAP tickets with other fans while complying with the My Face Value Community Guidelines.

We know there is a lot of information here and if after reading this post you need any further clarifications or have any questions or have any suggestions please email us at support@myfacevalue.co and we would be delighted to engage with you.

The My Face Value Team