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Joint CBC and Toronto Star Investigation Finds Ticketmaster Complicit in Ticket Scalping

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Dave Seglins, Rachel Houlihan, and Laura Clementson, CBC News:

In July, the news outlets sent a pair of reporters undercover to Ticket Summit 2018, a ticketing and live entertainment convention at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Posing as scalpers and equipped with hidden cameras, the journalists were pitched on Ticketmaster’s professional reseller program.

Company representatives told them Ticketmaster’s resale division turns a blind eye to scalpers who use ticket-buying bots and fake identities to snatch up tickets and then resell them on the site for inflated prices. Those pricey resale tickets include extra fees for Ticketmaster.

“I have brokers that have literally a couple of hundred accounts,” one sales representative said. “It’s not something that we look at or report.”

Not only does Ticketmaster ignore scalpers’ tactics, this report reveals that the company effectively encourages them to exploit potential buyers with its TradeDesk software. The software’s description in the App Store indicates that it’s built for high-volume resellers, with features like bulk price adjustments and large-scale inventory management.

This is why Ticketmaster does such a terrible job at stopping automated purchases: the fee that they get from direct sales is large, but the commission they get from the reseller platforms that they own is extraordinary. Meanwhile, artists get none of the markup, their fans get bilked into paying obscene ticket prices, and Live Nation — Ticketmaster’s parent company — has a near-monopoly on large-scale tours, events, and venues. That’s not right.

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3 hours ago
So glad I stopped using Ticketmaster — one of the few companies which manages to be scummier than PayPal
Washington, DC
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Kelly Sue DeConnick explains how her upcoming Aquaman comic is like Led Zeppelin

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Sonny Dickson on What Went Wrong With AirPower

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Sonny Dickson:

We have managed to obtain several pieces of exclusive information that shed some light on what challenges Apple is currently facing with the project. According to our sources, the broad feeling of many working the project at Apple is that the device may be doomed to failure, and may not be viable at all unless significant advancements can be made.

More details than what I’ve heard, but very much along the same lines. Todd Haselton at CNBC picked this up following Dickson’s report, and now it’s a bit of a news firestorm.

I’ll just emphasize that what I’ve written about AirPower’s problems is all filed under “this is what I’ve heard from people I trust but none of whom are directly involved”. My report is not filed under “this is what I can state as fact happened or is happening”. I literally wrote “what I’ve heard, third-hand but from multiple little birdies”.

I’ll add one new thing. After I published what I’ve heard, a wise and knowledgeable little birdie told me that it’s not at all uncommon for a project at Apple to have massive resets multiple times. [Cough, Titan.] What is unusual regarding AirPower is that it’s happened in the open, for the world to see. That is to say, the real mistake may not be a flawed coil design or whatever, but rather the decision to announce it when they did, before those problems were solved.

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2 hours ago
Hmmm... I think I sense a slightly different tone than when he discussed Google’s Duplex demo.

MeFi: No, I Will Not Debate You

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In a new longform piece, Laurie Penny explains why debate is not going to save us from
fascism, that arguments defending bad faith debate are disingenuous, and why she won't debate those operating in bad faith. (SLLongreads)

Laurie Penny previously.
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Tech Diversity

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When Blogger came out, we all got on Blogger. When Flickr came out, we all got on Flickr. Later there was Twitter and Facebook, and we all got on.

(Okay. Not every single person, but you get my drift.)

In those days, for a thing to be important, for it to be a success, it had to get the attention of much of the internet.

It was a lot like TV used to be. There were just a few networks, and for a show to be a hit it had to have some significant percentage of viewers watching it.

Times have changed, and the internet is more mature and diverse. As my friend Kelly Guimont says, the internet is “sort of like TV” these days, and “you can have a successful show and not have half of America watching.”

Like Game of Thrones. It doesn’t have half of America watching it, but it’s still a success.

I argue that the same is true of apps and app categories: we’ve (finally!) entered a period of tech diversity, and Mastodon and Micro.blog and RSS readers and blogging systems and so on do not have to capture the attention of the entire internet to be successful and important.

In fact, those days are gone. TV changed, and so did the internet.

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Oh God Not This Again


Every now and again there’s a thing about the tragedy of RSS. Ugh.

I want to make a few points.

One is that, as Greg Reinacker once said, RSS is plumbing.

Another is that millions of mainstream users rely on it — for podcasting, especially, but also because it powers other things that they use. They don’t know that there’s RSS under the hood, and that’s totally fine.

Another is that it’s not necessary for RSS readers to become mass-market, mainstream apps. I’m sure I never said they would be, and I don’t remember anyone else from the early days of RSS saying they would be, either.

It’s totally fine if RSS readers are just used by journalists, bloggers, researchers, and people who like to read. Yes! It’s a-okay.

But note that everyone who uses Twitter and whatever else, and who follows those people, are benefiting indirectly from RSS. RSS is, often, where the links come from in the first place before they show up on social networks.

(Sometimes it’s even automated. For instance, posts to my @NetNewsWire account on Twitter come from the blog’s feed. In other words: Twitter itself is an RSS reader.)

In a nutshell: judging RSS itself because RSS readers are not mainstream is to miss everything that RSS does. And judging RSS readers for not being mainstream is to judge them against expectations set by some hype artists more than a decade ago — but not by me or anybody else actually doing the work.

I don’t expect to see RSS readers running on every Mac and iOS device. This does not make it a failure.

It’s 2018, and I think by now we’re allowed to have things that some people like, but that not everybody uses.

* * *

From 2011: What we talk about when we talk about RSS

From 2013: Why I love RSS and You Do Too

From 2018: Some Hope

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3 public comments
1 day ago
“I think by now we’re allowed to have things that some people like, but that not everybody uses.”

if it's being built on VC then no, grow your MAU or die. if we want nice things like newsblur we have to support creators who are comfortable not being the next unicorn.
Bend, Oregon
1 day ago
Story title: "The Rise and Demise of RSS"
Story text: "RSS is not dead."

I mean, there is a definition of "demise" that isn't "death" but...
2 days ago
I thought the linked article was a good encapsulation of RSS's history
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