Thursday, June 25, 2009

JSOnline Selling Shady Concert Tickets?

By Evan Rytlewski
Google+ Pinterest Print

It is not, to be sure, the deal of the century: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Web site is selling a lone ticket to the Riverside Theater's upcoming Moody Blues concert for $690.  That price would be extreme even if the Moody Blues concert were sold out—which it's not. The Riverside is still selling tickets to that concert for just $45 to $55.

Also curious: The Journal Sentinel's Web site is selling $280 tickets to the Pabst Theater's upcoming concert from The National, which hasn't sold out either (tickets are priced at just $22.50 for that one). More perplexingly, the same JSOnline site is selling $100 seats for row AA to that show—which raises some red flags, since that concert is general admission.

Surely, this can't thrill the Pabst Theater Organization, which has made known its fierce opposition to scalpers. The venue Twittered its apparent bewilderment over JSOnline's new operation this afternoon.

So what's going on here?

I left a message with Journal Sentinel's online representative, but have yet to hear back (I'll update this post when I do). But it appears that JSOnline has partnered with Ticket Network Direct, an intermediary that arranges the sale of second-hand tickets. These are, needless to say then, buyer-beware transactions, according to Ticket Network Direct's own terms and conditions agreement, but those policies haven't stopped Ticket Network Direct from catching the attention of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which received over a hundred complaints about the organization, many from customers claiming never to have recieved their tickets. Ticket Network Direct is not accredited by the BBB, and though the online ticket retailer insists that it is legitimate, it has in at least some instances sold tickets to events that did not even exist.

How much JSOnline has invested in the ticket re-sale business is unknown, but this apparent partnership with Ticket Network Direct is just another sign that the daily newspaper is struggling to boost revenue, explains Andy Vogel, a former JSOnline sales manager who has also worked for the Shepherd Express and MilwaukeeJobs.com.

"You've probably also noticed an exponential increase in junk ads and pop-ups all over the JSOnline site, and the sites of daily newspapers all over the country," said Vogel. "The truth is, everybody's feeling pretty desperate right now."

Log in to use your Facebook account with
Express Milwaukee

Login With Facebook Account