Shocker: Ticketmaster Screws Something Up

At a Facebook event last week, 60 applications were launched that integrate directly with Facebook’s open graph and the newly rolled out (and now being forced on users) Timeline Profile. It was back in September when this functionality was first announced and that was also when we started seeing the ticker on the top right of the page telling us what our friends were listening to on music streaming services such as Spotify and MOG.

The launch of FB Timeline Apps has arrived and there was much excitement last week about Ticketmaster’s contribution, with TechCrunch calling it one of the best. I decided to kick the tires on this new event discovery/ticket purchasing incorporation – perhaps they had done a better job than with the social integration of select-your-own-seat, of which I wasn’t exactly a fan.

Well, I can’t say I was surprised to see that Ticketmaster’s attempt at a Facebook App was disappointing.

In particular:

#1: The events it recommends: So Ticketmaster is going to recommend concerts and events to me based on my listening history and the bands I “Like” on Facebook, sounds simple enough. Wait – why should I go see the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns play basketball? Oh, it’s because I like the band Phoenix.

#2: Adding to the noise and clutter of Facebook Events: You can RSVP to events from inside the Ticketmaster App on Facebook and it will show up in your timeline, that’s pretty sick. Until you realize that there were already too many events for every concert already on Facebook and Ticketmaster just added one more, sort of. Let’s take Wilco at The Fox Theater in Oakland for example – there are six separate event pages on Facebook already: One created by the venue, two created by Sonic-Living Events, one from Pollstar, one from FanSnap and one from Bandsintown. Inside my FB app, it tells me one other person is going to see Wilco, but The Fox tells me 57 other people are going while Bandsintown has 4 RSVP’s. And if I invite someone to go via the TM FB app, all it does is drive them to a screen to buy tickets.

#3: With all the excitement about new “nouns and verbs,” they still couldn’t get tenses right: Alright, now this isn’t so much a functionality issue as much as it is a WTF moment when looking at a company with unlimited development resources. When I RSVP for events from the app, it publishes to my timeline about the shows I am going to – though apparently it also gives me the ability to shift time as it indicates I have already gone to shows taking place in the future. I “Attended Radiohead at HP Pavilion at San Jose on April 11, 2012” – it was great, but I wish they had played more stuff from OK Computer.

Now perhaps I am being a bit harsh on an application that still has that word “beta” plastered on its banner, but it is terrible. In addition to main gripes, it recommends events that are sold out, just wasting the customer’s time. Not only did it recommend I go see the Phoenix Suns, it recommends it multiple times because Ticketmaster has the event listed multiple times, the event itself, the Mezzanine level, premium parking for the event – all separate line items. And it’s slow, painstakingly slow.

At its core, the functionality is cool – recommend events based on the bands I like and my listening history. However, that only functions if the bands are large enough to play a Ticketmaster/LiveNation venue, which does not apply to the majority of small and upcoming bands that we music nerds are going to discover on our own.

Why can’t a company as rich in money and developers as Ticketmaster, with the blessing of a thriving company such as Facebook, knock this out of the park upon launching?

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