Evil, ticket-gulping bots?

What high tech wonder-tools does RMG use to defeat Ticketmaster’s captchas, the annoying jumble of characters used to prove your humanity? Is it Optical Character Recognition? Something even more futuristic, maybe web 3.0-ish? Nah. Cipriano Garibay, president of RMG Technologies, boasts: "We pay guys in India $2 an hour to type the answers."

Here is the full story of why concert events must move more and more toward market-clearing prices.  Thanks to Aaron Steinberg for the pointer.


There is a very informative article on "breaking" captchas (not cheating with humans, of course) at Coding Horror:


It's a good read if a bit technical.

I've read that some of it has a little to do with PR concerns: the various professional leagues, for example, often want to cultivate an image of "family affordability" - differential pricing (with exorbitant prices for the most coveted seats) could destroy that image and affect long-run business.

To borrow from another popular economist (I forgot where I read this!): The band's etc. make more money from selling CD's , branded-T shirts and other merchandise etc. AFTER the concert. It is only their target audience (say college kids) who buy's those items later. Now if they allowed the market to set those prices the wrong("rich") kind of people would buy them! The kind that would NOT later be expected to contribute significantly to merchandise sales.

Riemannian, G -- IIRC, when Jerry Buss bought the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the first things he did was to dramatically increase the differences between the prices of the least and most expensive tickets. Substantially jacking up the cost of the courtside seats earned more revenue of course, and may have made them a more comfortable environment for Jack Nicholson and the like. He also dropped the prices of the "nosebleed" seats by quite a bit, making it easier for families and non-movie-starts to come to games, and keeping the arena full of fans. Again, it's been a while, but I remember this as being widely praised and emulated. Just for kicks, I looked to see what Knicks tickets cost right now -- they range from $10 to $3000, which sounds like a pretty big range to me. Pop stars may use a different calculus....

Actually, I think MR should do away with the captcha. Its irritating, and I often get mistaken for a bloody bot.


It wastes 20 secs. yes, but I didn't realize people had so much trouble reading the letters!

"We pay guys in India $2 an hour to type the answers"

Smart, but spammers have had another better solution: They hosted their own pornographic site and needed users to solve a captcha to view their pics.

Guess where this captchas came from? Do people see subtle creative arbitrage there? Maybe Tyler and Alex are already raking in tons of moolah by making us solve their captchas! LOL

Instead of porn they provide economic tidbits; whatever works, I guess!

I would submit that outsourced micro-work like this probably is a large part of whatever web-3.0 turns out to be. It's certainly futuristic enough for my tastes.

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