It’s Looking Like Another SNAFU

[Update: Scribe has written a story about the SNAFU at SFBG. Comment from Marian: “it’s moving slowly, but we’ve seen worse!” They had to add more servers…ummm, is no one capable of capacity planning? They are selling $15.2 million of tickets right now (plus handling fees), maybe they could stretch for another server or two…or, use Amazon’s cloud like everybody else does who wants scalability and reliability…]

snafuI got into the ticket system 12 seconds after Noon – and got 2 tickets, in about 8 minutes. One friend must’ve beat me, he got his tickets in 3 minutes. Someone else who got on at 12:00:12 also got tickets. Lucky us. Unfortunate for the people who were 20 seconds or more late to connect to the servers…the horror stories are starting to come in. I have a couple of friends who are still holding now, after hours. Good luck to everyone in the queue!

First, a tip – thanks to Burner Barefoottrout:

“if you get the “tried too many times error” use another browser application. I got booted 3 times on chrome and now I’m using firefox where I’ve had no boots but have been waiting patiently for 2 hours.”

Another tip, from @BurningMan on Twitter:

If you’re having passcode trouble getting into the queue, try clearing your cookies & cache.

Here’s a sampling of what Burners are going through, from our web site and comments to this blog:

Burner James:

Got in the queue at 12:00:21 and got kicked out (frozen) at 12:16 and have been getting frozen out repeatedly since then. Frustrating.

Burner Sylvia:

got in at 34 seconds and have since been booted out 4 times, still waiting…oh, make that 5 now.!

Burner Elizabeth:

got in queue at 12:00:27 and have been kicked off twice with error messages

Burner Tat-Dat

I got booted off 4-5 times and then got this message “Your passcode is not registered. You have reached our limit for trying. Please contact customer support for more information.”—anyone have the same experience?

Burner Robert Burns:

I got booted off 4-5 times and then got this message “Your passcode is not registered. You have reached our limit for trying. Please contact customer support for more information.”—anyone have the same experience?

Burner Matt:

Kicked off 8 times, loged on 12:00:15 still no ticket at 1:16…fml

Burner Alexey:

Poor experience. Got to checkout page, but it gave me some “session timed out” on final checkout. 2nd time – same thing. 3rd time it worked. Trying to purchase tix for friend who had unmovable meeting – got to checkout page, entered all the info, got generic “something went wrong”. Had to start from beginning, worried he won’t get his tickets.

Burner Chris:

At 12:00 after inputing my code it went to a page saying please stand by that was at 12 noon finaly I refreshed at 2:15 and now it says that I am in the Queue. This system sucks

Burner Nillabear:

Got in the sale about 30 seconds after it started. Got my ticket after two hours. Had to refresh about three times due to disconnect error but I’m guessing I kept my place in line. Good luck peoples! See you back home.

Burner Niki:

Whew! Three hours and I got mine!

Burner Jan:

Do you think we are really in the queue still. 4 hours now.

Burner Eric:

If you have the ear of anyone at the burningman ticketing staff, here’s what i’d like to share since they appear to have all of their comment area on lock-down right now.

So last year i spent 5 minutes deciding how much money i was willing to spend on tickets, and clicked go… then a few weeks later i found out if i got tickets or not and i did.  And i got tickets.

This year i had to register, then i had to login at noon PST, then i tried various times in the day to buy tickets with my registration number (becuase i could not sit in front of the computer for hours)… the first time i logged in at 12:00:47 and before i left the house i got booted from the system and it appears i lost my place in line.  There appeared to be no actual system for determining if i had kept my place in line… in the end, i wasted plenty of time, got no tickets, and go no reasurance that my place in line had or hadn’t been lost (which is just plane stupid not to give that feedback if it’s communicated to be a major point of the system) and so despite having been logged in only 47 seconds after the start i got no tickets trying throughout the day.  THIS BLOW DONKEY BALLS!

Burner Julie had a helluva time, but BMOrg showed sympathy with her plight:

I have two tickets and a hell of a story!!! So.. lol. Here is what happened to me. I clicked on the button at exactly noon.. then the browser didn’t refresh, so I retyped my passcode, then I got a message saying that my passcode was not registered, so I entered it again, then got a message saying you have reached our limit for trying, please contact customer support. So at this point (12:05) I got on my boyfriends computer and typed in his passcode, and am now in line. Thank goodness we had a back up plan, but it is still unfair that I got pushed back 4-5 minutes. So then I was in line for 3 hours… the screen came up to re-enter my code and I got to the ticket purchase page. I filled out the form and then it said my boyfriend’s billing address for his card was not correct, so I called him to ask what was up with that, but too late my time ran out to fill out the form. Then I got an email back from Burning man ticket info telling me how to fix my passcode. I got back in line on both our laptops with both our codes… I had emailed burning man ticket info again telling them what happened with the card and asked if they could re-process my order, they said no we cannot and we cannot help you, you have to get back in line, But then they emailed me again with this… Hello Julie,

Sorry you’ve had difficulty getting access to the Individual Sale. We recognize that you tried to go through the process and do everything correctly, and we sincerely thank you for your patience.

We would like for you to use this private link created just for you to access the sale directly to make your purchase: (entered link)

We could go on, but I think you get the gist. If you got into the queue in the first 30 seconds, you were cool. Any later, good luck! Try a different browser, try closing your browser down completely and logging on again.

Or…try picking up one of the 118+ tickets already on sale on Stubhub, starting at $624. So much for the legal contract – or maybe these scalper tickets are all from the pre-Christmas draw.

After 25 years of partying, and hundreds of millions of dollars…we still can’t sell 40,000 tickets on a web site. How complicated is this? In the past I’ve been involved in projects where, in a few months, we built systems that can process 200+ database transactions per second. The architecture was not particularly complex or expensive – many others face this problem. Here’s how you can use free, Open Source software to process 200,000 transactions per second.

13 comments on “It’s Looking Like Another SNAFU

  1. Pingback: Help! I Didn’t Get a Ticket! 7 Ways You Can Still Go | Burners.Me Burning Man commentary blog

  2. I’m pretty sure these problems are due to the Burning Man LLC corporate pilicy of having no expenses and making pure profit at everyone else’s expense. Here’s why I think that: After everything went through for me and my credit card was processed, etc (though they lied when they said I would be able to receive my tickets at a different address from the one my credit card is billed to), I tried to go back to a previous page. The browser didn’t let me go back to the page before the survey. Instead it took me to a web site where anyone who has an event can set up a page and sell tickets to your event online… FOR FREE. I’m guessing this is the web site Burning Man LLC is using to sell tickets online to save money. WHAT A GREAT BUSINESS! Almost no overhead whatsoever, and they get to collect lottery jackpot winnings every year!

  3. Yeah cause showing up with all “the things packed”, towing your art car to a sign at the gate that says “sold out” wouldn’t piss anyone off at all.

  4. I got my two tickets, but it took 4 frustrating hours and 5 retries… My two cents: on game day, you enter your PIN and you get a number, like at the deli. No screwing around with secure servers on overload! Your number is either a winner (under 40k) or not. Then you have say 12 hrs or 24 hrs to actually go in and make the purchase. If you don’t, it goes to Mr. 40,001, etc.

  5. Is there a conversation going on anywhere? I keep having to re-enter the sale… Five and a half hours in… DOOM

  6. I first tried at 12:10pm (I know, I’m a laggard) and multiple disconnects/refreshing, a handful of restarts, being told I exceeded my passcode attempt limit, two browsers and 4 hours and 40 minutes later, I got my ticket. Hang on if you’re still waiting and if you get that “reached your limit” notice, try another browser or deleting your cookies.

  7. I’m British… and approaching five hours in… I’ve been watching Scarface whilst waiting… killed the first three hours in no time… maybe No Country For Old Men next… I got in at about twenty six seconds I think, I was a little too casual with the passcode… apparently there IS a hurry! What larks… Anyhow, I am happy and optimistic. [I’m just happy to be here!] Life is Short. All in the Mind. Peace & Tranquility. Contentment from Focus. Moment to Moment living & such…

    I would love to go to Burning man, and this is not my last hope… and even if I can’t go… Life is such an experience on a second to second basis that I’ll be too in thrall to feel at all dishevelled by the let-down… But then again, I never let myself up… No Great Expectations here Friend… take it as it comes… One Step At A Time…

    Focus… I Can Do This… & so forth…

    Much Love to all my Fellow Humanity!

  8. I got on at 12:00.25 – it took just over 4 hours to get my tickets. Yes, I’m relieved & delighted I’ll be going home, but what infuriates me is the BMOrg’s almost total lack of communication during this process, beyond “Shit’s fucked up and we don’t know why”. I work in IT – have done for over 20 years – and the #1 thing I’ve learned is communication is vital. It seems the new system works…eventually…but the consumers *definitely* need more insight into what the hell is happening while they are waiting in line.

  9. SNAFU? more like clusterfuck. I got in at 12:00:35 and got my tickets after 1 hour and 45 minutes. I am lucky, but as they say Fuck yer day

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