2013 Ticket Post-Mortem

kudos to the wag who created this - contact us if you want an image credit

kudos to the wag who created this – contact us if you want an image credit

So…looks like Burning Man sold 40,000 tickets in about half a day. Well, technically, it’s more like a quarter of a day. My 2 tickets cost $785 net, so that’s $15,700,000 fattening up BMOrg’s account. Less probably 1.8% for Visa and Mastercard – yup, despite all the high rollers going to their event, they don’t take Amex.

How long did it take? The best reference we have is a tweet from @BManTickets at 6:24pm PST:

@BManTickets The Individual Sale is now closed. Please read http://bit.ly/XgW5vK  to learn about other options for getting tickets.

How efficient was this process? Let’s take a look.

For the sake of mathematical simplicity, let’s assume that the instant the last ticket was sold, the tweet went out. And, the first transaction went through at 12:00:00. 6 hours and 24 minutes = 23,040 seconds. So, that’s an average of 1.7 transactions per second. Not bad…but, not up to the standards of World’s Best Practice that are available in Silicon Valley. Visa themselves claim to offer their merchants electronic networks that can process 10,000 transactions per second. However, all around the world, there are many events larger than Burning Man that sell out within minutes. Maybe they use call centers and phone based systems, instead of the Internet – but they don’t require the fans to give up their whole afternoon.

Friends of mine who logged in within the first few minutes, spent pretty much the entire day waiting by the computer for their turn to come up. I got lucky: in there in 12 seconds, and it took 8 minutes (sounds like a good date!)

garbage bagsAnd what about the money? Burning Man had a good day: they just made a whopping $681 per second. This is a mega-payday even by the standards of Bill Gates ($117 per second), Larry Ellison ($25 per second), and Larry+Sergey the Google Burners ($20 per second).

Congratulations to Larry, Maid Marian, and the rest of the Burning Man team. You’ve got a helluva business on your hands. And suddenly almost all the Burner community have tickets – it’s gonna make it much easier to plan the rest of the year. Problem solved, check cleared, cha-ching!

laughing to the bank

16 comments on “2013 Ticket Post-Mortem

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

  4. The lack of remorse or even explanation on BMORG’s part over the 2-13-13 ticket debacle is making my decision not to go this year very easy. I did get tickets, but will gift them to my 18 year old daughter and her virgin friend. They waited in line past the very end, with no clue they were fucked. I on the other hand have seen this cynical display of arrogant megalomania before, so it’s not a shock it pops up at BM. It’s all so easy; drop your ego and allow people smarter than yourself to ensure these things go right. With so much at stake you’d think somebody at BMORG would insist on focusing on the “first come-first served” rule advertised to cure last year’s ticket ills, and to restore confidence and trust in BMORG to be fair and intelligent. Oh, well. I don’t need to attend BM to engage with society on the same terms. I am free.

  5. lets face it: best event ever, cheap as shit still for what it is and the amount of infrastructure provided (which is still not enough to make it less than nearly completely participatory): i speak only for myself but believe many others feel the same when i say I WOULD WAIT ONLINE for many, many, many more hours than I did (three, while at work waitressing, running to the back room to check every five minutes) to get my ticket to the burn ! congratulations to the Org for their best attempt yet at a fair system, albeit one with some kinks, and to those who fell victim to those kinks: the playa provides !\

    • I would agree with you…if any of this money went into the infrastructure. It’s the Burners (and DPW…many of whom no longer even think of themselves as Burners) who provide the party, not the BMorg

  6. lets face it: best event ever, cheap as shit still for what it is and the amount of infrastructure provided (which is still not enough to make it less than nearly completely participatory): i speak only for myself but believe many others feel the same when i say I WOULD WAIT ONLINE for many, many, many more hours than I did (three, while at work waitressing, running to the back room to check every five minutes) to get my ticket to the burn ! congratulations to the Org for their best attempt yet at a fair system, albeit one with some kinks, and to those who fell victim to those kinks: the playa provides !

  7. I had to take a long lunch, over 3 hours long, staring at the 2 screens operating from 2 computers and getting bumped out of line numerous times. At the end of that wait was told tickets have been sold out, this was at about 3pm pacific time, so I went back to work, upset. Became disgusted later to realize this message was a mistake and tickets were selling well past 6pm. Sorry folks but this second year of B.S. has eliminated any desire to participate in this crap again, enjoy everybody else!

  8. I spent as much time as I could to purchase a ticket, before I had to go to a meeting for a job that pays me my wage so I can go to BM, I didn’t get through in time and did not get tickets. As a kiwi that makes the massive journey from New Zealand to Black Rock City(6 times), it’s extremely disappointing. Miraculously we got tickets via the lottery system last year, but no luck with a better system this time. Perhaps BMORG could consider having a sale for international burners that invest huge amounts of money to come from all around the globe to contribute to the best event on the planet. Lets hope 2014 will enable the opportunity to be back on the playa with you all again next year

  9. know that everything about Burning Man is skewed to favor the well-off, so I shouldn’t be surprised that the ticket sale did the same thing. We don’t need Burners who don’t sit at computers when they work, or whose computer use is monitored by their employers, or who have to rely on public libraries or generous wifi-enabled coffee shops to go online, or who have to pick up their kids from school at 3 p.m. and thus have to abandon all hope of a ticket after three hours in line. Welcome, however, if you’re the boss and set the computer policies, or can take half a day off work, or report to a laissez faire office with other intellectuals who are allowed to visit commercial sites. Welcome if you have no children or can pay somebody else to pick up your kid during the sale. Welcome if you have friends who understand Burning Man and can be trusted with your credit card details. But if a wide river separates you and the world of privilege then BMORG has no use for you. Find somewhere else to get your kicks.

  10. “So, that’s an average of 1.7 transactions per second. Not bad…”

    No, not bad at all. . . for a single 486 on a 56K modem. For a rack or three of servers on the big pipe, it indicates a huge stupid bottleneck somewhere that could probably be dealt with easily if they’d just let some of their more talented volunteers have a crack at it.

  11. So, I “successfully” purchased two tickets from the sale, meaning I put in my CC info and received a confirmation email. Problem is that I realized I entered the wrong billing address seconds after I hit confirm. Hey, I feel like an idiot, but it was 430AM in India and I was delirious. My payment still hasn’t showed up on my bank account. Should I be worried? If the card doesn’t go through, will they contact me for corrections or will they give my tickets to the next person in line? I am filled with anxiety, help ease my troubled soul someone!

  12. It looks likes burners likes to talk shit whatever happens. Let be honest, this ticket sale was pretty much a success, no ?
    And by the way, the money comparison with Bill Gates is just totally dishonest… 117/s is Bill Gates salary, you should compare with Microsoft direct revenue. Which is 666/s 😉
    But anyway they aren’t making that money as individual… And you’ll be happy to poop in a “clean ish” porta potty !

    • Florent, are you reading the same post? “Congratulations” and “Problem Solved” is not exactly talking shit. We’re giving them props, because things went much better than last year. What more would you have us do? “BMOrg sold the tickets, they’re amazing, their technology is brilliant, the whole thing went without a hitch, everything is unicorns and double rainbows”.
      Unfortunately it’s not quite as perfect as that. We feel bad for our friends who lost pretty much a day of their lives just to get these tickets. Take even a cursory look at facebook and twitter and you can see that the Burner community had a lot of difficulties with this process. People getting kicked off servers, having to change browsers, clear cookies; many got tickets, but others went through the process, wasted the hours, and ended up with nothing. It’s not us making these problems up, so that we can bash the BMOrg (with our nasty big words like “congratulations”). As I’ve said repeatedly, the ticket process was actually pretty smooth for me. Tens of thousands of others though, had a stressful few hours wondering WTF was going on. There’s still work to do, to bring Burning Man’s ticket sales out of the punch card era and into the 2013 smart phone era.

      • Telling the truth isn’t “talking shit” either.

        Whether it’s a country, a sports team, a company, a family, or any other group that a person can identify with, people have this remarkable tendency to fall into the kind of thinking that leads them to see only the good and stridently deny the bad. When it’s a country, we call that jingoism, and distinguish it from patriotism as a more negative, less realistic, more bumptious and contentious and belligerent set of emotions.

        The Org is not Burning Man; the Org is not burner culture; the Org is not composed of highly competent geniuses. It’s perfectly appropriate for all of — and for the press in particular — to criticize them, and to hold their feet to the fire when necessary. If that bothers you, then you need to stop being such a suck-up and pull your head out of that ostrich hole.

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