Addressing Issues with our 2019 Main Sale

Update on 4/29 – Follow this link for a statement from ShowClix on the 2019 Main Sale.

Original post –

Burning Man’s Main Sale on Wednesday was a rough experience for many. Even if it had gone perfectly from a technical perspective, the vast majority of those participating would not have been able to purchase a ticket as demand significantly outstripped supply.

But Wednesday’s sale was especially challenging due to technical issues that resulted in a variety of poor experiences.

We know some people encountered the following types of errors: 500’s, 400’s, “Unable to Proceed,” “Tickets currently unavailable,” and others. While the errors varied by user, they shared a single underlying cause: high demand. This was compounded by a hardware issue outside of our control. If you experienced one of these errors and rejoined the queue, your original place in line was retained. You did not drop to the back of the line.

We’re working closely with our ticketing partner to determine why this happened and to prevent it from happening again in the future. We believe bots were a factor, and we are specifically investigating interference from bots compounding the load.

We are deeply committed to the fairness of our ticket sales, and we’re truly sorry for the negative experiences many of you encountered.

To learn more about other upcoming ticket sales and programs, please see our ticket page.

About the author: Burning Man

Burning Man

The official voice of the Burning Man organization, managed by Burning Man's Communications Team.

364 Comments on “Addressing Issues with our 2019 Main Sale

  • LuxLupus says:

    Does this mean that there is potential that many of the tickets were purchased by bots and thus presumably ticket scalpers? How can we recover these tickets for the community?

    Report comment

    • Mike P says:

      People admittedly joined at 5min after getting tickets while people who joined right at noon were kept on hold for 3hrs. Glad to hear you acknowledged bots are involved. You should cancel the sale and try again. You know all the ticket numbers. Do the right thing.

      Report comment

      • Michele says:

        From a civil and legal perspective, I believe that would be the best response from the BMORG.
        We cherish our community and we, as a civil and responsible community, deserve a fair chance. Of course, once the “bots” and/or multiple accounts are filtered out, either re-do the sale, or free up those tickets to those who contacted the Tech Support (as I did) during the process. I was advised all was fine with my link and that I was in line in the queue, even though I had a dreaded white screen, with no circling arrows, as I had seen for 40 minutes up to that point. In 6 years of purchasing tickets in the Main sale, 4 times there have been technical issues, as stated in the original notice on this topic.
        It is exciting to buy tickets, but a huge disappointment—4 years out of 6 years these issues plague the ticket system.

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      • Ana Melhado says:

        I had a friend tht entered at 12:47 and was able to buy and I was online since 12:00 and actually nooooothing happened.
        Why?
        Was it a selective buy?
        You say we are equal… there is no preferences…
        But some how your system was choosing people.
        Not fair… Not at all.

        Report comment

      • CrimsonCaveat says:

        I don’t understand the hand wringing about the poor direction of the culture when they refuse to exclude bots via CAPTCHAs. Bots = $1300 stubhub non-participants on the #gram.

        Report comment

      • Mark johnson says:

        The best idea,ever

        Report comment

      • Dr Woo says:

        I would like more information about what happened. Do they have any idea of the damage yet? How many tickets were diverted? Can they identify them? If so, can they cancel them? Not sure if this is possible. Can they identify them and cancel them before they are sent out?

        Report comment

      • Dr Woo’s Psychiatrist says:

        It’s adorable that you think BMORG believes transparency in ticketing is a virtue.

        Report comment

      • Steven Gilboy says:

        I was on at 201 CT and was on until 630..then got the sales ended note. This in my mind was BS. There has to be a better way then you guys do this. Last year I at least got on but was not able to get tickets (I got a car pass) but I got into the site. I really feel cheated.

        Report comment

      • Cindy says:

        I have gone thru the ticketing process and started on time, and never get to the que. It’s just not worth the effort and disappointment.

        Report comment

      • Nate says:

        I get that bots were an issue, but you think it’s fair on those of us who spent 3 hours in the queue and managed to get tickets to void all sales and redo?

        Bots have been an issue for years and there is apparently efforts to prevent said botting. Cancelling legitimate sales won’t stop bots crashing the servers next time either.

        I don’t know what the solution is, but I hope my three hours waiting to purchase isn’t crapped on because of those arseholes botting.

        Report comment

      • Pia says:

        I agree, new sale.
        This sale was clearly hacked!
        after a long wait I got into the check out room,twice, after selecting tickets I was not able to complete the transaction, somebody else was! The checkout page had a window asking to enter a code, I believe my personal code was hacked too , weird pages started to pop up, one telling me that burningman.org was checking my network! Then blank!
        I have to say that my Mac sent an alert,saying that my information were seen by someone else, so people personal info have been exposed too.
        Very very unfair people!

        Report comment

      • Dan Steinberg says:

        A non-address of an ongoing issue. We used to blame ticketfly. Now we blame the spinning arrow company? At least with ticketfly the number of errors per person was low. I missed out on the richness of the error experience because it took me over an hour and a half just to get yo the arrows page. By then, all the good errors were taken

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      • Kevin Birley says:

        I agree that a cancellation of this hacked sale is warranted. Either that, or build a bigger desert…

        Report comment

      • EZ Rider says:

        My experience was much the same. Clicked in at 12:00:01’ waited 45 minutes, got into a que, waited 3.5 hours finally got a message saying I was EARLY, try again when the sale starts…
        Complete utter BS. Find out the bots and void there sales. Have another sale for those voided tickets.
        Do the right thing!

        Report comment

      • Enigmatic says:

        I like the critical thinking and sympathize, as I was one who lost my opportunity as well, after waiting for 1.5-2 hrs, had a screen pop up stating I had purchased one ticket, no option for vehicle pass, then it went away, never to be seen again after I clicked on the screen displaying the ticket purchase … sad but true.

        I do however trust if Burning Man is in my path this year, a ticket will surface again with a vehicle pass.

        I would be open to a re-sale, but I do not feel it is something I would request, as things happen for reasons. At least that is my view.
        Hope you get a ticket!

        Report comment

    • klaus says:

      I guess so and no, we did not retain our place in line. simply kicked out and told we are to early – after waiting for three hours. The good news is that it is NEVER BM Org’s fault. Nope. Hardware out of their control. Bots. You name it. Never them – and it’s the same very year

      Report comment

      • Steven Gilboy says:

        Me too!

        Report comment

      • Stow says:

        Yep, same here. Grrrrrrrr.

        Report comment

      • wild bill says:

        I agree, it is never the ORG’s fault, but it is! I got the ‘enter code’ box as well, WTF! what a surprise it was!! I bought one ticket and one VP, my bank account was charged,( $601.68) then about 3 hours after the sale, my $601.68 was refunded back to my account! I sent a message to the ticket support for burning man, and got a robot reply, saying that they were sorry that I didn’t get a ticket, but that there was the STEP program and the OMG sale yet to come…..Really? that was my answer to me being charged for a ticket and VP, then having it refunded about three or four hours later? Not only is the ticket sales messed up, but so are the gate keepers, year after year, and there is a need to be an express lane for ‘worker bees that go in and out for supplies during early entry! everyone that goes out to get needed parts, and supplies, has to go through the hours and hours of the line, that could be solved with a re-entry pass line! I know this is a place to talk about the ticket issues, but I needed to express my thoughts about gate deficiency as well….I know there are lots of camp builders that will agree… Thank you.. It’s been a good 17 year experience, but time to let the wealthy run the show.(?) I need to let my addiction to Burning Man go!! peacefully, after this comment! ;-)

        Report comment

    • Nathan Bautista aka "altarnate" says:

      At hour 1.5 my screen changed to a message saying something to the effect of
      CHECKING BROWSER FOR TICKET PURCHASE COMPATIBILITY
      and then returned to the spinning wheel screen. At hour 2 a new screen popped up saying that I was too early and that the sale didn’t begin until April 10th at 12pm.

      Report comment

      • SuziCNM says:

        I had the same thing happen, twice! After 3 hours, I gave up. Logged into BM.org, where it says the sale was over. All while I was “in the queue “, from exactly noon. Sigh.

        Report comment

      • Brian says:

        This was my exact experience. We were so excited for this process and so let down. We were screen watching for hours only to have these same issues.

        Report comment

    • I work for a living says:

      Can’t we do this shit on a Sunday?

      I clicked right in at 12pm, 4 hours waiting for nothing. People who came in 1 hour after me got tickets, how does that work?

      Report comment

      • I too have a job says:

        now THIS is some high powered logical thinking.

        I’d scheduled a 45 minute lunch break to buy tickets at 12, assuming it would take a little bit — and ended up (SOMEHOW) getting tickets after an incredibly stressful 2.5 hours. Doing it on a day when people are more likely to be off work can help us not get fired from the job that lets me afford burning man lol

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      • Maggie Levin says:

        Larry would issue a new sale for all of the people who suffered 3 to 4 hours of total bull shit. I would assume that most of us lost the majority of our work days dealing with this debacle, just to be incredibly disappointed with the outcome. I don’t necessarily think that the people who got tickets should suffer, but BM and the ticketing agency needs to figure out which tickets were purchased by bots and cancel those. Then, for all the people who didn’t get tickets (of whom are many thousands) should be allowed to reenter the ticket game in a separate sale from the other two to come. BM and the ticketing agency screwed up big time and they need to do something to rectify this situation. Give all of us who did everything right the chance to get the tickets we so patiently waited for.

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    • Flash says:

      Truly wish BM .org would cancel the sale, fix the issues and redo it. It was the worst ticket buying experience yet and inherently UNFAIR in every aspect. Those of us who did not try to game the system did not get tickets. People who logged in an hour late jumped the queue. How does this in any way support principles of community?

      Report comment

      • oliver says:

        The fist step to solving a problem is accepting you have one…..Not addressing the many ways people in line were unable to complete ticket purchases due to skipping line messages (i got that) errors, requested codes, blank pages (I got all of these) and ultimately were not able to purchase is insulting…. ORG ! Cancel the sale, or tickets, and re-do, or at a MINIMUM do something for the people, camps, that have proof they got screwed (via contacting support, screenshots, etc)

        Report comment

    • Pedro in Texas says:

      I find it interesting that many tickets are already for sale on Ebay for much more than face value.

      Report comment

    • Ali says:

      What is written above is factually inaccurate. Many of us in line did get kicked out of line. That is why many people got the “you skipped the line” message, with a link to re-enter that ultimately did not work as well. This reeks of a hack or a bot issue buying tickets out from underneath us. However to say we maintained our place in line is just simply not the case. Ignoring that this happened is upsetting and it appears as if you have not yet nailed down the specifics of what happened. Many of us were kicked out of line.. Please feel free to contact me, I have evidence of this with screenshots showing I was in line then kicked out. Thanks.

      Report comment

    • PP says:

      I totally agree, unfortunately BM is becoming more of a business every year the money is big much than what spend on set it up, so I sadly say that last one for me,what happened with the sale this year is just not acceptable at all and worse is the response from the organization which is sorry but not our fault! what about the principles of BM? where are been left by the organization?
      Farewell Burning Man US

      Report comment

    • Milk says:

      Easy fix just set up a fail safe with phone number and burner profiles to receive texts, make it hard for the bots and you have only 1 minute to respond to the text.

      Report comment

  • Horsecut says:

    How about the people that we’re booted at the purchase page multiple times!? How about all of the people that skipped the line by using incognito mode, or VPN’s?

    Pretty weak response BMorg. This happens every year, with seemingly no desire to fix it, or at least a woefully in adequate response.

    Report comment

    • Michele says:

      It is exciting to buy tickets, but a huge disappointment—4 years out of past 6 years these issues plague the ticket system.

      Report comment

      • Sigs says:

        I don’t think they actually want to fix the main sale system. Their fix is to allocate more tickets to the Directed Group Sale.

        They delegate to camps to reward participation, which is why main sale tickets have had a better chance of being allocated to virgins.

        Report comment

    • Jacky says:

      I also was booted at checkout and had to re enter the queue like 6 times. Also the email button didnt work. I had to go through the main website. It also said I was trying to.skip the line, was checking out twice or using someone elses place in line and I was NOT! while waiting patiently in queue and had to re enter multiply times

      Report comment

      • Exact same thing happened to me. I was waiting for three hours, having jumped on a noon. Finally a page stating I was “too early” popped up. Also, I heard people were buying tickets as late as 4pm. How was that possible?

        Report comment

      • Combat Unicorn says:

        Uh, Cynthia… while your experience was awful, and all this was ugly for so many, please keep in mind that people are reporting their local times, not ticket sale times in the same time zone. Of course, I’m sure your friend was totally not doing that, or that you heard from the guy that knows the guy that did the thing at the time… but… odds are not in favor of that.

        Report comment

    • Crissa Kentavr says:

      How would incognito help here?

      Without a log in, you wouldn’t get a ticket.

      Report comment

      • Horsecut says:

        Incognito worked for two tickets in my camp! The only two tickets we got! Also saw multiple people report doing it and getting right through.

        And yes we have DGS allocation, but not as many as we need to build our camp and multiple art cars.

        Report comment

      • Combat Unicorn says:

        Through the power of coincidence, two things happened! I bet they’re saying they used the same credit card for both, even though that can’t actually happen. I used incognito mode (it is my default) and sadly, it did -not- work for me. Or two of my friends in the same camp that tried it. That’s three of us, so my story disproves yours!

        Except, no, it doesn’t. Sweet, delicious magical thinking powered by disappointment. I didn’t try using a VPN, although I don’t see how the fuck that would make any difference, outside of even more magical thinking. Given the kinds of server and application errors I got trying the sale, it felt like it was load based and that there was something that failed that was responsible for load balancing across however many servers they used on the back-end.

        Just my $.02 from my oh, I’ve lost count but 17+ years of administration of networks and servers in much higher complexity data centers than anything Burning Man could ever dream of using.

        Of course, because Internet, we’ll never know. Let’s all make YouTube videos decrying the vast conspiracy to deprive hard working burners of their tickets.

        Report comment

    • Simon Quigley says:

      Just commenting to say that after the 24 error messages I saw, before being stuck at “unable to proceed”, I used a private window in Firefox, and was then able to buy tickets (thought it was very broken), while I had another window that just kept spinning forever.

      Report comment

      • Ark Ark says:

        I waited for 2 hours in my main browser window (I reloaded multiple times). Then someone recommended trying opening the link in incognito and *boom* I see the ticket ordering form.

        And my main browser window was still in the queue.

        The ordering form was fucked up as well. It was completely stacked against the usual user – the “complete purchase” button was hidden from view.

        If it wasn’t for my HTML knowledge, I would not have been able to complete the order.

        Even though I got the tickets, I agree – the whole sale needs to be cancelled and done again. Just for the fairness of it.

        Report comment

      • CCIE says:

        Combat volunteer your seventeen years experience and CCIE and bmorg will give you a ticket. Or save your massive Huge Corp salary money and buy online.

        Report comment

  • Braeden Petruk says:

    I appreciate the community outreach and apology here, but the biggest problem regarding fairness had nothing to do with our places in line.

    Most people who are angry are angry because they (myself included) actually got to the ticket purchasing page and had that page malfunction, preventing us from getting the tickets.

    Getting in line too late is one thing. Getting in line early enough and having your tickets ripped away due to missing form submission buttons, empty drop-down menu, timeouts and white pages is an entirely different issue which is completely unacceptable.

    I hope you’re able to work with your ticketing partner during future sales to ensure that the service is scalable enough to handle the demand.

    Report comment

    • Simplyluck says:

      This!!!! 100% this sale failed so miserably they really should redo the whole thing.

      Report comment

      • Slacker says:

        30 minutes in I made it to the purchase page, check the box for 2 tickets and 1 vp, click the purchase button, and was booted to an error page. This happened 6 times., Over the course if 45 minutes, until I logged out, then back in and was sent to a page saying I was too early for the sale.

        Report comment

      • Rob says:

        I would like to advocate for everyone who actually got tickets fairly. I logged in at noon, waited patiently for over an hour with no errors. Meanwhile I was actively reading Reddit forums describing how people were successfully getting to the purchase page. I tried one of these things and was able to buy tickets. I was highly motivated and invested in beating the glitches , and it worked. I do feel bad for people who didn’t get past the technical errors, but please please DO NOT cancel my ticket and redo the entire sale. I was unsuccessful last year in the main sale (still got tickets later) but it added a lot of stress. I think a lot of people (myself and GF included) are happy to get tickets this year and Do NOT want to see a redo of the main sale. Just saying…

        Report comment

      • simone julian aka 1/2 pint says:

        YUP!!

        Report comment

    • Steven G says:

      This happened to me as well.

      Report comment

    • Marilyn Hinrichsen says:

      This happened to me as well…signed in as soon as it started…2 tickets and a vehicle pass in my cart…ripped away. Sooo f’d up.

      Report comment

    • Colton says:

      I had same thing, filled out all payment info after trying for 5 min to figure out what access code was? Which I never did I think I accidentally hit the semi hidden get ticket button, then was booted just before submitting and after that told my reservation was lost and finally got the page saying I tried to get ticket already etc. Bummer is I had my tickets and vehicle pass and poof all gone. I was in line from 12 this happened at 2:45 (or 7:45 am my time in Australia) and it was not on my computer I was reading live and saw people trying on other platforms so went via my mobile phone at 2:45 and went straight to ticket page after watching spinning arrows on computer for 2:45min. I hope to find tickets as I have in the past but it would have been good to get them and start making solid plans.

      Report comment

      • DeeProgressV says:

        Exactly. Clicked email link at 12:00:01. Email server crashed once, 2 min later tried and crashed again. Decided to log into my burner profile since the email link wasn’t working at 12:04 and tried again. Waited 3 hours. Too early. No dice.

        Report comment

      • Eon says:

        Had similar issues. What is the best place to look for tickets

        Report comment

    • Scrumplemouse says:

      I agree 10000%, I signed on right at noon and got the spinning wheel saying I was in line and then was sent to the checkout page with no ability to check out. Then I was forwarded to the page saying I was cutting in line which I wasn’t. This doesn’t seem fair and I happened to be able split my attention from work to be present for over 2 hours and then was told I was too early. I had the white wall of death for hours. I feel taken for granted and I can’t imagine how people who couldn’t take time away from work for more than a few minutes at noon must feel. Also, it was really frustrating to watch the Reddit feed about ticket purchase/failure and see people getting tickets that had done the same thing I had. Is fairness important? Or not?

      Report comment

    • SuziCNM says:

      Agreed!!! Many many events have 30k+ people trying to buy tickets quickly, and you don’t hear of/experience the number of errors & failures like this! Are they avoiding using vendors like Ticketmaster, ( which handles huge events) for a reason ??

      Report comment

      • Combat Unicorn says:

        Hi Suzie, honest question:

        How much more would you be willing to pay per ticket to Burning Man if they went with a vendor like TicketMaster instead of these off-brand lowest-bidder third-tier players that they’ve used in the past? I know I’d pay more, but I haven’t settled on how much more I’d want to pay.

        I’m serious about this. Maybe if there was some data about tolerance for additional cost in ticket processing, the folks at BMHQ could make a case for using a real ticketing company. Thoughts?

        Report comment

    • Mu says:

      The same thing happened to us on the cart screen. We got booted during the purchase.

      Report comment

    • Nitzan says:

      Same here! Got through the queue, chose 2 tickets and stumbled on the invisible button to proceed and got a blank page.
      Nothing I did helped from this point.
      What a shit show!

      Report comment

    • wild bill says:

      Braeden, I totally agree with you…I even wonder if the org wanted it to be a total cluster fu-k?? I wouldn’t be surprised. Seriously. Regardless, it was! My bank account was charged for a ticket and VP then 3 or 4 hours later was refunded.. anyone else have that experience? Almost 3 hours of stress, and a used up day…My bad!

      Report comment

  • John Parishno says:

    This is not right. I was on the screen to buy the tickets. Choose 2 tickets and then 1 parking pass and still got an error screen instead of getting tickets.

    Report comment

  • Yaron says:

    There are scalpers with upward of 10 profiles. Why not limiting one name per profile?
    I know many people who opened 5 profiles to increase chances that is one reason there were more profiles than actual users.
    Why not solve that issue???

    Report comment

    • Ben says:

      (I’m just a burner, not BMorg, but a technical person working in this field)

      The problem is that anyone can create any number of profiles – just like anyone can create any number of GMail email addresses. There really isn’t an easy way to stop this beyond ensuring a credit card can only be used once to purchase BM tickets – which I believe they already check.

      If you have 5 credit cards and 20 email addresses (assuming 25% of the burner profiles are successful to buy tickets) there really is very little to stop someone.

      Report comment

      • Sage says:

        You could also limit the number of profiles per IP address.

        Report comment

      • Murrae says:

        If you limit the number based on IP addresses then what about households that have multiple burners trying for tickets?

        Report comment

      • Hunter says:

        There’s needs to be captcha after entering the sale page. That would wipe out a vast majority of bots.

        Surprised this isn’t already happening.

        Report comment

      • Fofer says:

        Agreed, and you can’t limit by external IP address (the only visible one) because those are shared via WiFi and then roommates, dorm mates, libraries, and so many other examples would be disqualified.

        Report comment

      • Kanga says:

        The one way is the way BMorg has avoided like the plague…one ticket per person, legal name/photo printed on ticket, and legal photo ID required with ticket for entry. No resales except back to BMorg through STEP. That would do it.

        Report comment

      • Combat Unicorn says:

        Ben is right, y’all.

        Kanga, I don’t know about you but I appreciate that they don’t require ID. Sure, the mainstreaming of Burning Man means it’s not as counter culture as it was in say, 1996, but there’s a not insignificant number of people for whom requiring an ID would be a real problem. Also, what about international burners? How do we accept IDs using automation?

        But yes, I agree with everyone else that a captcha of some sort is something that should already be in place.

        Report comment

    • Fede says:

      Last year a friend of mine was able to only purchase a vehicle pass in main sale. Since this is not permitted the Pass got voided and from that moment on she could not access any other sales with that same profile, like it got voided together with the vehicle pass. For this reason she had to create a new one… So I am sure that are people that have to create multiple profiles due to this kind of situations

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  • Vic Nolte says:

    I’m really sad, frustrated and disappointed in how the IT and Social Media rep handled this matter. Really? You guys post other things that most people know after this fiasco without addressing the elephant in the room? You shot yourselves in your own foot by doing this.

    Report comment

  • I logged in at noon, sat for 3 hours with the spinning arrows, then got informed the main sale was over. Did I get screwed or was I just unlucky?

    Report comment

    • Autumn says:

      My partner and I were logged on at noon on the dot, never experienced any glitches in our screen or errors, and after three hours of waiting were kicked off to a page that said we were “too early.” Tried to log back on and the sale was over. I seriously question the fairness of this sale.

      Report comment

      • klaus moeller says:

        that is exactly what happened to us and also our daughter. What a waste of everyone’s time.

        Report comment

      • Kal says:

        This was my exact experience as well, I went through the link emailed me exactly at 3pm est and watched a spinning arrow for 3.5 hours only to close back to email and click again to see I was too early. I know there are other ways to get tickets, but this just didn’t feel good at all. I could deal with fairly losing out, but I am not sure I know that happened now…re-do. It’s the right thing to do when you admit these issues.

        Report comment

      • KZBouldergirl says:

        Same here. Logged in, waited 3 hours, kicked back to the “you’re early page” which I encountered upon clicking the button at 12:00. Took 2-3 minutes after 12:00 to not be early.

        Report comment

      • RoniPhD says:

        Exact thing happened to me

        Report comment

      • Ben says:

        That’s exactly what would happen if all the tickets sold out before you got to the front of the line.

        It’s also what it would have looked like if you reached the front of the line but weren’t redirected to the purchase page for whatever reason. At which point retrying the link from the email would have put you in.

        Unfortunately there’s no way to know which experience you had.

        Report comment

    • Isaiah says:

      This was my exact experience. :(

      I even took the day off work, logged into my burner profile at 5-til and clicked the button right when the NIST time server hit noon. 3 hours of spinning arrows – was never offered a chance to buy.

      I read later that folks who got tickets were pounding the servers with requests from multiplayer browsers in incognito mode.

      Hopefully BMOrg redoes the sale – I shouldn’t have to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in order to be able to purchase tickets.

      Report comment

      • Isaiah says:

        … Multiple browsers. FU autocorrect

        Report comment

      • Nathan Masters says:

        I too spent three hours sitting patiently with one window open for both my and my wife’s profile. Wasn’t working on chrome so I closed out and opened one in explorer (who uses explorer anymore?!) and one in Firefox, neither on incognito.

        I can only assume chrome was shitting out for some reason, because both almost automatically went to the ticket purchase window and allowed us to purchase with no issues.

        I’m not very knowledgeable about how these systems work, but to me it makes little sense that chrome didn’t work and other browsers did straight away. Makes me wonder if we’d actually got through on the others but for some reason it didn’t load?

        Anyway, I realise I’m one of the lucky ones but if they redid the sale I’d obviously be disappointed. I heard from a reputable source that the site got hit with upwards of 1 million requests. With just over 20k tickets available, a shitload of people are missing out one way or the other.

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      • Carrie says:

        Wow! 1 million requests definitely suggests mass use of bots. I also sat patiently for 3 hours watching the arrows spin. I was reading how others got tickets but trusted the “system” until 2:30pm. Then I tried just about everything I could that had been recommended. I did not succeed in getting tickets. I realize that every year it’s going to take a bit of luck to get tickets in the Main Sale, but this was just a mess. I feel for the people who actually made it to the check out screen but couldn’t complete their purchase.

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  • Jeremy Woodard says:

    Appreciate this and i refuse to let anger take over because i hope that the ticket i may have gotten goes to someone who’s gonna be there for the first time and have their life changed as i did.
    That said..many of us received the error “you are too early. Sale starts …… blah blah blah” and i absolutely was not early. I waited till the computer struck the right time. So how did those of us that were right on time lose our place and get given that message in particular?

    Report comment

  • Poodle says:

    Incredibly weak response to just blame the “bots”. It still amazes me that this isn’t a lottery system with tickets tied to IDs. We had 16 camp mates enter the sale at exactly noon and not one of us was successful. Ticketing shouldn’t be determined by milliseconds.

    Report comment

  • Matthew Giacomazzo says:

    I experienced my mobile letting me purchase tickets on the first try after 2 hours of waiting in the queue with a desktop browser. That same desktop browser had me re-enter the queue even after my purchase.

    It felt like the system could have been treating different browsers differently and I encourage you to work with the analytics data collected to determine if that was the case.

    Report comment

    • Luna says:

      This was my experience as well. I saw people posting on Twitter that using a different browser let them through to the purchase page. I tried and lo and behold after watching a spinner for 2.5 hours I was able to buy two tickets immediately from Firefox instead of Safari. To me this indicates some serious glitches in the system.

      Report comment

    • RaveLord says:

      Same here… I had my and boyfriend’s laptops logged in (We were hoping to get tix for ourselves and two friends who couldn’t take off work to buy. He was at Jury Duty). After I watched spinning wheel of death on both computers for about 90 minutes, I read about a “required access code” in various FB threads. I ping boyfriend: “what’s your access code? I may need it!” Boyfriend goes into email on his phone, accidentally clicks the button instead of copying the link, and is sent through to the sale and buys two tickets and parking pass. I jump on my phone, turn wifi off, and get right through as well, to purchase 2 tix and parking pass for friends. I thought it might be an issue with my wifi network at home but now obviously that’s not the case.

      We are on temple build crew and are not virgins… just very lucky and will put in the work to prove ourselves worthy, as always.

      Report comment

    • Hey Matthew, Congrats on BM tickets. Saw you were able to purchase a ticket. Please let me know if you would kindly consider selling yours. I’m looking to go for the first time. Much love & respect, Michael

      Report comment

  • Levi says:

    WOW!! What an online shopping thrill ride. Never could guess what kind of crazy error was going to pop up next. My heartrate was at 180 the whole time, now I am exhausted.

    Report comment

    • Michele says:

      I know exactly what you mean!!!
      I was exhausted after that 3 hour debacle! Felt like I ran a marathon! Anyways, I quickly downed three homemade carnitas tacos and a Stella to chill out.
      That worked plus a good sleep last night.
      Ciao,
      Michele LeBelle

      Report comment

  • Peter burke says:

    The email link malfunctioned. Three minute delay until I could sign in via profile. I smell a rat. Why not use professionals and pay the price. Absolutely unfair to us now

    Report comment

  • Kyrka says:

    “I am still rather aghast pretty much every year I see this go down. As an I.T. professional, it makes me shake my damned head.

    Consider this: If you want to book a venue that seats more than 4,000 pretty much anywhere in America these days, you have to deal with the near monopoly power of three companies: AEG, Live Nation, or APE.

    They REGULARLY, weekly and/or monthly, handle venues that hold 70,000 seats, sell out in 24 hours, and not a glitch to be seen.

    So it just confuses the ever living shit out of me that so many OTHER things BMorg tech are shiny and amazing, but ticketing is from Hades.”

    Yeah, I might have said that.

    Report comment

    • Amy says:

      And despite not using one of those big companies, Burning Man STILL charges a $28 credit card processing fee for ticket purchase.

      Report comment

    • Kyrka says:

      Replying to my own post like the Hillbilly I am…
      Reading other bits about Incognito Mode or VPN or other manipulations… if they were indeed successful, would leave me as a business owner of whomever this ticketing partner is, all but begging Bmorg not to identify my business until I had a 100% solve.

      Speaking of which, _is_ this partner identity a guarded secret?

      Report comment

    • Simplyluck says:

      Agreed! It’s like they’re trying to use duct tape to hold together the Titanic. Just bit the bullet and hire people who know what they’re doing. There is aways a cost, whether it’s financial, emotional or otherwise.

      Report comment

    • Crissa says:

      …Aside from the blackouts, sell-outs, scalping… Very few of them sell out in seconds, and those that do:

      All the same things Burning Man has trouble with.

      Report comment

    • Noodles says:

      Ok, but consider the nature of other events. 70k seats to a popular event might pull around 200k people visiting a ticketing site max and all of those people will be fairly close to the location of the event.

      This is around 1 mil unique entities around the globe crashing a site for a chance at 2 out of 20k tickets. Kind of a different ball game.

      The only comparable events are the Olympics and football world cup, both of which feature a lottery system. DGS should remain as is and mainsale move onto a very transparent lottery system. Transparency and open communication being key.

      Report comment

    • wild bill says:

      Kyrka, I agree with you, and I smell a rat in with the org…

      Report comment

  • Drew says:

    In the years since the event has been selling out, I have NEVER known anyone who has NOT been able to secure a legit ticket at face value. This happens every year. Everyone take a breath and remember, “The Playa Provides.” Ask around, be vigilant, be kind and it will work out.

    Report comment

    • Johnny says:

      That is not an appropriate way to look at this. Tens of thousands of people spend 3+ hours in the middle of a workday waiting around to buy tickets only to get turned away because of crappy software that let late arrivals bypass the queue and go straight to the ticket purchase page! That is simply unfair. The ticketing system sucks and it needs to be fixed. Saying the playa will provide is religious babble that absolves BM of responsibility for their actions.

      Report comment

      • Rev Dusty says:

        Excellent and 100% accurate response. Thank you.

        Report comment

      • Dr Woo says:

        This is an inaccurate way to look at this particular shitshow. There have always been tickets available for resale by people who cancel for one reason or another. They are sold, often (not always) for face value through STEP or directly. But if this penetration is as they described, then possibly tens of thousands of tickets were scooped up to be resold by scalpers, and they will not be available for face value. They will be resold to P&P camps the BMorg was trying to limit. They will be auctioned off. And the secondary market for face value tickets will be much smaller than usual. People may not be able to buy tickets as they have in the past. Still time for BMorg to regroup and see if they can identify the stolen tickets and cancel them before they are sent. Then add the tickets back into the pool at one of the subsequent sales, or through directed sales. This may be fixable, but we don’t have all the info yet.

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      • Noodles says:

        And some waiting for 3+ hours managed to get tickets at 5am after staying up all night on a weeknight.

        Trust that those of us in different timezones suffered hard and there was far more than 10s of thousands hitting this sale.

        BM Org is in no way absolved and the technical issues suck, but many legit tickets were sold.

        Report comment

  • David says:

    100s of venues yearly sell tickets to events with over 100,0000 participants with no issues. After years of issues it’s far past time the BMorg start inlisting real help and employing people with real world experience. I’m simplithetic to the fact the executive members were original participants, but maybe it’s time they step aside.

    Report comment

  • Allan says:

    Make the tickets named, and non-transferable.

    If anyone wants to get rid of their ticket, it could go back to the pool to be randomly assigned to a new lucky person. Don’t let people choose who they resell to, as that will make marking up possible.

    This will 100% eliminate scalpers.

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    • Dustbunny1.0 says:

      Exactly–names on tickets! Even our regional burn does this. If you sell or give away a ticket, you have to go through the hosting org to change the name. With the proper equipment, scanning tickets to match them to IDs at the gate won’t take long. I believe this would appreciably cut down on bot activity. I noticed today there are already scalpers online selling tickets for up to $1,700 (before fees) and parking passes for as much as $800. This is outrageous and unacceptable.

      Report comment

      • Michelle Leigh says:

        I’m gonna go out on a limb here and point out that the BORG may not want to deal with the administrative ramifications of such a policy. Some tickets probably change hands legitimately, 3 or 4 times over the course of the months leading up to the burn. Tracking every transfer may or may not be a feat that BMorg is ready to take on. There are also legal burdens to such a system. Person A says Person B sold them a ticket but the BORG has no record of a sale taking place. How does BMorg deal in such inconsistencies?

        Report comment

      • DatDude says:

        That happens every year (for at least the last 5 years) and most /all of those tickets are fake. Even before the DGS and FOMO sales, there were tickets on stubhub for the same ammount.

        Report comment

  • Kanga says:

    BMorg, whether by design or default, selects the type of people who will get tickets by what happens in order to buy tickets in their sales. If they are the type who’d be good burners, great! If not, change the system. You reap what you sow and all that yada.

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  • Tiago Fonseca says:

    Hi, I was not able to execute the operation. The page was not refreshed, and sale was not executed. And then, everytime I was trying to reload the page, the result was a blank page. As far as I understood, there’s a resell market, and people reselling later at higher prices. It should be opened more sales phases for pre-registered burner profiles at this phase, that were not able to buy. I’m one of those cases. Already with my plane tickets bought to go from Portugal and without a ticket. What a negative and disapointing experience. I was trying to buy between 12 noon to 16pm, refreshing the page all the time, selecting the amount of tickets, and a blank page after. Would appreciate all the support. BM is about gathering and multicultural community, and how will I get from going from Portugal without a ticket? Would appreciate all the Support. Peace, Santo079

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  • Chuck says:

    The process was horrendous and the response weak. You are based in the tech hub of the world and have a multi million dollar budget it should not be that tough. Run a lottery system and send out codes, to register you need ID, simple. Hundreds of thousands of people wasted an afternoon. At least in the old days you could see a little man going across the screen. I logged in at noon immediately and got nowhere. I know a guy who logged in 30 minutes later and got tickets. You knew hundreds of thousands would try get tickets, the preparation was nowhere close to what it needed to be.

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  • Spencer says:

    There was too many of you, hardware issues beyond our control, you were not going to get it anyway. Whoever wrote this pathetic piece can apply for a press secretary job with the administration.
    The real issue is that contributors still get their tickets through direct group sales, and spectators will come anyway, whether they got lucky in this weird pseudo lottery of bytes and bad code or pay extra to scalpers operating botnets. There is nothing at stake for the org here, so why would anything improve in the Main Sale department?

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  • Brandon says:

    I think if there weren’t soo many technical issues, then people would be more willing to have accepted that they were just unlucky. The technical issues caused many, including myself much grief. I even got to the purchasing page but my screen errored out and after trying to refresh multiple times I was kicked out and got a page saying I was trying to skip the line and could not get back in wait.

    The big issue I think most people have is they feel cheated because of the technical issues. Many who should have been able to buy a ticket who made it to the purchasing page couldn’t. Some people who joined the wait more than an hour later were able to buy tickets. I’ve seen similar headaches happen with San Diego Comic Con ticket sales for many years until they implemented a pre-waiting room which everyone could log into anytime 1 hour before ticket sales. Then at sale time the system would automatically place them into randomized groups which would get randomly pulled into the ticket purchasing page. Any latecomers after sales started would be thrown into a group that was at the very end and those people most likely wouldn’t be able to buy a ticket. This drastically reduced their servers from getting spammed when sales started and reduced technical issues, headaches, and angry people immensely.

    I’d love to see a system similar to that implemented for the STEP program and OMG sales. Remove the technical issues and people will be more accepting that they were just unlucky.

    Report comment

    • Dani says:

      In the past with Ticketfly – there was a waiting room. This year is with a new vendor and no waiting room.

      My issue is that ticket “fees” are REALLY HIGH and someone making a shit ton of money and not spending it on IT resources that could be used to avoid the clusterfuck of yesterday.

      I feel like the org just skates on “ticket sales suck, too bad.”

      Which board member is friends with the new ticket vendor? That is the question I would like the answer to.

      Report comment

      • Michele says:

        I have email contact back and forth with their tech support during this debacle. They stopped responding after they told me twice my link showed I was still in the purchasing queue, but I could not see the queue.
        I got the white screen.

        Report comment

      • Brandon says:

        Someone had made a point in one of their comments that the ticket sale system is designed to DDoS attack itself the moment the sales open. Everyone clicking in at the same time and spamming refresh to get it to work. Its the worst and stupidest type of ticket sale system. By having a pre-waiting room that anyone can enter at any time within a set timeframe and having that room move into groups for the actual sale will prevent the technical headache of Tens of thousands of people trying to squeeze through a single 1 person door at the same time. They really need to pick a ticket vendor that has implemented a pre-waiting room system to save everyone from the headaches we all suffered yesterday.

        One of my friends got soo pissed 2 hours after waiting he quit and decided that BM was not the kind of event he wanted to be part of if its already caused this level of bitterness from the technical issues of obtaining a ticket. He happened to have gotten to the purchase page several times but could not buy a ticket because of the technical issues, not being able to see the purchase button, and the misleading field of needing a code.

        Report comment

  • John says:

    Instead of having people join a queue at a specific time, why not just let it be a lottery for everyone who created a burner profile, and send them out emails gradually over the course of a few days? No need for this panic.

    Report comment

  • Ken Petry says:

    Your response is as ridiculous as the ticketing malfunctions. When you have responsibilities and make the big bucks you need to accept your inadequacies and rather than blaming your vendor. I can’t believe you were so unprofessional that you didn’t do multiple test runs with similar numbers. You need to get this right the first time. A lot of people depend on ticketing being fair, honest, and fully transparent. Somebody should resign or be fired. If Bmorg can afford a CEO they should be expected to take actions that fix this once and for all instead of just saying that’s the way the universe crumbles ….. please bear with us ….. again …..

    Report comment

  • CapnJoe says:

    Same old excuses every year!

    Report comment

  • Jubilation says:

    BMorg knows that the tickets will sell out no matter who buys them so there’s very little motivation to correct these reaccuring problems. BMorg doesn’t care who they get their money from or the fairness of the main sale.
    FYI I got to the purchase page too then I got the white page of death, then it came up that I was trying to hack my way into cutting in line and was dumped out of the sale. I WISH I knew how to hack into their system, but I’m barely competent enough on the computer to register and try for tickets, and I hadn’t touched any buttons after I clicked from my Burner profile “enter the main sale” button.
    To everyone who did get tickets I truly do hope that you have an awesome experience. Safe travels and Many Blessings to all.

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  • Bill says:

    Al I can say is, all of you should be fired for that shit show, but I believe you guys designed it to work that way, so next year you have less tickets for the main sale, and more for the team camp , you guys are trying to make us join them

    Report comment

  • Peter Conroy says:

    I had the buy ticket page multiplw tomes I’d fill it out and press enter cause there was no button to push. It asked for a code, well I never got a code by email. Finally after almost 2 hours I got to fill out the page to purchase with my credit card info. Clicked submit and got a blank Burning Man page.
    I checked with my credit card and there were 2 debits to BM for $1081. each
    So hey you guys owe me 2 tix and a car pass. P.s. I have been to Bm 13 times out of the past 14 years. Next time get Ticketmasters.

    Report comment

    • wild bill says:

      Hi Peter! Yes! I got the same thing! I bought one ticket and one VP got charged, then refunded 3-4 hours later WTF….Is it time for a “Burn (ed) Out”? The sale wasn’t right and wasn’t fair… The fu—ing org. does it to us again…. Need to go back to unlimited ticket sales, then they can cash in on $300,000,000 in stead of $40,000,000! why not!

      Report comment

  • Diane Didier Vollmer says:

    Heart pounding for two hours, got to the final page, tried to click on 2 tickets, 1 pass, couldnt get the access code. I know the sale didnt end for another hour. I texted my complaint. Got a form letter. Lame. Dont blame bots or high demand. BM has a vendor problem.

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  • Super nova says:

    I attempted to reload after the error messages and was stuck on the loading page for over two hours, I never refreshed my browser as instructed not to do.
    Server load should be expected.

    Sorry, is the best you can come up with.

    Unreal!

    Report comment

  • Michael Thomas says:

    John is right. The current system is causing way too much stress, heartache and a total waste of valuable time. It’s time to go back and consider implementing the lottery for the main sale for those who didn’t get DGS or low income tickets by sending out emails to Burners who have registered through their profile and giving the 72 hours to purchase a ticket. I’d also like to see it go to 1 ticket per person.

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  • Oberon says:

    I m pretty sure I saw the same response to poor execution of ticket sales for each of the last 5 years. Think of the amount of time wasted with this cavalier approach with literally thousands of people taking time away from something more productive in a vain attempt to get a ticket. That’s not trivial, and saying. “Everyone who really wants to get to Black RocK City will find a way” (as I have heard on multiple occasions) is lame.

    Report comment

  • Georgina says:

    I tried to log in at 12:00 – too early, 12:01, 12:02, 12,03 same message. 12:04 I logged in finally and went to the ‘check out queue’ where I sat for 3 hours. Before deciding to close down and retry where I got to the page immediately but the tickets were on zero and I couldn’t purchase. I then see messages that people logged in at 12:30/13:40 and got tickets instantly! I DON’T UNDERSTAND?? I’m not tech, not rich and don’t have high speed broad band or multiple devices – just a passionate Burner. The majority of our camp failed to get tickets …… that means fewer to set up, make community and make Burning Man what it is. I don’t understand why a ballot isn’t just done?

    Report comment

    • Adrian says:

      As previous burners we too diligently clicked our profile link at 1 second after midday and had the same experience as you, Georgina, waiting in the so called “queue” for over 3 hours. People seem to have been unfairly penalized for their committedness whereas laggards/browser hackers appear to have made off with all the tickets. So much for valiant efforts for inclusion.

      Report comment

    • Jefe says:

      I had exactly the same experience. “Too early” at 12:01, 12:02, 12:03. Then spinning wheels for 3 hours, then “Too early” again at 3:00, then sale over. Meanwhile people coming in later got in.

      Report comment

  • Thomas says:

    It seemed that by design, the system DDOS’d itself (the waiting page kept reloading itself) until this part of the queue crashed. E.g. 150,000 people using an average of 2 browser windows reloading three times a minute means, 1m page loads / 20 m hits a minute!

    A friend got tickets by waiting for 1 hr 45 mins, then clicking link from different computer and getting straight in & checking out. Presumably, others were waiting in a crashed queue?

    Report comment

  • Freddy says:

    If there is such a big issue with creating multiple profiles, email addresses etc. Im wondering if there is a way for the system to recognize billing addresses for credit payment. I think it could potentially lower the amount of people being able to create multiple profiles for one person if you have to register your credit card, billing address, along with your email. One billing address could be limited to 2 credit cards per household per say you live with a roommate or married. Each person would still have their chance at purchasing tickets. Limiting two charges to each billing address.

    Report comment

    • Dani says:

      reasonable sensible solutions aren’t a concern of the org. They sell out no matter how many credit cards or profiles you have.

      The goal is sell out all the tickets. They did that. What do they care if a bunch whiny burners want a fair purchase process.

      Look at this poor excuse of a “reponse.”

      Report comment

  • Dan says:

    Definitely not an issue with the queue. Got to the purchase page and could not complete purchase. They should re-do the whole sale and hire some competent people. At the very lease give priority to people who couldn’t get tickets because of errors at the next sale.

    Report comment

  • Craig Jensen says:

    Why don’t you just hire a competent ticket seller. Every year the same issues, a failed system. What seems to be the reason you can’t just contract a company that can handle a simple ticket sale? This isn’t rocket science, this was a great showing of pure incompetence. Really poor business model.

    Report comment

  • Douglas G Paulin says:

    You’re response could have been more tone-deaf to your stakeholders. It would have been difficult but it was possible. So you have that going for you…which is nice!

    Report comment

  • Jordan Dubron says:

    Once again what a great response that really made the community feel good about the sale!!

    this sale was a 100% fale and it truly a joke. even myself getting two tickets for a group of 5 would be willing to lose my tickets if it menta a redo of the main sale!

    Report comment

  • Zhenya says:

    I don’t understand why people have to wait in line at all. Someone explain to me, because this is bewildering.

    People who register for the sale, should have to provide their credit cards right away, apply for 1 or 2 tickets (and a car pass if they want), and call it a day.

    On the day of the sale, they should get an email, saying whether or not they were randomly selected and the tickets were purchased.

    That’s it. There is nothing wrong with the lottery system if it worked. It’s just it never worked well.

    What is the point of having a live sale at all?

    Report comment

    • fofer says:

      This happens every year, and every year I read hundreds (if not thousands) of comments and suggestions from the peanut gallery.

      Yours is officially the smartest suggestion I’ve read yet. Seriously, BMorg should do this.

      Report comment

    • wild bill says:

      Great idea Zhenya, then we could all do whatever we do and get are reply, yes, or no.and not waste our time. Isn’t it really a lottery system already in the main sale anyway, of course it is! Still would have the scalpers, I guess? It seems we are all trying to fix the broken BMorg ticket system… I think I need to move on in life.. It must be the addiction to it I have. Time to start a BM addiction class?

      Report comment

  • Tanja says:

    Demand is always higher – no news there.
    However when system kick you out, you do not remain in line! You start over….and this is what made this unfair

    Report comment

  • Scotty says:

    I think the solution is to distribute the processing steps over time. in the historic process, too much is being attempted to be accomplished once, Stage some of this for later – like the payment part.

    So step one is to simply giver everyone a place in line – STOP.

    So after 1 hour of line forming move on close line and move to step 2.

    Step two is to collect ticket requirements (who wants what) – STOP

    So after an hour of getting orders move on to step three.

    Step three is to collect payment
    Step four is to send confirmations

    All those steps at once is more than necessary

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  • Mac says:

    Everyone I know who has volunteered to assist BMOrg with engineering issues has never been replied to. I’m thinking of six distinct people, from places like EFF, the Goog, Twilio, Asana/OM and more talented people from less famous places, back through 2011…

    CG and Vav are decent people but they are not actually capable of accepting the help that is offered. This results in partnerships with ticketing vendors that are not actually stress testing with a representative swarm of real world browsers.

    Use us.

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    • scott says:

      I have a lot of experience with online shopping carts and very large distributed databases. I have offered my services several times for free. never got a response. They say that there was a hardware problem beyond their control. Bogus answer. With many years of failed ticketing, BMORG was well warned about possible problems. They have not excuse. If this were a for profit corporation the president would be fired as well as the IT manager. zero excuses

      Report comment

    • Sigs says:

      Every. Single. Year.

      Like ten people on twitter witness the ticket fiasco and volunteer because *they love this thing*.

      You never see the org reply. But people willing to sling gasoline in Gerlach? Now that’s a scarce commodity.

      Report comment

  • ALEX CAMARA says:

    If it helps, my experience was that I clicked my burner ticket link at 12.00.01 and the the spinning wheel said to wait…. I waited with the spinning wheel and every now and then it would flash up with a screen saying something like checking browser! Having waited 2 hours 20 minutes at 2.28 I had to leave work and I completely shut down my computer after logging off my burner profile. A friend said that my place would be kept in the line so I then logged onto my iPhone, logged back into my Burner page, clicked on the link and it took me straight to the ticket page! I selected 2 tix and car park and went to payment and I paid – all of thatbin 90 seconds!!! Crazy!!! I think if I had not logged off completely and back in I would not have got a ticket….. this will be my first BM! All the best everyone…. Hope you get your tix! (By the way I think the sale in July at $550 maybe BM can treat thy like a main sale and reprice at $425!

    Report comment

  • Kc says:

    What about the countless people like myself who got into the queue right away, and then were redirected to a blank screen instead of the purchasing page. Nothing to click, nowhere to go, just blank nothingness and nothing to do about it. I am extremely discouraged.

    Report comment

  • Jack Oscar says:

    Radical self reliance on 1990s infrastructure. Unacceptable BM.org There is plenty of testing that could’ve been done before hand. Hope you don’t use the same vendor next year.

    Report comment

  • Cat Herder says:

    Not one of my campmates was successful in getting tickets. Here’s an idea from one: I wonder if it wouldn’t be more feasible for server resources to simply auto-generate reservation numbers (fast action) that eventually post to your profile (intermediate speed task) with a date/time to come back and pay (higher resource part).

    Report comment

  • Johnny says:

    “Burning Man’s Main Sale on Wednesday was a rough experience for many. Even if it had gone perfectly from a technical perspective, the vast majority of those participating would not have been able to purchase a ticket as demand significantly outstripped supply.”

    Translation: You shouldn’t have gotten your hopes up anyway. We’re so popular that we don’t care if you get a ticket or not.

    “But Wednesday’s sale was especially challenging due to technical issues that resulted in a variety of poor experiences.”

    Translation: We screwed up again working with an incompetent vendor, because we ourselves are incompetent at management, especially management of technical services. Also, our marketing consultant told us to use the wistful and non-threatening word “challenging” instead of the more accurate term “fucked up”.

    “We’re working closely with our ticketing partner to determine why this happened and to prevent it from happening again in the future. We believe bots were a factor, and we are specifically investigating interference from bots compounding the load.”

    Translation: We don’t know anything about technology, but we have to sound like we’re responsible and caring, so we’re going with the lame deflecting excuse that the ticketing company provided, which blames yet another factor that is beyond our control. Hey it’s not our fault. How could we possibly get it right under these circumstances? Also, they are our ticketing “partner” not “vendor” because the ticketing service is run by someone who is closely related to someone who works here, but we don’t want to admit that. So we’ll just call them a partner, ok?

    “We are deeply committed to the fairness of our ticket sales, and we’re truly sorry for the negative experiences many of you encountered.”

    Translation: Our marketing consultant told us that we need to emphasize empathy with our customers, because, you know, millenials and social justice and all that, and like we’re groovy folks. (Of course we aren’t really deeply committed to fairness, otherwise we’d cancel the sale and run it again after we fix the problems. What we’re really deeply committed to is all the money that just rolled in. Yay!) Also, by offering an apology we think we’re absolved from any further need to account for our miserable performance.

    “To learn more about other upcoming ticket sales and programs, please see our ticket page.”

    Translation: Now the 100,000 losers, I mean loving burners that we’re deeply committed to, who lost out on a sale of 23,000 tickets, will somehow miraculously all be able to buy tickets in the OMG sale when we have only 3,000 tickets available! And using the same ticketing vendor! Who cares about math and reality? It’s all good! Yay!

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  • Paul Brockway says:

    We came in at 1 second after 12:00 and still waited 3 hours to be kicked out with only an error message as a reward. Technology isn’t working to make this a fair process. Why don’t they pick out random winners at noon and send an email message requesting payment? If payment isn’t made by 12:30, the opportunity is lost. Another round of email messages could then go out on the hour until all tickets are sold. No one has to wait front of a spinning wheel for hours. A fair system that would lend credibility to the process.

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  • Heartspace says:

    This is a stunningly facile response by the Borg, and particularly unsympathetic to the hundreds/thousands of us who suffered thru this. Yes I know people who got tickets, and I will get to the playa, but the ticket sale process was truly better last year.

    Due to your unwillingness to show any remorse, sympathy or responsibility, I’m not going to bother writing a letter to the BLM – it seems you’ve got that handled. Let the lobbyists take care of that – I’ve already wasted enough time.

    Report comment

    • Nobody says:

      If _that_ falls on tone deaf ears… I say let it die.
      I don’t begrudge the original group their cut, they spent many years getting here.

      At this point, however, I say ya’ll can just live off the interest and stop fleecing us. Fuck right off like a snake holding holy roller.

      Report comment

  • Dani says:

    The subject line of this blog post is pure shit. You haven’e “addressed” anything. Some marketing PR mumbo jumbo.

    Admit you don’t fucking care how many people you screwed. Admit you don’t know how to do ANYTHING technical. My goddess you all are incompetent.

    Also, I would like to know which board member is friends with ShowClix?

    Report comment

  • John says:

    We loved the shit show yesterday!!! Love being FUCKED by some idiots that cant fucking run a website to handle high demands!! You’re 30 years old Burning Man. Get your shit together please!!!

    Report comment

  • Fiver says:

    11,500 of us got a pair of tickets just fine. It’s just the other 200,000 people who didn’t who are vocally complaining.

    Report comment

    • Noodles says:

      You’re the first one I’ve seen here that is actually mentioning that they got tickets. Of course the majority that didn’t will complain because it was definitely a shit show of epic proportions.

      But honestly, other than you and I, I would suspect it’s more like 6,000 people and 5,000 bots got tickets.

      Even if the system was a lottery bots would still effectively flood the mainsale. Where else will the plug and plays get their tickets from?! Won’t someone please think of the rich and famous?

      Report comment

  • Mark McCormack says:

    This ticket fiasco was so ten years ago… REALLY? Did you guys can ticket fly, and try to take this in house, or use a cheaper vendor?

    It was so obvious what was going to happen at 12:00…. A shit ton of people from around the world are “hitting go” at the same time.

    BTW, how was lunch? it is very apparent that everybody was “OUT TO LUNCH” on this deal…..

    Oh well, thanks for the chance. See you next year! Well, maybe..

    Report comment

  • I run a bot net says:

    I organize a bot net that competes for main sale tickets. I do this as an act of civil disobedience, because the Org has failed in honoring the seventh principle, Civic Responsibility.

    It is definitely harder to be a real person than to be a bot. During registration I and a few other peeps create new burner profiles programmatically, via rented zombies and tor.

    For the last few years we’ve mapped the hidden factors that preference a profile in the main sale. The surprising truth is: there aren’t many. There have, at times, been marginal benefit to joining in the first few seconds, or pretending to be a virgin. But both of these were easily exploitable by our scale: we can join the main sale on-time to the millisecond after the first request succeeds, and we can create 10X more virgin profiles with valid-seeming emails than real virgins can.

    Each year we let our hundreds-thousands of successfully acquired purchase pages expire, so that one day we can expose the utter lack of civic responsibility displayed by the Org’s ticketing tech. We see the ineptitude. I catalog the incoherence of principle.

    This year it was pretty difficult. Due to a markup bug, the checkout button wasn’t rendering (to humans). Cloudflare did it’s statistical thing (unsuccessfully). We think a LB target went down. It was certainly a rough year.

    For the burners who are reading this pissed: We don’t make it less fair. We don’t prevent anyone from getting tickets. We don’t purchase any. We just map the ineptitude, and I can attest: this year was a total shitshow.

    Report comment

    • Ed K says:

      If your description is accurate, you likely did prevent some of the people at the head of the line from buying tickets (giving those after them a chance instead). Not necessarily — but probably.

      There were people who claimed to see the event as sold out by 12:30 or so; there are others who go in line later and were able to get tickets. I know I go in to the “queue” before 12:01 (around 12:00:40 – 12:00:50 was the first time I stopped seeing the error about the sale not having started and started seeing the spinning wheel).

      There are several possible scenarios which could produce this behavior, but the simplest one would be that going to the purchase page counts as a ticket reservation (meaning someone who got through could see the event as sold out); and refunding the tickets (because your reservation expires as you say you allowed) reverses the sold-out state.

      Given claims that some in before 12:01 didn’t get tickets while those who got in later did — either there were multiple queues, or some users’ sessions got into a bad state while in the queue. This could be either client side or server side, but the claims that clearing cookies or using a different browser helped suggests it was server side.

      The fact that tickets fluctuated between being fully sold out and being available is the kind of state change that I’d expect to be mostly untested, and more likely to get some piece of software into a bad state.

      So if what you claim is true, it’s likely that your actions caused some of those who should have been at the head of the line (based on time of entry) to lose out to those who came in later, because of this disruption.

      OTOH, even if that’s true I have to grant that I agree the BM org has failed at civic responsibility in designing ticket sales to work this way (with minimal transparency and maximal frustration).

      I’m not sure it makes sense to say that the first person to join the queue in the first seconds after noon should win (that encourages users or bots to participate in a DDoS at noon). I’m not sure it makes sense to make it a pure lottery with registration (which would give advantage to scalpers who can simply register a huge number of profiles). Most proposals I can think of have some flaws … but the failures here were pretty disappointing.

      Ah well. Went in 1998, 2015, and 2018. Will probably miss this year, though.

      Report comment

      • Ed K says:

        Actually, an even simpler explanation would be if they gave each entry into the queue a priority (e.g. a float from 0 to 1), and popped off that queue in priority order; this would allow a later entry to randomly roll a higher priority and edge out those who’d been in line longer. This would mean that if you rolled a random low priority, you might be entirely SoL from the start.

        If the above scenario were true, then stretching it out as OP claims to have done (with bots that go to checkout then timeout) would give folks who come later a chance to cut in line (by rolling a higher priority). This would mean that those who join early don’t have as much of an advantage over those who join later.

        That’s a simpler explanation than software failures
        — it’s a design failure that could have come from a desire to give everyone who wants to go an equal chance to do so.

        But if that’s an accurate description, they should have just drawn lots for those registered, either with pre-purchase or with a window for completing the purchase; there was no need to pretend to us that we were in a meaningful queue while waiting there. If that’s accurate, then some of us rolled numbers that meant we were just SoL. Some means of allocating limited resource is needed, and no one is going to be happy — but at least don’t pretend that those who’ve lost on the lottery still have a chance.

        (Personally I don’t like giving an advantage to those who try to play games — multiple browsers, clearing cookies, etc — but that might be a meaningful selection strategy. It’s just … interesting if that’s the goal.)

        Report comment

  • Havoc says:

    I am a first timer (to Black Rock City) and when I saw another first timer post that she had used her iPhone and got straight through when our laptops had been hanging for over an hour, I picked up my phone and it worked. I am personally thrilled. Best experience ever.

    Sometimes these crazy situations work out for others, it felt like I won the lottery it was so effortless, so the calls for all tickets to be cancelled and start over is CRAZY! If you are core crew or an artist or with a camp you can get a group directed ticket. If you were totally committed to getting a ticket you could beg borrow and steal for a FOMO. There is still Step and OMG and then there is usually someone in the network who has a last minute cancellation. Or maybe it is one year you miss out and others get a chance to have this amazing experience?

    I’m not a Bot, I can barely organise my email inbox or change the settings on my computer…and I am going to Burning Man!!!!!! I am sorry for those that missed out but the free hand of the market was doing sparkle fingers for me.

    Report comment

    • smolsen says:

      It strikes me as a sad thing that just because things worked nicely for you, you assume it was the “free market” working fine. Clearly there was a real issue for a large majority of people who were signed on, mostly not from phones. I realize you don’t want to give up a ticket apparently legitimately gotten, and I think you shouldn’t have to either. Then again, there was a real hack that made it unfair for lots of other ppl. What would make it right?

      Report comment

      • Havoc says:

        I WAS having issues on my computer with almost all the things reported above happening at one time or another, but being my first time I assumed it was “normal” for a BM sale. I was in at 12:00:30 went to the loo and came back to early screen, clicked again, spinning spinning spinning for hours. Screen was jumpy . Got an error xxx page…I just kept clicking back in like it was a digital obstacle course! When I picked up my phone and went through the email link, that didn’t work at 12, I went straight to ticketing. Screamed “where’s the access code?!” Then just touched my screen where I thought a purchase button SHOULD be. So yes it was insane but I’m yet to see anything about this experimental art cult that is ordinary. Because I was triumphant it felt fun and exciting. I do feel bad for everyone truly. I think at first I was perceiving a lot of entitlement, but many people are gutted so I should have been more delicate in my comment.

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  • Clarence McDowell says:

    I can’t believe its 2019 and these problems still exist when tech can solve it. May I suggest you use a block chain based distribution system that:

    > Assigns registered ticket buyers an anonymous BM coin

    > When the ticket sale begins registered buyers submit their BM coins along with their credit card info to purchase their tickets.

    > The coins are then randomly matched with available slots to purchase tickets.

    > Selected buyers are alerted via web, email and or text is given 10 mins to complete their purchase before the tickets slot are released back into the pool until all tickets have been sold.

    >All that coins that did not get matched are eligible for the next sale.

    I know you are trying to get this right but there’s no reason why it should take 3 hrs of waiting to find out you didn’t get a ticket when A) Buyers can submit their purchase info in Advance B) Block chains can be used to make buyers anonymous giving no one an advantage. Block Chain based ticket distribution can make this process fair, random and efficient

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  • BigBloo says:

    Line em up at the gate and sell the tickets live and in person. 1 person buys one ticket. Everyone is lined up anyway. Low tech, all the way.

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  • Sara Olsen says:

    Glad to see this post from BM. I do suspect some kind of bot problem but also sheer hacking. I think BM should refund everything and do it over, with a system that can verify IDs. All but 2 people in our camp of 60+ got tix, though all of us signed on right at noon. We were on hold with variations of nothing but spinning arrows, 502 errors, and “you’re too early” messages. It never even announced the sale was over. BM sale was hacked.

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  • John says:

    I feel like the scalping of BM tickets has gotten out of control. Burning man should only allow tickets to be sold with a designated name assigned to each ticket. If some wants to gift the ticket or resell it, the ticket must be transferred via the STEP system and only resold at the purchased price.

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  • gaby e says:

    The bots and scalpers are ruining it! Make tickets non transferable! But people can return them for a refund within a certain period. You would then need a selling platform that would work selling continuously ( like a ticketfly) , as you received returned tickets people , more tickets would become available on the platform and who still looking could go and buy them.
    So at the gate we would need to show ID that confirms the name on the ticket.

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  • hb3829 says:

    This does NOT address why so many people who logged on for the first time at 12:30 PST or later were able to buy tickets but thousands of people who logged on right at 12:00 were waiting for 3 hours and then met by a sold out message. Please address how it was possible to be in the queue first but never make it to a ticket page (just watching the spinning queue page) while so many others logged on and got straight through, simply because they waited an hour or more before trying.

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  • Inani Schroedinger says:

    Just an idea. Maybe stop doing ticket sales digitally all together. Like, you actually have to pay by check… actual paper check, in an envelope… in addition you have to hand write a unique 4 sentence paragraph of your own devising. Priority is placed on unique and unusual applications (size is limited to a regular letter sized envelope). The tickets themselves can be digital, physical or both… as a database is still the best way to authenticate tickets and protects against counterfeits. Like the main sale today, there would be a time window… maybe a week, to drop your check in the mail. Any entries post marked after the date are discarded. Like I said, priority will be awarded to unique and special efforts. Anything that rises above automatically gets a ticket provided the check clears. the idea is, you deserve it because you actually had to invest your real ass human time in showing your sincere and authentic interest. You are literally embedding time into your desire to get a ticket.

    This would be hard to fake with bots. And it would be a lot of work for speculators. It would also ensure that quality participants got in. At the end of it all, you get some awesome pieces of art that could be crafted into an edifice and could also be burned at the man.

    For whatever is deemed “average” (some bar must be created) those are thrown into a big tumbler and drawn at random. This too could actually be turned into an artistic fundraising attraction. Blindfolded attendees could help do the dirty work. I understand we are talking about a large volume of mail, but I think you could run it like this if you were grabbing handfuls instead of “one at a timing it”.

    Let’s bring humans back!

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    • Dani says:

      this is how the dead sold tickets for the very in demand New Year’s eve show. Mail in payment, if you envelope was selected, you got A ticket. if not, you got your envelope back with your check.

      It worked.

      Report comment

    • Jerry says:

      Just wait until the plug-and-play camps start hiring artists to make applications for them. Money talks.

      Report comment

  • L0d3k says:

    Here is an idea. Register users in a database in order of clicking the link and provide a code via email that allows access to buying tickets within a given period of time (say 2 hours?), and keep emailing out codes in 1000 at a time until tickets are gone. That way nobody has to sit an wait to get a ticket. They get an email and have a couple hours to buy. I can’t even imagine why there would be a need to keep people sitting there waiting when it the same can be accomplished with a lower point of failure.

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  • Nathan Bautista aka "altarnate" says:

    At hour 1.5 my screen changed to a message saying something to the effect of
    CHECKING BROWSER FOR TICKET PURCHASE COMPATIBILITY
    and then returned to the spinning wheel screen. At hour 2 a new screen popped up saying that I was too early and that the sale didn’t begin until April 10th at 12pm.

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  • MartyB says:

    I put the following suggestions forward for anyone who might be interested. Feedback welcome:

    Get rid of the main sale, FOMO and OMG. Have DGS take up 90% – 95% of tickets, with the remainder left for low-income. If necessary, add $5 to each DGS ticket to cover low-income. Keep STEP.

    Get rid of hard-copy tickets – all tickets are electronic. All electronic tickets have a unique identification number, which is also matched to a theme camp/artist/MV/Org team (i.e. DPW, Rangers, etc.). All electronic tickets have individual names on them. Names on eTickets can only be changed through STEP. Everyone has to show ID on entrance, which is matched to ticket name. No match = no entry.

    BMORG to monitor more closely theme camps that are not keeping with the principles, refusing placement in the future if not in keeping with the principles.

    Put in the T&Cs that any scalping amounts to a breach of contract between the BMORG and the purchaser of the ticket. BMORG then investigates any advertised scalping of tickets, purchases the tickets, and then seeks reimbursement from the scalper for what they paid for the ticket (through the courts if necessary). Ticket is cancelled. Publish names of scalpers and relevant websites on the BM website. Again, add $5 to the cost of each DGS ticket to pay for any costs involved here (i.e. hiring someone to monitor scalping).

    This approach would create far more transparency and accountability with ticket sales. It would obviously remove the issues with the main sale that don’t seem to be fixable. It would reduce the number of ‘tourists’ as everyone has to be involved in an aspect of the event. Theme camps that aren’t participating won’t be able to return. It would also help reduce scalping.

    Of course, this isn’t perfect, but I would suggest it represents a significant improvement.

    Report comment

    • Noodles says:

      As someone who participates without registering a theme camp, I don’t entirely agree. We have a bar, run games and make a neighborhood in the far reaches of the suburbs out around 4 and J.

      We don’t want to have to register like all the big theme camps do, because we like keeping our participation more free form than ‘at this time we run this event’.

      That system would kill the spontaneous activities I’ve come to enjoy. Whilst I agree that tourists are a problem (particularly those people that show up just for the weekend and treat it like a regular music festival) I cant get down with this.

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    • Snake arm says:

      Although I’ve been in a theme camp and built art for every burn I’ve been to, I think requiring one specific mode of engagement would be really exclusive of people who want to get involved.

      My regional doesn’t allow ticket transfers. You don’t want to go? Ticket goes back to the lottery / waiting list. Bam, scalping is impossible. I think most uses of ticket transfers are anti-inclusive.

      Where I found out that burning man uses synchronous internet competition to determine who goes, I was shocked. What is this, a radio phone in competition? A TV game show in the late nineties?

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  • Kirk says:

    This bullshit is taking place in Silicon Valley.
    There is no excuse for this. How many years in a row do you need to screw this up.
    You are giving easy access to the Rich and shitty access to the average Burner………….

    Report comment

  • Chad says:

    13 Burns in a row. (changed my life).
    2017 my health issues made me skip the burn.
    2018 my dog’s health issues made me skip the burn.
    2019 this year, your ticketing fiasco again and again, nothing new but it’s getting worse not better.
    You’re based in the tech capital yet year after year you give us these tech issues. So long Burning Man, you obviously don’t give a damn, You always have those who Burning Man is on their flipping Bucket Li$t. Really disappointed in BM.org.

    Hello Hawaii, Costa Rica, Puerto Vallerta, Argentina, Chile, maybe some regional burns.

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  • emubird says:

    100,000 people x 3 hours of spinning wheel = 300,000 hours = 12,500 wasted DAYS… = 34 wasted people YEARS. Working technology for ticket sales on this scale exists and is used daily for ticketing concerts. what ever is driving your choice of ticketing systems is disappointingly disrespectful of us and our time.

    Report comment

  • DeeProgressV says:

    Clicked email link at 12:00:01. Email server crashed once, 2 min later tried and crash again. Decided to log into my burner profile since the email link wasn’t working at 12:04 and tried again. Waited 3 hours. No dice.

    Next year I wait until 12:30 or something. Whatever. )’(
    See you in the dust.

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  • Meesh says:

    These bots are likely…so people could scalp the tickets and make double their money

    Report comment

  • Harriet says:

    I believe they should change the price of the OMG sale to the Main sale price considering so many people are now relying on the next release of only 3000 tickets…

    Report comment

  • contraption says:

    Here, let me help you a bit with crisis management:

    1) I’m sorry
    2) I take full responsibility
    3) I promise that it won’t happen again

    See, how hard was that?

    Report comment

  • Chris says:

    I got kicked out from a 404 error and COULDN’T rejoin as it said I was a duplicate account, so lost my place in line. Then tried again and got a CloudFlare error (perhaps they thought it was a ddos attack). Either way I had a HIGH chance at a ticket, and was screwed.

    Report comment

  • Elizabeth says:

    I don’t think that explains what happened to me. I got into the ticket page, THREE TIME! Then when I tried to purchase the tickets, it went to a blank white screen. I was never able to pay and put in an address. I got in AGAIN and then it wouldn’t let me select a number of tickets and stayed at 0! I stayed until my reservation time was up and it booted me out, even though I couldn’t select the number of tickets. The third time it said sold out, even though people were still getting tickets! Please explain these instances! If it didn’t mess up I would’ve gotten tickets! Arghh!

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  • Sparkle Pony says:

    No. It wasn’t bots. It wasn’t hardware issues. It wasn’t demand. It was you charging $28 for processing fees and pocketing the money instead of spending it on a competing ticketing vendor. You deal with this EVERY FUCKING YEAR and yet you still can’t figure it out. I had a friend register for shits and giggles, click their link 90 minutes into the sale and immediately get a ticket while others got sold out notifications after 30. I had other friends click on their email links in incognito mode and through a different browser and get a ticket after 2 hours! Just hire some people who know what they’re fucking doing! You are based in the tech hub of the world and your are failing at the most basic part of an event. You literally could not have done a worse job if you had tried.

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  • Jonathon says:

    It would be nice if BM admitted their ticketing system doesn’t work and is unfair rather than blaming it on bots. BM needs to own it, admit it and find a way to fix it “again” rather than laying blame elsewhere.

    I missed out again, again I’ve never had my first burn, again after organising my life so I can travel there from Australia I missed out again.

    Feeling sad and disillusioned

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  • Erik says:

    I don’t know if any of the people who manage the ticket sales are reading this, but I would recommend getting in contact with the people who run San Diego Comic con. They have been dealing with similar quantities for a while now and have gotten their system fairly well ironed out at this point. The team working on BM tickets could benefit from their experience.

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  • Charley says:

    Thanks for the explanation. I don’t mind that burning man tickets are “hard to get”, i kind of think it results in MORE people who REALLY WANT TO BE THERE FOR THE RIGHT REASONS (and not those completely tearing apart the org for a ticketing malfunction) to actually end up being there. HOWEVER- what about the many of us who got thru the entire purchase page (most of these i know of around 2:30-2:45 pm), GOT OUR CARDS CHARGED, but instead of a confirmation page, email or anything in our profile, we got the message “You’re early” as what appeared to be the confirmation. Do we actually have tickets? and if so… how do we get them?!?! I’ve seen about 50 people with this issue, who knows how many actually. thanks for keeping on top of it and some sort of communication… im sure this is a mini PR nightmare but whatever i love burning man, and it’s hilarious we all use the devices, super fast wifi, etc to buy tickets that later is taboo on the playa !

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  • Austin says:

    Sucks for everyone in the main sale that didn’t get tickets. But for those of us with tickets, how do we transfer them to the friend we bought one for?

    The ticketing vendor is so horrible that not only are they failing the actual sales, but they don’t even allow the functionality required to transfer tickets…

    Report comment

  • Excuses are lame says:

    What a wonderful “apology”. It was not our fault…
    Talk about integrity and ownership. Bmorg sounds like another corporation not giving a f*ck. Good luck keeping the 10 principles alive while breading a culture of blaming others. Not my moop!

    Report comment

  • Isaac says:

    I think “demand significantly outstripped supply” actually means “we had an inclusion crisis and don’t know how to do better”

    Report comment

  • Scott Y says:

    I was kicked out of queue at least 5 time during the 3 hours wait line to verify if I am a bot, if you are considering me bot then I think you looking at the wrong place.

    I didn’t get tickets, but that’s fine. But here is an idea, why not tight Burning Profile info same as the ticket purchasers and upload photo of ID for verification for all profiles, purchasing info must match with credit card info, check phone number and addresses for purchase to go through. Everything must verify during the registration, without it no registration. Remove all the duplicated accounts, put name on all tickets and must verify ID for entrance, do not allow ticket to change hand except STEP.

    Maybe then bot would be useless? Unless someone is creating multiple accounts with matching fake IDs and phone numbers and credit cards. Maybe even a 2 step verification APP for logon.

    Report comment

    • Steven Gilboy says:

      Great idea! It won’t work because that would require BM to do make an adjustment or change that doesn’t change their goal……..to sell tickets! They got them sold without us getting any. They meet there goal without doing anything.

      Report comment

  • Steven Gilboy says:

    Last year It was not as bad as this year! I bought tickets on the site for the sponsors price…$1200/ea!!! I would think I should at least of had a chance to get 2 this year without having to pay TRIPLE as last year. I’m very disappointed. I think there’s other factors involved that BM is not saying. THERE has to be a better way then this BS. Now I will have to find scalped tickets for this year and deal with all of that crap.

    Report comment

  • Carl says:

    Miraculously got to the payment page after almost three hours of the spinning wheel, and only did so by opening an incognito page… but it said there were zero tickets available…. refresh, refresh, refresh for a dozen times or more, and then, proof!, two tickets and a vehicle pass! Ignored the weird code requirement, found the hidden buy button, entered the final purchase page… only to be timed out in SECONDS, and then given a blank screen. Upon refreshing I was told my placement code was no longer valid. The tickets were in my hand, but the real response was, “you’re screwed.”

    After watching the greatest ticketing gong show on Earth, and seeing overpriced scalper tickets offered only moments after the sale concluded (whenever that was), three things sadly come to mind: 1) We really don’t have to worry about the BLM killing the event, the org is taking care of that itself. 2) We can ignore and throw away the notion of de-commodification, as it appears the org has done that, too. 3) We can throw out the idea of inclusion, for unless you’re part of an approved theme camp and are able to pay your way in, you’re worth less to the org then bots and scalpers.

    Ugly conclusions? Yes. Are they accurate conclusions? The orgs non-response only seemed to reinforce it… and that’s truly disappointing.

    Fix this mess.

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  • Scott Lidster says:

    I hate burning man ticketing. HATE!!!
    Every year it’s an absolute shit show. EVERY year. Fuck you guys. If this is part of the game, fight and kick for tickets ok but tell the community that’s the game. You guys are absolutely assholes. What’s wrong with a true lottery? Oh I know all the rich fuckers may not get tickets. Can’t have that. Personally, I believe, there ate other events that have great art, great venues without the frustration and elite ass kissing that burning man had turned into. I won’t get tickets now for sure. I’m sure there is an algorithm blocking pissed off burners.

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  • Labrador says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll no doubt say it again.

    This whole scramble to press a button ticket sales system is terrible!

    After registration it should just be an automated lottery a few days later and then you just get an email saying you’ve got a ticket. You then have 24 hours to accept the ticket.

    Also reduce the amount of “main sale” tickets they mostly just seem to end up on bloody eBay anyway.

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  • robert spear says:

    that was the biggest shitshow in all 20 years i have been buying tickets. I could not even use the email link as the page would not load. biggest load of crap in history. people getting tickets who got in after i tried to get in is total bull shit. someone should be fired and that sale should be voided.

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  • Michelle martin says:

    We are individual Burners who enhance the community of every street we have had the pleasure of landing on randomly for 6 years. Each year we helped build a community of single Burners on our streets-no set camps, no walls, no concierge—we face the street and open our arms to everyone. We feed our new friends, offer homemade bandanas to cool a hot soul, and share everything we have to truly live the principles. This year’s fiasco of trying to get tickets convinced me that the organization does not support our efforts. I was kicked out of the sale for no reason within minutes of entering it lawfully and my husband was diligently online for 3 hours and then was kicked out. We realize our chances of getting tickets as individuals are slim but this year’s experience truly shook us. You scold the community in journal posts about living the BM principles-which we love and have enriched our lives-then subject us to a frustrating, humiliating experience trying to join you. It seems you will not have our open hearts on the playa this year. Please reconsider your ticketing policies and vendors so others will not be as sad as we are. With love and hope.

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  • Brian says:

    I can understand there being technical issues the first year after the event sold out, and maybe the year after (ie 2012, 2013). But it’s god damn 2019 and this shit has happened every god damn year for the last 8 years. This isn’t rocket science, it’s fuckin IT. Stop making excuses and get your shit together. If you can’t figure out a system that works by now then scrap your system and take a completely different approach (eg lottery). Current approach is unfair, infuriating and it negatively impacts the event and the community. Very disappointing. And your response is lame.

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  • Jeremy Loyd says:

    I also was in at noon and waited for 3 hours. Then the page said the sale was over. I understand that technology can have hiccups. Especially with the surge of so many trying to buy tickets at once. I just hope to be able to get tickets one way or another. Thank you.

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  • Lucky says:

    Long-time theme camp of 100 and things have been relatively stable since the ‘lottery’ debacle of 2012. Last five years one in every 3-4 burner profiles in the main sale would get tickets. This year one in 10-12!!!! That’s a huge difference there’s no way we were competing against 3-4 times as many legitimate profiles as last year there was fraud and the new ticket vendor did not do their job of protecting the sale with captchas and verification of identity with credit card.

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  • Lacadan says:

    Really!!!!…$9500 for scalped tickets on sites already….Vehicle passes for $326…..UNBELIEVABLE!

    Report comment

    • Dan steinberg says:

      There are always offers of scalped tickets. Does this make them real? People get scammed every year, sadly. Dont take the presence of ads to mean anything. Except if it comes from a Nigeria prince. Dude just has amazing hookups!!??

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  • Maximumami says:

    “We’re truly sorry for the negative experiences many of you encountered” is only half of an apology. Whenever there is a problem with ticketing it seems the response from BMHQ is that it was a problem with a vendor that was “beyond our control.”

    I would like to see a message more along the lines of “We take full responsibility for this situation. We hired the vendor and it’s our fault we didn’t do what we needed to be sure they could handle the job.” Why always blaming someone else???

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  • Petr Lazecky says:

    In my personal opinion, if community really want to enforce fairness of the system, it should be lottery. Because, in effect, this is lottery.

    There is no way anyone can influence outcome today. People just arrive to one place – that is all they do, and wait. It is completely random when request arrives to ticketing server. So many random factors – including ability to handle sudden spike in load, which may really explain that someone got ticket 4 hours later – if server again rebooted itself.

    True fair system, factoring in geographical distances and differences in internet connectivity is really lottery. Users will register and be drawn online – there can be some transparency built into it (every system will be questioned).

    Presenting this as “fairness of incoming queue request” is IMHO fantasy and every IT knowledgeable person knows that.

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  • Susan says:

    I was forced to wait for 34 hours. And then the screen went blank and my credit card was charged for $7,250.33. All of those ticket codes were put online within 30 minutes. I only ordered one ticket. How am I supposed to make my mortgage payment now, or buy food?

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  • Face the Borg music says:

    People, please, realize that at the end of the day – for Borg – it’s about the money – the extraordinary and unaccounted-for money that has flowed into the hands of the Founders and their minions for the last 2 decades. These people are ex-hippie, high school grads – at best. Larry Harvey was corrupt and narcissistic to the core. They hire their friends, and – believe me – merit and ability are NOT the criteria. So, you get what you pay for: incompetence. They have screwed up this ticket lottery for year after year after year. What people experienced this time is nothing new. Every year it’s new excuses, and the next year is the same. This is what you get when you have incompetents and pretenders and Burning Man spongers running the show. You are going to get fucked-over – count on it. They are incompetent, face it. Nothing ever changes with them. Sorry.

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  • Sampson says:

    There is truly nothing better than butthurt Burners. I’m bookmarking this so I can re-read it forever.

    Report comment

    • RichieRich says:

      I am just a lil annoyed that the ticket prices have gone up. Now the workers that build my camp suites, kitchen, barriers, and other luxury accommodations, will ask for more money!

      Report comment

  • Emma says:

    I had a similar experience to many. I was there as soon as the sale started but for the first 4 minutes I got the screen telling me I was too early. The email link didn’t work at all. I tried 3 different browsers. Got into the queue on all of them. Got through on one only to get an error message. Watched the wheel turn on the others for a full 3 hours, occasionally getting the ‘checking browser compatibility’ message. It was a very negative experience. Fingers crossed for a ticket through the STEP program!

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  • Chris says:

    How about requiring one of those captchas when you enter the sale right before you get in line? Would at least help limit most of the bots. Then while you are in line you get a randomised set of 10 principals questions or something and if you get them wrong you get spat out. Get rid of the bots, get rid of the scalpers, get rid of the toxic fake burners, and free up tickets for the people the community and culture is actually meant for…

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  • Beverly says:

    I waited 3 hours watching that spinning ball. The worst part is that my 2 children were in the bathtub and the water went cold and they turned hypothermic. We called the ambulance and now CPS is investigating me for child abuse/neglect. My entire world has been turned upside-down. I need to go to court this morning and my boss is threatening to fire me. All I wanted to do is go to Burning Man and ride on an art car!

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  • Chris Huelsbeck says:

    At this point I would totally prefer a lottery… waiting for 3 hours only to get booted is total torture!

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  • GAry Hill says:

    Flipside (Texas Regional Burn) have nailed the ticket debacle. You have to ( with a pen ) fill out a request form. Add a bank Chequers or payment Get it postmarked within the required period. (Usually 2days) Post it (snail mail) and you go into the draw. Someone picks them randomly out of a bin. If yours comes out you get informed. Either it is sent to you or you will call.
    It’s old school and it works. No bots. No jerks trying to get tix for their mates, no clowns with 5 screens open, no hanging over your computer for 146 minutes.

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  • Kirk says:

    That was 3 hours I didn’t get to go to meetings at eBay. So much lost production. My job is important.

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  • Doktor Catu says:

    That was a clusterfuck of epical proportions. Part of the queue crashed. People in since 12′ were not able to buy, and people entering the line 20 minutes later were able to secure tickets.

    We need transparency and accountability. The sensible thing to do is open the logs and start an audit with community participation, otherwise the Org will be acting against its own principles and everything that makes the man special.

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  • michal says:

    Hello,

    I am sorry, but at least be honest with us, because there is no technical way that I can jump to the same place in the queue after getting error. This is technically not feasible. Similar to others I was waiting from beginning, and other people who joined after me bought tickets and after I was kicked out I was still waiting. How can you explain this? if you have more demand than available tickets, make lottery, this is fair then

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  • Snake arm says:

    There is a really easy solution to this, used at several regional burns: don’t make people buy all the tickets at the same time. Instead of having ticket sales determined by who has a fast internet connection, who can take the day off on a Wednesday, who has a special browser or credit card, or who lives close to San Francisco, simply use a random number generator to determine which accounts receive ticket offers. Take your time with elaborate tests for bots, scalpers, and tourists.

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  • Julia Reinhart says:

    With all the negative comments about people who got tickets, I just want to say a few things. I, too, clicked on my Burner Profile button at the stroke of midday, waited for 90 minutes, when I got to the ticket sales site, and that is where the hick-ups began for me: first the access code issue, which I somehow overcame by randomly entering codes until the system finally relented and went to the next page. It took me about 10 minutes and several reloads to figure out where the Get Tickets button was meant to be (I never saw one). Then finally I make it to the credit card page, got thrown out, reloaded, was told tickets were sold out, reloaded, got back to the ticket page, redid the process, and was about 30 stressfull minutes later, finally able to secure a couple of tickets and a vehicle pass.

    I understand why you all are upset who didn’t get tickets, but just know, that not everybody who managed to get though this technical hot mess jumped the queue, cheated, or is a scalper.

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    • Jonas Bunny says:

      I didn’t have a problem at all. I’m really surprised by all the negativity. I was able to purchase 10 low-income tickets and 5 vehicle passes. Our camp is thinking of putting these up on eBay to help fund our art. PM me if you’re interested.

      Report comment

      • 1%Privledge says:

        I’ve been doing that for years now! Except instead of art for my camp, I spend it on personal wifi hotspots and chefs that make the best French cuisine.

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    • Marco Montecino says:

      I am happy for you, you were able to score tickets, but I think you just got lucky. I was kicked out of the server, like many others, and not able to get back. I am pretty tech savvy to figure this one out, but no matter what I tried I was not able to get back in line. It was like a freaking bouncer randomly pulls you out of a line, for no reason at all, and you are not able to get back in line nor granted permission to get in the club. First time I went to BM was in 2005, the festival was still underground and perhaps one of the best kept secret in the US, you could buy tickets at the gate. BM has changed in ways that are not very good, THIS PARTICULAR TICKETS SALE WAS REALLY BADLY MANAGE, I WONDER WHAT LARRY HARVEY WOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF THIS.

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  • Olly says:

    So disappointing BM.

    I was in there bang on time, got a series of error pages, then entered the checkout queue, waited 2 hours only for a screen to then flash up saying I “entered too early”. From then I was blocked from re-entering. Massive event with massive financial and technical resources, totally lame.

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  • BMORGRICHELITISTS says:

    Wow BMORGS public relations lately has been a nightmare! With all the money BMORG has, you think they could get a more convincing liar to write a damn entry.

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    • Jaded.Burner says:

      The current Administration has severely depleted the talent-pool, by hiring and firing them (sometimes before they even report to work) so quickly.

      Besides, if there’s no budget for competent management, no money for vendors, why do you think PR would get given any? We hired…interned a clown from the homeless shelter with the promise of a resume-builder.

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  • Mark McCormack says:

    There is always the STEP – SUPER TERRIFIC EXTENDING PEOPLE, and the OMFG – OH MY FUCKING GOD – I aint going to Burningman sales….. I am sure those will be a cluster fuck as well.

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  • Anthony marks says:

    I do not think Burning cares about the scalping of its tickets I think they encourage it they could make it that only the person that buys the tickets is the one that uses them to gain entry to the event.I know for a fact that they use this method at some rock concerts where they want to stop scalpers.I think that the Burning man .org is behind most of the scalpers themselves or they would do more to stop it and they do not.They say it would stop the gifting of tickets.This is bull.

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  • Audrey Foster says:

    I also am a returning Burner who followed all of the “rules” and got on at 12 sharp….couldn’t get in on the link BurningMan sent the day before, so accessed in from my Burner profile and sat in front of the computer for 3 hrs…and at the end got a message saying that I was early to the sale. No one I know was able to get tickets, nor did their links work. What’s up with this?

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  • Dagne says:

    Who is John Bot?

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  • Luis Félix says:

    The disaster of the main sale has no excuse or justification. The high demand is understandable but not the serious problems that occurred on Wednesday. What about the hidden buttons? Why couldn’t make the payment once inside the purchase options? What about reselling tickets on foreign platforms at exorbitant prices? The 10 principles must be respected by everyone but first by the organization. Burning Man is fading by leaps and bounds and issues like this make me think that this event no longer makes sense… #cancelthesale

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  • FlyingMonkey says:

    Bots? Wasn’t that last years theme? This year BMORG needs to blame the Butterfly’s because in the end it’s all the same. They will blame some technical issue and never accept any of the responsibility.
    Sorry folks but ticketing is the basic and core process that you really need to get right and you only get 1 chance. With few exceptions every year is a shit show and BMORG doesn’t seem to learn. If it means using a tried & true ticketing company then do it. Prices go up every year and I’m still not convinced that the vehicle passes are justified and not more than a money grab. Spend the money you make to get the basics of holding an event correct.
    I have NEVER had trouble buying tickets for a major sporting event. It’s been done & someone has already figured it out for you. Do it right in 2020 because you failed your Burner community once again this year. I’m sure some people tried really hard to make it work but sorry, no participation trophy this time.
    Really folks, BMORG isn’t incentivized to do more than cast blame & say “Sorry, not really our fault” because all tickets will sell. They don’t really care who gets those tickets & goes to the Playa. I think that is obvious because they have known about the P&P camps for a long time and didn’t do anything until there was a lot of public outcry about them.
    Burning Man has strayed so far from it’s origins that I would really recommend that people attend their regional events instead. The regionals still have that original MoJo & Burner vibe.
    Unfortunately if you got hosed in the main sale then it’s probably too late to get tickets to a regional.

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  • Jimmy says:

    BMorg:
    You created this monster which you think you still control. Guess what: “IT NOW CONTROLS YOU!”
    Just imagine how many build camps don’t have enough tickets (volunteers) to complete their projects.
    Added to the ticket fiasco is the looming BLM LOOMING NEW REQUIREMENTS which you can’t / won’t meet.
    SOLUTION:
    Shut down Burningman!

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  • Michal Nowak says:

    If you like Polskie Perogie (Polish Perogies) then read on…. (details at the end)

    Why even bother with such a chaotic stampede ticket sale in the age of bots and scalpers. Perhaps the answer is a lottery ??? !!!

    Burner registers, selects to purchase 1 or 2 tickets and/or vehicle pass, and submits the credit card details.
    – if selected but the credit card fails (or has already been used in a prior purchase) then OUT.
    – else if burner is selected and credit card is approved (not used before) then get ready to burn.

    All this “computing” be done over the course of a couple weeks without pandemonium. This is a cheap technical solution (I could code this on my laptop) fair to all true burners and unfair to bots !

    As for this sale… we are a group of 4 first time burners from Poland. We have our flights and Playa transport booked and paid for but no tickets :((
    Each of us patiently stared at the wheel of death for 3 full hours… but don’t feel pitty for us… cuz we know we’re gonna burn this year !

    If anyone can help out then that would be bitchin’ and we will be kindred spirits for eternity. We will pay your costs and pay forward this karma with wholesome homemade Polish Perogies during the burn.

    That’s right burners… a camp with traditional homemade Polish Perogies 4 all (except bots).

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  • Crusty, Procrastinating Burner says:

    I really don’t know why everyone is complaining when the real goal of the main sale was accomplished with flying colors… BMorg just realized revenue of over $10M in a day.

    Let’s not pretend that the ticket sale is about us, because it is not. The scalpers/bots/stubhub problem has been getting progressively worse year over year, and there is an obvious way to prevent it that has never been adopted for the main sale: When you purchase a ticket there should be a name associated with that ticket. Only that person (with matching ID) should be allowed entry into the event. No re-sales, no transfer. STOP THE SCALPING!!

    Oh, but then demand would drop off :(. Tickets wouldn’t sell out in one day (bots aren’t that interested in actually going to the burn, after all), and BMorg would lose the financial security of getting all that assured revenue in April. It would be like those terrible old days where you could drop into Amoeba Records in mid August and pick up a couple of tickets. Poor BMorg’s financials would have to wait for a bunch of crusty, procrastinating burners to buy their last minute tickets.

    Matching ID is required for other sales, so let’s not pretend that this is some novel idea or a difficult problem to solve. But Wednesday’s number would have been smaller than $10M. Let’s just be clear on where priorities lie.

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  • Stow says:

    Weirdly, it feels a tad bit better knowing that so many folks had the same awful experience I did yesterday, so thanks for all the comments and good suggestions. Most of us don’t mind losing a fair game, but this was not fair to many of us.
    As a five time, highly participatory Burner, I could probably scrounge up a ticket between now and August, but won’t. Not this year. Knowing that BMORG doesn’t respect us enough to figure this out, really rankles, and thanks, but I’ll spend my time, money and creative energy elsewhere this year.
    Figure this out BMORG, you’re better than this. You are still the most magical game in town, so most of us will keep playing, but please, please get this right in the future.

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  • BurnDa Bots says:

    Thou shall not purchase tickets from scalper bots found here:

    viagogo.com/ww/Festival-Tickets/US-Festivals/Burning-Man-Tickets/E-3181507

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  • Nick Battiste says:

    If this sloppy litany of excuses is the best you’ve got, Burning Man is truly dead on arrival at this point. The ticket prices, the increased police shakedowns, the proposed new wall, the commodification, the behavior at meetings, your ASTONISHINGLY hoopty ticketing process and Radio Shack technology after all of these years… Your entire organization is constructed entirely out of cash and MOOP now. You guys simply do not have it in you to do this right anymore. I’m out.

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  • Mariano says:

    I’m gonna build a freaking BOT so next year I don’t have to pay 3 times the price in Stubhub. If BMORG is not going to protect REAL burners from BOTS or disgusting people buying lots of tickets for models that will go there just to post shit on IG, then I think 2018 was my last year. They want a cultural change but then they only banned Humano when there are so many other camps like them or even worse.

    What we need to change is BM management…

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  • Lena says:

    I encountered a very poor experience as well, I logged in from the email that was sent to me, got in at 12:02 and sat for 3 hours as it refreshed on it’s own and then after 3 hours I received as many you are too early! I was not happy, if it would have said sold out at least I would have felt better. My son in law got booted out in the beginning 7 times. We followed all the rules, seems you are organized except for this process..hopefully you find a solution.

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  • John Rettie says:

    I was unsuccessful at getting tickets through the general sale the past two years. So imagine my delight when I went online, via my profile, at 2 seconds past Noon on Wednesday. I watched the spinning wheel and had one white screen flash at me. It was only waited ten minutes before I was rewarded with ticket access – I entered my details and got tickets by 12:12. I was impressed until I started to see the problems others had. FYI I was on a Mac running Safari.

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  • Kate says:

    I’m not upset that I didn’t get a ticket (for the 7th sale in a row). I’m a 14th year Burner with friends and if the playa wants me it will have me. What matters is that I could have been working with Navajo kids in our school during those three hours. I’d rather have my money stolen than my precious time. Hundreds of thousands of hours of life that we all will never get back.

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  • T-shell says:

    This article is not truthful, if the Org isn’t truthful with this, what else do they lie to us about?

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  • Eric Brown says:

    This was my first time trying to purchase and I faced issues similar to others here. I did not get a ticket despite getting into cue within seconds of the start time. The system obviously does not work.

    I might suggest a lottery system like the one that is used by some national parks. It might look something like this at burning man: The buyer verifies their identity and pays an small non-refundable application fee. The buyer is entered into a draw well in advance. A simple algorithm provides preferences for certain individuals (ex. people who have applied multiple times over the years, previous attendees, etc.)

    Draws are made on a certain date and winners are given a time frame to purchase their tickets. The person may buy a ticket for another individual (or multiple individuals).

    At the gate, the purchaser must be present and ID must match the ticket info.

    This is a fair and equitable system. Certain people can be given preference in the lottery (ex. your chances of getting a ticket increase with every year’s application). The small non-refundable application fee can go to supporting the organization. It avoids the issue of scalpers buying for the aftermarket.

    It’s fair. It avoids crushing loads on a server. It prevents fraudulent purchases. It saves us wasting a collective lifetime of staring at a spinning wheel.

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  • Alex S says:

    I logged in at exactly 12:00:00. Waited for more than an hour. Lost internet connection for a few minutes and when I got it back I clicked on the link in my email. Got directly to the checkout page and was able to buy a ticket. No VPN, no incognito, no tricks. In the past 3 years this was the very first time I actually succeeded buying a ticket through main sale.

    As you can imagine I certainly don’t want my ticket cancelled as I finally got lucky.

    I understand that the people who didn’t get a ticket are upset and want a new sale, but that would suck for those of us who legitimately got a ticket.

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    • Ed K says:

      It seems probable that you got a ticket because re-entering the sale effectively gave you a better chance to purchase one. I.e. the luck wasn’t where you started, but that you lost your place and when you re-entered the queue, you got a better position.

      BM.org can run ticket sales like this… but if that’s the algorithm, it’s easy to game, and gaming it seems not particularly socially responsible or easy to sustain in terms of load. OTOH, it’ll probably be exploitable in a different way (and likely checkouts will break a similar way) next year.

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  • Greg Steckler says:

    Bitterly disappointed. If you’re committed to “fairness” then you’d better do something about it…NOW…for this year…..and forever more.

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  • Matt P says:

    Redo the ticket sale. Period.

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  • Mel says:

    Why are OMG tix $125 more than main sale?

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  • Federica S says:

    Last year I participated to every single sale and the website crashed every single time after few minutes, maybe even worse than this year and of course I was not able to get any tickets.
    I am sure bots have been around for quite sometime now and I agree with everyone that said that it is not fair for people who waited for hours (I waited for 2.5hrs in line) that their tickets will get voided.
    I think they just need to find a better way to do these sales (use another platform, give time slots based on registration times, or I don’t know what else because I do not work in IT) because every time is a huge mess and people get disappointed and angry.

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  • SinglePly says:

    Here is an easy fix is to this chronic ticket drama. The BMP should implement 100% directed ticketing to the makers!

    Under “Radical Inclusion – Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.” Key word is participation!!!

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  • coach says:

    It is interesting how everyone of complaining and I have been there not being able to get tickets the previous two years, but being patience has always gotten us tickets. This year my wife and I got on right at noon and both went into the queue. She got the white screen and I did not. At 1:50 she tried again and got in. The buttons to proceed seemed to not be there at people said. It turns out they were the same color as the background–we found them by moving the mouse around and seeing the icon change. To everyone bitching, re-doing the sale would not be fair (if you want to scream fair like many are) to someone like my wife and I who got on at noon and were lucky enough to get tickets. Stop being so butthurt. In a month or two people will be selling their tickets off once they realize they can’t go. It’s happens every year, that is the way we have gotten ours the last two years since we were not successful in the sale.

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  • Megan Mutler says:

    Although disappointed in my main sale experience, I keep telling myself there’s always omg sale. I just looked at omg sale and ticket prices go way up! Omg ticket sale prices go up 27%, from $425 to $550. I think it would be appropriate considering the main sale disaster that omg ticket sale prices be consistent with main sale prices. I love this org and feel for the people behind the scenes who obviously didn’t want the main sale to go the way it did, but I also feel for the participants this is becoming less and less accessible to.

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  • Mr. Winky says:

    Do a captcha process for ticket fulfillment, then refund/resell all of the bot-bought tix.

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  • Dan Ruskin says:

    I was on at 12:00:02 and waited three hours and was not able to get a ticket. The OMG sale should be for the people that logged in at the beginning and did not get a ticket.

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  • Drew says:

    Hey, guys! Let’s do that thing that this whole event is about, and come together to create space for this to happen. We are a community, let’s work together on this problem! This is not just for the org to solve. This is a perfect opportunity to communicate and problem solve together.

    This was unfortunate for all of us, yet there are definitely reasonable solutions available.

    “Even if…” there were no technical problems, is not the situation were dealing with. There was a clear technical failure that resulted in a sale that was not in accordance with the principles of the org or the community. And since registration was required, the demand on the technology was a known factor. And potential for load on those systems can be anticipated and accounted for in several ways, although it can be difficult

    This seems to indicate the cause is more likely in planning than an event that just happened. In this community we should promote a culture of trust. Let’s speak openly about this failure, how to address it in the short term, and how to inject this information into improving the process next year.

    Thing 1: Identify what actually occurred, and what is the actual impact to the event and the community.

    Thing 2:
    Is there something we can reasonably do to address the failure of this sale to the satisfaction of the community, org, and folks who got tickets in good faith?

    Thing 3:
    What can we take from this experience to improve next year?

    I can float some ideas if that is a helpful starter, but it’s pretty safe bet that we’re going to get our best ideas through our conversation than through imposing individual perspectives.

    This is going to be my first burn (if I can get tickets), I want to contribute whatever I can to preserve the intent. Thanks for having me.

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  • Scott Bakalor says:

    We need to start a petition to demand they cancel and redo the main sale, this was the worst shit show ever!

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  • SnackBeard says:

    – If you just opened one window, followed the instructions, and stayed in line, you couldn’t get tickets.

    – If you clicked the button sent to your email instead of the one in your Burner profile, the redirect did not work, and you couldn’t get tickets.

    – If you couldn’t take off 3 hours in the middle of a work day to frantically mash buttons, you couldn’t get tickets.

    – If you didn’t know how to navigate a glitchy web page, click secret buttons, or open Developer Tools and read the source HTML, you couldn’t get tickets.

    – If you got to the front of the line, you might be told tickets were sold out (when they were not), and you couldn’t get tickets.

    – If you were able to pick tickets, put them in your cart, enter your credit card info and shipping address, you were mysteriously kicked out, and you couldn’t get tickets.

    If you are just a normal person who tried in good faith to follow the instructions and wait your turn, you couldn’t get tickets. If the BMORG wants us to support them when they are treated unjustly by organizations like the BLM, the BMORG should support us when we are treated unjustly as well. Burning Man should have the courage to cancel all tickets issued during the Wednesday main sale and redo it. We can help out! Many Burners work all day on complex software systems like the ticket sale system, and lots of us have offered to help build a better solution. Let’s figure this out, family.

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  • James Meade says:

    You are damaging our culture BMorg.

    Fix it next year and fix it right.

    Your response was completely inadequate. Are you up for this critical role in caretaking our event or prepared to make the changes necessary? Doesn’t seem like a priority or an understanding of your negative impact.

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  • Mayor Bear says:

    I got kicked off the credit card and shipping info page. My partner and I were discussing how much we could afford to donate extra in the “donate” box. I couldn’t get back to the ticket sale page, and so I lost our chance to get tickets.

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  • Nikita says:

    Please, explain to me in clear terms, how sitting in a queue “in order” for three hours and getting nowhere, while camp mates who joined 15 minutes late were whisked to a purchase page, is simply a matter of “bot problems.”

    Explain to me, please, how I was part of a “first come first served” system that was fair and balanced. Explain to me again how this is a matter of “supply and demand,” and I was just not going to get my tickets anyway, though I joined a first-come-first-served queue ahead of others who obtained tickets. Please, I would really like to hear, instead of this garbage response about supply and demand.

    You don’t have an excuse. Apologize like a goddamn friend and less like the Administration.

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  • Bubbles says:

    I have a friend and camp mate who was charged twice because she went through hell during the checkout stage. The charges were then revoked, and then both showed up in her bank account. She has two separate confirmation codes, and she has emailed who she can in order to make it right, but until she hears back, her assumption is that she has four (4) tickets and two (2) vehicle passes, since she, you know, paid for them.

    I’m curious; how many humans and bots were able to get multiple tickets through this faulty system? How is this system acceptable? I would love if the org actually opened up the conversation about ticketing, but thus far, I’ve seen no indication that they have any interest in our feedback at all. After years of issues, THIS is what they’ve come up with, and without any transparency whatsoever?

    Incredible. The stress of this is REAL, and PHYSICAL. This is NOT acceptable, and the Org has some REAL work to do for harm reduction. An actual apology would be a great start, and then real action would be appreciated.

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  • Jaguart says:

    Hello beautiful burners, I’m from Mexico, last year was 30k ticket. Way? This year just 20k . We Know the TRUE
    BOTS= Rich people
    RICH PEOPLE= More Russians looking my bobbies at sunset. Not consent
    RICH PEOPLE = More Men looking my ass when I pick up his trash. Not live no trace.
    RICH PEOPLE = Fashion show = not Decommodification
    RICH PEOPLE = PLUG AND PLAY = exploitation of workers. Not radical self-reliance.
    I’m very sad because all this ticket process is not Radical INCLUSION.
    No all the rich people are bad, Like Will Smith last year he brings 200 aforoamericans and was cool people. But if we honest AFROAMERICANS are the 5% …Way? BECAUSE ARE POOR just like Mexicans.
    SO PLEASE PLEASE give the opportunity for have a ticket to all the people who contact ticket support and followed your directions. Make a lotto. And next year Put ID and name in each ticket. We love you BMorg but we Love more the 10principals.

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  • Tommy says:

    This was more unfair than a lottery so why don’t you make it a lottery? Individuals sign up and can form a “friends group”, let’s say of 5 people or so. You can limit the number for a group to 10 or so if you want. Well and then the whole group wins or they don’t win. Then every individual has to pay within 24 hours. Who ever fails doens’t get a ticket. That’ it. Then a second round for “friend groups” with all the tickets that haven’t been bought due to failure of payment. Done. This is so easy and it is very arrogant not to use such a simple system

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  • Robby Lehman says:

    Within minutes of the “sale is closed” notice I saw after 3 hrs waiting, I checked for “Burning Man Tickets” on Google and found Viagogo.com selling them. They had over 1000 tickets available, starting at around $1200 each. Just checked again… about 900 left, with entry tickets selling for $1400 and up, vehicle passes for $259 and way up. This is so wrong, and against everything BMorg has said it stood for. Is there anyway the bot purchases can be canceled and refunded? Then schedule a new main sale?
    Also, BMorg needs a WAY better way of communicating with us all. I found out third hand that a Twitter message said there was “technical difficulties.” BMorg has all of our email addresses by definition, so couldn’t someone at least have sent a broadcast email saying there were problems?

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    • Tommy says:

      *and of course, the name you register under will apear on the ticket. If you can’t go…bad luck but it is the same thing as paying for an RV you can’t use or book a flight with no return policy

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  • Shelby Clark says:

    Ugh, really frustrating. I saw reports of people hacking the system using an “incognito window” and getting right in. So much for a fair system.

    I think scrapping the entire things and starting from scratch is the only fair solution!

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    • Shelby Clark says:

      But the good news is that the plug and play camps that figured out how to build bots because they can sell the tickets for top dollar. So this year won’t have the normal builders, and will be overrun by tourists with cameras. Awesome!

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  • Miss Amelia says:

    I had that spinning arrow still showing 8 hours later, saying I was waiting my turn. This was long after the tickets were all sold. I’ve wondered if I even had a chance. I understand it’s a process, and I’ve never gotten tickets through the main sale, but this year felt particularly difficult. Wish there was some way to block the bots and scalpers, but alas, there’s not. Hopefully I’ll find legal tickets for sale again this year. If not, I’ll try again next!

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  • Kevlar says:

    BM ORG does not care that their ticket sales are a disaster. They do not police scalpers who got all the tickets via bots. I will not pay for tickets that were gotten illegitimately and therefore I will not attend again until BM ORG corrects thier flawed ticketing system.
    Burn on at regional events!

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  • Joebo says:

    I note on BM terms & conditions “I understand that an online queue system may be used and, at BMP’s discretion, randomization may occur.” …randomization…

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  • Me says:

    Quit lying you greedy fucks. You chose the lowest bidder for the ticketing processing to maximize your profits…and the rest simply doesn’t matter. You Burning Man, are now part of the shitty default world that you used to be an escape from. Larry is spinning in his grave.

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  • Mike says:

    At first I was super pissed about this sale! Another effing ticket glitch and terrible response from the ORG about it. But then I thought about it more, and realized that Burning Man is about being a participant and not a spectator! Burning Man is highly dependent on volunteers to support the infrastructure of the event! I think this ticket debacle is a good lesson/reminder that more people need to get involved with a theme camp or a group or one of the various official departments of Burning Man.

    I have worked the medical tent now for the past 3 years, and this will be my 4th (my 19th burn). Many of my camp volunteer with Rangers, DPW, Gate, Fire Conclave, etc…..and by doing so we are comped a ticket into BRC!

    So yeah, we can all sit around and complain that Burning Man messed this up for everyone….but the bottom line is there are other ways you can get to the burn! I speak personally when I say that it’s nice to have a guaranteed ticket every year….regardless of whether or not I had any luck in the main sale! It takes the stress out of the equation, and I’m getting involved and giving back to the other participants of Black Rock!!!

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    • Uhhh Yeah.... says:

      Your position is pretty non sequiteur. Yes, all 40,000 people who failed to get tickets can try to go get involved and volunteer for gate / medical tent / etc.
      Will that solve the issue?
      NO.
      Do you think there is space for 40k volunteers and their free tickets??

      My first year at BM was 2010, I have funraised for massive sound camps, supported small theme camps, volunteered at the BM café at center camp, blahhhh blahhh blah. What I’m trying to say is: I too, am involved. I too, give myself and my time. I am not simply a spectator, and my guess is. At MANY people who are posting here are in a similar position to me. (I don’t think the models and Instagram influencers are spending much time commenting on this article…)

      People are saying that they ticket sale was not even remotely fair, nor did it work well, and it potentially allowed bots in, which means tickets are going to be sold for a crap ton of money to who knows who, probably people who don’t uphold Burning Man principles and values…

      That’s the issue at hand, and that’s what people are upset about.

      Read more comments to see what people are saying (you’ll see lots of longgg time burners in there, many who I’m sure have put in the work, just as you have, over the years.)

      Only so many tickets are given to theme camps, and so many of the highly involved burners will end up without them.

      -Stacey

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  • andreas says:

    we are all allowed the get in at BM with your “sorry” ??? :)
    thanks to dont understand

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  • Linda Ingram says:

    I just need to provide a counter point to the negativity. I am a 70 year old woman, who decided I want to attend Burning Man because my son has gone many years and I love the concept. He is part of a camp, but he told me I had to do my own ticket thing if I want to attend. I read all the information and set up my burner profile last year. I reread the instructions and prepared myself for the process. At exactly 12:00:00 I signed in to the Main Sale. Ten minuted later I was on the page to buy my ticket. I completed the sale and was done by 12:20. I am sorry that some people had issues. But my purchase went smoothly and I am so excited to be attending my first Burning Man! Namaste

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  • rob says:

    While the message does apologize, which is important, it does not take responsibility for what happened.

    It says “We see there was a problem, but it was not us, it was ____.”

    Bots

    Technical issues

    Hardware Failure

    Our partner

    Too much demand

    I think what it probably could have said was:

    “We were ultimately responsible for this going smoothly and we failed. We did switch vendors, but our first time through with them was unsuccessful.”

    I think they should address the actual competency of the IT staff who hired and managed the vendor something like:

    “We do have experienced people who have worked on high-demand internet software before and will learn from what happened and seek to prevent it from happening again.”

    (or if they do not have these people)

    “We are working to create new positions in the organization for full time or consulting systems engineers who can improve our ability to execute on these important points of logistical interaction with the event.”

    I think if they wanted to really have nailed it they would also have said something about the lottery.

    “We recognize there are questions about the style and manner with which the main sale is presented, including questions about an asynchronous lottery. We have considered this as an idea and while we have no plans to change the current method for ticket sales, will continue to look for ways that allow people to focus on areas of participation rather than waiting in line for tickets.”

    Finally, I’m most concerned about the first portion of this sentence:

    “We are deeply committed to the fairness of our ticket sales, and we’re truly sorry for the negative experiences many of you encountered.”

    This suggests that indeed this was not a fair sale, at least for a significant number of people. But it also completely sidesteps that the org wasted a lot of people’s time yesterday. Possibly 2.5 hours was taken from 50,000 people.

    That’s 14 years of time.

    I think that sentence should have mentioned fairness and efficiency in ticket sales. If efficiency is not a core value for the org when it comes to ticketing, it isn’t a metric that is being tracked or cared about and won’t shape decision making.

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  • unhipcat says:

    someone has to purchase the ticket with a credit card.
    make showing that credit card a requirement for that ticket and one other person.
    if a person can’t make it, they let Bman know, get a refund, and Bman resells the ticket.
    if not, they lose their money for trying to be greedy.
    if you or your friend (who will get you in) bought the ticket, you’re good. if not, an actual burner gets the ticket.

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  • Bill Watson says:

    I have been a theme camp organizer for 13 years and a Burner for 18. It’s been a very long time since I’ve had to buy tickets in the general sale. All I can say is the ticketing experience now is horrible and unacceptable. I did not get tickets after hours of not knowing if the sale was over or whether the ticketing system was working correctly. I had technical difficulties with the process that should not have been an issue. The ticketing system could be fixed and made fair if the org made that a priority.

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  • Another desaparecido says:

    Sigh. You all are barking up the wrong tree! It’s not bots, or hardware, or “demand”. Rachel Maddow would set you straight in a second: It was the Russians. That’s the only answer that makes sense.

    Seriously, with Borg, you are dealing with extraordinary financial greed and arrogance (Larry Harvey was the ultimate guru in this area), egoism, self-dealing, nepotism, incompetence, and flat-out dishonesty. Follow the money!!! It flows to the Founders and their tools.

    There ARE technical and functional and organizational ways to avert the scalpers and bots. But Borg doesn’t care, as long as 70,000 bodies with a pulse fill the void. This entire event is a grand… marketing, entertainment, FOR-PROFIT enterprise.

    It was a good run, though, since 2005 for me.

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  • Cat Herder says:

    Can we please go back to the lottery? I know we hated it before. But that was then and this is now.

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  • Mandy Mikhail says:

    I completely agree, I was in at 12:00:01pm, along with 3 of my peers, I was prepared and sat in my college for three hours watching the arrows spin, ever so careful not to let my screen go to sleep or for anything to distract me, then suddenly they sold out. The strangest thing is my friend pulled up burning man (with NO burner profile and DEFINITELY NO registration link) and they’re was a ‘click to purchase’ ticket button right there for her. How is that possible?

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  • Pockets says:

    Why not take one dollar from every ticket and put it towards a real solution for once? This would have been my 8th burn in 9 years and it has only gotten worse. I was in line seconds after 12:00 and waited 3 hours and eventually your server reloaded a page that said I was too early. Not to be bitter. But figure it out.

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  • Valentin says:

    At least for the Main Sale you need a different procedure. No investment in hardware or software will solve (all) your problems.

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  • Marco says:

    A safe way to avoid bots would be to pre validate each Burner Profile with a picture of the individual holding a ID card. That’s what they do on crypto currency exchange platforms…

    You could post validate every tickets sold by requesting such pictures. All tickets not “validated” would return on sale.

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  • Antoine says:

    We are a group of 12 friends and 9 of us secured 2 tickets.

    I could be happy about it (and I was at first sight), but now I cannot help but think that the sale was truly unfair – and in opposition with BM principles.

    We successfully secured tickets because we are tech friendly. This was not an hard task for us to refresh on 404 error, to find hidden buttons hidden of css issues, to look out on Twitter if tickets were sold out already or not, etc.

    This however, can seem like an impossible task for burner veterans, not familiar with new technologies and technical issues. Out of an amazing camp team (10+ times burners of 60+ old), that truly reflects BM spirit, none of the 25 people secured a ticket.

    This year’s sale has not only been chaotic and frustrating: it has been truly unfair and it introduces a huge bias on BM 2019 participants: tech-friendly rather than not familiar with technologies.

    As many pointed out, you should do the right thing and redo the sale. Our group would be more than happy to re-spin the wheel and to give everyone an equal chance.

    PS: bring us back the walking man!

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  • Jered says:

    “We suspect bots”, yet that doesn’t explain how myself and four of my friends were online exactly at noon and sat in queue for 3 hours to no avail. My screen never even made it past the “waiting in queue” page. Yet many people joined the queue 1.5 hours after the start time and were able to get tickets immediately.

    Ticketfly was better.

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  • Elwood says:

    This post completely ignores the experiences reported my many. It is an insult to the intelligence of every burner.

    BMORG asked us to go to bat for them on the EIS, and then turned around and insulted the community with a joke of a ticket sale and this insulting response.

    I can’t bring myself to support them on the EIS after this insult.

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  • Kyle says:

    If it quacks like a duck…

    I refuse to believe that BMorg and this ticket sale are run by amateurs. This is willful and intentional on their part. After 11 years of burning man, I have seen enough to know that the Main Sale is an exercise in misdirection. As ticket buyers we are still in a place where we will accept this tech glitch illusion, though in the future the technology will improve and this explanation will seem comical. I suspect that it will also eventually come out that this process was designed to be faulty.

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  • Bad Timing to Host the Worst Ticket Sale In BM History says:

    Not the best timing to host the most hair-pulling ticket sale in Burning Man’s history, and then have this as the response. Why?
    The Bureau of Land Management is apparently attempting to push regulations and requirements on Burning Man that has the potential of shutting it down or turning it into something very different (and insanely expensive) than what it is today.
    Burning Man wants support from the community in the form of written comments etc in hopes that these requirements will not be approved.
    Burning Man doesn’t appear to be loving and supporting its members, or speaking directly to them with honesty and solutions, when it is simultaneously asking for support and love.
    It’s gettin real out here.
    We’ll see what happens.

    – Stacey, who clicked that button right at 12:00:02pm, didn’t get a ticket, got error messages, and then quit after 2 hours of waiting for a ticket, and learned that others bought tickets three hours into the sale, via iPhone 1 hour into the sale, etc. etc. etc.
    :/

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  • Mark McCormack says:

    Can you please be done with all ticket sales by the first week of July. It would be nice to know if we are going or not, that way we can at least get our money back on the RV deposits..

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  • Suzanne 23 says:

    Oooo, no, that was not a pleasant experience, this ticket sale (regardless of the fact that we failed). Of course things can go wrong, but now it seemed as if someone had hacked the system and made a big joke of it. We come from the Netherlands, some of whom have been to BM before and others want to go for the first time (like me). We have all arranged a plane ticket and an RV, so we really want to go for it. We know that it is a risk that we can get tickets or we do not, we want to be able to expect that the official sale will be fair, and that was really not the case (we have all the problems mentioned above had). Going for a resit seems more appropriate to what BM stands for. Equal opportunities for everyone.

    Suzanne.

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  • Robyn says:

    This article is another pathetic response to years and years of continued failure. Unbelievable that people in the bay are too stupid to fix this.

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  • Asya says:

    i was charged for one ticket but never got an email confirmation, has anyone had any luck with a refund or confirming with BM whether or not we actually have a ticket??

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  • Salty Burner says:

    How can you guys still be screwing this up after all these years? How many issues are you going to blame for the fact that you CANNOT get a simple thing like ticket distribution right? How many times will you blame, ‘things out of our control”?

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  • Every year I have attempted to buy tickets there has been tech issues.
    Every year I get on right at noon and patiently wait.
    Every year so far except 1 (2017) it has glitched out, and told me the sale is over.
    On the burning man reddit group, many posted that they leisurely strolled into the ticket system minutes or hours after 12pm and got tickets in minutes.
    And many others reported the only way they got tickets was by opening tons private windows, several browsers, doing cache dumps and other tactics that are “against the rules”, but apparently necessary.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/BurningMan/comments/bbmjyz/official_2019_ticket_successfail_thread_all_other/

    Why don’t you just require that everyone purchasing tickets gets pre-verified by their ID, Drivers License or passport? Only those verified users enter the sale. Cut out all the scalpers, etc.

    Sure that’s probably still a couple hundred thousand of people that will go through that trouble.

    Then you simply do it by whomever logs in first. Server records it down to the microsecond, and assigns tickets based off the order of people clicking their special link in their burner profile.

    As far as server load… BMORG is making 40 million a year off ticket sales. They can afford proper hosting and a team that can program it correctly and load test it properly before prime time.

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  • Doctor Professor says:

    Whoever wrote that pathetic non-apology should get a job in the fucked up sociopathic corporate world we are trying to call out. Seriously: that shifty, fast talking, lying, deflecting twerp in a tie who sold you that junk used car in your youth has nothing on you.

    If you want the precept of “Radical Inclusion” to be taken seriously, you are goin to have to do more than be very sorry and concerned about this, you are going to have to fix the problem – not for some ambiguous, utopian future, but this year, ie now. How you can do this I have no idea – which, by the way is why you don’t let this kind of mess happen in the first place. But that is the mess you made, and you now either need to clean it up, or go down in history as part of the crew responsible for the most fucked up ticket sale in burning man history. It’s up to you.

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  • Morgan says:

    There needs to be a proper detailed post-mortem analysis of what exactly happened, and that should be shared with the community. This has happened too many years in a row now, and while there has been a lack of transparency in how the process is supposed to work in the first place, there has been absolute opacity in what has gone wrong each time.

    High demand, bots, uncontrollable hardware failure…all seems kind of tech-culture hand wavy right now. Thousands of websites deal with higher load than BRC ticket day. Hundreds of extremely high demand events sell tickets successfully.

    This was compounded with an absolute failure of communication during the sale. Half-way through the disaster a single post, with ambiguous tense of happening/happened, left everyone hanging. Have someone at the keyboard, posting updates in real time, it is basic expectation of social media communication nowadays.

    I do not suggest this is a simple problem, but it is solvable, and there is way for the community to have trust in that process.

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  • AdSventure says:

    The word has been the same across many Burner families who fully participate and engage on all aspects of the BM principals that were left behind in the techno dust excited anticipating and fully prepared at noon when the sale started to watch multiple screens, errors and notes to wait your turn to end up losing 4 hours to find out the sale has ended. Disappointing and discouraging to learn it was BOTS!
    Time for a Do Over!

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  • Friendly Internet Person says:

    Do this on a weekend, because like elections, investing hours of a day during work, even if it was a hardware issue, really causes a lot problems for some of us.

    You didn’t scale appropriately. The waiting room servers (low bandwidth, light cacheable page), worked almost perfectly. A few errors, but you cookied us so I understand that a refresh would have kept my place in line.

    I got through because I refreshed one of my devices and it took me directly to the sale. I think you have to multiply the estimated amount of traffic by 4 to assume that even without bots, many of us are making a bet that more browsers = better chances.

    Even though I got to the ticket purchase area, my ticket purchase didn’t result in a website or email confirmation. I relied on a pending charge from my credit card. I kept refreshing and reposting form data. If I didn’t have a background in server side web development, I wouldn’t have known how to work through this.

    The ticket sales server needs about 100-500 more instances with a transactional database, and you need to be willing to sell about 1,000 more tickets than you wanted to. Cut off the flow of buyers the moment you hit 99% and let the remaining users in the storefront to finish, while cutting off the supply of buyers from the waiting room.

    I wouldn’t blame this on bots. This isn’t rocket science, it’s a scalability issue. The system itself seemed well designed.

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  • Moshe Levin says:

    Google, you came in, welcome, you have to bring and share your expertise with the Spirit and Rules of Burning man, Please Fix this Ticket sale business…

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  • EZ Rider says:

    I click in shortly after 1200. Just before 12:00.02 waited 45 min, in Que. wait 4.5 hours get message that I was too early. After 5 hrs new message that the sale was over. what a waste. Not feeling like I matter to BM.org.
    All this so the turnkey camps get their tickets. Damned tourists. VOID Their Tickets. Hold a resale lottery.

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  • Daniel Greening says:

    Hmm. Just for the record, I logged in within seconds of noon, and hung out for 3 hours until getting notified that the sale was over. During that time, like almost everyone here, I got various errors. Some of them were due to Cloudflare. I also got notified that I had violated some rule by trying to game the system or something.

    Anyway, 9 times Burner here. Never experienced anything this bad. I agree with many saying that it is crazy to make people “prove” their interest in Burning Man by competing in a random time wasting exercise. How about just asking people to register, having them specify the number of tickets they want, and randomly deciding which to offer tickets to? Super simple. Doesn’t require relying on state-of-the-art networking technology. Let’s people live their lives.

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  • Bob says:

    I find the burning man, ticketing experience, quite interesting. The BM Org currently executes its ticket sales process in the same way concert promoters sell concert tickets. Concert promoter want to create a frenzy because it drives up ticket prices. That is why they use the methods they use and contrasts the decommodification principle. Those ticketing venues consistently have issues with bots, scalpers and computer glitches from heavy traffic. No wonder the BM Organization has problems and burners are frustrated.
    There is a simple solution. What is needed is a, points-based, lottery ticketing system.
    The core of this system is the users profile and the points associated with the profile. Profiles carries over, year after year and points are added (or subtracted) for attendance, participation or other notable acts linked back to the 10 principles.
    The process is simple.
    Step 1.
    During a 2-week period, burners update their profile, making sure their ID and credit cards information is correct. They also register for the next event by paying a nominal (non-refundable) fee … say $20.00. The ID keeps out the computer bots and the fee cuts back on the looky-loos. Then the website closes for the next step.
    Step 2.
    Off-line, a computer program calculates and draws who goes to the event based on accumulated points. The more point you have the higher you are in the ranking. Simply put … ticket distribution system works its way down through the ranking to the people with zero points, at which time the process becomes a pure lottery until all the tickets are gone. A computer-generated report, posted on-line after the drawing let’s people know exactly how the tickets were distributed. It is all very transparent.
    A points-based, lottery system has many benefits.
    If you don’t get drawn, your registration fee awards you 1 point. This places you one-point higher in the rankings next year. This is a lot better than waiting in a queue for hours, with nothing to show for your efforts.
    If you really want to go to burning man and only have a few points … Increase your chances by bumping yourself up in the ranking through volunteer work that earns you points … But, get caught scalping your tickets and you could lose all your points.
    You now be wondering how I know so much about a points-based, lottery system. It’s because I help implement this type of system a few years ago, and it has weathered numerous audits and has an excellent track record. It’s not a perfect system, but it would go a long way towards improving the burner experience.

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  • Erik Kreider says:

    I’ve never had a worse experience attempting to purchase tickets and have been burning on and off since 2000 as a former founder of a camp as well as member of others. It was supremely disappointing, and I won’t be coming this year. I’ve sadly come to the realization that it just may be time to simply hang up my playa boots in favor of more productive activities, which is really, really too bad. A majority of my campmates who are not privy to DGS didn’t get tickets either, it was that horrendous. I attempted to reload more than 10 times and eventually was just locked out, being accused of attempting to game the system after 80 minutes. Insult to injury, sending a nice email to tickets@ and all of us getting the identical boilerplate form letters that entirely ignored the fact that system was completely fubared. I’ve had enough; the burn isn’t what it used to be anyway, overrun with carbon-copy music fest clientele and tourist gawkers. BM’s a victim of its own success I guess; thanks for many years of extraordinary experiences.

    Change is indeed the only constant. Over and out.

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  • Sketchy says:

    5 years out of 6 and 4 in a row I haven’t been able to get a ticket in the main sale. When people seriously tell me the best way to get to BM is sucking up to other Burners theres a real problem.

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  • Christopher Ingle says:

    I hope whoever planned this system dies in a fire. But before they do, I want them to waste as much time as I did on this process. That would make it even.

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  • Stephen Clayton says:

    The problem is the Burning Man Organization seems to be immune from learning. The on-line ticket process has been difficult EVERY YEAR. The last time I got tickets easily was in 2011 when I bought them at the counter at the Hat Shop on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley.

    Burning Man Org’s excuses seem very insincere and naive – especially since EVERY OTHER EVENT, even events with 2 times or more times as many tickets, manages to sell the tickets in an orderly, fair and relatively fast manner that does not piss off ALL their customers. Fans who buy Coachella or Paul McCartney tickets do not have this problem, year after year: Burning Man does.

    This is not a “bot” problem. It is certainly not a “volume” problem. It is a problem that Burning Man personnel cannot hire and give clear service level instructions to a competent service provider. For example, If you are going to sell 35,000 tickets, make the Service Provider agree their system works for 100,000. If they can’t do that, find a provider who can.

    I assume a new person in Burning Man Org is assigned to ticket sales each year so they have no experience with how bad the system is for those trying to buy tickets, no experience buying tickets themselves, and no experience managing a service provider, so they repeat the mistakes of past years.

    Please try to do ticket sales in a normal, easy and correct manner next year – or even with the remaining sales this year.

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  • John (Senator) says:

    I don’t think BMORG understands the meaning of the word “addressing”. They never address anything, they just apologize and then keep screwing up. 2018 they finally got it pretty right, after 3 or 4 really bad years. So what do they do? Switch vendors, and now they get to screw up and learn on the job one year at a time, until maybe after fucking us for a few years, maybe they’ll slowly get better? Fuck you, BMORG.

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  • SamSquatch says:

    Time to go back to the old fashioned way: buy them by hand at the Melting Pot on Virginia Street. Only way to be “fair”….

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  • Will says:

    I’ve gotta say – Asking burners to now pay an additional $95 STEP fee for resale tickets is really insulting. This is salt on the wound and is really tarnishing Burning Man. Is this whole thing some kind of money grab because BM is at risk of extinction?

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  • Moving Violation says:

    All I gotta say is this is absurd that in Silicon Valley burning man can’t get tech issues solved after years of issues. This time was the worst of all, with being able to enter a credit card and know your in, to not be able to submit the information. This is the stuff that makes community fall apart, does anyone care?

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