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Ticket Demand Crashes Beijing Olympics Website

By Alfred Branch, Jr.

Another day, another ticketing server crash.

Following the debacle last week with hacked servers selling Colorado Rockies World Series tickets, the servers offering tickets to the Beijing Olympics crash earlier today, the first day tickets became available.

Officials for the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games said the problem was due to overwhelming demand. The ticketing system is temporarily offline until Monday, Nov. 5, but those orders that were successful before the crash will remain valid.

“Because of the overwhelming volume of page visits, the technical system was unable to perform the tasks well enough, and many applicants were unable to successfully submit their applications. The BOCOG Ticketing Center expressed regret for any inconvenience experienced by the applicants in the process of purchasing tickets,” the committee said in a statement on their website.

The crash, along with that of the Rockies, and the huge demand last month for Led Zeppelin reunion show tickets calls into question the ability that many organizations have to handle global or even national interest in some events. Seemingly, the first response by people looking for tickets to popular events is not whether they got tickets, but when did the servers crash.

Within the first hour, webpage views exceeded 8 million, and another 3.8 million calls came into the committee’s 800 number. The Rockies online ticketing system, hosted by solutions provider Paciolan, experienced similar numbers, which team and Paciolan officials blamed on software “bots” that clogged the servers. The Los Angeles office of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations has opened a case file on last week’s incident.

Tickets to all the sporting events, and to the opening and closing ceremonies, were what were released Tuesday. In all the committee plans to sell more than 7 million tickets for the Games.

“In regard to the communications jam caused by the excessive page visits, the official explained that the ticketing center had underestimated the demand from the public, resulting in shortcomings in the preparations and causing inconvenience to ticket buyers,” the committee wrote.

"We sincerely apologize to the general public.”

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