A new Web site that promises to make distributing tickets among friends easier is set to launch in February. Ovation.com, which creators call the world’s first social ticketing network, will allow friends to create profiles, send messages to each other and also distribute paperless tickets to each other without the hassles of tracking people down.
The site is being built by Washington, DC-based Event Innovation and will be free for the public once it officially debuts. Company Chairman and CEO Stephen Gilfus told TicketNews that the site hopes to have a few hundred thousand subscribers by the end of the first year.
“This grew out of our love of live entertainment and sports,” Gilfus said. “What we’ve done is take social networking plus paperless ticketing to create social ticketing.”
Gilfus and friends began thinking about the concept because they used to have a devil of a time getting together and distributing tickets to see one of their favorite musicians, Jimmy Buffett. One friend typically bought the tickets, often more than a dozen, and then would spend days trying to track down the other friends to give them their tickets. Ovation.com eliminates the trouble by allowing fans to import tickets into the site and then distribute them to their friends with a few mouse clicks.
People will be able to import contacts from Yahoo!, Gmail, AOL, LinkedIn and Windows Live and friends can create profiles and exchange messages on the site.
Ovation.com does not sell tickets, Gilfus said. “Our model is to partner with primary and secondary ticket companies to make the process seamless.” Though he would not disclose the ticket companies that will be on the system, he said Event Innovation is negotiating with “a half dozen” of the bigger players in the industry.
Gilfus said the plan is for users to be able to import tickets manually, convert paper tickets to paperless at a facility, or have tickets automatically imported into the system at the time of purchase.
The platform will also feature an Ovation Card, a stored value card, which users can fill to buy merchandise or other amenities at facilities. The card can also contain ticketing information, which means users can swipe the card to gain entry into an event. Gilfus described the card as being similar to a college student ID, which students use to buy books and access the campus meal plan.
“We’ve taken that student ID type of experience and transferred it to the live entertainment experience. One card for everything,” Gilfus said.