A new fan-to-fan ticket exchange has sprung up in the UK, with the aim of giving music fans a cheaper alternative to buy and sell tickets.
Launched in May of this year, Ticketola provides a place for music fans to put their unwanted tickets on sale and find the concert and festival tickets they are looking for, at close to face value.
Sellers using the site pay an 8 percent service fee, plus the UK’s Value Added Tax (VAT), per transaction. Sellers are also responsible for postage costs on tracked delivery of their paper tickets, with tracking monitored by Ticketola staff to ensure the tickets reach their destination. Buyers pay a 12 percent plus VAT service fee, and for £1.50 (plus VAT) they can add a “Fan Guarantee” protection policy which provides a full refund if an event is cancelled and not rescheduled.
Verification processes for sellers are in place to reduce the possibility of fraud, and buyers are assured of a full refund in the case of a seller not following through with a sale, the receipt of inauthentic tickets, or tickets arriving too late for use. Sellers are guaranteed timely payment, which occurs five to eight days after the event.
Jonathan White, CEO of Not Just Another Dot Com Company, Ltd., which runs Ticketola, recently spoke with TicketNews to outline the parameters of the new site: “There is no music industry involvement in the site, and we do not do deals with concert promoters or primary ticket agencies. All of our sellers are genuine music fans who simply cannot attend the events for which they’ve bought tickets.”
There are no sports or theater tickets listed on the site, which instead targets only concert and festival fans. White notes a number of factors leading to this decision, including the limitations placed on sports ticket resale in the UK, the relatively small resale market for theater tickets compared with concert and festival tickets, and his familiarity with the music industry based on his previous experience as an agent. He also believes that, with a limited budget, the company will do best to focus on just one sector well: “We’re a boutique, rather than a department store!”
Despite its specialization, Ticketola still finds itself in direct competition with other ticket exchanges operating in the UK, like viagogo and Seatwave. White believes his company can do better: “Our service fees are…lower than those of our competitors, and we do not ask our members to purchase buyer/seller insurance policies or pay exorbitant postage costs. On average, our charges are 20 percent lower for sellers, and 44 percent lower for buyers in comparison to our main competitors. Unlike other ticket exchanges, we pro-actively discourage members from selling tickets at prices that are significantly higher than their face-value. We want to create a community of music fans, and offer them ‘best value’ too.” White also notes that Ticketola’s service fees are lower than the industry standard of 10 percent for sellers and 15 percent for buyers.
White believes his company has a sound technological footing as well, providing the company a financial edge when compared with other exchanges: “We have always believed that our proprietary software (that we develop in house) can match that of any of our competitors, and our low cost base enables us to offer our members best value in terms of the site fees that we charge.”
According to the CEO, the site has facilitated the sale of about 12,000 tickets since its launch six weeks ago, with hundreds of ticket sale listings going up each day.
White sums up the company’s primary objective succinctly: “We want to become the ticket exchange of choice for music fans. I’m aware that this will sound like a cliché…but our aim is to establish Ticketola’s reputation as an ‘ethical’ ticket exchange. And I’m well aware that the current perception of ticket exchanges makes that a contradictory statement. We don’t over-charge our members in respect of our service fees, and we discourage members from inflating the prices of the tickets which they list for sale.”
Plans for growth include consolidation of business in home markets as well as moving beyond the borders of the UK and Ireland to cover music events in other countries. Currently, the company has plans to expand business to the U.S., Canada and Australia over the next year.