A new ticketing application has launched aiming to use the power of Facebook to help event organizers advertise and, most importantly, sell tickets.
EventPay, a newly launched app for Facebook users, is intended to assist organizers of live events, and anyone else who has a need to collect money from groups, in receiving and managing their payments. Using the app, event administrators can sell tickets to virtually any event, from fundraisers to charity events to concerts and sporting events. Even organization membership dues and registration for business meetings can be managed with the app.
Founder and CEO Sam Sarson hit upon the concept for EventPay more than 10 years ago, when he was a young professional in New York. Frustrated when he was unable to register for a fundraiser online, he came up with Eventrance, an online event payment program. Though he did not pursue further development of the product over the next few years, things changed with the advent of Facebook, as Sarson recently explained in a conversation with TicketNews: “When they opened up Facebook to developers, I started researching and decided to resurrect my ticket idea for Facebook, primarily because of the built-in user base [already on the site].” The new and improved EventPay product entered beta testing in December, 2009, and it launched officially in January of this year.
The site joins a growing number of online products launched in recent years which attempt to harness the power of social networking to promote events or move tickets, such as unseat.me and the Fanatic Fans mobile fan app.
EventPay is free to use, with all event-related Facebook tools, including RSVP set up, Facebook Invites, Messaging Attendees and Invitees and news feeds, available to EventPay users as well. Organizers post their unique event from inside the EventPay app, or instead can import an event they have already have on the Facebook site.
The EventPay control panel allows management of the event from within Facebook, with the ability to view and edit the event and ticketing, to view attendee lists, and to send unlimited news feeds to friends and members of the user’s Event Page. Once established, the event can display on Facebook for individuals, groups or on fan pages. Purchases are made through the Facebook event page, through a seller’s or buyers’ news feeds, and from “buy” links. These links may be inserted on the seller’s Facebook event page as well as any external sites, allowing both members and non-members of Facebook access to ticket purchase for the event.
Three options for payment are available: check, bank transfer, or PayPal, with PayPal the only option available for non-U.S. currency. Revenue is derived from a transaction fee ranging from $0.99 to $4.99, depending on ticket price. Sellers have the option to absorb the cost of this fee, to pass it along to buyers, or to split the cost with buyers.
Sarson notes that the integration of his product within the Facebook site makes it unique among its peers: “The EventPay app on Facebook is the only true full service ticketing application on Facebook…[meaning] the application requires User Approved Permissions just like any other Facebook application. There are many products and service applications on Facebook that simply redirect Users third party Web sites and require ‘toggling’ between Facebook and the third party web site.”
The most attractive aspect of operating from Facebook is that it leverages the social networking site as a primary promotional tool: “When attendees purchase tickets, they are auto RSVP’d to the Facebook event and have the ability to send a news feed to their friends. By example, if 100 people buy tickets to the event and each of those 100 attendees have 100 Facebook friends, potentially 10,000 people will know about the event virally,” Sarson said. Combined with the promotion available to sellers through feeds to their own Facebook friends, event pages, and fan pages, this has the potential to add up to a considerable amount of advertising power.
The CEO is optimistic about the company’s future growth. “We believe the ticketing and registration and payment industry for general admission events is virtually limitless,” he said, noting a burgeoning market for these types of ticketing solutions for everything from wine tastings to conferences. Brokers may also play a role in EventPay’s future, with Sarson hoping to develop affiliate partnerships as the company grows. For the immediate future, Sarson expects his company to build on its business through the promotional tools inherent to Facebook, through the development of a standalone Web site to position it to compete in the open marketplace, and, finally, through a focus on international marketing.