Ticketmaster Lawsuit: A Lesson in eCommerce

Having been born and raised in New Jersey, and having attended plenty a concert across the Garden State, I’ve dealt with Ticketmaster before. So when I saw that the New Jersey Attorney General’s office had reached an agreement over a lawsuit with Ticketmaster, it caught my attention.

You can get the details here, but in short Ticketmaster made the mistake of redirecting Bruce Springsteen fans looking to nab tickets for his upcoming concerts in May to TicketsNow, a Ticketmaster subsidiary that charges at scalper prices, even though tickets were still available at face value.

Ticketmaster is trying to make good on the deal, offering more than 1,000 fans who didn’t win a pair of tickets in the lottery $100 gift certificates, plus the ability to purchase tickets for an upcoming Springsteen concert in New Jersey. But in many ways, the damage has already been done, as regaining the trust of thousands of other fans will be hard to come by.

The Internet-driven world we live in today has produced a myriad of channels for consumers to purchase products and services…and an incredibly amount of mistrust. It’s very easy for businesses to submerse themselves in the financial benefits of linking online purchasing engines and Web sites to subsidiaries and third-party vendors without thinking of the business impact on their customer base.

I expect problems such as these to only cultivate as Web 2.0 selling and marketing techniques continue to mature, and thus embed themselves into ecommerce practices. Understanding how such third-party vendors represent your company, both in terms of branding and service, is critical. The same rules and best practices that businesspeople take for granted in the real world also apply to the online one as well.