It doesn’t take long for things to get murky on the internet. Words bend, blend and get all sorts of switched around depending on who is doing the talking and what point they’re trying to make. So, while the internet is no doubt a revolutionary thing that spreads more information to more people than ever could have had it in the past, it also spreads misinformation just as fast (or many times as fast, if you believe that old adage about the boots.)
This goes double in the consumer space, where transactions are predicated on you not having all the facts. Exchanges would be a lot messier if every consumer knew exactly what every retailer paid for every item they’ve ever purchased, every interaction bogged down in with a side of “listen, I’m just trying to make a living. Now, what’s your Paypal?”
But that doesn’t excuse some of the strange ways that the internet lets us down, information-wise. To pluck an example from the ticket-selling space, ticket broker and reseller are used interchangeably just about everywhere you look. However, the two concepts couldn’t be further apart. While they both operate in the same space (namely, selling tickets to events), they are far from synonymous. The lies have already traveled around the world, but we’ve got our boots laced, so we might as well go for a stroll and explain the difference.
What’s a Ticket Broker?
When you’re trying to understand what a ticket broker is, It might be easiest to think of the term “broker” on its own first. What image pops into your mind? If you’re picturing a Wall Street type hoping to come up big on some penny stocks, you’re on the right track.
Like those traders, ticket brokers hope to buy something for a low price, sit on it and then flip it for considerably more than they paid for it. And like those suit-wearing squabblers shouting until closing bell, they’re relying on their own wits and intuition to try and predict what the market is going to do. Every purchase of a ticket (or more often a lot of tickets) is a risk they take hoping that they can sell them for a profit. The main difference is that while Wall St. brokers sell stocks and bonds whose prices fluctuate based on the performance of the company and their perception in the market, brokers buy tickets whose prices tend to rise with increased demand and limited supply.
While you might be looking at the whole enterprise sideways, brokers aren’t purely parasitic. Their existence in the marketplace helps more events happen, offloading some of the risks of being a promoter or event organizer by purchasing large amounts of tickets ahead of the show, thereby reducing the risk that a show might lose money.
More than anything, ticket brokers are hustlers. They are people who have made an entire career out of knowing when to sell and for how much. They are already planning their next 10 major purchases while they are offloading their last one. And the deregulated nature of the business coupled with the immense pressure to keep making money can lead to unscrupulous brokers becoming scammers, selling counterfeit tickets to ultra in-demand events like the Super Bowl. For this reason, it’s highly recommended that you don’t deal with brokers directly unless you are sure that they are on the up-and-up.
What is an online reseller?
An online reseller is a marketplace that facilitates transactions between ticket holders and people who want to attend a given concert, theatrical show or sporting event. Online resellers like FrontRowTickets.com provide a searchable listing of tickets for sale at any given event, allowing users to look for the seats they want and see what ticket sellers are asking for seats in various sections.
An online ticket reseller features tickets from people who can no longer attend the show or event for which they purchased tickets. It has tickets from people who purchased extra seats to offset the cost of their own attendance by reselling them. Some of the resellers on these marketplaces are ticket brokers, using the reach of the companies to get their tickets in front of potential customers.
So, what’s the difference?
In short, a broker is a person and a reseller is a company. Though both deal in the business of moving tickets from haves to have-nots, their roles in the process are remarkably different.
While brokers might use a reseller to sell their tickets, they aren’t a reseller and vice versa. As we’ve mentioned, it can be dangerous to deal with a broker directly if you don’t have your wits about you. In contrast, buying and selling tickets via a reseller is a safe process, with guarantees in place that help counteract the possibility of being scammed. While the cutthroat business of ticket-brokering is enough to make your forehead bead up with sweat, using a reseller comes with built-in peace of mind (and a show or event at the end of it all).