The Scalper Sisters
This week, musical theater fans can increase their chances of scoring a ticket to "Hamilton" at face value by simply proving that they're not a bot.
From now until Friday night at 6PM, Ticketmaster users can opt to give the site permission to vet their purchase history, with applicants who pass the screening given access to an advanced ticket sale that will take place Monday ahead of general availability on Tuesday.
Ticketmaster's technology is known as Verified Fan, and it works by scouring the user's purchase history to figure out whether they're actually looking to see a particular show for themselves or more likely just a bot being used by a scalper to make a quick buck.
"Hamilton" isn't the only show on Broadway that's making use of this technology. "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," as well as Bruce Springsteen's upcoming one-man show both take advantage of Verified Fan. However, those productions are using the service for all individual ticket sales, rather than the more minor implementation attached to Lin-Manuel Miranda's hit show.
Not Gonna Give up My Bot
Bots have changed the game for ticket scalpers in recent years. With the right software, they can purchase tickets for an enormously popular show like "Hamilton" ahead of anyone else. This is a problem because it inevitably leads to artificially inflated prices on the resale market.
Bots are such an effective tool for scalping tickets for pretty much the same reason they plague services like Twitter. It's easy to teach them how to perform simple tasks, such as signing up for tickets or sending a mean tweet. They make the whole process anonymous, so the real culprit can't get in trouble. However, if Ticketmaster's Verified Fan technology catches on, scalpers will be forced to find a new way to get their hands on tickets, which could make it easier to catch them in the act.