Posted on 2nd October 2013
This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.
In recent weeks we’ve covered the scourge of secondary ticketing agencies forcing fans to pay over-the-odds for tickets, all with the collusion of clubs. But there are other models. Twickets is a “ticket marketplace” that has come to prominence in recent months, we find out more…
The FSF: Come on then – how much do you charge?
Twickets: We don’t charge a fee, we just connect buyers and sellers and allow them to work out the transaction between them. We cover every league, the only caveat is that the ticket has to be priced at face value or less.
Oh, that’s actually pretty good. We see you use Twitter to put people in touch with one another, which is relatively easy, but you’ve also developed a mobile app. How did that happen?
My day job is running a digital agency where we work across web, mobile and social developing products for brands such as Domino’s Pizza, EE and Glastonbury.
Twickets must take up a lot of your time – why do it?
Mainly because we were sick and tired of seeing empty seats at games, with the only way to get hold of spares (other than through a mate) being expensive secondary sites.
Twickets was set up as a Research and Development project at the agency. We noticed that a lot of spare tickets were being made available across social media and yet they were going unnoticed because the average fan has a limited network through which to distribute them.
We figured by the use of technology we could help to aggregate these tickets under one umbrella account, which everyone could access. Twickets is an interesting exercise technologically and the resale of tickets for profit is something we’re all opposed to.
How popular is it?
Right now we have an audience of around 130,000 people and that’s growing at up to 10,000 per month. On average we post around 200 tickets a day for all UK events (music, comedy, theatre etc) of which about 20% relate to football matches.
Why not just use Viagogo or StubHub?
Firstly they’re very expensive with high fees and tickets often going well above face value. Secondly, Twickets is much easier to use, and more immediate. It’s all done through Twitter, mobile apps and (soon) Facebook. This also means we get tickets right up to the last minute for games and regularly see people posting when they are at the ground already.
Some clubs have similar Twitter feeds don’t they?
We’re not here to compete with them but we do get a lot of tickets sent to us that they don’t. We also make it more convenient through the mobile app, so you can locate a specific ticket you need more easily (and we’re not just about football!).
It’s illegal for fans to sell tickets to one another at face value (although the FSF opposes this law). Are you worried that the CPS might target Twickets?
Yes, it is a risk but we think it’s something worth fighting for. Changing the law takes time and effort, however antiquated it is, and we feel if enough people demonstrate the need for a service such as Twickets then we’ll have a better chance of success.
Does Twickets offer any guarantees in relation to counterfeit tickets or dodgy buyers/sellers? Or is it “buyer beware”?
We are going to be introducing an “escrow” style system in due course to provide a secure ticket transfer process and enable credit card usage. Until that point it will continue to be up to individuals to arrange the transaction themselves. Thankfully, up until now, we have had no complaints from football fans relating to fraudulent behaviour
Couldn’t touts buy face value tickets advertised via Twickets, head straight to the ground and sell them at twice the price?
It’s easy to spot touts. Their accounts tend to be less active, they don’t have many followers and they often tweet disproportionately about tickets. Genuine fans stand out a mile and it’s nigh on impossible to fake that.
We spend a considerable amount of time weeding touts out of our service, both as buyers and sellers. Importantly our followers are very cautious about who they trade with and our role going forwards is very much to help them find the right buyer.
We don’t have a silver bullet to remove touts from the process nor have we ever claimed to. What we’re trying to do though is make their job harder, reduce the size of the market they can trade with and ensure it’s easier for genuine fans to trade with one another more transparently.
Fans at Spurs and Man City have launched club-specific campaigns against secondary ticketing agencies like StubHub and Viagogo. Do you support fans in this?
We support any campaign that stands against inflated ticket prices.
Good to hear. What’s next for Twickets?
The most important thing is to increase the number of ways you can connect with us or post a ticket. We’re also launching in Europe and already have Twitter accounts in Italy and Germany. Whatever we do though the philosophy of no ticket being priced above face value will remain.
Finally, how do you use Twickets?
You can either follow us on Twitter (@Twickets) or use one of our mobile apps. We currently have a version for iPhone and Android devices and will soon be launching on Windows Phone.
If you want to post a ticket then you can tweet @Twickets with the details or use the #twickets hash tag, and we’ll pick it up. Alternatively you can use the ‘post’ button in the app and send your ticket to us that way.
If you want to find a ticket, then search our stream or use the filters on the mobile app to narrow things down by location, date or even event name (e.g. Rochdale v Bury). Then contact the seller directly to see if the ticket is still available.
And if anyone is trying to make money on the ticket then please let us know using the report button in the app or by tweeting us.
Thanks for your time.