How I Sold 50 Games in One Hour

With a little bit of preparation and a few followers...


As you may know, I started unseat.me to solve my own problem- I needed to connect my extra baseball tickets to my friends that wanted them.  In past years I would run a draft where a handful of people would pick the games they wanted and then I would be left with my games plus whatever didn't sell.  unseat.me was a handy tool to sell those few extra games.  This year I decided to do things a little bit differently and ‘take my own medicine’.  

Instead of doing a draft, I notified my regular buyers that I would be pulling out the games I wanted to keep and posting the rest on my unseat.me page.  There were some grumbles about fairness and not being able to choose from as many games but, I am the season ticket holder and most people were OK with that.  My first email on the subject was a simple ‘head up’: “Guys, I will be posting my tickets on my unseat.me page soon.  Start thinking about which games you want.”

A week later I sent another email: Save the date.  “Next Monday at 8pm I will be posting all of my available games.  This is a first come first served scenario and fortune favors the well prepared.  Set up your unseat.me account ahead of time so you can log in and save yourself a step when it comes time to buy.  I will be sending detailed instructions over the weekend.  Please let me know if you have any questions.”

The weekend before my sale I sent two more messages.  The first was a list of the games I was planning to post- the entire season minus the games I wanted to keep.  The second email had detailed directions for how things were going to go on Monday when I posted the tickets.  Here is the email:

Are you ready?  OK, here we go:


1.  Tickets will be posted at 8pm on Monday.  First come, first served.  This is not a draft.  It is a land grab.  Please note, I pulled out my games so not everything will be available.  

2.  Sign up for unseat.me and log in before 8pm to save yourself a step in buying.  You can click the Facebook connect button to make it easy or, if you prefer, you can enter your email address and set a password.  Then you will be asked to 'name your page'.  That will be your home on unseat.me and you can name it anything you want.  My page is unseat.me/lael.  Another person named her page unseat.me/seattletix (you can guess what she has tickets for...).  Keep it simple.  

3.  At 8pm on Monday I will post my tickets.  At this point there is no 'shopping cart' feature so you will have to purchase each game individually.  My advice is to start with the game you want the most as high demand games are likely to go quickly.  On your first purchase you will be asked for your credit card and shipping address.  On all future purchases that information will be stored so you can get through the process more quickly.  Find other games you want and go through again.  

4.  After you finish the purchase process I will receive a notification that the tickets have sold.  At that point I will click accept and you will be notified that the tickets are yours.  NOTE: In the time between you finishing the purchase and me accepting it, the tickets will still look like they are available for sale.  If someone else tries to buy those same tickets the later offer(s) will be declined.  I will do my best to respond quickly to minimize this possibility.  

5.  At the end of the process I will have a list of who got what.  You can also see what games you bought by clicking "Offers Made" at the top of your unseat.me page.  I will contact each of you to arrange delivery.  If possible it would be great to hand off the tickets in person but I can mail or email to anyone that would prefer it.  Your money will be held in escrow until you receive the tickets and either a) you click Received or b) ten days have elapsed.  It would help me if you click Received but if you buy a bunch of games that might be a hassle and I get that.  Either way is fine for me.  

When: Monday February 25 8pm 

Questions?  I am expecting some so fire away!


On Monday afternoon I I figured out the prices for each game and logged in to my unseat.me Dashboard to enter those prices.  This was a tricky bit.  Any time you enter a price and or quantity for an event on unseat.me that event automatically displays on your public unseat.me page.  I did not want my events to display until 8pm so I had to click Do Not Display after entering the price and quantity.  It was easy enough to do that but something I had to remember as I worked through the process.  

At 7:45pm Monday I sent one last email letting people know that is was almost time to buy.  Then , at 7:59pm I started clicking display.  At 8pm on the nose sales started coming in.  

By 8:15pm the action was fast a furious.  The original 7 buyers I had invited to purchase my tickets were all accounted for and another 4 buyers had shown up.  Every time I refreshed my ‘Offers Received” page there were several new offers for me to accept.  Even though unseat.me gives sellers 24 hours to accept an offer it was important for me accept offers as quickly as possible in order to accurately reflect what was still available and give buyers a sense of how quickly things were moving.  

At 9pm all but 6 of the games I had posted were sold.  I had earned back almost all of the money I spent on my tickets and my list of buyers had ballooned from 7 to 17.  All 17 of those buyers automatically became “followers” of my seats so they will be notified about new listings and price changes throughout the season and for future seasons.  As my list of buyers grows, I will be even better positioned to do a similar sales event next year.  Plus, every buyer I spoke to said the process was easy and straightforward.  Some took more games than they would have in the old draft and others we happy to take fewer or just a few special games.  

Keys to making this work: fair pricing, hype, creating an event around the listing and having a short list of people to start with.  

Sell Tickets Directly on unseat.me, for free


Starting today your friends, followers and everyone else will be able to buy tickets directly from you on unseat.me for free.  

With embedded credit card processing and secure checkout buyers will be able to pick the games they want and pay you without ever leaving the site.  We've always offered you a variety of ways to sell tickets and now you can add this to your tool kit.  This costs you nothing.  That's right, it is still totally, 100% free to list tickets and completely free to sell tickets.  Plus, we still offer the same great tools you already use.  If you want to sell offline, that's cool.  If you want buyers to click through to other markets, fine by us.  Check out your unseat.me page to see how it works and remember, there is no cost for sellers.  

How do I get started?

If you already have tickets listed for sale on unseat.me we will automatically add Buy buttons next to those listings (see picture above).  

If you do not have tickets listed on unseat.me or you have tickets on other sites (that we import) simply click display on your dashboard and start selling direct to your buyers.  When you choose to display a ticket you can either enter a price and quantity or leave the price blank for buyers to make you an offer.  We let you know about offers on your seats so you can accept or decline.  This gives you a chance to remove your tickets from other sites to avoid double sales.  

There is no easier, more affordable way to sell your tickets.  

Get started now.


Will Work for Sports

Sports blogging is a great way to share your love of the game and show off your expertise.  But in most cases it's not a great way to make a living (with some obvious exceptions) and if you are going to games, it may not even cover expenses.  Ads on your page are fine but even Google AdSense shows crazy ads for stuff that makes no sense in the context of your blog and then you only get paid pennies for clicks. So you are left with irrelevant ads that do not generate much money.  Not great for you.  Not great for your readers.  

 

Good news!  We have a solution.  We are willing to bet that your readers are sports fans.  And sports fans buy tickets to see sporting events.  We sell tickets.  You see where we're going with this?  What if we could give you the tools to show ticket listings to your users in exchange for a piece of the action?  What if we go one step further and only show tickets that fit with your blog?  If you write about NCAA Basketball, we will only show NCAA Basketball tickets.  If you write about the Atlanta Falcons we will only show Falcons tickets.  If you have a baseball stats thing, we will only show MLB tickets.  Seems like your readers might see that as a service, not an advertisement and you get paid for doing it.  Win/Win?  That's what we're thinking.  

 

 

So, if you are ready to find out more, drop us a note here and we'll be in touch with details: http://unst.me/SptiaU

 

Looking forward to working with you!

Search | Find the seats you want. Get new buyers to your page.

Starting today you will notice a fancy new feature in the navigation bar at the top of the page: the 'Find Tickets' button.  Select the team you want tickets for and we will show you a list of pages with tickets plus a bunch of other great seats.  This is a terrific way to see what other users are selling and find more tickets for yourself.  When you find something you like be sure to follow so you know about new listings and price changes.  

We've been experimenting with search during the MLB playoffs to see how everyone is pricing their tickets and have been blown away by the results.  Plus, we are headed to NYC next week and will be looking for Knicks and Nets tickets with search.  

We only show pages that have tickets listed for sale (naturally) so now is a good time to post those seats you've been thinking about selling.  

Between importing your listings from popular marketplaces, posting to Facebook, showing your tickets in search and letting buyers follow your seats you might have a hard time holding on to your tickets.  Give search a try and let us know what you think via Twitter (@unseatme).  We think it's pretty cool and hope you'll agree.  

Olympics: Hard Lessons

The Olympics are a special time and they teach some important lessons about hard work, international cooperation (and competition) and setting aside international politics for the sake of playing on the world stage.  But this year in London the one thing people are buzzing about more than anything is how many empty seats there are, even at popular events like Basketball, Swimming and Gymnastics.  

How did this happen and how could it have been handled differently?  Theories abound but the most common answer is that corporate buyers (companies) bought up chunks of tickets with the intention of showering them on clients and business associates.  But English corruption laws make such a gift seem like a bribe and no one wants to risk it for an afternoon in the sun.  So, the tickets are sitting in some assistants desk instead of going to true fans of sport.  

The companies who bought up the tickets look foolish for not anticipating this problem but the promoters get most of the blame.  Olympic promoters saw corporate buyers as a quick way to sell a bunch of tickets.  After all, it's easier to sell 100 tickets to one buyer than to sell 100 to 50 buyers.  So that's lazy but it's only part of the story.  

The other part, and this is where unseat.me comes in, is that the Olympic promoters insisted on controlling all ticket transactions so they outlawed secondary ticket sales.  Anyone with a ticket they can not use is stuck with that ticket.  Resale is forbidden.  The arguments that this move has cut down on problems like scalping, fraud and other ticket related crimes are all true.  But it also means that the Olympics and London look ridiculous for not filling stadiums.  They turned away thousands of ticket buyers who would have attended the games.   

Anonymous markets like StubHub and Seatwave may not have been the solution since they can be accused of propagating digital scalping and, despite making good on guarantees, often see fraud as well.  But unseat.me, as a transparent, peer to peer system could have allowed for real fans to buy from other real fans in the light of day.  Corporations after realizing their mistake could have offered all their extra tickets to fans at a fair price.  Those tickets would have been used leading to a better live experience as well as additional merchandise and concession sales.  If the IOC wanted to maintain control they could have set up a validation system where all transfers are cleared through them.  unseat.me is agnostic and could have easily accommodated such technology.  

The lesson here is simple: Selling out is only half the challenge for live events.  Filling seats is every bit as important and unseat.me fills seats.  Let's not wait until the next Olympics to make this right.  Peer to peer secondary sales that leverage social identity verification is the solution.  

The Facebook Auto-post controversy

Like many of you we have been burned by an app or site that we joined via Facebook connect only to find them spamming our wall, timeline and other private/public places with self serving messages.  These auto-post abusers have given the whole app business a bad name and deserve whatever backlash they get.  

That backlash has led to some interesting conversations around the unseat.me water cooler.  Some said that auto-posting was bad, by definition, and could never be a good thing.  Others said, no, in certain cases auto-posting is extremely useful and that demonizing the whole practice was like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  This debate raged on for months before we rolled out our latest set of Facebook upgrades.  

By now you know that we decided to proceed with caution when it comes to Facebook auto-post.  Our thinking: if you have tickets listed for sale on your unseat.me page you must want other people to know about them.  Most of you share a strong team affinity with your friends (on Facebook and beyond) so let's let them know about your extra tickets.  So far, so good.  There have not been many complaints (although there were some rather pernicious bugs that got a few of you) and some of you have come back to the site to turn off auto-post on your control panel (same place you change your password or profile pic, by the way).  Most of you left auto-post on and have seen an increase in ticket sales because of it.  For now it looks like a success (for you users and for us in the front office) but we are keeping an eye on things.  Next step is to add auto-post to Twitter and see if that is valuable as well.  Remember, everything can be undone so if you hate auto-post or want it to work differently, just say the word.  We are here to serve and love to hear from users.  More news soon.  We promise. 

Baseball is back. We love Baseball.

Was that the longest off season ever?  No, it actually was one of the shortest.  With the season running longer, post season going later and spring training starting earlier, there is actually more baseball in the year than ever before.  If you listed your MLB tickets on unseat.me last year, now is the time to update your page.  Of course we will import your listings from StubHub and now we can pull in your listings from TicketNetwork too.  When your page is ready with some new details in the Inside Scoop and some photos, be sure to share on Facebook, Twitter and beyond.  

 

Baseball is back.  Woohoo!

Stop for directions

unseat.me is always working to add value for users and to that end we could use some input.  We already work with fans of the major US pro sports (NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA) and we have seen great adoption with fans of the college game.  So what now?  Do you want to see unseat.me grow into other US sports like soccer (MLS), Arena Football and Lacrosse or should we go global- beyond the Canadian NHL and MLB teams that we already serve?  Or, as a third choice, what about the arts and concerts?  Let us know and we will get it done.  

Life beyond tickets

It's been too long since our last post.  Sorry for being out of touch!

 

We've been hard at work on what else we can offer you, our fine users.  Ticket selling is awesome and we like to think that we give you a service that you can not get anywhere else.  But what happens in the off-season if you only have tickets for one sport?  How can we support your sports habit in a unique way?  There are a few things cooking that we think you'll like but if you have ideas for features you want to see, send them over.  At unseat.me we are striving for something that can not exist in sports: everyone wins.  

NCAA Football. Yeah, we got that.

You asked for NCAA Football sharing tools.  Your wish is our command.  Now, for the first time ever, fans of college football can share tickets with friends and followers via unseat.me.  All the Division 1 schools are now live and ready for you.  Add your tickets now and get started sharing.  

Promotions? You bet.  We love to give things away so in honor of NCAA Football we are running a special promotion.  The first person to post tickets from each school will be entered to win a copy of 'NCAA Football 12' from EA.  All you have to do to be eligible is set up a page and post some tickets.  We'll take care of the rest.  Hurry, winners will be picked on October 1, 2011.  Plus, we'll be tweeting about pages that show real creativity and flare.  So get 'em up there.

Go team go!