Also of concern to the company is declining sales in the highly profitable concert business. Off by double-digit percentages in 2005 from 2004, the summer concert season is a major profit center for the company with its high per-ticket prices and accompanying high service fees.
Ticketmaster has had only limited success in the secondary ticketing market. In September 2003, Ticketmaster announced plans to sell tickets in Internet auctions, which would bring the price of tickets closer to market prices, but its market share compared to that of eBay or Stubhub remains small, and Internet auctions are still a relatively minor part of its business. Indeed, since around the time of the 2003 announcement, Ticketmaster has lost the lead in the secondary ticketing market to new entrants like Stubhub, who have developed a popular and effective person-to-person market for tickets. Recently, Ticketmaster President Sean Moriarty appeared on a story about the ticketing business on NPR and pleaded for legislation that would make the selling of tickets from person to person illegal except through Ticketmaster's own product for this purpose.
The company's use of personal information is more aggressive than most: a term that users wishing to purchase from their website must agree to is to receive Ticketmaster marketing:
"By completing this registration form you indicate that you consent to Ticketmaster sharing your email address and other information with those who provide the event, and that you consent to those who provide the event using your information to contact you by email or other means to send you marketing or other messages or using or disclosing your information in other ways. By completing this registration form, you also indicate that you consent to Ticketmaster contacting you by email or other means to send you marketing or other messages and using and disclosing the information you submit, as described in the Ticketmaster Privacy
This term is actually somewhat less aggressive than previously, following criticism, and accusations of spamming. However, users of the site automatically receive a regular "My Account" email, which comes with the notice "By signing up to Ticketmaster you agreed to receive this email. If you do not want to receive it, you can edit your preferences on the site". In other words, Ticketmaster deliberately does not allow users to opt-out at signup from unwanted email in order to increase the audience for its marketing, and the unsubscribe procedure requires the user to login to a web page: there is no simple unsubscribe link or email address.
More recently, Ticketmaster.com customers have complained about being enrolled without consent for the Entertainment Rewards program of sister company entertainment.com. Customers complain that despite explicitly refusing offers made to them while buying tickets through Ticketmaster.com, a $9 a month charge continues to appear on their monthly statements. Customers have also complained that these charges continue to accrue month to month and that Ticketmaster is unresponsive in stopping or removing these charges. If the allegations are true, Ticketmaster has not only shared personally identifying information to a sister company without consent, but also transmitted credit card information without consent. Whereas aggressively sharing information for marketing may be considered bad netiquette and in the extreme could give rise to civil liability, unauthorized charges to credit cards can potentially be criminal. This hasn't been proven, but the allegations are far more serious than older complaints of aggressive marketing via email.
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