A search for “bluejays” on Twitter during the past two days has certainly resulted in more negative than positive results (..completely anecdotal! No real research here!). For the most part, users took to the medium to voice their displeasure and their inability to obtain tickets for the Home Opener (ahem. the Honda Opening Night) shortly after single-game tickets went on sale. Now, tickets for the Home Opener have been available through other pathways. If you are a season ticket holder, you have that access. If you purchased a Flex Pass, you would have had access (though, availability for that game to Flex Pass holders has been sold out for sometime).
Of course, the “Flex Pass” has a degree of inherent inflexibility. Many are not looking to purchase 10 or more games at a time. The number of games can be a big commitment for someone living outside of the city (because, you know, the Jays are billed as “Canada’s Team”).
But something that irked me this morning, and the impetus for this post, were the comments made by Stephen Brooks, VP of business operations for the Jays. (Note, that his comments were presented as responses in the Toronto Star, but we were not given the actual specific questions that would have solicited his comments.)
The Jays’ senior vice-president of business operations, Stephen Brooks, said there wasn’t a system crash but the processing of tickets may have been slowed in some cases by the volume of demand.
“Those are the realities of any online sale,” Brooks said.
The appearance of a server crash, either due to lack of response by an overloaded server or due to other technical issues, is not the “reality” of any online sale. They are, however, the reality of any online sale where the server is not equipped to handle the expected load, or not equipped to properly communicate the cause of any server issues to the public/client. This shows the importance of communications to clients (web app) in such situations. The lack of an effective user interface results in many users assuming that a server has crashed, and the most frustrated and vocal of the bunch took to social media to perpetuate that myth. It should be noted that the term “server crash” is, to the general public, an all-encompassing word for any issue that causes a lack of server response – which could be at any point along the chain of server communication with the client, such as a DNS issue or client memory load due to an especially hoggy script (read: flash). Similarly, it’s why anyone who uses a command line interface in popular media is considered a “Hacker.” (Well, unless they’re whipping up a GUI in VB to track the killer).
On Friday, there were more than 2,500 tickets to the home opener available on Stubhub, with the cheapest seat ($14 face value) selling for $57 and the most expensive going for $1,620.
“It reflects the popularity of the team this year, which is a positive,” Brooks said. “Seeing fans paying inflated prices like that I don’t think is ideal for anybody. But it is the unfortunate reality of the ticket world.”
He seems to like to emphasize our reality — as though we are resigned to a sad fate dictated by the “ticket world.” It’s more than a little odd coming from those selling the tickets. To suggest that they don’t have that much influence, or do not have the ability to change the way tickets are sold is laughable (offensive?). The New York Yankees recently dropped StubHub as an official reseller in an attempt to better control the “reality” of their ticket sales. That reality, of course, is quite different for season ticket holders and occasional purchasers.
One of the first visualizations…maps…of how we organize what we see. Among the most interesting revelations is the fact that how we might categorize something in communication is different that how our brain might. For instance, “body parts” is in a significantly different part of this “semantic tree” than “people”.
The map may have implications for sign and urban interface design. If we can design space to better reflect cognitive expectation, perhaps we can create a more intuitive experience. A knowledge of how the brain organizes information seems to go well beyond the categories, colours, and sizes that we’ve grown accustomed to.