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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

You Gotta Have Faith

Just a couple thoughts before Game One tonight in Boston.

First, I thought this was an interesting article on the Rockies, faith, and how they've put their team together. It's funny how when you're winning things like this are spun in a neutral to positive fashion and when you're losing they're seen as part of the problem.

Like many folks in the area I too have a Rockies-ticket-buying-horror-story to tell. On Monday morning I was of course shut out as were all but 500 others. On Tuesday I had three computers running and twice was taken to the page allowing (supposedly) ticket purchases. After selecting four best available (section 121 row 26 for Game Four), getting the seats, entering the credit card, and verifying it, I was at, presumably, the final screen. After clicking the button it spun and spun for about three minutes and when it finally returned it said my reservation had timed out. On the three or four previous screens I had spent probably a total of 20 seconds in data entry and so the timeout consisted entirely of the response time from their servers. On the same machine I was able to access the transaction a couple seconds later (since they used a cookie per machine approach) but that browser could not access the cart information and the session died. I was hoping that perhaps the order went through and I'd receive a confirmation email but to no avail...

I think it's pretty clear that the company that runs the system simply wasn't prepared for the load and then tried to shift blame by claiming a malicious denial of service attack. Their tentativeness in saying that they could have been a target of such an attack smells funny and the fact that all they apparently changed was upping the wait time from 60 to 120 seconds indicates that they were trying to lighten the load. I hope the Rockies and MLB aren't buying the excuses. It's also clear that after looking at the HTML code they used to put up a timer, a program could easily have been written (and I'm sure was by ticket brokers as evidenced by the thousands upon thousands of tickets that now grace StubHub and EBay) to "force your way in line" and therefore have a better chance of acquiring seats.

It's too bad that local fans didn't have much of a shot at acquiring seats. Although the Rockies rightly claim that internet sales are the most equitable way to sell tickets (assuming you have the technology) there are other considerations to be made as well.

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