A buy order for an extremely rare item in one place, and slightly cheaper sell order elsewhere.
People notice this, and try to buy the item, intending to move it and sell, but as soon as it's sold, the buy order disappears.
If an order is placed and the tickets don't exist (or the seller can't get them at a price that allows profit after all and chooses to flake out), Stubhub can just refund the buyer and wash their hands of it. Easy peasy.
Is that not OK?
I didn't notice the second conversation. If I had, I'd probably not have re-posted it so soon.
Edit: Actually, I can't find the 2015 conversation in the search.
To be precise, it's fine once more than a year has gone by since the last significant discussion. Otherwise we treat reposts as dupes: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html. But if a story hasn't had significant discussion yet, and it's particularly good, reposts are ok. Allowing good stories to have multiple chances at getting attention is a way to mitigate the randomness of what gets seen on the /newest page.
It seems the couple of mods have the power to change the placement of stories at will too, not sure, moderation is opaque here.
Well, I mean. Obviously I noticed that the first posting of the story had a very high upvote count. But I was going to post it anyway by that point (I got the story from another article I read today on HN, discussed in this thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16243067, and thought it would definitely be interesting).
I can see that being an exploitable tactic (search for very old articles with high number of votes) but not "by hand"- one would have to scrape HN for that sort of thing to work.
I digress- I don't know how I'd prove my post was "innocent". I do try to maximise my karma so the high upvote count on the original story was definitely a motive. I try to use karma as a guide for what to post. Not that it's working :)
Also reminds me of local competitor retailers exploiting Amazon's policies + algorithms to incur cost at Amazon: Amazon promises the lowest price for game pre-orders, and retailers would deliberately drop the price for a game hours before launch, forcing Amazon to honour the low price for all pre-orderers.
How would you arb this?
I wouldn't risk a million dollars on that strategy, though.
Fun story! A family member wanted to buy an air-fryer online. She found it on Walmart's site, then found it for $20 more on amazon. At first she tried to buy it from Walmart, but got frustrated with the process (setting up an account and stuff) and so she just went and paid the extra to order it from amazon. A few days later, she gets an air fryer in a Walmart box! At first she's super confused, and thought she'd mistakenly bought it from Walmart, so she went to cancel it from Amazon, and saw that that one had already arrived. What had happened was the Amazon seller was getting orders on their page, then immediately going to Walmart, ordering the fryer, then shipping it directly to the recipient. Kinda genius. Basically no overhead, no stock, just acting as a hidden walmart portal and pocketing a percentage.
I am saying this because I wanted to do drop shipping with sellers on Amazon, to arbitrary addresses via an api. How can it be done?
Yes, sometimes they'll suspend an offer if they think it's a mistake, they send a pricing notification. However, it's easy to relist at that price if you really want to, you just need to put a min and Max price in their system, and as long as your price is in between they'll accept it. The reason for this is if sellers make a fat finger mistake, so it makes sense they have a way to override.
Separately, they sometimes suppress the buy box if the price is over MSRP or more than other retailers. For a current example, see https://www.amazon.com/CollEGGtibles-12-Pack-Egg-Carton-Seas...
You can still buy, it just shows up as other sellers and needs an extra step to purchase. And it definitely hurts conversions, as I have seen on products I sell.
I actually have a database with tens of millions of asins that I have used in the past to generate lists of such items, but I just needed one example so didn't bother using it for this.
Amazon themselves sold me this sapphire ring ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OJ2BS10/ ) for $6. As I type this, they're charging $35 for it. It's the same product and the same vendor; the price varies intentionally.
The book itself has other listings, such as  for as low as $14.76 used, or  for $37.28 new
The best items to do this on is discontinued items that will still be in demand, as you can sure that eventually there will be no stock. Or when they have a significant sale on items that still sell reasonably well at regular price. The significant shipping fees for reselling mean you need to have a large discount.
You also have costs of returns, storage, etc. You typically want a minimum of 15-20% gross ROI after those fees.
For example, I've bought shavers at $180 and resold at $290-$300, from Amazon and on Amazon.
I will maybe, maybe accept that ID’ing is a barrier in the states, but in Europe everybody and their dog has id. Yet: scalping persists.
I don’t blame the resellers anymore, frankly.
Print a name on the ticket, check ID at entry. Zero scalpers, “problem” solved. They know that. Yet here we are. Why oh why?
Edit: to clarify, I’m trying to say that an event organiser has value from the concept of “selling out” beyond simply ticket revenue. It looks good, it’s a label that evokes exclusivity and popularity in audiences , which is important for future events. Big festivals are in the news every year with a new “sell out record time! Five femtoseconds omg! We are electrolytes, you are plants! Crave us!” Conveniently glossing over the fact that scalpers now own half the tickets. When pressed, “oh no, we hate scalpers! Boo. If we catch you, ho boy! We’ll give you a heck of a diddly talking to! Bad scalpers.” — “will you do anything to stop them?” — “yes, we all spend five minutes each day farting in their general direction.”
Give me a break.
It's like having a mafia and a corrupt police force, both. It's not like because the cops are corrupt, the mafia gets away scott free. They're both to blame that things are going down the drain.
In fact they're the same kind of people, following the same kind of tactics, just from different positions in society, like.
In this situation, it's arbitrage across time, and provides a benefit to customers buying later. It's meeting demand, which is good.
It's only a tiny minority of my business, because it's a lot easier to buy in bulk from wholesale in many cases.
I have talked to people that do millions just using this model, there's nothing wrong with it. Generally when Amazon has a sale they strictly limit how many you can buy to 3 or 27 or something, so it's not like you're buying out the market - just taking savings from when it's on sale and meeting demand at a different time.
Ticket resellers move tickets to people willing to pay more, which means they have a higher utility.
If there were enough tickets for everyone that wanted to pay the set price there would be no room for profit for resellers.
Oh and in general you can increase tickets by booking a larger place or doing whatever it is on multiple dates.
Rich people pay more not because the concert offers more utility but because the same number of dollars offers less utility.
That's assuming that "making a voluntary transaction" is really and uncontroversially a "pareto improvement". Personally, I have no idea what that means, but you can replace it with any term:
If someone is willing to give up their ticket for $X and
someone else is willing to buy the ticket for $X then it is
a <gobbledegook gobledegook> for them to trade, since they
both get something they value more than what they have.
People who buy heroin are making a voluntary transaction so
it's a <gobbledegook gobledegook> for them to trade their
dosh for junk.
You've made it clear you don't have any economic training, so I don't see the point in continuing this. You have all the terms you need to look it up if you want to learn, or just take some econ classes somewhere.
But, if you don't, I'll just assume that what you say would be obviously wrong, had I "economic training" and you're just wrapping it up in misused technical language to obscure that fact.
In my experience that's usually what's up when people introduce technical terms in everyday conversation outside academic fora, and where ordinary language is fully adequate to debate an issue.
This really is stuff taught in econ 101, it's not like you need a very advanced framework. All of the terms have a fairly easy to understand Wikipedia page.
Here's the simple definitions of the terms used:
Pareto improvement is a change made that benefits at least some people without making anyone worse off.
Kaldor-Hicks improvement is a change that, if it were combined with a transfer of money, would be a pareto improvement. In other words, the people who gain from the change gain more than the people who lose from it lose.
Externalities are effects of some action that happen to someone else - the classic example is pollution. If something produces externalities, that can be a reason to ban voluntary transactions or actions.
For instance, in the case of scalping, those who are worse off are the concert-goers who don't (go to a concert) because either they can't afford the artificially inflated prices, or there is not enough space for them in the venue. etc.
Regarding prices, assuming a ticket ends up going to someone willing to pay the price the reseller charges, then that state of a affairs is a Kaldor-Hicks improvement over the ticket going to someone else who paid less for it. Because the person paying more has more consumer surplus from going, and therefore it is more efficient if they go - any money changing hands is irrelevant to a Kaldor-Hicks analysis.
Scalpers can only exist if there are more people wanting to pay list price than seats. Scalpers ensure those seats go to those who assign higher value to them, rather than randomly. This improves Kaldor-Hicks efficiency.
I may have been a bit sloppy talking about utility interchangeably with willingness-to-pay, but it remains true that someone willing to pay more should get it instead of someone willing to pay less, or else the situation admits a kaldor hicks improvement. (There are weird cases with weird demand curves where this may not be true, which is why I specified "reasonable assumptions".)
I'm really sorry, ikeboy.
Is there something wrong with the Marxist definition of exploitation?
I don't really have anything to do with Marxists ("they") and I don't see how their attempts to convince of anything are relevant to our discussion.
The same objection is levelled at the notion of employees who are restricted from accessing the financial gains that the value of their labour leads to, that the owner of a company - a rich person say who inherited their money - is possibly getting more money just because they are rich whilst the workers, when classed as employees, are doing all the work that creates the value represented in the financial profit that the owner walks away with.
So, Ikeboy is saying you appear to object because the resellers are interjecting themselves and extracting the value without creating any value themselves, much as a corporations stock holders might. He appears to be saying "what's wrong with that", it is at the heart of capitalism after all.
Both the band and fans may prefer selling out the concert at use a price that maximizes utilization. A scalper is trying to maximize returns and does not care about 'selling out' just maximizing profit while minimizing effort.
Hell having a reputation as the guy that always has tickets may be worth regular lost sales. In the same way premium brands may sometimes destroy inventory vs offering discounts. EX: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2010/01/07/why_hm_destr.... Note the recommendations to use a textile recycler and zero recommendations to sell at a lower price.
Remember models are fun, but the real world is complex and you need to model reality not play with math.
A percentage of people showing up will buy extra merchandise which increases revenue. This captures value from people willing to pay higher ticket prices. So, if the band picks a price to sell out our reseller can buy all tickets raise the price and not sell out for a net profit. Meanwhile the band makes less money and fewer fans get to see the show.
Remember, in the current system both the venue and bands are maximizing their profit.
If they are finding buyers at the higher prices, that means the market clearing price is well above the list price, and scalping increases total surplus (again, by moving tickets towards those who value them more).
If the ticket sellers are artificially reducing the cost then this is what will happen.
That's optimistic. Ben Folds at the Washington Center for Performing Arts, tickets from $15-29...
After scalping bots? Cheapest ticket was $130.
And, it's also nonoptimal behavior on the events part, because they could increase total revenue by decreasing seats and increasing price.
And risk the negative feedback?
But I was very curious what the Amazon listing contained nonetheless, so: https://www.amazon.com/B06W56HNPQ
In a way, not even not having an ISBN is a sure way to "withdraw from the international book trade".
[EDIT: close paren. I couldn't take it!]
I was wondering if pricing on Amazon would be sufficient evidence to get into a Guinness World Records for the most expensive book offered in public??