Last week yet another ticketing company intending to disrupt established players like Ticketmaster announced its launch. At first, though FanFueled offers an interesting mix of fan rewards and low fees, I was a bit underwhelmed by covering yet another contestant in a crowded field. But after speaking with Founder and CEO Anderson Bell, I realized there's a lot more to this story than my first impressions revealed.
FanFueled's Rewards Process
As announced last week, social ticketing platform FanFueled not only offers low fees for tickets but also offers a revenue share for fans who buy tickets and encourage their friends to buy tickets. Event organizers can also reward fans who are big supporters.
FanFueled has built a patent pending tracking system that follows ticket sales as they work their way from fan to fan to identify who got the ball rolling. This system allows both FanFueled and bands, as well as other event promoters, to reward the folks who bought tickets early and spread the word rather than rewarding people who buy tickets at the last minute with discounts.
I spoke with Founder and CEO Anderson Bell last week while he was visiting San Francisco to raise even more money than the recently announced $1 million in venture capital. He has big plans for FanFueled that go beyond simple ticketing services. He may be building a war chest for the coming shakeout in the ticketing arena, though he emphasized that the funds were intended for such goals as improving their analytics display.
Bell tends to make strong statements::
"Ticketmaster's model is completely antiquated, and it's kind of a cancer to the industry...It's sucking out a lot of the resources without putting anything in for the ecosystem;" and,
"We look at Ticketmaster as a kind of a pollutant and we look at FanFueled as clean energy."
But most of Bell's statements to me were not about dissing Ticketmaster. Rather they focused on his belief that a system that rewards the initial ticket buyer who then spreads the word is a way of "showing people that their voice matters" and "that one person can make a difference."
On a more prosaic level, that means that their analytics platform will show fans how many tickets they've sold and what rewards they've earned. In fact, their analytics are at the heart of going beyond ticketing to building an engagement platform that can be used to track and reward fans for other actions, such as Facebook Likes and Twitter tweets, whether or not a band or brand is using their ticketing services.
Some of the successes during their beta period involved working with events such as Camp Bisco that already had exclusive ticketing agreements. As they continue to strengthen their front end, I believe they will be able to build more relationships with organizations that can't use their ticketing services. That could position them well for longterm possibilities when exclusive agreements come up for review.
Given that fans will profit from encouraging ticket sales, I asked Bell about the possibility of spam. He said they had been concerned, but had found that ticket buyers focused on sharing the events with their friends unlike the behavior one often finds with affiliate programs. So limiting rewards to ticket buyers is a simple but strong approach that has, so far, eliminated spam but has also turned the period between buying a ticket and attending a show into an opportunity for fans to spread the word, which is typically the strongest form of marketing available.
Bell hopes that FanFueled can help spur change in the ticketing industry beyond the success of his own company. I found his perspective similar in many ways to that of Brown Paper Tickets as articulated by CEO Steve Butcher.
And I have to admit that, just as Steve Butcher convinced me that his ticketing company's perspective was more than just hype, I found Anderson Bell another convincing advocate for what Brown Paper Tickets calls the "Fair-Ticketing Revolution."
Hypebot contributor Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at All World Dance and This Business of Blogging. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.