Ethical dilemmas‎ > ‎

"Expected to sell out," "Small number available" and other vague tactics

Culture vultures want to be on the scene when a hot event rolls through town. Of course, when a show, sporting event, or festival is particularly buzz-worthy there is generally an excess of demand for admission. Recently it seems like a lot of concert promoters are including "warnings" of sellout and mentioning that "tickets are going really fast" in their online communications.

How much information is communicated in these postings? And is it ethical to make unqualified claims about sales rates?

As an event promoter, you could sell one ticket out of 500 available and then get out to the message boards and update the event website to note that tickets are selling quickly. This is not really a blatant lie but it certainly calls your credibility into question. Ultimately sellers want to create a buzz about their offerings and writing that you expect a sell out is a great way to pressure people into getting their orders locked in. While you should never lie to consumers, I feel that it might be within reason to hype an event and encourage people to "get your tickets while you still can".

An excerpt on unattributed quotations (for journalists)

Message Board chatter for Waterfront Music Fest (back in May 2010)