A man named Adam Naisbitt got frustrated with the Olympics ticketing website, which suffered from something not uncommon in the ticket-ordering world – an inability to provide up-to-date information, especially when that information is changing in seconds and minutes. Naisbitt didn’t like being told tickets were available when they weren’t, so he wrote a program that monitored the site constantly to verify the exact moment when tickets for events became available. As it turned out, the program worked well, and Naisbitt happily shared the information via Twitter.
But, not anymore. Changes to the official Olympic site have cut Naisbitt’s program down in its prime – apparently, as collateral damage.
As per TicketMaster’s request, the official Olympics site blocked any web traffic not coming from web browsers, including Naisbitt’s @2012ticketalert program. TicketMaster unsurprisingly handles the ticketing for the 2012 London Olympics (as well as just about every other live event ever) and, according to a representative from the Olympics site, wanted to put the brakes on bots that were used for more nefarious purposes than Naisbitt’s – those that found and bought tickets in bulk, only to allow the bots’ owners to sell the tickets at an increased price (another time honored live event tradition) to the interested public.
Unfortunately, Naisbitt’s helpful program seems to have gotten caught in the crossfire, which is a shame – the Twitter feed had thousands of followers, and Naisbitt says he has received hundreds of messages thanking him for his help. At least the story helps to remind us of one thing – bots don’t always have to be the bad guys.