Brando Rich is Co-founder of CashorTrade.org – an online trading site where fans buy, sell and trade goods and services for cash or trade at face value. CashorTrade currently has over 12,700 members and over 26,000 trades.
OK, so tell me about CashorTrade.org.
We launched the site in the winter of '09 with an objective to help fans obtain tickets at FACE VALUE by providing an alternative to the ticket scalping prevalent in the secondary market. Today, we've evolved into much more than ticket trading. For example, members trade rides, hotel reservations, artwork, posters, pins, clothing and tee shirts. Even transferable airline miles have been traded on cashortrade!
To show our gratitude to the Face Value Ticket Fair Trade movement we are giving away 2 FREE TICKETS TO NEW YEARS EVE SHOWS for 8 different bands (Phish, Furthur, Widespread Panic, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Yonder Mountain String band, Umphrey's Mscgee, Moe, and Little Feat). That's 16 NYE TICKETS for just being part of the community. Here's the link to enter.
How do you use social/digital media to attract fans to your site and keep them informed of what's going on?
We actively use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. As of today we have reached over 10,000 Facebook friends. We are building the community each day, and it's been expanding quickly as more and more fans follow us. There is a huge need to put the website into people's hands via mobile devices.
That's such a great way of putting it. How are you using mobile apps to build your organization?
In 2012 more people will surf the web on a mobile device than on a home or work computer. We have a mobile app currently that is mostly built for the iPhone. As we are in the process of redesigning our framework, we are developing a streamlined app to be compatible on all phones.
iTour, the app that helps you navigate your way around your favorite band's tours, has integrated the CashorTrade mobile app, and is available today on iTunes. Thank you, Marc from iTour.
I'd also like to ANNOUNCE A NEW FEATURE RELEASE! CASHORTRADE API Beta
I'd be honored to help break the news!
Our new CashorTrade.org API gives any website or blog the ability to simply pull our "trade list" into their website. Phish.net has worked with us to provide a face value ticket resource. They are the first to use our API and you can check it out here.
So have you been working with any other websites prior to the API launch?
Over the past 3 years we have been promoting fan based blogs across the community. We are recently working with Panic Stream and OtherOnes.net and integrated them within our tab navigation. They have featured us as main links at the top of their sites as well. Many blogs have been tremendously supportive with posting, tweeting and sharing our stories and events. YEMblog and Phanart.net have been very helpful, as well as many others.
It sounds like you've found that social/digital media can be most effective when used to build relationships. And through those relationships, you can build your organization and spread the CashorTrade word
Yes, the FACE VALUE MISSION. The idea of supporting one another. After all, the more members there are, the more tickets there will be for all!!
We also feature our trade list on our FB page so people may browse trades while surfing Facebook. It is the "FaceValueTix & Trades" tab on the left. In 2012, we will make it possible for Facebook friends, as well as API users, to create an account with CashorTrade as well as post directly to CashorTrade while on Facebook or the other sites.
Let me ask you this. How has new media impacted ticket exchange on the secondary market?
In the past ticket scalpers have been able to build programs to exploit Ticketmaster's site and purchase large groupings of tickets at once, putting large quantities of tickets in scalpers' hands that end up inflated on online auction websites.
(Yes there probably are some fans selling their tickets for over face too, but there is a large amount of straight scalpers on the scene as well). YET, new technologies are in the works to cut the scalper out as much as possible.
Can you talk a little bit about these technologies and what they are doing to cut out scalpers?
A company named OutBox/AEG is producing software that will rival large ticket giants like Ticketmaster. Fred Rosen, Ticketmaster's CEO from 1982 to 1998, is the CEO of Outbox Enterprises, LLC, and they believe there is no room for third party middle men in the ticket business.
The Outbox software will allow users to login and transfer their tickets to a friend, then they would use their credit card and swipe it when they arrive at the show. As we believe that tickets will never go non-transferable, CashorTrade will continue to thrive on the secondary ticket market
Moving to paperless tickets will cut scalpers out almost completely. Ticketmaster was debating whether or not to make paperless tickets transferable to others. This would create an upset we feel. Also, I believe Outbox already owns more than 100 venues across the country so they are a good start. The main concept of Outbox is to allow venues to sell their own tickets instead of outsourcing to large ticket giants like Live Nation, Ticketmaster, etc.
What – if anything – can bands do to encourage fair ticket exchange?
This is a big one. So, as I understand, usually bands hire a group of people to manage their ticket lotteries rather than have random computer drawings. I have heard everything from using band memberships, to just selecting specific fan bases and using seniority – there are a number of different ways to try and keep tickets out of the hands of scalpers.
However, as I'm sure you can imagine, there is equal thought as to whether this is a good or bad thing. Fans are torn sometimes on this. The Grateful Dead's mail order used to involve creativity and your ability to follow directions. For example, not placing your stamp in exactly the right place could result in your mail order request being denied. I also remember Dusty – my brother and co-founder of CashorTrade – doing great artwork on the front of a 3X5 index card encouraging the mail order people to select us as lottery winners. So, yes, in the past bands have used systems for such things….
I should mention that PHISH does have an anti-scalper policy that is enforced if tickets are indeed identified and attempted to be resold at above face value.
I recently interviewed Scott Bernstein from Hidden Track and we talked about Twitter's role in spreading ticket related info.
With Twitter, discussion is occurring every second, literally. When word hits the scene, info is tweeted and re-tweeted exponentially to large groups of fans in minutes. It is true that if the FAN stays up on today's technology they can beat the scalpers being in the KNOW and ahead of the game.
I should also mention that we offer an RSS feed to help keep fans on top of trades quickly. You can add the bookmark of the feed to your browser and check the lists just by clicking the drop down.