Zigabid is a new secondary ticketing company, but unlike high-profile secondary ticket sites like StubHub, this Web site actually challenges buyers to name their own price. More specifically, buyers negotiate with sellers until both parties agree to a price.
"I was always intrigued by the fact that trading in commodities, anything from real estate to stocks, even buying a car, there was always a process of negotiation, putting in the price you want to pay, or trying to get the price you want to sell it for," Zigabid founding partner Dan Rubendall told Pollstar. "In this market, I found it kind of odd that there was a so-called primary and secondary market where the primary market would come out a fixed price, and then the secondary market would also trade at a fixed price."
Just as file-sharing forced the labels to speed up their digital delivery plans, the popularity of secondary ticketing has led to primary ticket sellers exploring reselling. Most notable is Ticketmaster's TicketExchange, where each ticket is guaranteed to be legitimate. However, to be fair, sites like StubHub and viagogo, which enable ticket holders to list and sell their tickets, also guarantee their services. Plus, StubHub is the official reseller for Major League Baseball, a distinction that confers some legitimacy on the service.
And now comes Zigabid, which enables buyers and sellers to negotiate secondary ticket prices. However, head honcho Rubendall isn't some Johnny-come-lately to offer unique ways of the ticketing industry. He's operated the Ticket Palace ticket agency in Southern California for the past 25 years, and has had plenty of time to think about the ticket market.
"In seeing that, about two-and-a-half years ago I said we need to develop something that better reflects what consumers and sellers really want, which is a negotiation process to come to the point of selling their seat or buying their ticket, rather than ‘guestimate' or guess what the seller or buyer is going to sell or purchase the ticket at."
At first glance, Zigabid looks like a person-to-person secondary ticket site. However, the events listed also display the lowest, the highest and average ticket price.
Clicking on an event brings up a second screen that really shows Zigabid's potential. Along with bringing up the individual listings for the event, such as a list of Madonna shows or a schedule of USC Trojans football games, the screen also displays the "TicketWatch" window, a graph illustrating ticket prices over the last few days. It's kind of like watching a company's stock performance, but instead of shares bought and sold, it's information on ticket transactions.
"One of the biggest, I think, misconceptions about the ticket industry, whenever the press gets a hold of some data they'll say, ‘Tickets are going on StubHub for $5,000 apiece for the Lakers / Boston series,'" Rubendall said.
"The problem with that scenario is that it is the listed price. It's not the actual sales price. You don't hear Wall Street say the listed price of homes is at this price. They give you the data for what they actually sold for. And that's what this graph is for. It's an actual graph of data consumed on the site that gives you what seats actually sell for."
But even though a public beta testing can often reveal strengths and weaknesses, in the case of Zigabid, it doesn't quite reveal just how big a job it would be if the majority of tickets in the primary or secondary market suddenly opened up for negotiations. After all, when you consider the ticket listings on Ticketmaster or StubHub, and then picture people haggling over every seat, that's a lot of back and forth negotiating that's sure to eat up time as well as processing power.
"A lot of people with a lot of tickets have said, ‘We love the idea. We've been looking for this forever. But how do we deal with 100 people coming in with negotiations, and having to respond back and forth?'" Rubendall said.
"But you only have to respond to one person, which you perceive has given the best offer.It's a much better process in any commodities industry to react to what somebody is willing to pay, rather than trying to react by guessing at what somebody is willing to pay."