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Not a Misprint

San Diego Comic-Con Tickets Sell Out In The Time It Takes To Watch An Episode Of Doctor Who

They came, they saw, they…went home in tears. I’m talking of course of all those who tried to get San Diego Comic-Con (Comic-Con International) tickets yesterday. New policies were implemented this year to make the process go smoother and well, it’s no surprise it didn’t. Tickets for the pop-culture convention sold out in under an hour (a new record) and lots of people were left with nothing thanks to technical difficulties. 

Comic-Con 2012 badges went on sale at 8:00 a.m. PST on Saturday and were sold out after about a half hour according to reports. All 4-day passes and all single-day passes are now gone. Last year, they sold out in seven hours.

The new policy this year was that anyone who wanted to go to SDCC, whether you were a fan, press, or professional, had to register for a member ID. This was in part to make things more efficient when the time came to actually purchase tickets but also to cut down on ticket scalping or swapping. After signing up, you received an email with a link. And not just a link. It came along with a warning.

Although you are required to have a Member ID to purchase a badge, sharing the above link on a social networking site may decrease your chances of obtaining a badge. Although only those with a Member ID will be allowed to purchase a badge, the EPIC waiting room is open to the general public and if the link above is leaked online, we anticipate that several thousand people who did not sign-up for a Member ID will attempt to access the registration system erroneously. Additionally, should you choose to share the date or link online, it is likely to be picked up by numerous media outlets who will share this information with a larger audience.

But when the time came, the link didn’t work for everyone. Though apparently it worked just fine if you copy/pasted it into your browser instead of just clicking it, but SDCC says it had to do with volume. They released this statement via their Facebook:

Comic-Con 2012 badges are sold out. Although our site and EPIC’s registration site was able to handle the load of customers wishing to purchase a badge, the conduit between the link in the email and the registration site was overwhelmed and service was intermittent for a short period of time. However, the link was not incorrect and was not dead, and once the volume of hits decreased it worked as planned. There will be a chance to purchase refunded and returned badges at a later date. Thank you!

That didn’t satisfy many of those who walked away empty handed. Many replied to the statement on Facebook or took to Twitter to complain how SDCC screwed them over again. Last year, they make three separate attempts to sell tickets after their system crashed more than once.

By this point, it’s hard to tell if anything SDCC does will make the process fair and smooth for everyone. Something always goes wrong and someone is always left out. So what do you do if you tried and failed to get a ticket for this years show? Chances are slim from here on out but, as the mentioned in their statement, SDCC does release badges that have been returned for whatever reason as time goes on. There’s always a chance they held a few back for later release as well. Besides that? Search the net for contests I suppose. Or just wait to storm the castle next year.

(via The Beat, image via Nerd Girl Problems)

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  • Teresa Jusino

    Go to San Diego and wait for the parties. That’s where all the action is anyway. :)

  • Anonymous

    There was the additional problem of telling people with spaces or dashes in their last names to only use the second half as their last name identifier (so like “da Silva” were told to use “Silva”).  This then didn’t work causing people to lose time and tickets as they repeatedly typed in their last name. (It turned out they were indeed supposed to use their entire last name, so the email was incorrect)

  • Anonymous

    It is surprising that an event arranged by and for nerds has had technical problems and has excluded people. I believe this is irony.

  • Sara Kirstein

    It took only a modicum of internet savvy to try cut-and-paste rather than click directly. If it was so difficult, why did it sell out so fast? Looks like the computer-abled will be dominating attendance this year.

  • amy ellenhorn

    i don’t care what they said, the link *did not* work. after 4 minutes (8:04) i used a different link (ironically that someone had posted on FB) and that worked, but those 4 minutes cost me and i did not get a ticket :( 

  • Amanda Kathryn Scoggins

    I agree with Amy it didn’t matter if you figured out how to make it work or not. I resent some of the smarmy-ness (sp?) that some people who got tickets are adopting about those of us left out not being savvy enough, there just are not enough to go around! I think maybe there should be some kind of lottery system or you register in waves somehow instead of all at once?   I don’t know it is very discouraging to say the least! Anyone have recommendations for good more low key conventions in the LA area?

  • Sarah

    I managed to score a badge. This’ll be my sixth year at SDCC, and it’s remarkable what a hassle this whole thing has turned into. I really feel for everyone who got screwed by the link in the email. CCI said “oh, be prepared to wait forever,” so I can totally understand why people believed that bad link would work. It totally sucks. :(

  • Geoffrey Dennis

    I serendipitously cut-and-pasted after 5 minutes of frustrating rejection. Got on, got in 22,713, waited about 40 minutes, and got four tickets for Th. and Sun. It was over over 15 minutes later. Random? You bet. But it means my family, who have never been, will go this year. Is this a bad thing? If one of the 10 timers who didn’t get in have costumes they don’t want, they can send them to me, my wife, and my 16 and 13 year olds. No Hentai, DC and Marvel OK, Star Trek and Star Wars a little cliche for us at this point. 

  • Cameron Rene Ramirez

     Because nerds never have a problems incorporating others or implementing projects.

  • Cameron Rene Ramirez

     Wonder con on March 16-18 in Anaheim, Long beach Comic Con that is one day in May and three in November and then Los Angeles comic con today! Oh crap today! Thanks a lot LA for the notice.

  • Shawn Alexander

    My hubby and I tried the link for 10 mins (yeah we really took that long to realize it didn’t work) I got in through the official site. We managed Thursday and Sunday. We are first timers but we’re happy we at least get to go. I was mad that I didn’t get what I wanted but feel sorry for those that didn’t get in at all. Hopefully resale tickets will get more people in.

  • JoAnna Luffman

    This is why I will never waste my time with SDCC. I’ll stick to Atlanta and D*C, with what maybe a smaller attendance, but a much larger setup for vendors/actors/gaming/music. 

    I have never heard of them selling out, no matter how many people are there.

  • Laura

    Same story as last year, going on Thursday and Sunday. Ah well, all of the panels I really want to see will probably be on YouTube if I can’t see them because they are on Friday/Saturday.

  • Anonymous

    Some smart progressively minded city is going to catch on and become an annual destination site for various genre events probably 8-10 per year, and no i am not talking about what a number of cities already HAVE, I mean they roll out the pilgrimage to the MECCA/SHANGRALA type of event, maybe you can see it more as the triple crown rolled into one type of the high point of the yearly cycle kind of event.

  • Jan Jarrell

    I wouldn’t touch this over-hyped,  insanely over-rated con with my CAR. It’s hot, it’s wall-to-wall people, and it’s horribly uncomfortable. Staff are harried, indifferent, and incredibly rude. You spend 6 hours in Hall ‘H’ looking at inane bullshit in order to see ONE panel that’s worth anything. And since the panel’s participants are a half mile away and thus are nothing more than unrecognizable blurs unless you stare at the unfocused pixelated screen, you’d be far better off waiting a half hour and watching it on youtube from the comfort of your living room. Believe me, you’ll have a better view. Thank GOD for Dragon*Con!

  • Anonymous

    Dragon Con is well worth it and has yet to disappoint me, and there are other
    “ya gotta try’s” here, like The Cabbage Patch Hospital (just for the bragging rights), HELEN from October through Christmas (whole town thing GOOGLE it), Light Up Atlanta (wish this was a 24/365 thing it would put conservatives right wingers and the entire republican party out of business in Georgia if it was,lol) and Stone Mountain is a one of kind and if you can, do a concert at the FOX THEATER (which is no relation to the evil media empire of the same name and predates it by decades) the place is the perfect concert/event venue THE FOX even has a resident Phantom.

    Any hoo I did attend SDCC once and it was chaotic and crowded.

  • Emily Hill

    Hasn’t Comic-con ever heard of at the door payment the cons I go to you can get a three day pass at the door I mean you gotta buy the gold and silver badges online if you want to do things like have dinner with voice actors but still

  • Jaime Kimbrel

    was going to be my response as well. The only problem with Dragon*Con that even
    compares to this, is trying to get a con hotel before they sell out, but even
    then you can at least still GO to the con. Very excited to go back this year!

  • Jaime Kimbrel

    I’m going to jump on the Dragon*Con bandwagon to promote what is one of the best
    fan-run conventions I’ve ever gone to. D*C has everything you could ever want
    in a convention and more: over 27 separate genre tracks, amazing costumers who
    love to take photos with you, large spaces to gather (drink) and hang out
    (drink) with new and old friends, stars who actually have FUN at con and like
    to meet (drink) with fans, nifty hotels with lots of accommodations and nearby
    places to eat (drink), and fun and interesting panels! Also, sometimes there is
    drinking at the con, mostly it happens from around 2 pm on Thursday ‘til 12 pm
    on Monday. But it is also fun to do sober, as you have lots of drunk nerds
    running around to amuse you.

  • Foo

    It’s time to break SDCC into several cons based on what you want to attend.  Hollywood glitz and movie panels get their own ticket and get moved to one end of the centre.  Comics get their own ticket.  Games and whatever else can get their own ticket.  You can pay additional to get full access to be everything.

    Heck, if you break off the TV/Movie stuff, you probably don’t even need to break the stuff into their own categories.

  • XconWorld

    There’s always Xcon World!

  • Lee Newman

    Here’s how it happened to me.

  • Al Pavangkanan

     Exactly.  There was so much offsite stuff going on last year you didn’t really need a Comic Con pass.

  • Jake

    None of what I read on here sounds accurate. This is what actually happened. I tried the link for 30min, finally got in with 37000 people, at 32000 4 days sold out, at 21000 Friday & Saturday sold out, at 7900 Thursday & Sunday were all sold out. In all it took about 1 hour & 22 min for all the tickets to sell not 30min.
    They should not have allowed people to buy more than 1 badge, why allow 6? They should not have allowed multiple days to be bought at one time either.

  • david michaud

    Living in Atlanta i go to D*C every year and love it. They don’t seem to get as high profile actors for newer movies etc but theydo well.
    They even seem to be getting better at their badge pick up system which was much better last year than years past.

  • Crystal Lynn

    I feel fortunate that I am a bit older. I grew up in San Diego and Comic-Con wasn’t nearly as insane as it is now during my teen years. I was lucky to attend over the years prior to it exploding. It’s still lots of fun, but you honestly do not need to set your sights on SDCC with so many other awesome cons around the country. They are less crowded and it’s not nearly as difficult to get in.

    If anyone really has their heart set on SDCC and can’t get a ticket, go to San Diego and just spend your day on the beach or sightseeing in San Diego. Then catch up on the panels via blogs and head downtown for the after-con parties and events – because believe me there are LOTS of ‘em and it’s a lot of fun.

  • Michael Ash

    OK I’m going to defend Comic-con.  It is the best run comic convention out there and because of that it has become so popular it can’t support all the people who want to attend. Overcrowding is a problem which is why the only sell so many tickets.  Keep in mind all those complaining about not getting a tickets would have contributed to the crowd. And really it’s the Fire Marshall who is setting the cutoff.  Now I have been to Dragon-con as well, and that show is a good one too now, though not for the same reasons.  It doesn’t offer as much and the focus is slightly different. And in the past there have been some been some disappointing Dragon*Con for me. I even stopped attending for several years because of it. Acting like Dragon-con can’t suffer a similar fate with growth is ridiculous. Only two years ago their pre-reg ticket pickup was horrible. It took almost 4hrs of standing in line just to pick up my ticket. I can’t remember the last time it even took 5mins for the same task at SDCC.  If Dragon*Con attendance triples, like SDCC did in the last 10 yrs, they would face some of the same problems in their current venue.  Yes there are plenty of other show to attend but they are not all interchangeable. SDCC is the biggest and most diverse US con, Dragon*con is more party-like, especially at night.  Heroes-con is more about comics and creators. You can have fun at all of them but they are 3 different experiences.  There may be things you like more about one doesn’t mean the others aren’t worth attending.

  • Stephanie

    This year I decided to take my chances and not buy badges and instead sign up to be a volunteer. Fortunately my volunteer application was accepted. This wast the first time I signed up for it so I wasn’t sure I was going to get picked. 
    So for those who want to go to Comic-Con next year, look into being a volunteer. You might have to miss out on certain panels, but after finishing your volunteer hours, you have the rest of the day to walk the floor and go to other panels.

  • Anonymous

    Just my two cents… why doesn’t comic con simply add more dates to this event like any popular rock band would based on demand. It seems to me they’re just throwing away almost guaranteed income every single year. Genius…

  • fireajsmith

    Total scam. There were no tickets available to purchase. All badges were given out to vendors and friends of SDCC staff.