Online Ticketing
November 8, 2004 12:58 PM   Subscribe

I run a not-for-profit theatre company. It's a 501(c)(3) corporation. We would like to take our own ticket orders online via credit card. We're currently using Smarttix.com, but they take a big chunk out of each ticket sale -- plus they charge us a $75 "setup fee" per show.

I'm wondering if there are other services I could switch to that would be more cost-effective.
posted by grumblebee to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
 
I'd think PayPal would be a good option, as long as you are able to update your site yourself.
posted by o2b at 1:08 PM on November 8, 2004


Unless the point is you don't have a site -- sorry.
posted by o2b at 1:08 PM on November 8, 2004


Brown paper tickets?
posted by vacapinta at 1:10 PM on November 8, 2004


Could you write them a request to waive that setup fee? Think of it as writing a grant. I work at a non-profit, and we do similar requests fairly frequently.
posted by rhapsodie at 1:24 PM on November 8, 2004


Response by poster: ob2, I love paypal (and we do have a site), but the problem with paypal is that BUYERS have to have an account. I know it's really easy to sign up for one, but a large percentage of our audience (which is 50+ years old) will say "oh to hell with it." But I will definitely make paypal and option. It's how I like to buy things online.
posted by grumblebee at 1:33 PM on November 8, 2004


I don't know how much it costs, but the non-profit I work for uses Entango to collect subscription payments - their services are targeted toward NPOs.
posted by bendy at 1:41 PM on November 8, 2004


Another mention for Brown Paper Tickets, which is a non-profit that is trying to expose Ticketmaster as the Satanic Death Cult that it is.

I don't know of anyone that has used it (they're new) but they really sound promising.
posted by mathowie at 2:05 PM on November 8, 2004


Do you need an account for paypal? I dislike paypal quite strongly, but I've seen people accepting credit cards without requiring registration via paypal, so that shouldn't be the problem.
posted by fvw at 2:44 PM on November 8, 2004


AuctionPay isn't exactly what you're looking for, but they might be able to help you out.

pwb.
posted by pwb503 at 2:57 PM on November 8, 2004


Paypal used to require that a payer setup an account to make payments. However, they recently (past year?) waived this requirement.
posted by alan at 3:24 PM on November 8, 2004


I produced Howard Zinn's Marx in Soho in LA several years ago, and Smarttix ripped us off for the entire take of the run (last I heard, someone else connected with the production back East was taking them to court to recover losses, but I have to admit I don't know how it's progressed beyond that). I don't have any suggested alternatives, but I just wanted to say that Smarttix has earned my undying emnity for all the crap they pulled on us, so I fervently hope you find someone else.
posted by scody at 3:50 PM on November 8, 2004


I recently finished my term running a non-profit community theater company. We currently have a local firm handling our tickets, but they're sorely lacking in services. As soon as the contract expires, and not a day after, I'll be pushing for a move to Brown Paper Tickets. They do both sales and reservations, over the phone and over the net (their site and ours), assigned seating or not, and multiple pricing levels. They charge a small surcharge, but with what they offer, it's totally worth it.
posted by ewagoner at 6:26 PM on November 8, 2004


There's also Virtuous, which was founded by the husband of singer/songwriter/former Throwing Muse Kristin Hersh. I'm not sure how Brown Paper Tickets determined they were the "first and only fair-trade ticketing company," since Virtuous seems to fit that bill, too.

We considered using Virtuous when going to electronic ticketing at the venue I book. At the time, there weren't very many options and we went with TicketWeb (part of TicketMaster now) despite the usurous rates because their system was the easiest for older people and those who are less web savvy. And it was actually on the cheap end of the scale, unbelievably.

If anyone out there is thinking about starting their own online ticket service, DO IT. There isn't nearly enough competition, and none of the services are as good as they could be.
posted by bcwinters at 7:22 PM on November 8, 2004


Response by poster: I've actually been thinking about it a lot. I wonder how much capital you'd need to raise in order to do it.
posted by grumblebee at 8:53 PM on November 8, 2004


grumblebee - please follow up on this thread when you make a decision. I have no use for a ticket service but am strangely compelled to find out what what you choose and why.
posted by revgeorge at 6:14 AM on November 9, 2004


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