Sunday, February 17, 2013

SDCC 2013: All Open Registration Tickets Sold Out!

Yes, they are ALLLLLLLLL GONE.

Online registration for Comic-Con badges was opened at 9am PST on 16 February. That was about 20 hours ago.

Within the hour of registration, all 4-Day + Preview Night badges were sold out, and a few minutes later, all 4-Day passes were gone too. Saturday 1-Day badges ran out shortly later and by after 10.15 am or so, all available passes were snapped up.

Compare this time frame last year, where passes were sold out within 7 hours. It is as if the Comic-Con passes are becoming to be more sought after than gold kryptonite!

Red Dot Diva was curious about the online registration process and decided to go through with it to see what the experience would be like. At 9am sharp, she clicked the "almost secret" registration link ("thanks" to a particular Comic-Con blog who posted the link publicly) but could not get into the online waiting room. The white page showed up and connection was spooling for a good 15 minutes.

After awhile, the message, "We are sorry, but the EPIC online waiting room has reached capacity and it is unlikely that badges are still available." Well, that's that then.

Comic-Con's email instructions repeatedly mentioned that registrants SHOULD NOT refresh the page. If they did, they would be pushed back to the front of the queue. But, Red Dot Diva knew of many of tried refreshing and the online waiting room page showed up for them. They were later able to secure themselves convention passes of some sort.

Out of curiosity again, Red Dot Diva tried to refresh, but the same thing happened with a continually spooling white page. So, she gave up.

After registration, Comic-Con apparently posted this remark on their Facebook page:
".... the conduit between the link in the email and the registration site was overwhelmed and service was intermittent for a short period of time." This is what probably happened to the gazillions of hopeful registrants who tried clicking on the same link at the same time.

Eager to find out how the process went down with others, Red Dot Diva asked folks on Twitter what their own experiences were, and expectedly, there was a mixed bag of reactions:

The good:
@athena606 -  "it was pretty simple and quick we got our tickets in about an hour"

@ TJ_alejandra - "Got in, no problem!"

@JusticePie told me that he managed to get passes and helped some folks to get theirs too. According to his tweets, he was stuck in a waiting room at #9870 which did not update for a good 20 minutes. Taking his chances with a refresh, he found himself moved up the line to #600 and snagged those badges.

The bad:
@yesjrk - "Tried to buy my #SDCC tix using a gigabit connection 1ms from a huge internet exchange point & still failed Comic_Con "

Fellow local @HereBeGeeks blogger @direcow - "member ID was fine, but website went white at 1am and refused to recover till later, number didn't move anyway. :( "

@KarenS91 - "the badge system this year was a EPIC FAIL. i know loads of people who couldnt gt in. bt i gt tickets cos someone else got me them" [sic]

@gratie127 - "total bust on my end, didn't even get in the waiting room. Luckily I had a friend in the US and she managed to get me a badge"

From her own experience, Red Dot Diva never got lucky or anything epic out from EPIC's server. It probably does not even like divas. But she noticed that with the compulsory signing up of Member ID prior to registration, and the execution of staggered sales registrations (pre-registration was open last year in August for those who had badges in 2012) did help to make the process fairer. At least, unscrupulous scalpers were more or less taken out of the equation.

The simple truth is that Nerdom is now the In-thing in This Age. And with its proximity to Hollywood - the hub of mainstream pop-culture - the demand for Comic-Con's passes far surpasses the capacity it can offer.

Red Dot Diva highly doubts moving the convention to LA or any other location would really solve the main issue. Even other big or medium-sized conventions, like NYCC and Dragon*Con, were very well attended or sold out last year. Adding more capacity to the San Diego Convention Centre may help somewhat, but in a general scheme of things, and the exponential rate of growth of the geek population, Red Dot Diva does not think that would really ease the demand either.

So if you were not able to score passes to Comic-Con, what else can one do besides raging and Smashing things like The Hulk?

1. Consider going to other conventions that may be less hectic. There could be one or two held nearer to where you live which would reduce costs by a substantial amount. Sure, it may not be as glitzy as Comic-Con but for a hardcore comics fan, there really are better and more intimate options out there. Why insist on going to San Diego? Here's a pretty good list of USA conventions this year.

2. If you already are going to be in San Diego during convention week or intending to there any way, the media and organizers have been more savvy last year. Red Dot Diva noticed a lot more activities being held outside the convention centre itself and some were very cool. She recommends the Nerd Machine's NerdHQ, or participating in the San Diego Zombie Walk. And if the WB decides to repeat what their did last year with an off-site outdoor stage, one could possibly catch some of your fave celebs too.

3. Wait for the resale of returned badges to be announced at a later date, and try to score tickets again. Make sure you have a Member ID registered already and keep checking the social networks and your email for the announcement.

4. Check out your local media and scour the internet for online contests where Comic-Con tickets can be won. It is a possibility. One of Red Dot Diva's roomies, a far-flung Kiwi fan who loves "Castle", got her passes from a NZ-based contest!

5. Go indie! Gather your friends of similar interests and plan "the coolest party ever" off-site. Red Dot Diva has seen a fair share of fan-run parties of late. One of the better publicized one last year was the one for White Collar fans! By running an event of your own, you might learn a few useful real-life experiences on event planning and make even more new good friends!

6. Try again for Comic-Con tickets next year. Gather a bunch of friends together and coordinate in advance. See if you can help book tickets for each other, if any of you manage to log on into the online waiting room.

7. Most of all, dispense with the utter negativity. Yes, sure it sucks. And yes, it is *very* frustrating. And disappointing, all at the same time. But life encompasses many other wonderful opportunities. Who knows? Perhaps you might find yourself on another great adventure or experience elsewhere, doing something unique and meeting someone wonderful, while the rest of us are stuck for hours in lines for a panel. ;)

Just remember:

Keep Calm and Carry On Geeking It Up.

PS: And if you wondered if Red Dot Diva ever got those passes. Yes, she did. Thanks to very awesome friends like @incoherentboy and @gillianang!!
Diva *MUAHS* them!

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