problems with eventbrite’s online ticketing service

If running an event or course, online booking and payment options are standard offerings – you can either set up your own booking forms and merchant gateway or use a one-stop-shop third-party platform. I’ve used the Eventbrite booking gateway for my Australian courses, but not any more. Here are my main beefs…

The Fees

If you’re running a low-ticket cost event, the fees are what they are: acceptable. But if you are selling higher cost tickets, e.g. $300 plus, the fees add up in a hurry. If you use their credit card processing facility – the main reason many people would use a platform such as Eventbrite at all – a $500 ticket will incur a fee of $27.45 (2.5% plus $0.99 per ticket to a max of $9.95 plus 3.5% of ticket value). Selling 10 plus tickets will whack a dent in your sales revenue. There should be a sliding fee structure for higher priced events.

Five Days to Payout (and the rest).

A five business day payout after the completion of the event is in the terms and conditions, but… the five day period starts in US time, i.e. an event run on Wednesday in Australia, is Tuesday in San Francisco – so Eventbrite doesn’t start the count until Thursday, Australian time. Five business days becomes eight normal days; and add an extra day to that if there’s a bank holiday in the US. And of course the international transfer itself can add another day or two. There appears no reason to sit on the money this long except to gather maximum interest on other people’s money.

Extra Fees from ANZ & HSBC

If a person makes a booking using Eventbrite’s processing facility using an ANZ or HSBC credit card that person gets charged an additional ‘foreign processing fee’ of $20-25. I have had to refund this fee to close to 20 people in the past who have booked my courses using these cards. Both ANZ and HSBC say the problem is with the credit card providers; the credit card providers say it’s a bank charge. Eventbrite, despite being told about this problem in Australia have ignored it. This is fundamentally an Eventbrite issue and they need to sort it – being their apologist is no fun.

Over The Top Self-Promotion

Sure, if you’re running a free event you should expect some form of provider self-promotion, but not when hundreds of dollars of fees are being paid. The ‘Powered by Eventbrite’ branding and self-serving calls to action on all of their (your) ticketing touch-points are anything but discreet. You could forgive a person for thinking they were about to attend an Eventbrite event.

Great event, but the hashtag was missing in action…


At the Myer Christmas windows last December I Instagrammed the big mechanical Gingerbread Cat above against a reflection of the buildings opposite. I applied a filter (Mayfair) and the ‘Myer Christmas Windows’ geo-tag. But I hesitated on the hashtag – there was nothing to indicate what the ‘official’ Myer Christmas Windows tag was. Where was the designated tag that the  Myer online marketing folk would surely have wanted me and others to use to make it easy for us to collectively share our window viewing experiences on our Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts? You know, to encourage online sharing and buzz around their branded, off-line event.

Left up to my own devices I started with logic: #myerchristmaswindows2013 made sense but seemed ridiculously long (and to bolt the year on the end or not?). Or should I use something in keeping with the theme of the windows for that year, e.g. #gingerbreadfriends? No, too vague. Maybe #myerxmas? Or #myergingerbread?  No, too ambiguous. In the interests of time I settled on #gingerbread – yes, pretty lame.

The lack of an obvious hashtag to use effectively fractured the Myer Christmas Windows viewing community. It’s unlikely the majority of us would ever discover each other’s images and tweets – and that’s  a shame. Today, the social back-channel streams of content and engagement serve to enhance the traditional front-channel, live activity. In short it’s fun sharing a common experience online with strangers (and absent friends).

If you’re hosting your own event, give thought to prominently displaying a unique hashtag for your quests or visitors to use. It’ll take the guesswork out of the process for them, facilitate a sense of community, and make it easier for you to respond to anyone who has been so kind as to share your (branded) moment with others. Then run a hashtag search during or after the event on a multi-platform search engine such as Tagboard and collate the very best of what was posted. These branded, earned social media assets are gold – recycle the best of them through your own social media platforms.

Ideas for hashtag placement:

  • On any marketing hardcopy collateral leading up to an event
  • On any social media channels supporting an event
  • At the entrance of the event venue
  • On the event ticket
  • Printed on the event program or guide
  • Behind the event bar or other service areas
  • At the bottom of food and drinks menusfish norm4