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Comic Con ticketing system crashes, for the third time [Updated]

February 5, 2011 | 10:09 am

Screen shot 2011-02-05 at 8.59.50 AM
Whatever it is they say about third times clearly doesn’t apply to the Comic Con online ticketing system, which has once again crashed as hordes of fans attempt to buy passes to the annual San Diego nerd extravaganza.

[Updated, 10:30 a.m....A few lucky buyers are now tweeting that they have managed to snag tickets to Comic Con, many after steadily refreshing the TicketLeap page for more than an hour.]

[Updated, Feb. 8, 8:45 a.m....TicketLeap is addressing the frustrations in detail in a website performance update and a letter to Comic Con fans on its blog, as well as in a technical analysis.

Comic Con sold out in 7 hours, compared to two months in 2010 and six months in 2009. At one point, there were 403,000 page requests being made each minute, with a total of more than 35 million total requests throughout the day.

"Trust me, it feels awful for us sitting on the other side, watching this all go down and being pretty limited in what we can do to alleviate the issue," wrote Keith Fitzgerald, vice president of engineering, in the analysis.]

Twice before, technical glitches forced organizers of the July 21-24 event to cancel registration within hours of opening it. This time they hooked up with sales website TicketLeap in hopes that it would better funnel the streams of hopefuls to the original partner EPIC Registration, a set-up that many worried would be too convoluted.

Minutes before the 9 a.m. Saturday start, the site was telling users that it was “currently over capacity” and to try again momentarily. Some buyers saw a page saying “We’ll be right back. TicketLeap is currently down for maintenance.”

Since then, so many frustrated buyers have hit Twitter in protest that #SDCC (for San Diego Comic Con) was one of the top-trending topics worldwide. One user named Snubs wrote: “A con like Comic-Con should be prepared for this kind of registration. TicketLeap is so full of fail. Preparation is needed! #SDCCFail”

There’s no wrath like fanboys and fangirls scorned. “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that Comic Con tickets are really there,” huffed Twitter user redsonja1313.

“I mean, is it wrong of me to *assume* Comic Con #SDCC would have a freaking IT Geek under their belt?” wrote TrekJen.

Maybe it’s Robert Pattinson’s fault.

One tweet, from shaylrose, blamed “freaking Twilight girls invading” the convention for overloading the site. Others said they would even be willing to pay high Ticketmaster fees to avoid another ticketing snafu.

TicketLeap quickly responded, in a tweet, “@Comic_Con fans, if you see an over capacity message hit refresh. We are under heavy load right now and it should smooth out. #sdcc.”

Comic Con tickets are not available over the phone. Some fans suggested that organizers renew tickets for attendees who have gone to the show in the past.

In preparation for Saturday’s sales, Comic Con management had launched a trial run of the TicketLeap-Epic system in December, selling 1,000 four-day badges (excluding Preview Night).

TicketLeap even posted a blog post with tips on how to snag tickets, advising hopeful buyers to check their browser settings and have their credit card billing information ready.

After going through TicketLeap, buyers were to have gotten a bar-coded e-mail confirmation from EPIC within four days. But it looks like the only thing that will be happening now is more waiting.

RELATED:

Comic-Con gears up for third test run of new online ticket sales system

Comic-Con shuts down ticket registration after glitches crash the site

-- Tiffany Hsu [follow]

Image: Comic Con ticket sales fail. Credit: TicketLeap.

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