I Think The ‘Website Crashed Due To High Demand’ Phenomenon Is A Sneaky Marketing Tactic
10:30 am, February 6th | by Sarah Devlin
The world fell to its knees and genuflected after Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday, so it’s no surprise that news of her Mrs Carter 2013 world tour was met with a rapturous response. People got even more excited when news broke that exclusive “VIP” presale tickets would become available for many of the concert dates at 10am this morning. 10am rolled around, and, well, check out the Facebook page for the tour:
I…think this is a conspiracy.
Look, I realize that Beyonce.com is going to get exponentially more traffic than usual on a morning like this one. But Beyoncé’s marketing team is dependent on this frenzy to sell tickets. Couldn’t they, you know, take precautions to make sure that the influx of users wouldn’t crash the site?
My personal and completely biased opinion is that they could have and chose not to.
We’ve seen this phenomenon before: something limited and highly anticipated (and available for sale online) is announced — like, say, the Missoni for Target capsule collection. Anticipation is high enough that the company’s top brass are almost certainly aware of the possibility of the site crashing. But when a site crashes because of demand, that generates a whole new wave of press — “Demand For Beyoncé Tour Tickets Crashes Website” — that makes the frenzy seem even more…frenzied.
Rather than ensuring that customers who are just excited about getting a Missoni scarf or buying a ticket to see one of their favorite performers are able to do so, the narrative of the crash due to high demand becomes more important than, you know, allowing people to actually purchase products. In the case of Missoni for Target, this means that items from Target take on an air of exclusivity that the store has never been able to generate before. In the case of Beyoncé’s tour, the “VIP” in “VIP presale tickets” looms even larger.
Great publicity; not so great business practices. People would still have bought ALL the Missoni for Target merchandise if they had been able to get through on the website. People would definitely still buy ALL the Beyoncé tickets. Why not avoid the panic? It seems like such a cynical move — not only do marketers want to ensure all the product is sold, they also want to make sure their customer base is panicked, jumpy and depressed about being relegated to the have-nots. There’s an element of unfairness introduced that makes the items in question seem even more exclusive and difficult to get.
Unfortunately, this gambit works so well – and so regularly — that I don’t see it ending anytime soon. As long as we keep falling for it every time, we’ll be the suckers wasting hours at work hitting “Refresh”…and failing to get what we’re willing to pay for.