Eventbrite brings Square-like reader to event ticketing

By giving event organizers an all-in-one box office offering, complete with iPad app and dongle, the company wants to provide 'holistic' data to help those planning events.

The iPad dongle now being offered by Eventbrite. Eventbrite

Picking up where Square (and possibly PayPal ) left off, the increasingly popular ticketing company Eventbrite said today it is releasing a payments dongle for iPad that could make it simple for event organizers to quickly sell tickets and merchandise.

Eventbrite said its At the Door box office package--which includes both the dongle and an iPad app--is potentially the "final nail in Ticketmaster's coffin," given that the new system should make it easy for organizers to sell tickets to just about any event, as well as to get what vice president of marketing Tamara Mendelsohn called a "holistic" view of ticket and merchandise sales.

That's because At the Door allows organizers to take credit cards from anyone, as well as to wirelessly print tickets and customer receipts. In addition, the service is designed to provide organizers with comprehensive sales analytics.

A look at the full At the Door offering from Eventbrite. Eventbrite

But while it's easy to see how Eventbrite's new offering will improve the ticket-buying (and selling) experience for small events, it's hard to see how Ticketmaster's business is at much risk. That's because it will take quite a bit more than a payment dongle for the iPad to unseat that behemoth from its place atop the ticket-selling pyramid.

Still, Mendelsohn told CNET that the At the Door effort gives organizers of events, especially "general admission" events where there are no assigned seats, an across-the-board way to sell tickets and keep track of who the ticket buyers are.

Asked why event organizers wouldn't just use the already popular Square to process payments, Mendelsohn said that if Square opens up its API to allow organizers access to more information about ticket buyers, Eventbrite would happily enable such behavior. That's because, she said, the company is hardware "agnostic."

For now, though, the company seems to feel that by promoting its own hardware offering--in concert with its iPad app--it can more readily give event organizers the kind of data they need to learn more about who their customers are.

Already, Eventbrite has tested At the Door at several large events and plans on implementing it at a couple stops on the upcoming Warped tour, Mendelsohn said.

Still, it's hard to see exactly how At the Door is going to shake up the industry. Though Mendelsohn stepped back a little bit from the Ticketmaster approach that was in the initial At the Door marketing materials, it is an idea the company promoted.

To industry observers, it's not entirely clear that Eventbrite's release of its own hardware makes a lot of sense.

"Event organizers of all shapes and sizes have been taking credit cards for many years," said Andrew Dreskin, the CEO of Ticketfly and the founder of Ticketweb. "This is not a problem that needs addressing in event ticketing. A more pressing problem is scalability...There's a whole number of ticketing companies who have had scaling issues. Rather than focusing on developing a Square competitor, I'd be more focused on the pressing issues of the day."

 

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