San Diego Comic-Con Ticketween aftermath: Regrets, DNS problems, Slamdance

Albert Ching scores the big recap with CCI:SD’s David Glanzer who conveys the con runner’s discomfort with the miserable experience buying tickets was this year:

Glanzer: No. I have to tell you, I can’t even find the words for it right now — our level of frustration, I can’t even begin to convey. It’s just something we hoped would not happen, we’re incredibly sorry that it did. There’s no excuse for having to have people sit in front of their computer for four, or six, or even more hours, to try to buy a badge. As frustrated and as angry we are on this end, we know that it really doesn’t even compare to the frustration of those people who were sitting there trying to do that.

People effectively were trying to simply give somebody money to buy a badge, and they were having difficulty doing that, and it shouldn’t be that way. We’re incredibly sorry about that, and we’re incredibly grateful that we have people who want to attend our shows. Our attendees have always been incredibly patience, and gracious, and I think we really taxed them this time, and you can’t blame them for being upset. Saying “sorry” isn’t enough. Those words don’t convey the level that we feel here. We’re still analyzing things, but I think all of us are just very unhappy.


There are lots more newsworthy nuggets in the piece, including bad news for those hoping to score a coveted press pass:

Nrama: And on the general issue of crowding, has any consideration been given to limiting the number of pro and press badges?

Glanzer: Yes. In fact, this year I think we have limitations on both of those. Just because it’s important for the attendees who want to attend to be able to attend. We have a lot of professionals who give up their time and expertise and we’re very grateful for that. Press, who come in and cover the show and talk about what’s going on is great, too. But yes, there has been some talk of limiting that. In fact, without our department, we let members of the media know that it may be curtailed this year, and that if they are not sure they could register for press, they should make alternate plans.


At this point there seem to be few alternate plans, alas.

Meanwhile, TicketLeap’s VP of Engineering, Keith Fitzgerald, explained exactly what happened at length:

For security reasons, the `–skip-name-resolve` flag is unavailable for modification in Amazon’s RDS product offering. Restricting access by hostname is, after all, a valid use case for a database. This is by no means a bug in RDS. Rather, the constant DNS lookups have been an issue in versions of MySQL at least up to version 5.1. We would have never been able to sell all the Comic-Con tickets without the flexibility of the Amazon cloud. We really love working with AWS.


Right then. The cloud. Yes, yes, I see.

Finally, in terms of newsy evolutionary stages, there was much talk yesterday, centering around Savage Dragon’s Erik Larsen’s Twitter feed about the oft-floated idea of a “Comics Slamdance” to run parallel to the big showbiz side of things. Here’s an elided excerpt:

This isn’t about punishing SDCC or teaching them a lesson–it’s about giving those shut out a consolation prize.. comic fans would show–maybe–creators likely wouldn’t–big names have meetings at SDCC. The ideal would be to turn SDCC into something akin to the Angoulême Comics Festival in France. The Angoulême Comics Festival takes over the entire French town, transforming it every year into the world’s biggest comics convention. If there were comic book signings all over and San Diego was transformed into a huge show–EVERYBODY could attend at least a part of it.


While we would place money on some sort of parallel event springing up, it’s also true that Con sort of already takes over the town. There are already off-site signings, parties, carnivals, zombie marches, and more. Hell, anyone who’s ever been to happy hour at the Embassy Suites knows that a room key there is the most valuable ticket in town.

The problem with expanding events — as we see it — is still the lack of hotel rooms and parking. However, as you may recall from our own investigations last year, the area by the train tracks is now its own Mardi Gras. Crowds of lookie-loos without badges are already hanging about hoping to get free stuff or autographs or spot a girl in a scanty costume.

That said, the idea, as Larsen suggested, of, say, a big Image signing with himself, McFarlane, Liefeld and Robert Kirkman signing outside the show for people without tickets is a fine one, and we’d expect to see these sorts of off-sites become more and more common. But how it develops will depend on just how willing the city is to allow even more nerd-expansion (Pretty willing, we’d guess.) The other factor will be just how viable it will be for comics publishers and creators to exhibit inside Comic-Con as the show biz elements continue to fire the public imagination. Right now just getting to the show and snagging something lunch-like is an exhausting undertaking; setting up more and more events might be viewed as too much work unless exhibiting ceases to be profitable.

Comments

  1. >> However as you may recall from our own investigations last year, the area by the train tracks is now its own Mardi Gras. Crowds of lookie-loos without badges are already hanging about hoping to get free stuff or autographs or spot a girl in a scanty costume.>>

    That’s where I was suggesting doing the public signings.

    If it’s turned into an Image-branded thing — ah well, good for them. I think it’d be better drawing from a wider group, but I can understand why Erik would want to use his idea to promote his company.

    It’s a good idea, plain and simple.

  2. I think the idea is for comics creators to journey away from the Convention Center and do events at nearby comic book shops.

    Not much cost for the store… the talent is already at the Con. They’d just have to chauffeur the creator to and from the Con.

    A savvy store would set up a mini-con, scheduling signings every two hours. Throw in free food during the drive to or from the store, and I think most creators would love to get away from the Con for a few hours. Set up a tent in the parking lot, just like Free Comic Book Day. Call it the “YouCanCon”.