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Thread: TicketMaster data quality is bad

  1. #1
    Newbie Dave123's Avatar
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    TicketMaster data quality is bad
    Hi - I'm an affiliate newbie, but an old database guy. I'm working on importing the TicketMaster data feeds, specifically venues, artists and concert tickets.

    First of all, CONGRATS and great kudos to TM for having a separate list of venues and artists in the first place. That's awesome - and from what I've seen so far, they're unique in that.

    Boooo, however, on their data quality. I'm seeing a LOT of duplicates in their venue and artist feeds. Which means I'll have to develop algorithms to de-dupe them after importing to my database if I wish to offer high quality to MY visitors (er, theirs, too in this case).

    Thing is, removing basic duplicates at this level is not that hard. I'm not asking for perfection - I can appreciate that managing consumer-generated content is a real challenge. But seems like they could do more cleanup before exporting their data to us. Simply grouping by address, city, state, zip and the "dupechecked" venue name would be better than this.

    Dupecheck fields are what I call fields where you remove the non-alpha and non-digit chars from the venue name for comparison. "Will's Pub" and "Wills Pub" then become "willspub".

    Anyone else encounter this headache?

    - Dave
    Last edited by BurgerBoy; February 6th, 2010 at 05:58 PM.

  2. #2
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    Hi Dave,

    I'm pretty new to this program as well, and have noticed the issue of poor data quality in the feeds as well. While I want to suggest that things are likely to improve any time soon, I get the sense (after watching this program for over a year prior to joining) that anything you want done will need to occur on your own end.

    For reasons that many might find unreasonable, or illogical, TM seems either to have chosen not to provide cohesive data to Buy.at which might allow for the appropriate co-ordination of import/export on Buy.at's end; or Buy.at simply does not yet understand that it is in fact shooting itself in one foot after another by allowing issues that are so easily rectified to interfere with their publishers ability to promote the merchants in their program.

    There is another issue that also creeps into the picture if one attempts to dynamically generate custom HTML widgets; and that is the use within Buy.at's databases of two distinct ArtistID values. One of these ArtistID values Buy.at distributes in the feeds, and the other publishers have no way of accessing. Thus, it becomes virtually impossibly to generate HTML widgets on the fly, unless one chooses to use the one size fits all flash widgets. Needless to say, one size never fits all!

    At any rate, it seems to be a matter of make do with what's there as far as I can tell. They do not seem eager to make changes.

    Coefield

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    As counterintuitive as it might sound, I've found that cleaning up bad data on my end produces much better results that having clean data to start with. If a merchant has poor quality feeds, many affiliates won't work with them (less competition) and many won't clean it up (poor quality), both of which give me a competitive advantage (even over the merchant themselves!).
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  4. #4
    Affiliate Network Rep
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    The greatest issue that we face with these feeds is certainly duplicity. We have tried to correct this issue several times to no avail...this is unfortunately related to the way TM gets their data.

    TM gets its data from the venues it supports, which is to say each venue independently. So, while one venue would call an artist Taylor Swift, another venue will call that same artist Taylor Swift: World Tour. They then upload this data to TM and artist ID's are generated if they do not already exist.

    We are working with TM to try and eradicate this issue. However, as the issue is deeper than just the data, and is actually a matter of training venues to input and look up artist names correctly, I do not see a change coming in the immediate future.

    With that said, if you have suggestions on what we can do or specifics on what you are looking for...please feel free to post or email me directly.

    charles.calabrese@buy.at

  5. #5
    Newbie
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    Hi,

    @Michael C. - Agreed there are many affiliates out there that will not take the time to bother trying to sort through unruly data. This is undoubtedly a benefit to those who will take such time.

    @Charles C. - As mentioned above there are many affiliates that will not take the time to try sorting through the feed data as it currently exists. This is a simple fact. As such, TM and Buy.at are losing out on what I would guess are a fair number of possible publishers.
    That said, other affiliates myself included have been able to come up with automated algorithms to accurately match well over 97% of the entries (moving the questionable few to a location for human determination), which suggests that Buy.at is likely not doing all that is in it's own best interest in this case.
    Of course, we all want to be able to automate everything, but obviously where it's not yet possible - the work must still get done. Especially, if the work just happens to be required for the industry in which we have chosen to compete.
    This should not cause Buy.at to place the burden on the affiliate, but rather do what is currently required to be done in order to increase the number of affiliates that will want to promote your merchants. Perhaps consider having an employee spend a couple of hours a week sorting through a few records in a mismatched table by hand - make your publishers, your company, and your merchants happier and a little richer.

    Coefiled

  6. #6
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Charlie: It's probably much easier for TM to manually match up the data rather than trying to get hundreds of venues that they have very little control over to follow a standard.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  7. #7
    Newbie
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    Been having issues myself working with the feeds. My MAIN issue is working with the on sale times column. Ticketmaster or the venues or whomever put these times in there put the default on sale time (10 AM usually) as 10 AM for basically all listings whether it be 10 AM EST or 10 AM PST.

    We are working on some creative ways around this, but it would be a sweeeet feature if there was a way to set a default time zone per account or something.

    Duplicate listings are a pain too, but I found a way around them.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager
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    If you ever see duplicate listings, please email us @affiliates@ticketmaster.com While our software tries to de-dupe, there is always something new we haven't seen or a venue has someone new that creates the event and doesn't adhere to uniform event creation rules.

    We feel your pain, but with your ears to the ground, you can all help us fix the bigger issues as you see them fairly quickly!

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