This morning I tried in vain to buy some tickets to see the marvellous Fleet Foxes at the Hammersmith Apollo. 

Tickets went on sale today and I knew I had to act fast, so promptly headed over to LiveNation, credit card in hand, and was happy to see that the gig hadn’t yet sold out. 

I selected the type and number of tickets I wanted, then pressed the ‘Find Tickets’ button. At that stage I was anticipating a positive result, but LiveNation refused to show me the results of my search until I’d navigated a CAPTCHA-based security check. Damn you, hoops.

Now, I love a challenge, but when time is tight I like to cut to the chase. Unfortunately the security check is about as straightforward as quantum mechanics. Let’s see how you get on with some of these examples…

Tricky, huh? Or is it just me? 

LiveNation says: 

The Security Check helps prevent automated programs from blocking other customers from getting tickets."

True enough, though it has been rather self-defeating in this instance, and surely there are better ways of going about this. It also says, with no hint of irony:

Automated programs known as 'Bots' cannot read distorted text as well as humans.”

I’m not so sure about that. 

There were various other user experience issues within this booking engine, but that's not for now. What is annoying is that the event has clearly sold out even though it's not being labelled as such, and you can still enter the booking process despite no tickets being available (try booking one ticket, any seat, any price... doesn't work).

I’ll put seeing Fleet Foxes live back on the to-do (someday) list. Alas.

UPDATE: Tickets at a second gig taking place on the following evening (1 June) are still available. Be fast!

Chris Lake

Published 4 February, 2011 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (7)

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Ben Sales

You seen your captcha's for leaving a comment - just as bad.

over 7 years ago



chris - they announced a second London date if you still want to see them.

tickets available by seetickets, with no captcha!

enjoy, best, nathan.

over 7 years ago


Meghan Burton, SEO & Social Media Manager at Web Marketplace Solutions

Captcha are getting more and more difficult these days - it's not just LiveNation! I've seen them on plenty of other sites. The ones with symbols I can't find on the keyboard are the worst - I think I see pi in yours!

over 7 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@Ben - Agree, I hate them too, and we're looking at alternatives. It's slightly worse when the clock is against you though...

@Nathan - thanks, picked some up. SeeTickets for me next time.

over 7 years ago

Rachel Buckle

Rachel Buckle, Owner at Online Guru Ltd

I have been having this problem using StumbleUpon - tried about 8 times but capatcha never recgonised. Highly frustrating as trying to set something up for a client!

Sometimes simple 10-2 = ? works better.

Why international characters get used I don't know! I haven't got time to google things.

Hope the industry comes to a better solution soon.

over 7 years ago



I know it's already been mentioned, but can't help but smile at the irony of this article appearing on a page with abysmal Captcha :) I'm looking at it now, and the two words seem to read as "ituoffi" and "sucasnoji" but the lack of clarity and numerous diacritics suggest I'll no doubt get it wrong. Often when this happens I just give up.
I know it's not as annoying as when trying to order tickets with Ticketmaster (I've been stung by that site's security many a time) - but for me, the sooner people ditch captcha the better. They deserve a good kick for their appalling security "solution".

over 7 years ago


Ari Jacoby

@Chris our solution at Solve Media is easier for consumers and provides a new revenue stream for publishers. As CEO of Solve, I'm biased, but have a look and please get in touch if we can help.

about 7 years ago

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