'Shock' as Olympic ticket alert feed is blocked

Updated on: 2012-08-04 || Source: bbc.com

The man behind an unofficial Olympic ticket alerts feed says he is "shocked" by an effort to block the service.

Adam Naisbitt wrote a computer program that checked the official Olympics ticket site to spot when tickets for events were released.

He shared ticket information via Twitter and helped hundreds buy tickets to watch the games.

A London 2012 spokesman said its ticket agent blocked all computerised polling of the site to foil touts.

Ticket list

Mr Naisbitt wrote the computer program after being frustrated by the official Olympics website which suggested tickets were available when they had all been sold.

His computer program regularly looked at the ticket site to spot the most recent changes to it and reveal which events genuinely had seats available.

Information gathered by the programme had been fed to the @2012ticketalert account on Twitter and, said Mr Naisbitt, the information feed had soon gathered followers.

He estimated that the ticket information had reached about 250,000 people and hundreds sent messages saying they had managed to secure tickets with its help.

But the feed of data was cut off on Thursday night as the Olympic website was changed to block any visits to the site done by anything other than web browser software.

Talking to the BBC, Mr Naisbitt said he was left "shell-shocked" by the block.

"I can't believe that something that was genuinely there to help people is being stepped on," he said. "We're not making any money we just want to help people get tickets."

Mr Naisbitt said it was possible to circumvent the block but he was unwilling to take that step because of the potential legal trouble it could cause.

Now, he said, all that those wanting tickets could do was keep re-visiting the official site and endlessly refreshing the page to see if they can spot when tickets were released.

A spokeswoman for Locog said the block was not aimed specifically at the @2012ticketalert service.

Instead, she said, the block was imposed by TicketMaster, London 2012's ticket agency, on all automatic scrutiny of the site in a bid to stop touts snapping up tickets and selling them for a profit.

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