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Swift fans miss out on UK tour tickets after being flagged as ‘potential bots'

Taylor Swift fans have complained about being flagged as potential ‘bots' (PA)
Aisling Grace, PA

Taylor Swift fans who missed out on the UK leg of the American singer’s tour complained of being unable to purchase tickets after being flagged as potential bots.

Tickets went on sale on Tuesday for two of Swift’s London shows in June and August 2024 and three shows in Liverpool next June.

Thousands of fans logged on to the Ticketmaster and AXS websites to attempt to purchase tickets, which ranged from £57 to £661 for the most expensive VIP package.

Hundreds of fans were left ticketless and disappointed, with many taking to social media to express their frustration and upset.

Some AXS customers had received an error message that they had been “identified as a potential bot” and were unable to proceed with a purchase.

The error message received by many Swift fans on the AXS website read: “To protect fans, we actively identify and block automated bots from visiting or using our site.

MTV Video Music Awards 2022 – Show – New Jersey
Taylor Swift accepts the award for video of the year for “All Too Well” (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards 2022 (Doug Peters/PA)

“Your session has been identified as a potential bot.”

AXS customers were told to “please try logging in through another device, clearing your cache, turning off VPN, or going off wi-fi data”.

Helen, 35, in Crewe, Cheshire, told the PA news agency she was “very disappointed” to not get a Swift ticket “because my six-year-old niece was really looking forward to seeing her idol on stage”.

She attempted to purchase tickets on the AXS website but was flagged by the site as a bot.

She said: “Being flagged as a bot is just frustrating especially when they’ve already been put on resale sites and I’d imagine that bots have been able to purchase tickets.”

Jennifer Bradley, 26, told PA that her experience trying to purchase a Liverpool ticket was “awful” after she was flagged as a potential bot on the AXS website.

She said: “It’s been a nightmare! Worst part is they let you get into the queue and then you once you are through (they say) that you are a robot!”

Fans who had received a code in advance could attempt to purchase tickets on ticketing websites Ticketmaster and AXS, with many fans being waitlisted before the general sale took place.

PA has contacted AXS for comment.

Other fans of the global superstar took to social media to express their delight at securing tickets, such as Maxwell Dwyer, 17, who told PA that he was “so excited” after he purchased tickets for an August 2024 Swift show at Wembley Arena.

Mr Dwyer said: “I practically screamed when I got them.

“I have never been to a concert before, and concerts aren’t really my sort of thing, but because it’s Taylor Swift, I had to get them. I’m just thrilled that I did.”

In the run-up to the general sale and in the hours after, scalpers utilised automated bot accounts on social media to attempt to sell tickets.

MTV Europe Music Awards 2022 – Arrivals – PSD Bank Dome
Taylor Swift attending the MTV Europe Music Awards 2022 (Ian West/PA)

Social media expert Matt Navarra told PA that the “hallmarks” of automated posts from scalpers include “the same tweets being tweeted multiple times across multiple accounts”.

He said: “Scalpers will buy tickets using automated means to then get them at the lowest price possible and get as many tickets as possible with the goal being to sell them on at massively inflated prices using social media platforms like Twitter for distribution.

“When you have an artist as globally famous and as iconic as Taylor Swift, with demand being as high as it gets when it comes to pop concerts and gigs, there is money unfortunately to be made by people who are able to secure a large amount of tickets using automated means and then sell them on at a huge margin.

“Because of the lack of capability or maybe the motivation by those in the industry to tackle the problem effectively, the issue continues, much to the frustration and upset to the true Taylor Swift fans around the country who are desperate to get hold of these tickets.”

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