28 MARCH 2016
A few reports have filtered in these last 2 weeks, namely from 3 camps:
1) People who are asking me if I know someone who will sell them an SDCC badge
2) People who are irritated with me for advising people not to buy scalped badges
3) People who have been approached as middlemen to help scalpers sell their badges without getting busted by CCI's Black Ops Task Force*
If you're new to San Diego Comic-Con, you may have come across some of my old posts telling people not to buy black market badges. That's always been the best policy, if only because said badges are often counterfeit and hapless people get robbed left and right.
This year, of course, is different. RFID badges are being mailed out in advance. The line where you flash your driver's license and your confirmation email is extinct. There will still be occasional badge/ID checks but overall, it's safe to say that you probably could buy a legit badge off someone and get through the convention doors.
So should you? I'm going to say no.
There's the honorable reason - CCI is against it. They don't want badges being resold and they have some good reasons for it. Then there are the more practical considerations. Do you want SDCC to become a wasp nest of scalpers? Badge sales are already bad enough, with dismal odds for everyone. Make it easy and profitable for scalpers to sell Comic-Con badges at a super high mark-up and you're pretty much rolling out the red carpet for even more of them to clog up the waiting room next year.
I'm a realist; I know that people are desperate to go to SDCC and if they can afford to drop 1-2K on a Preview Night badge, some nebulous code of honor isn't going to stop them. But I do feel compelled to point out the reality. I've now spoken with 2 industry people (a comic book artist and a retailer) who've been approached by scalpers to connect with buyers - they're trying to keep their sales offline and cash-only so CCI's digital surveillance doesn't catch them. I think we all expected this to happen on a small scale, though the actual scale isn't known, of course.
So let me point out the other reality: you can still get scammed. You can still Paypal a stranger who hands you a legit-looking badge that isn't anything but plastic. This happens every summer and it's probably happening now more than ever. Go ahead and continue sending me your smug emails about the great badge you just bought on Craigslist where you actually saw the confirmation email and how I don't know what I'm talking about. You may indeed have bought a real badge and you'll probably have a great time at the Con. But I guarantee some of you are getting taken for a ride.
Please be careful. And remember there are other Cons coming up where you can get a ticket safely and have just as good a time.
*not its real name