04 NOVEMBER 2022
What is with SDCC23? First a bunch of people got their Marriott rooms cancelled; now some people have been notified their hard-won badges have been revoked. Others found out that the Preview Night waiting list wasn't a thing, despite being invited to sign up for it. What is happening? Haven't we all suffered enough going 2 years without a Comic-Con?
Open Registration is tomorrow - and it will likely be a bloodbath as always. But first let's talk about the scandal of the week: the "refunded emails" and CCI's ominous warning that "if we detect that a participant has shared their waiting room information or URL, they will be removed from the registration queue and any transactions linked to it will be canceled immediately."
Or as they refer to it, "waiting room shenanigans."
How to Avoid Cheating
If you're doing the sale tomorrow, read this lest you accidentally commit a CCI felony and lose your badge.
First of all: I agree with not cheating. But I think the onus is on CCI to create a badge sale experience that doesn't allow for it. This new process is full of weird loopholes and if some people exploited them - well, how did they not see it coming? This is a population that sleeps outside for days just to attend a 50-minute panel and obsesses all year about a 4 day conference. The high demand for an SDCC badge ensures that those who obtain them are highly driven, often emotional, and usually cunning. Of course some people were going to cheat once they figured out they could!
So here's what happened, as I understand it. Some wily people copied their badge session URL (not the link that got you into the waiting room) to help others jump the line. Let's say my walking man is predicted to go live in 2 minutes while yours says 29 minutes. I can copy my link, send it to you, and voila, now you're about to go live in 2 minutes too. I don't know if this will still be possible tomorrow but regardless, you shouldn't do it even if you can, because it will mean losing your badge.
(I could be explaining it wrong, so please explain the real situation in the comments if you know.)
Those who did this have had their badges refunded. As in cancelled. I'm guessing CCI's IT team/vendor was able to detect URL dupes and identify the cheaters. They're still eligible for Open Registration. But I do feel bad for those who didn't know they were cheating. That includes buying group members who had no idea what their buyer did, and people who accidentally shut down their waiting room session and asked a friend to quickly shoot them their URL. I'm sure some people were in this boat and just assumed they'd randomly be added in.
Well, now we know: don't do this tomorrow.
How bad will Open Registration be?
I don't know, but Returning Registration seemed pretty generous overall. I just didn't see as many people groaning over their bad luck as usual. Does that mean fewer badges in play tomorrow? Will demand be lower? I'm helping 3 first-timer teenagers tomorrow and I have zero guesses as to what they'll get.
If you didn't partake in Returning Registration, you should definitely study CCI's badge sale guides. Yes, even if you've done a badge sale before. It's different this time. I'd say the biggest confusion came from the fact that you picked your days with Preview Night in a separate area (lots of frantic people asking "Is Preview Night already gone?") and even if you rode in on your Member ID and saw your information, you could still buy for 3 other people and not yourself. That also threw off a lot of people.
Another question - if I buy your badge, and we both have our credit card information in our profiles, who gets billed? I do, as it turns out.
And there are other common questions - so really, do read the instructions, don't commit fraud, and stay calm if something confuses you during the sale. You've got time, so just pop into Twitter or another forum and ask - someone will answer.