Ross Lincoln is a Deadline contributor.
San Diego will again be packed to the gills with geeks of all stripes this July, as all attendee badges for San Diego Comic-Con 2013 sold out in just over an hour and a half, barely shy of the record set in 2012. But many fans came up empty-handed and feeling ripped off because of problems that plagued the convention’s complicated badge sales system for the second year in a row. Passes went on sale this morning at 9:00 AM Pacific, and as disappointed fans found out via the convention’s Twitter account, they disappeared fast. By 9:53, 4-day badges and 4-day badges with access to preview night were gone. 15 minutes later, Friday and Saturday single day badges were snapped up and by 10:36 it was all over.
Comic-Con can crow about the enormous demand for access to the July 18-21 event, but complaints about server errors and site crashes started even before this morning’s sales began. With each announcement of sold-out badges, the convention’s Twitter feed blew up with new gripes from baffled customers. Many fans reported bumping up against permanent “site over capacity” messages, while others noted noted the lack of updates unrelated to sales, and one even claimed that the wrong support phone number was posted.
This was the second year of the convention’s membership registration requirement for badge purchase, ostensibly designed to simplify the process. In 2012, the organization admitted that numerous problems occurred with the sale of badges, and a resale of 5,000 returned and refunded badges was held shortly before the start of the convention. In a message accompanying today’s announcement that badges were sold out, SDCC said they may hold another such resale at a later date.