A TWITTER feed which provided links to help people buy Olympic tickets has been blocked.
The @2012TicketAlert account had been set up by Milton Keynes based technology expert Adam Naisbitt to help ease the frustration of buying tickets.
The London Games has been widely criticised for the number of empty seats throughout venues, prompting the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to release more tickets to the public via its official website or travel firm Thomas Cook.
But neither of those sites has an ‘alert facility,’ something which prompted Mr Naisbitt to set up his own feed on social networking site, Twitter.
Last Sunday, after a frustrating hour trying in vain to secure gymnastics tickets for his fiancee Sarah, Mr Naisbitt started work on his own ticket-searching programme.
He compiled a list of every Olympic event, matched them to the session codes on the official site, then built in a high-powered electronic search facility. He then feed the programme through Twitter.
The facility meant users didn’t have to sit – often for hours – constantly pressing the refresh button on their computers to check ticket availablity.
But last night the site, which has attracted more than 9,000 followers, was blocked.
A notice on Mr Naisbitt’s 2012 ticket alert website laid the blame firmly at LOCOG’s door.
It stated: ‘When we set out to code this on Sunday/Monday, we never anticipated where the idea would go, the impact it would have or the publicity and support it would attract. It just seemed like a cool idea which could make a difference, and that was enough for us to spend a lot of our time developing it, maintaining it, and answering the hundreds of tweets, emails and questions we’ve received over the past three days – all with no prospect of making money from it or promoting our company.
‘However, it seems someone at LOCOG has taken exception to our idea (or the publicity it is getting) and instead of reaching out to us or addressing the lack of a notification system, they have simply blocked our access to their server. This means we are unable to check or post any new ticket alerts.
‘We’ve done some testing and it seems they’ve blocked all ‘non-website’ access (removing the opportunity to move to another server) so, unless they make a decision to re-allow us access, I’m afraid your only option to discover re-listed tickets now is to sit on www.London2012.com and keep pressing F5.
‘All of us here feel shocked and let down by this move, especially given the ongoing problems with ticketing and the ticket purchasing website, and can’t understand why they’d take such an aggressive move to block a service which was non-commercial, which we’ve not been seeking any recognition for on a company level (so there’s no gain for us), and - which most importantly of all - was making a significant difference to many people and their ability to get tickets.
‘So all we can really say is thank you all for your support, congratulations to those who got tickets with our help - and enjoy the Games!
‘Until next time,’
Speaking to the Citizen earlier this week, Mr Naisbitt had said: “I think the Olympic organisers really dropped the ball on the technology involved in buying tickets.
“It needed a system where someone could be alerted when tickets listed for resale are released.”