Ticketmaster won't say whether they saw an increased level of bot activity during Justin Bieber's onsales, but Peterson says that they "thwart thousands of [bot] requests" during every popular onsale.
Ferrer says the company overplays the bot card.
"A lot of Ticketmaster's argument is that scalpers are using bots to buy tickets," she says. "We get that all the time but I think it's misdirecting people. … If they were really a problem, we'd see way more tickets on our site."
Currently, about a tenth of any given event's tickets end up on StubHub, according to the company.
Ferrer says artist and promoter holdbacks are more to blame. She estimates, given activity on the site, that only about 10 percent of Bieber's Bridgestone Arena's tickets were available during the public sale. She said many people chose to buy tickets on StubHub before they were available to the public "because [fans] realized they didn't have a fair shot during the public sale."
That works out well for the sons and daughters of people with money to spare. While buying tickets from the source can be confusing and frustrating, buying tickets on StubHub is fairly straightforward.
For Bieber's November 28 show at Madison Square Garden, there are about 2,600 available tickets on StubHub. Fans can sit in any section in the arena, in nearly any row. The cheapest tickets start around $135 a piece, barely 30 percent above face value, and fans can get within the first 30 rows for about $700 each (about seven times face value).
Scalpers will make—and pay taxes on—thousands of dollars in profit, and some Bieber fan's day will be made.
"The parents with money will fork over what the scalpers are asking," says Moms 4 Bieber's Wickline. "The rich kids will see Justin and the poor kids won't."
Jason Koebler is a science and technology reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at email@example.com.