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  • Event Promotion Tips

What is the Skiddle Queue?

  • By Ryan Moss

  • 31 Mar 2022
  • 14 min read

When a popular event is placed on sale, Skiddle can receive up to 20,000% more traffic than usual, due to the high demand.

This extra traffic can also be quite unpredictable – with many customers hitting ‘refresh/f5’ to get access to tickets the minute they go on sale. As such, the demand on our servers can be extremely high. While we’re hosted on the cloud and can scale our servers up easily, some areas external to Skiddle, such as making debit/credit card payments, can be a little stone-aged and are often not as flexible.

Without extra precautions, all of the above can lead to a poor customer experience, with pages becoming unavailable and transactions being declined. We’re almost certain you’ll have experienced this before on other ticket agent’s websites.

The Skiddle Queue helps manage demand, gives you a fair chance of buying tickets, and keeps you informed of the status of busy event sales.

Feedback from our customers over the past five years has shown us the Skiddle Queue is one of the fairest and most customer-friendly queues in the industry. It’s one of the reasons we have a 4.5* score on Reviews.io

How does it work?

Here’s an example: 

  • An event is going on sale at 10am. We’re expecting a lot of demand, so our virtual waiting room is enabled at 9:30am
  • Customers arriving to the event page from 9:30am will be placed in a waiting room, with a countdown timer informing them when the event goes on sale. This automatically refreshes to keep you informed of any changes
  • Once 10am approaches, we assign all customers who were in the waiting room, a random position in the queue. Anyone who joins late (after 10am) will be placed at the back of the queue
  • We’ll then start letting customers through to pick their tickets. We’ll keep you updated as to how many customers are in front of you in the queue and the expected waiting time
  • Once you’re at the front of the queue, you can proceed to purchase your tickets. You’re not given any time limit to select which tickets you want, but once you hit the checkout you’ll have 8 minutes to complete your information and card details. We permit one transaction per customer, but this can be for any number of tickets, up to the limit the event organiser has set

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

If I refresh or close my browser, will I lose my position in the queue?

There’s nothing more frustrating than queueing than losing your position. So as long as you rejoin on the same device/browser, we remember your position and will return you right back to where you left off.

However, please don’t manually clear your cookies or switch browsers, as we’d then not be able to identify you. You’d be seen as a brand new customer and lose your position.

How quickly will I reach the event page?

We provide an estimate on the queue page. Quite often, as we speed up entry to the site, you’ll notice your expected wait time reduces considerably. For most events, the wait is around 10-15 minutes but some very busy queues will take longer.

Why am I given a random queue position? I was in the waiting room very early, shouldn’t I be first?

We allocate random queue positions to ensure fairness for customers. Although this may not immediately seem the fairest method, bear with us and we’ll explain:


Those arriving early are given a spot at the front of the queueTouts often try to use bots to buy up tickets and sell them at a huge markup on secondary ticketing websites. These bots are incredibly fast and would reach the queue in less than 0.1 seconds, much faster than a human. As such, the front of the queue would be full of bots (see more info about bots in our FAQs).
 The open time for the queue would become extremely busy, with 10,000s of customers all trying to land on the queue at the same time. Your chance of being at the front of the queue would be almost random as the difference between being at position 1 and 10,000 could be less than 1 second difference.
 Often the link to join the queue is emailed out. Most mailing list services are quite slow, sending emails out over 30 mins or so. Some send emails alphabetically, and some email providers will delay the messages appearing in your inbox.If your email arrives just 5 minutes later than other customers, you would end up at the end of the queue.
 If your computer is slow, you’re on a phone, or your wifi is slow, even if you arrive at the queue just before it’s open, when you click refresh at 09:00am for example, you would load the page up slower than other customers, so you’d end up at the back.
 You may be at work and not able to join the queue at exactly 9am, so again you’d end up at the back.

In summary, first-come-first-served queueing only benefits touts with bots, and customers with very fast computers and internet, who can sit at the computer at the exact queue open time and receive their link immediately. The vast majority of customers don’t meet this and would be disadvantaged with little chance of purchasing

Random Queue position:

Touts with bots have no advantage as their extremely fast speeds provide no benefit.Some people who arrive early expect to be at the front.
There’s no rush to join the queue at the exact open time. Most waiting rooms are open for 15-60 minutes before the event, so as long as you join in that window, you have an equal chance to everyone else. 
If your email provider is slow, it doesn’t matter, as long as you join the waiting room before the event goes on sale. 
Customers with slow computers, mobile phones on 3G or patchy wifi are not at a disadvantage 

As you can see, giving everyone a random queue position is by far the fairest method. Plus it’s less stressful as you’re not battling to be in the queue at the exact moment it opens.

By giving bots no advantage, we’ve found very few even attempt to join our queues.

Am I guaranteed tickets if I join the queue?

Unfortunately not. Very often there can be many, many (many!) more customers trying to buy tickets than there are tickets available to buy. Some events have 100x more customers than tickets available. By joining the queue you’re getting the best chance to purchase, but there may not be enough tickets for everyone. Once we’re sold out we’ll pop a message on the queue to let you know.

Does Skiddle prevent bots from joining the queue and buying tickets?

Yes, we have multiple methods of spotting and blocking bots. As computer programs are evolving rapidly we’re always updating our defences. If a bot does join the queue, it has no advantage over human customers, so it’s very rare for us to see any bots make it into the queue. If we spot a bot that has made a purchase, we will cancel the order immediately.

Can I buy unlimited tickets once I get to the front of the queue?

To prevent customers from buying up all the tickets and selling them off (this is touting, Skiddle hates touting!), the event organiser will place a ‘per customer’ limit on tickets. This is usually 2-8 tickets. This ensures the tickets go around fairly and more customers have a chance of buying.

I arrived at the front of the queue but the tickets say “Currently unavailable”

This means all the tickets have been either purchased or have been temporarily reserved while customers complete their checkout stage. As we place a time limit on completing the checkout of 8 minutes, there is a chance more tickets will become available as customers may abandon their purchase. So we advise refreshing the page every few minutes to check.

I saw tickets available, but when I added them to my basket, I received an error saying they were no longer available

If you see tickets available, they may be the last few remaining. At that time there may also be other customers who have just reached the front of the queue trying to purchase the exact same tickets. Whichever customer places the tickets into their basket first, will have them reserved while they complete the checkout process.

The queue helps here, as rather than 10,000s of customers all trying to get those same tickets at once, there’s likely to only be 100 or so at any one time. 

We could eliminate this completely by letting 1 customer through to the event page at a time, and only if tickets were available, but your queueing time would be many hours, and we expect you have better things to be getting on with.

Tickets sold out very quickly, did they all go to touts/staff/etc?

Skiddle will always put on sale the full allocation of tickets we receive from the promoter. We do not divert tickets to secondary ticketing agents (we hate touting!), hold back any tickets for staff, pop them onto a ‘Platinum’ section for a crazy markup or reserve them in any other way. 100% of the allocation we’re given is available for you to buy.

If you were buying tickets in a shop, you’d be able to see all the other customers also trying to buy at the same time. This isn’t possible to see on a website, but you can believe us that there are often 100x more customers than tickets available. It’s not unusual for tickets to sell out in minutes.

Bear in mind that often events will have a pre-sale so it’s always worth signing up for the best chance of getting tickets, as many will already be sold by the time the general sale arrives.

We also work very hard to prevent touts, by banning them where possible, cancelling suspicious orders, and withholding entry barcodes until near the event time. Fewer touts mean you have more chance of buying at the face value price.

I received a server error or saw a maintenance notice

We try extremely hard to ensure customers can purchase tickets, and our website uptime is usually 99.99% or higher (check out our track record here). We have one of the best availability records in the industry. After all, if our website is down, we’re not making any money so it’s in everyone’s interest to stay available!  

Sometimes the demand for an event may take everyone by surprise, despite careful planning, or a server may die unexpectedly, a payment processor may be experiencing issues, etc. We apologise if this does happen, and will always be working very hard behind the scenes to rectify the issue (our developers are drip-fed caffeine during these busy times!). Ultimately computers, and humans, aren’t perfect, but we try our hardest to be!

About Skiddle

Skiddle is currently the UK’s biggest What’s On guide, providing a free facility for event promoters across the UK to list their events online and sell tickets through our independent ticketing service. We currently work with over 35,000 UK and European promoters, at over 30,000 venues. We specialise in helping events through that critical growing phase by providing the marketing and technology support that you need. Start listing your events today!

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