What’s that you say? It’s New York Comic Con Reservations Day? Surely, everything will run smoothly right at noon. Surely, they’ll have learned from all the problems that plagued NYCC Reservations Day 2021. Haha, just kidding. Today went about as well as you’d expect any day that requires heavy server load on the NYCC systems. In other words, it didn’t.
The button on the NYCC Reservations page changed from “Coming Soon” to “Make My Reservations” at 11:45 AM today, 15 minutes earlier than Reservations were slated to open. But pressing that led to a dead page and a 404 error. No problem, it was still early. But then 12 noon rolled around and clicking the link still produced 404 errors. But not for everyone. Some people made it through to a virtual waiting room while others still received the 404 error. And then there were the folks who clicked into the line through the app, which apparently took them to the 2021 panel registration page. Sorry, but that 2021 What We Do In The Shadows panel is all booked up.
Twitter was ablaze, as it always is when NYCC tickets, lotteries and reservations go live and immediately crash under the weight of the demand. To ReedPop’s credit, their social team was tweeting out updates regularly, noting each time the line was paused and unpaused. Their vendor, Thuzi, was working on it. This is the same Thuzi behind last year’s Reservations Day fiasco. (Ironically their Twitter page literally two near identical apologies a year apart.) Why did ReedPop decide to go with the same vendor without assurances that 2022 wouldn’t be a repeat of 2021?
NYCC officially called today’s Reservations Day queue’s time of death at 2:33 PM this afternoon. Thuzi wasn’t going to be able to solve the server issues today. They’ll try again at some point later this week? When? They didn’t say. What’s still available? They also didn’t say.
And that last point, what’s still available, that’s a big question. Because not everyone was stuck in an unmoving queue or dealing with repeated 404 error screens or queued up for last year’s queue. According to some users on Twitter, a bypass link was circulating among Funko collector groups online that allowed people to cut to the head of the reservations line (Don’t get between a hardcore Funko collector and their Pizza Rat Pop!). Twitter user Bandon Henao (@brandonhenao1) posted receipts – a recorded Discord scroll of Funko collectors thanking their bypass link supplier after successfully bypassing the line. According to Brandon and other people on Twitter, Funko collector groups used similar bypass links to cut the line for Funko Fright Night tickets last week.
They blocked me lol here you go pic.twitter.com/RW4orU3AxK
— Brandon Henao (@brandonhenao1) September 26, 2022
The big question is what’s left? Some lucky few who made it through reported being able to reserve signings and exclusives, but not panels? Did panels ever open up today? If so, what’s filled up? Hopefully ReedPop/NYCC will let people know the answers to these questions before asking them to hop on another virtual line later this week. But my final question is, why not go back to the lotteries of previous years? I can understand why NYCC wouldn’t return to the line up early and get a wristband model that was business as usual for the first ten years of the convention’s existence. Requiring people to line up overnight for hot panels and signings outside the Javits Center was both an organizational nightmare and a health and safety hazard. But the lotteries, while not perfect, didn’t require people to have to land en masse on the NYCC website at the same time. People could log in during a set period of days to enter the lotteries, and then would find out well enough before the convention if they won a spot or not. This seems to me, much better than requiring everyone to try to get in line at the same time and sit at their desk or phone for hours while the site crashes repeatedly. If they go with this model again in 2023, I think we can expect the same results as 2022 and 2021. Dear ReedPop, let’s not make NYCC Reservations Day Groundhog Day.