Getting badges to some of the major conventions has become quite an ordeal. I personally have a lot of experience with the way PAX does badge sales, but I know that shows like BlizzCon, SDCC and many of the other large shows also have crazy badge sale procedures.
Pax West *cough PRIME cough* badges went up this past week and, as is now the norm, sold out completely withing a couple of hours. When it comes to PAX they just tweet when badges go up and you get into a queue and hope you were fast enough to click the link. There are lots of people who don’t like the way they choose to do badges, so many that Robert Khoo, the show director, even did an interview in 2015 just to explain why he has chosen this approach.
While the PAX approach does mean that there is no guarantee to badges, it does mean that everyone starts on equal footing which I do kind of like. If you choose to spend the time refreshing twitter and watching you do up your chances at getting badges, but it is by no means a guarantee.
I also understand the frustration when you do try to do everything you need to do to get badges, and still end up being unsuccessful. In fact I personally have had times where a technical issue (i.e. a mobile browser failing to re-direct) has meant no badges. However, I certainly don’t envy the show organizers who have to try to deal with the supply and demand problem and the vocal group of people who don’t get the badges that they want.
Having never gone through the processes other shows use to sell badges, I can’t personally vouch for the PAX approach being better or worse but it honestly seems like every way has its own set of problems. Though it seems to me that it is one of the disadvantages of the geek culture becoming more mainstream, and that it won’t be changing anytime soon.