San Diego Comic-Con 2016 Online Open Registration Tips: Get Prepared Now

SDCC TIPSIt’s a wait like no other.  For many, San Diego Comic-Con Badge Sales anticipation fills our heads with each passing day, and many of us start waiting for word of Online Open Registration from the moment the previous year’s con closes.  Now the wait is finally over.

On Friday, February 12, 2016 we finally received the official announcement that SDCC 2016 Online Open Registration will happen on February 20, 2016 at 9AM PT.  So get those badge buying fingers ready!

Whether this will be your first time attending SDCC or you’ve been there from the start, we know how grueling it can be waiting for the official sale to begin. We also know that it’s best to have a strategy in place for making sure you do score a golden ticket.

That’s why we’re offering up some tips to help you gear up and be prepared.  So what can you do to help yourself prepare for the big day?  Here are our top tips:

  • Learn the Process – If you are not familiar with the Comic-Con International badge sale process for Open Online Registration, we’ve put together our SDCC 2016 Open Registration Visual Guide & Tips  post to help you through.  Not only is this informative guide great for beginners, but it is also an excellent information source for those veterans who want to brush up on the details of the badge buying process.  There is a lot to know and you can never be too prepared.
  • Get that Registration Code Ready – Comic-Con International has started using the registration code system, and they have sent a unique Registration Code to everyone who is eligible for this sale.  You will need to input this code to enter the waiting room.  You can find this code listed in the Online Open Registration email that CCI sent out, or you may also retrieve your personal code through your Member ID account under the “Registration Info” tab.
  • Stay Informed – Make sure you’re following both The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog (on Twitter and Facebook) and Comic-Con International (on Twitter and Facebook), and that you have push notifications turned on for both. We will post any info as soon as we have it.
  • Prepare That Computer – EPIC Registration’s waiting room system is not formatted for mobile devices, so don’t chance it. Get to a computer and make sure it is fully prepared. Check your Javascript & cookies, as they must be enabled to function in the EPIC Registration waiting room.  Make sure your computer is running CCI compatible browsers: You can use any version of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer 8 or later and Microsoft Edge any version.  In the past CCI has provided a link that will help you verify if your browser settings are compatible with the EPIC waiting room (it should theoretically be located on the link to the EPIC Registration waiting room sent out later this week), so be sure to take the time to use the link to check your PC and make sure it passes the Comic-Con International test.  And remember not to run multiple browser tabs. Two different browsers is acceptable on one computer, but multiple tabs within the same browser may cause issues. Last of all, remember to make sure the power saving setting on your computer is turned off.
  • Set Your Alarm and Prepare – Make sure you’re set up and ready to go before 9AM PT on the day of the sale. Have your link, your code, your credit card, and anything else you need set up before that time. Although there’s no need to rush into the room when it opens at 8AM PT, you will still want to make sure you are signed in before the 9AM cut off time. All attendees who are in the waiting room at 9 will be randomly sorted into a spot in check-out line regardless of when they entered the room — but if you miss that 9AM cutoff time, you’ll be placed behind everyone else.  Make sure you’ve read all of the information about how the sale will work beforehand so there are no surprises. And set that alarm, as we’ve heard of those who have accidentally slept through the sale. You don’t want that to happen, as this is very likely your last chance to get a badge for this year.
  • Teamwork – To increase your chances of getting a badge, work in groups. Ever since CCI revealed the randomized waiting room, being the first to click or having a faster internet connection no longer matters: Your place in line will be determined by a random mathematical formula. Since CCI is allowing each person to buy two additional badges for other eligible attendees, have each eligible person in your group enter the waiting room and see who gets to the checkout process first.  If you don’t already have friends in the same boat, we recommend the Friends of CCI forum to help find a badge-buying buddy (though their Open Registration groups are now closed, keep them in mind for Preregistration, and they’re also a great resource anyway). There is strength in numbers, and working with people you trust will make it that much easier.
  • Make Sure Funds are In Place – While working in groups is the best way to increase your odds at getting a badge, there’s one drawback: you’ll only be able to use one credit card during check-out. That means that if a group of three people are each trying to buy badges and working in a group, whoever gets to the front of the line first will have to pay for all three badges on a single credit card.  Because there’s no way to know who will get in first beforehand, each person has to have all of the funds ready to go.
  • Communication – If you’re working in a team, it’s very important to develop a system for how to communicate where you are in line, and to coordinate the purchasing process.  If you get to the front of the line first, and your friend wants a four-day badge, but Saturday is sold out, then what?  We recommend using AIM, Skype, a group chat, or (gasp!) an actual phone as e-mail and Twitter can be slow, and you might not want to share your personal information over social media.
  • Have a Backup Plan – When it comes to SDCC Registration, there are no guarantees.  Bookmark, copy and paste the e-mail link, and have that e-mail open and ready to go!  One year, the links e-mailed out didn’t work, but copying and pasting the link did. Just assume that when dealing with badge sales to one of the largest, most-coveted events all year long, glitches can and will happen. If we hear about any of the errors, we’ll be online live with our Annual SDConCast Open Registration Show, featuring live coverage, the highs and lows of the sale, success stories, tips, and much more.
  • Don’t Forget To Screenshot if Necessary – Remember that glitches can happen, so if a problem arises, screenshot it. You may need them. Although there is no guarantee that CCI will be able to help you out if a technical issue or error arises, they have been known to help those with issues in the past. So it is worth well worth grabbing a screenshot if problems occur. It’s also worth taking a screenshot of your purchase page after you’ve completed the purchase, as it can take hours or sometimes even days for the final badge confirmation e-mail to be sent to you. If anything goes amiss, you’ll be glad you have proof that you were victorious over the badge sale.
  • Pay Attention To The Clock –  When it is your turn to check-out, you will have 15 minutes to enter all your information and check-out. Remember, badge inventory will be held for you in the shopping cart while you are making your purchase. EPIC and CCI are effectively holding all options for you, so there’s no need to hastily enter your credit card. You’ve got time to talk to your badge-buying buddies to confirm things, and you’ve got time to check your bank balance.  Entering everything in 30 seconds or five minutes isn’t going to be the difference between you getting a four-day badge and you losing one. But be mindful of that 15 minute window.
  • Don’t Refresh Or Hit The Back Button: CCI has made it explicitly clear that either refreshing or hitting the back button on your browser after the 9AM kickoff time can send you to the back of the line, or cause the waiting room to behave “unexpectedly”. Neither of those are particularly good options. However, if you do receive an error message, we recommend taking a screenshot of your error message, and then weighing your options for next steps. CCI has stated that if you close the window, rather than refresh, and re-enter, that you won’t lose your place in line.
  • Get Your Internet Bills Covered – Finally, you want to be sure that your internet service provider bill is up to date and paid.  The last thing you need on the morning of the sale is your internet failing because of something that could have been prevented.  Hey, it can happen.

Do you have any SDCC Open Registration tips?  Share them with us in the comments below!

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