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Comic Con Special Edition Badge Registration Recap: Steady As She Goes

It’s been since 2019 since any of us had to deal with Comic-Con International waiting rooms and badge sales, and in that time, CCI has given the system a revamp just in time for November’s Comic Con Special Edition. Many were nervous, as we’ve all been conditioned to be triggered by the words “Comic-Con” and “badge sale”, but this morning’s badge sale went off (mostly) without a hitch.

Badges are still available for the November 26-28 convention, but we’re going to focus on the first hour or so of the sale.

So how did today’s sale go?

The Waiting Room

Gone is the EXPO Logic waiting room, as well as unique registration codes to enter. Instead, starting at 10AM, we all entered a page counting down to the sale, hosted by Queue-It (which is also what CCI utilizes for the hotel sale, so SDCC attendees should be at least vaguely familiar with it).

There was no benefit to arriving early, as once 11AM struck, everyone was randomized into a place in line. However, unlike under the EXPO Logic room where we were all swimming in a cereal bowl waiting for the big invisible cereal spoon to scoop us up randomly (a real metaphor CCI made, for those unfamiliar) — Queue-It offered a much clearer picture of the situation. Namely, it told you your expected wait time, both in terms of minutes you’d be waiting and the exact time it expected you would make it through. And with everyone’s favorite “walking man” in visual form.

This is a great benefit to using Queue-It, as everyone had a good idea of what their wait would be. If working within a group, you and your group could communicate about the order you would be making it through and strategize from there. We sincerely hope this system carries over to San Diego Comic-Con badge sales, if only for this feature. And we aren’t alone in hoping that happens.

The Sale

Immediately at 11AM, attendees reported getting through to purchase badges. Because there was only badge type available (3-day combined badges), the worry of specific days selling out was removed.

The sale was a breeze for the vast majority of attendees, with people getting through to purchase quickly.

By 12:15, just 75 minutes into the sale, the wait time to get through to purchase badges was less than a minute.

Of course, as with any sale, there are a few issues and miscommunications. Though CCI’s Purchase Instructions showed that through a weird quirk of the new system, badges would show as “Free” until you clicked to Add to Cart, they probably didn’t explain this well enough. Many were very confused by this, worried that the “free” portion meant they were transferring their regular SDCC badge to November (they weren’t).

By far the biggest “surprise” in the sale, though, was that it only allowed those with an address in the USA or Canada to checkout. If you entered an address in any other country, the system would not allow you to checkout. This was not communicated before the sale at all, and definitely should have been.

There were a few other folks with issues, but they were few and far between.

Overview & Next Steps

This was a very smooth badge sale. Yes, demand is lower than San Diego Comic-Con — it’s unclear still what exhibitors and panels will be held at the convention, it’s during Thanksgiving weekend, there’s still a little thing called a pandemic ravaging the country — but even the addition of Queue-It makes it an improvement over some of the systems previously in place. And for those who have struggled to get badges to San Diego Comic-Con in the past, this is finally their chance to get a bit of that Comic-Con magic (and also as an added bonus, a slot in Returning Registration for San Diego Comic-Con 2023).

CCI needs to work on their communication, particularly about the confusing “Free” portion when adding to cart (it was pictured in their walkthrough, but they never called attention to it in the text or anywhere else), and regarding the international address issue.

But overall, we hope this system continues for San Diego Comic-Con in the future, with a few minor tweaks. This tweet perhaps best encapsulates many of the feelings about today’s sale:

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