San Diego Comic-Con 2023 Returning Registration Recap: Did You Miss This?!

For better or worse, several thousand Comic-Con attendees have their badges for 2023 — and several thousand more don’t yet.

Returning Registration for San Diego Comic-Con 2023, the badge sale for eligible returning general attendees, took place today. It’s been three long (very long) years since we’ve had to suffer through a badge registration event for this convention, and in the interim, a lot of things have changed.

Comic-Con’s Member ID system has shifted over to Configio, and away from Expo Logic, though both are Community Brands products. Instead of logging in directly to a waiting room, attendees were set to login to their Member ID portal to enter a QueueIt waiting room.

What could go wrong? The answer was, quite a bit.

The Waiting Room

At 8am, everyone who entered the Member ID portal began refreshing to try to enter the QueueIt waiting room. At first, nothing much happened — but it didn’t take long before users started to get error messages, “service unavailable”, and other glitches.

After about 21 minutes of this, Comic-Con International sent out an update that they were aware of the problem and were making updates.

Which led to a new maintenance screen:

The plan was originally for users to enter the waiting room between 8am PT and 9am PT, and then for the sale to officially kick off at 9am PT. At 8:56am, with the waiting room still not open or functioning, Comic-Con updated that the sale was “delayed”, and that they would have an announcement by 9:30am.

Finally, at 9:19am, they updated that the issue had been resolved, and the waiting room would open at 9:30am, and the sale would kick off officially at 10am.

After a frustrating morning, the good news is that from this point on, the waiting room at least mostly functioned the way that it was supposed to.

At 10 on the dot, the waiting room actually opened, and people started filtering in to QueueIt to wait it out, with a clock counting us down to 10am.


The Sale

Shortly after 10am, those in the waiting room were randomized. We’ve seen some speculation online that no randomization took place, or that having an estimated wait time means there was no randomization — but the randomization took place quickly at 10am, when everyone in the waiting room was randomly assigned a place in line. Once you were, you saw QueueIt’s iconic “walking man” and green status bar, giving you a rough estimation of how long until you’d be able to purchase badges — for some, only a minute or two away, and for others, more than an hour.

From here, all you could do was wait. Sales started almost immediately, with several reporting getting in within the first few minutes.


There were a few more issues along the way than normal, though some of the most common can be boiled down to suffixes now being considered part of the last name, which was never the case before. So if in Comic-Con’s system your last name is “Doe, Jr.” any other spelling of that name and suffix down to the comma would result in an error and the system telling you the user couldn’t go found.

There were other assorted issues along the way:


From there, it took a whopping 41 minutes for Preview Night to sell out, though many reported seeing that it was gone prior to that (even if it showed up for others). This was considerably longer than in 2019, when it took only 19 minutes — and our suspicion is that the system was letting attendees through slower, to help keep the site from crashing.

At 71 minutes into the sale, Saturday sold out — also considerably longer than the 40 minutes it took in 2019.

Shortly after, at 80 minutes into the sale, Friday was also gone. In 2019, it took 47 minutes.

Traditionally, Thursday and Sunday sell out at roughly the same time, and that was still true this year. Sunday had the slight lead, selling out at 95 minutes into the sale (up from 52 minutes in 2019) and Thursday sold out at 96 minutes into the sale (up from 46 minutes in 2019).



Overview & Next Steps

After several years of smooth, easy badge sales for Comic-Con International and EXPO Logic, this year was… not quite that. There were considerably more user errors than normal, to say nothing of the first 90 minutes or so of the morning.

In the end though, many emerged victorious, and the fact that Configio and CCI were able to isolate the issue and resolve it without having to move the sale date deserves to be recognized. Comic-Con attendees are known for crashing websites, and we suspected that with changing systems, and particularly so many people logging into their Member ID all at once, that this sale was going to be met with some bumps.

The sale took considerably longer compared to 2019 — not even counting the delay — likely because they let users through slower, especially after the early morning’s glitches.

Regardless, there are thousands of you doing cartwheels in your living room right now — and thousands more crying into a bottle of wine right about now — but that’s mostly just supply/demand. This tweet, about how even those who were successful are feeling a little wrung out from the stress of the morning, maybe perfectly encapsulates our feelings about today:

All hope is not lost, if you weren’t able to get exactly what you wanted today. Open Registration — the badge sale available to anyone with a Member ID — will take place sometime in the near future (likely mid November). During this sale, all badge types will be available (so just because a badge sold out today, doesn’t mean it’s gone forever). So long as you didn’t purchase all four days plus Preview Night today, you’ll be able to participate to pick up any days you weren’t able to get today.

Badges will be mailed to the U.S. addresses in your Member ID. Make sure you verify your address.

As for all other badge types? General hotel sales should be sometime after Open Registration, and all other badge registration events (volunteer registration for those on the interest list, Trade Professionals, and more) will be “at a later date”.

Were you able to get what you wanted today? Let us know in the comments.

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