The live event ticket business is not the largest or most critical industry to the lives of consumers, but it is where we turn to for one of our most passionate "wants": great entertainment.

While people buy tickets for performers and events they care about, anything that interferes with their ability to be entertained at a fair price risks significant anger and backlash. This industry understandably generates a disproportionately high amount of interest and passion among consumers and media.

As a fan and consumer, I rarely was able to get the seats I wanted in the primary market and was usually forced to find tickets somewhere else. I was frustrated by the lack of transparent options for me to buy or sell tickets directly with other individuals and insulted by having to pay 30% in fees to buy through a middleman. Driven by concerns and displeasure I had experienced as a ticket buyer I joined this industry in the past year through the launch of my secondary ticket marketplace, livestub.com.

When we first launched, we believed these outsized fees from the secondary ticket marketplaces were the biggest threat to consumers. As time progressed and we spent more time talking to insiders, we learned of some very interesting industry business practices, which I would like to share with you. These will provide, I hope, a distinct reason to question, if not oppose, the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger.

First, some background: In the past, all the many entities relegated to roles in the original sale of tickets (i.e. leagues, teams, bands, managers, promoters, venue operators, etc.) have made do with revenues generated from the face value of the ticket. These prices could only go so high before consumers started to scream. Even after adding in various fees the revenue could only be split so many ways -- a tough pill to swallow, especially in the music industry, where music sales were plummeting.

On the re-sale side of the ticket business, however, revenues have exploded. Traditionally, almost all the ticket inventory across the secondary sites belongs to brokers, often with the same tickets showing up on multiple sites simultaneously. Despite the crucial role brokers play in the industry, and the fact that it was on their backs that the biggest secondary marketplaces succeeded, primary sale participants greedily eyed their profits.

The actual secondary marketplace operators had already carved out their pound of flesh with the 25%-30% in fees added to purchases (and the original motivator for launching LiveStub), and now these "primary" players wanted their piece of the secondary ticket pie. They realized that the real money was to be had in the secondary marketplaces.

The "dirty little secret" is that for years there have been allegations of entertainers and sports teams placing large amount of premium tickets directly into the secondary market, bypassing the consumers waiting in the primary market, making a complete mockery of the concept of face value and equal access. Obviously, engaging in these practices comes with major public relations and legal risks, as consumers and regulators would be enraged if they found out tickets were being withheld from the public and fed directly into secondary sites at inflated prices.

Theoretically, the only way to make sure this practice wouldn't be discovered is to actually own a secondary market outright or to have an exclusive, high-level relationship with one. Creating a vertically integrated "walled" system where tickets would go directly into a preferred secondary marketplace and stay there was the ideal way to make more money.

Unfortunately, with the potential merger of Live Nation with Ticketmaster, this scenario is no longer hypothetical. Consumer concerns about a single primary seller of live event tickets should be amplified by the possibility of this entity using the anonymous cover provided by the secondary market to play by different rules and engage in duplicitous behavior with consumers. In my opinion, regulators need to ask the following:

-- How do we ensure fair access to inventory in the primary market for all consumers?

-- How do we ensure that consumers can re-sell their tickets where they can get the best price?

-- How do we keep secondary marketplaces transparent so that the market itself dictates the price?

If these questions cannot be answered satisfactorily, then this merger should be denied on anti-competitive grounds. Our passion for entertainment as fans should never be confused as blank check for that entertainment.