Maybe the third time’s the charm. In what has to be one of the funniest stories of geek failure since Star Wars Kid, San Diego Comic-Con is once again going to attempt to sell badges for their 2011 event, which takes place July 21-24. The new plan is a test run to sell 1,000 four day badges at 8 a.m. PST Wednesday December 15. At that time, the first 1,000 people who submit their email will be able to buy badges using a new, incredibly over-complicated system which requires you to receive an email with a unique registration code and link to a different site to buy the badge. Of course, both the site that assigns the code and the site that sells the badges have additional surcharges, but, for this test, some of them will be refunded as a thank you.

After the jump read the full instructions, our thoughts on this system, what Comic-Con should have done in the first place and why this whole debacle is happening at all.

If you’ve purchased a badge to Comic-Con in the past, you know this year’s madness is a first. In the past, it was never difficult to buy a badge. Yes, they’ve started selling much faster in the past few years, but as long as you bought it several months in advance, you were fine.

The reason for the craziness this year is because Comic-Con made such a big deal that Four Day Badges With Preview Night were sold out a full year in advance. Attendees of 2010 Comic-Con scooped all of those up and Comic-Con publicized it as a way to show how much they’d grown. What that did, though, was it made everyone who hadn’t purchased a badge nervous. Now they couldn’t get into preview night, which is the best time to get exclusives and they felt, if they didn’t buy their badge the SECOND it went on sale, they’d be shut out. That’s what happened on November 1 and again on November 22. Everybody logged onto buy a badge and crashed their system.

And that was Comic-Con’s second problem. They made such a big stink about the badges going on sale at these specific times, that everyone knew about it. Everyone had the time and date marked on their calendar and then everyone was buying at the same time. Never in this debacle has Comic-Con put minds at ease by telling us how many badges are available (it’s surely around 100,000) or told people that they didn’t need to buy them immediately. Don’t worry Comic-Con, you are going to sell out again this year – and even earlier than usual. Just put our minds to ease.

Now they have this new “test” which really is just going to piss off several thousand people who don’t get picked. And, depending on what page a user has to go to to actually register, could crash the site again.

Here are the instructions for Wednesday just so everyone is clear.

On December 15 at 8:00am PST, 1,000 4-Day Comic-Con badges will be available by checking www.comic-con.org for a TicketLeap registration link. Each 4-day badge will cost $105.00 for Adults and $52.00 for Juniors/Seniors and will require a $1.00 non-refundable deposit and a $2.00 non-refundable service charge per badge paid directly to TicketLeap. You will only pay the deposit and service charge at TicketLeap when you make your initial badge request. You will pay for your full Comic-Con 4-day badge separately on the EPIC registration website.

For this test, an individual may request up to two badges only. If you request two badges you will be charged a total of $6.00, a $2.00 deposit and a service charge of $4.00, that will be paid directly to TicketLeap at the time of request. If you are among the first 1,000 people to request a badge, TicketLeap will send you a confirmation e-mail that will confirm the number of badges you are able to purchase. If badges are sold out when you make your request, you will not be charged anything for participating in this test. If you receive a confirmation from TicketLeap, but decide not to purchase a badge from EPIC, your $1.00 deposit and $2.00 service charge is still non-refundable.

After you receive your TicketLeap confirmation, EPIC will send you one e-mail for each badge confirmed by TicketLeap. Be sure to add registration@epicreg.com to your e-mail contacts or address book so your registration e-mail won’t go to your SPAM folder. Check your SPAM folder if you do not receive an e-mail from EPIC within three hours after tickets have sold out on TicketLeap. The EPIC e-mail will contain one unique log-in code and additional instructions on how to pay for your badges. You are not registered at this time. You must log-in to EPIC and pay for your badges after you receive the e-mail. You will have 24 hours only from the time you receive your e-mail code from EPIC to log in to the EPIC site and purchase your badges. The badges are $105.00 for Adults and $52.00 for Juniors/Seniors, but as a thank you for participating in this test, you will receive a $3.00 credit per badge purchased through EPIC, upon checkout.

Because this is a test you are limited to two 4-day badges without Preview Night only, but based on the results of this test we may set a different limit for future sales.

We understand the inconvenience this process has been, but we thank you sincerely for bearing with us and taking part in this test which we hope will mean a better registration experience for everyone.

Hopefully this test works and hopefully, once they’re confident with the system, they’ll put it in place and everyone can easily buy their badges. Then again, once the system is put in place, they’re going to encounter that kind of crazy traffic you can’t predict. Plus, the last time Comic-Con attendees were forced to trust a computer to straighten things out, a bunch of us got placed in hotels 5 miles away.

The easiest thing for Comic-Con to do would have just been to quietly put the tickets on sale and send out one tweet about it. That’s it. Word would have spread like wildfire and, in the meantime, the web traffic would have been slow and steady. Everyone would have been happy.

Do you think this system is going to work? Are you going to try and be a test subject?

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