Online ticketing and event promotion company Eventbrite has thrown down the gauntlet to Ticketek labelling the ticketing giant a ‘dinosaur’ and announcing expansion plans in Australia.

The self-service ticketing platform, which allows anyone to create, promote and manage events, sold over 400,000 tickets for events in 739 Australian cities in 2011 and grossed US$363 million in sales worldwide.

Its co-founder and CEO, Kevin Hartz credits the five-year old company’s success to flexibility, affordability and tight integration with social.

“With all due respect, Ticketek’s been around for quite a while but as part of that they’re an old dinosaur,” Hartz says.

“We’re a transactional business; we make it very simple and friction-free to sign up and use the service. Anyone can sign up, whether you’re holding a surfing class for five people or whether it’s a 20,000 person festival.”

According to Mashable, it added more than 100 employees, secured $50 million of funding, opened a London office and launched versions of the site for Ireland and Canada in 2011.

The company recently launched an Australian domain (.au) and will open an Australian office in the near future, taking on service, marketing and sales staff. In promoting its February launch, the platform is waiving all fees for first-time Australian users, but will not be crediting existing customers.

“We make it very simple to publish but we don’t charge anything to sign up… we just charge for each transaction.”

The cost to sell tickets through the platform is 99c per unit sold, plus 2.5% of the ticket price.

Billed as a social commerce platform, Eventbrite has a strong focus on social media integration with post-transaction sharing and pre-purchase recommendations built into their site. According to Hartz events are social by nature: “When you attend a soccer match or concert … or an event you want to share via LinkedIn you see people you admire and respect attending those.”

“That’s the notion of social commerce – that you’re being influenced not by traditional advertising from a third party or from the company itself but by the vote of approval or endorsement by someone that you know.

“Every time someone shares an Eventbrite event on Facebook it drives on average an additional $2.15 in ticket sales and 12 visits back to the site for the organiser.”

Facebook currently accounts for 20% of the website’s traffic, more than the organic results which come from Google, and a large portion also comes from Twitter and LinkedIn.

Hartz says that Google will continue to be extremely important, but that social will be the way forward for his type of service rather than organic search.

In the future the company intends to make greater use of the social graph by integrating event recommendations with friend networks and using mobile, time and location to surface customised recommendations for its users.

Eventbrite allows anyone to create an event page, promote it via social media, track sales, capture and attendee information, and it offers paperless check-in tools via mobile app. It recently launched an iPad app that lets event organisers sell tickets at the door and moved into larger events, ticketing a Black Eyed Peas concert in New York City’s Central Park last year.

The business was founded by husband and wife team Kevin and Julia Hartz, along with the company’s CTO Renaud Visage in 2006.