Resale sites must show more transparency according to new AdWords guidelines.
After years of complaints from venues and show operators about deceptive search results for fans trying to buy concert tickets, Google is making changes to how resellers advertise with the search giant. The new rules ban a number of deceptive practices and require greater transparency from independent broker sites and large marketplaces like StubHub and Viagogo.
On Wednesday (Feb. 7), the search giant implemented a new set of rules announced last year governing how ticket resellers and professional scalpers advertise on Google's AdWords platform. Ticket brokers now must complete a certification program and agree to a number of transparency requirements about how tickets are procured, priced and marketed to boost their search engine results through paid advertising and keyword buying on AdWords.
Under the new guidelines, resellers cannot imply or lead customers to think their site is the primary point of sale for tickets. One common complaint to consumer groups and the Federal Trade Commission is that scalpers purchase deceptive URLs like RogerWatersTickets.com or CoachellaTickets.com, and then bid on keywords to boost their position on Google's search result page. When a consumer would search for tickets on sites like Google, they'd have to navigate through listings from brokers that looked legitimate in order to find the primary ticketing site.