Google Bans Paid Advertisements From Ticket Reseller Viagogo

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Google has reportedly suspended secondary ticketing site Viagogo from placing paid advertisements on the search engine. Effective immediately and globally, the resale site will no longer have the ability to sit atop the search engine’s pages when fans attempt to search for live event tickets.

Reported first Wednesday (July 17) by The BBC and The Guardian, a spokesperson for Google said in a statement, “When people use our platform for help in purchasing tickets, we want to make sure that they have an experience they can trust.”

The spokesperson added, “This is why we have strict policies and take necessary action when we find an advertiser in breach.”

Google will begin to remove Viagogo ads today and no longer take money from the reseller that has been accused of deceptive sales tactics, but the ban will not impact the ticketer’s regular search results.

"We were extremely surprised to learn of Google's concerns today. We are confident that there has been no breach of Google's policies and look forward to working with them to resolve this as quickly as possible," Viagogo replied in a statement.

“This is a hugely significant step -- Google is the first port of call for fans searching for gig tickets across the world,” said Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT) director Sam Shemtob in a statement provided to Billboard. “The move appears to have been triggered by recent court proceedings led by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority as well as pressure from the UK Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.”

Google’s ban follows the U.K.’s consumer watchdog agency, the Competition and Market Authority, taking the reseller to court over concerns that Viagogo was breaking consumer protection law. The CMA gave the reseller until mid-January to correct its deceptive practices, but alleged on July 4, “although some improvements have been made since we first demanded action to address areas of non-compliance, further checks have shown there are still issues of concern.”

The CMA is now seeking to find Viagogo in contempt of court for failing to adhere to all the consumer protection laws it was accused of ignoring.

CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli said: “It is simply not good enough that viagogo is continuing to drag its heels by not complying in full with this important court order.”


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