Google suspends ticketing marketplace Viagogo from advertising on search engine

Google has suspended Viagogo – a secondary ticketing marketplace where people can resell their tickets for inflated prices – from advertising on the search engine through paid ads. The global suspension, which takes effect immediately, could severely impact Viagogo’s business given its reliance on paid ads for website traffic.

The decision comes after Viagogo was accused of ‘profiteering’ from charity concerts, selling tickets which may not work upon entry, colluding with scalpers, who buy tickets in bulk to sell them at a huge markup, and found by the Federal Court to have engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.

An example of how far down Viagogo results will now appear. The first two results are ads, from which Viagogo is now suspended. The ticketing platform’s website is instead listed second and third in ‘organic’ search results, underneath the ads

“When people use our platform for help in purchasing tickets, we want to make sure that they have an experience they can trust,” a Google spokesperson said.

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

The ticketing platform will still appear in Google search results, but the ban on Google Ads means links to the site will not appear at the top of search result pages.

In April, the Federal Court decision centred on Viagogo using the word “official” in Google ads when it was not the official ticket reseller. The court also pointed out that ticket prices were not transparent because customers were not alerted to the booking fees until they reached the checkout, which could be as high as 27.6%.

Viagogo was also found to have misled customers by making false claims like “less than 1% of tickets remaining” to create a false sense of urgency.


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