AFTER MANY months of pressure from politicians and across the live music industry, most notably from FanFair Alliance campaign manager Adam Webb, Google has finally agreed to suspend Viagogo as an advertiser.
The internet giant said it has excluded Viagogo from its paid-for search results, globally and with immediate effect.
The Switzerland-based secondary ticketing operator’s paid-for listings often appeared at the top of the page when consumers searched for tickets.
The move follows the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) announcement that it is taking legal action against Viagogo for contempt of court, for the company’s only partial compliance with a court order served last year.
Webb says FFA has been communicating with Google for more than two years in an effort to encourage them to address the issue, and published extensive research highlighting the impact of Viagogo’s misleading search advertising
“This is a landmark moment, and a major step forward to preventing exploitation of audiences in the secondary ticketing market,” he says.
Google issued a statement saying, ”When people use our platform for help in purchasing tickets, we want to make sure that they have an experience they can trust.
“This is why we have strict policies and take necessary action when we find an advertiser in breach.”
Sharon Hodgson MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, welcomes Google’s decision, but says such a “well respected” brand as Google should have acted a long time ago.
“For years, I have heard from fans who were led to believe that Viagogo was a trusted and official resale website because it appeared at the top of a Google search,” she says. “I’m pleased that this will no longer occur.”
Claire Turnham, who was awarded an MBE for her work in consumer protection via her Victims of Viagogo group on Facebook, says, “Given almost every victim of Viagogo across the UK and beyond comes via Google, this global suspension of paid advertising is a significant step in helping to protect the public and reduce ticket abuse worldwide. Now we need to see Facebook take strong action too”