Google suspended secondary ticket marketplace Viagogo’s advertising for violating its ad policies.
The suspension follows campaigns by event industry groups to get Google to remove Viagogo’s ads. Last year, 24 signatories, including UK trade and industry bodies as well as several MPs, sent an open letter to Google calling on the company to stop profiting from Viagogo’s ads.
Google confirmed the suspension Wednesday. “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,” a Google spokesperson said.
Why we should care
Google routinely suspends advertisers for violating its advertising policies — it said it removed one million advertiser accounts in 2018. But it’s rarer for an individual advertiser’s suspension to be so public. Music industry group FanFair alliance told The Guardian it has “been in constructive conversations with Google for over two years in an attempt to address this issue.”
Google changed its policies for secondary event ticket sellers in 2017, and in 2018, instituted a certification process for ticket resellers to be able to advertise with Google. Resellers must provide proper disclosure of pricing and fee structures on their websites to be eligible to advertise.
Google listed ticket resellers among the sectors targeted for clean up in its “bad ads report” issued in March. For-profit bail bond services, addiction treatment services, third-party tech support services, cryptocurrencies and some local services were also named as sectors Google focused on last year.
More on the news
- Viagogo has a history of legal trouble. In April, an Australian court ruled that the Switzerland-based Viagogo had misled consumers with false claims about ticket scarcity to create a sense of urgency as well as charging exorbitant booking fees.
- An investigation conducted by The Guardian last spring found Viagogo reselling football (soccer) match tickets illegally. And, earlier this month, the UK’s competition regulator found the company in contempt of court for failing to make changes to its website to comply with consumer laws.
- “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,” a Viagogo spokesperson told the Guardian.