New Google ad policy targets secondary ticketing companies

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Google is launching a new advertising policy that requires event ticket resellers to be certified before they can advertise through AdWords.

The policy will apply globally from January to all companies operating within the secondary ticketing market.

To become certified, businesses must make clear at the top of their website or app that they are secondary sellers rather than the primary ticket provider.

Also, companies’ URLs must not imply they are the official ticket company or include the name of the artist or venue.

This should help consumers identify at point-of-sale whether they are purchasing from an authorised primary seller or a secondary ticketing service.

Resellers must also tell customers that prices may be higher than the face value, and prices must be broken down to show the values of included fees and taxes during checkout and before the customer provides payment information.

In March 2018, Google will also require certified resellers to post the face value of the tickets along with the reseller’s price, and in the same currency.

Primary ticket sellers including Ticketmaster don’t need to apply for certification, but secondary sites such as StubHub and Viagogo must get Google approval.

FanFair Alliance, the campaign body set up by the music industry to tackle the unscrupulous secondary ticketing market, has responded to the news in a statement: ‘This is a very welcome development, with potential to make the ticket-buying process far less complex for consumers.

‘The recent “Ticked Off” report highlighted that a significant proportion of would-be ticket buyers use Google as their first port of call, while FanFair’s own research has illustrated the extent to which Viagogo, StubHub and Get Me In! use paid search to dominate Google rankings. They make little indication that they are secondary ticketing platforms.

‘As a result, fans have been systematically directed towards touted tickets, even when primary inventory is still available from authorised ticket sellers.

‘We are pleased that Google have listened to concerns on this issue, and have acted in an assertive manner and on a global basis. We look forward to seeing further details – but this move should be a major step forward in cleaning up the secondary market, as we anticipate more regulatory and legislative action to come.’