Google is implementing new rules to protect consumers buying tickets online by requiring ticket resale marketplaces in the secondary sector to provide information to buyers or suffer a penalty in terms of visibility in Google results.
Under the changes to the rules, ticket resale marketplaces and companies cannot call themselves an “official” source of tickets in Google results.
From March 2018 Google will also require sites to prominently disclose if the ticket resale price is above face value. such sites reselling tickets will also have to be accredited if they wish to use the AdWords programme.
Google says it’s intention is to “protect customers from scams and prevent potential confusion”.
Campaign group FanFair Alliance has been lobbying Google and they say of the developments: “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.”
This is a remarkably strong interventionist move from Google and has merit because there are serious issues regarding fraud and confusion in the secondary market and in an ideal world it would be great if every fan could get the tickets they want for their events at a fair price. But equally there are often valid reasons why someone can’t make an event after buying a ticket and there are no refunds from event organisers, so selling it on, for whatever price the market will bear, be is perfectly legitimate.
The bigger concern must surely be the organised groups, often driven by cunning technology, who can snap up tickets by the dozen using bots with the sole intention of resale. And that’s something the original vendors are in the best place to address.