Google to update ad policy to tackle secondary ticket sellers

The changes will come into effect in January 2018
By Tara Lepore ,

Google has announced an update to its advertising policies on ticket resales, in a bid to tackle touts re-selling tickets far higher than face value. 

From January 2018, event ticket resellers will need to be certified before they can advertise through Google AdWords. The policy will apply globally, across all accounts that advertise ticket resale.

Research from July 2017 illustrated how the likes of Viagogo, StubHub and Get Me In! could be misleading would-be ticket buyers through their online marketing practices – paying to top search results with tickets listed by touts, even when face value tickets from authorised sellers are widely available.

"We are pleased that Google have listened to concerns on this issue, and have acted in an assertive manner and on a global basis," commented a FanFair spokesperson. "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.

Investigating ticket sales for 100 upcoming UK tours – by artists ranging from Metallica and Cliff Richard to Lulu and Run The Jewels – research providers FanFair found that a secondary ticketing website had paid to top Google rankings on 77% of occasions.

In the recent AudienceNet / Music Ally report "Ticked Off", commissioned by FanFair, 43% of respondents said they used Google as their first port of call to search for tickets, while 52% had difficulty distinguishing between authorised primary sellers and unauthorised secondary sites.

The changes will mean that resellers can't imply they're the original provider of event tickets, and must disclose they're a reseller. Prices must also 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).

Details of Google's updated policy can be found here.