Google will no longer accept ads from secondary ticketing operators from today that do not make clear they are resellers under sweeping changes imposed by the search engine giant.

Google has revealed it is tightening its standards and will require all resale sites to be certified and “radically increase their transparency.”

The Google move, which enforces changes first mooted last November, is said to give users more clarity on the vendor reselling the tickets, as well as providing them with the total cost of those tickets, including any associated fees.

Elijah Lawal, a spokesperson for Google, said: “We constantly review our policies to ensure we are providing good experiences for consumers. When people use our platform to purchase tickets, we need to make sure that they have an experience they can trust.

“We think that event ticket resellers that agree to these new transparency requirements will provide a better and safer user experience on our platform.”

To be certified by Google, an event ticket reseller must:

  • Not imply that they are a primary marketplace
  • Prominently disclose themselves as a ticket reseller / secondary marketplace
  • Prominently disclose that prices may be above face value
  • Provide the total and breakup of the price across fees and taxes before requiring payment information
  • Prominently provide the face value of the tickets being sold in the same currency (this will be required starting in March 2018)

In Google’s information about ticket reseller certification, it states under the subheading, “be honest about your business,” that “you can’t imply in your ads that you’re the primary provider of the tickets, with words like “Official” or by including the artist or venue name in the website’s URL.”

Controversial resale site Viagogo came under fire last year for exactly this. It has been presenting itself on Google as an official site, despite its secondary reseller status. The site justifies the term by stating that the link goes through to the ’official’ Viagogo website.

Viagogo was also found to be prominently placing artists’ names in its URLs, as well as the appearance of bogus price comparison websites that frequently defaulted to Viagogo.

Viagogo’s ticket sale pages are now headed by information that outlines that they are a secondary ticket site and that tickets “may be below or above face value”.

Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway theatre industry based in New York, said: “Google’s dramatic step in consumer protection is of major significance to The League’s membership.

“We strongly support requiring brokers who advertise Broadway tickets on its platform to disclose when they are unaffiliated with an official box-office and itemise costs before collecting payment.”

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