A member of the UK parliamentary committee investigating ticketing abuse has suggested Google should take action against secondary sites he claims are violating their advertising policies.
Nigel Huddleston, the MP for Mid Worcestershire, is a former executive at the internet and tech giant who now sits on the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Committee.
Huddleston and his fellow committee members heard earlier this week that Viagogo has advertised non-existent tickets listed for the hit musical ‘Hamilton’. Google AdWords states that advertising ‘unavailable offers’ is a violation of its terms, with penalties including account suspension.
“I was concerned – as were other members of the committee – to discover a Viagogo ad for tickets to Hamilton on Google, as highlighted by John Nicolson MP, and my understanding is that it would breach Google’s existing policies,” he told IQ Mag. “I suspect other similar ads by secondary sellers may also breach such rules.
“I do know that Google are generally quite quick at removing ads that breach their own rules and guidelines, but often the breach needs to be brought to their attention before they do so.”
Meanwhile, Huddleston said in a separate statement that the oral evidence gathered at Tuesday’s hearing suggested that fans are being “deceived” by the secondary tickets market.
“The original intent of the secondary ticket market was to provide a service to consumers unable to turn up to an event and it is important to remember that those purchasing tickets from secondary platforms are still fans,” he said. “However, the evidence we have heard shows that instead of being provided with a service, fans are being deceived into buying invalid tickets and often at a price far higher than the original ticket’s face value.
“We need to bring an end to this exploitation by increasing consumer awareness about potentially fraudulent and invalid ticket sales and making consumers more aware of how to find legitimate ticketing platforms.
“Together with my colleagues on the Committee, I will also continue to explore whether further legislative change is necessary and review the enforcement of existing legislation.”