Industry News

Viagogo’s use of word ‘official’ under scrutiny by Irish advertising regulator

Viagogo is under investigation by the Irish Advertising Standards Authority for potentially overstepping advertising rules through its ticket promotions on Google.

Earlier this month, the UK anti-touting campaign group FanFair Alliance, claimed that secondary ticketing platforms are misleading would-be ticket buyers by consistently securing top search engine results.

Ticket resellers such as Viagogo, StubHub and GetMeIn! were found to be in the top two results in 94 per cent of Google searches for tickets.

FanFair has argued that resellers are ‘confusing’ fans who may not grasp the difference between organic and bought listings on Google. The top result is often assumed to be the official, artist-approved source for tickets.

In addition, Viagogo presents 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.

According to The Times, the use of the word ‘official’ by Viagogo on its Google ads is one of the things the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland is investigating.

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.

In addition, the company’s executives failed to show up to a Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee evidence session into ticket abuse.

Yesterday (Monday), Ed Sheeran cancelled around 10,000 tickets that were being offered for hundreds of pounds on resale websites, after explicitly saying ahead of his 2018 tour that action would be taken against those who did not purchase tickets for personal use.

However, tickets for his UK gigs were being resold within minutes of being bought, with many asking for up to 10 times the £49 to £88 face value.

Google has been accused of “aiding and abetting” ticket rip-offs by promoting the sale of invalid tickets for Sheeran’s 2018 tour.

The top result under a Google search for Ed Sheeran concert tickets is an advertisement from resale agent Viagogo. The tickets are deemed invalid because their resale is prohibited on unauthorised sites.