Industry News

Google AdWords to require resellers to obtain certification

Google has cracked down on secondary ticketing websites and their use of its AdWords platform.

As of January 2018, resellers will be included in Google’s ‘other restricted businesses’ AdWords category. This will require firms to be certified with Google before they can advertise.

The move comes on the back of UK politicians urging the search engine to ban resellers such as Viagogo, StubHub, Seatwave and GetMeIn! from promoting themselves as official vendors.

In order to apply for certification secondary ticketing websites must agree to inform the customer that their prices may be higher than face value, break down prices to show included fees and taxes during checkout and before the customer provides payment information, as well as list the face value of the tickets, along with the reseller’s price in the same currency.

“This is a very welcome development, with potential to make the ticket-buying process far less complex for consumers,” said a Fanfair Alliance spokesperson.

“The recent ‘Ticked Off’ report highlighted that a significant proportion of would-be ticket buyers use Google as their first port of call, while 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.

“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.”

The updated AdWords policy also prohibits secondary sellers from implying they are the “primary or original provider of event tickets,” and mandates that they “disclose to customers that they are a reseller”.

Annabella Coldrick, chief executive of the Music Managers Forum, said: “This is fantastic news and we welcome this global change of policy on ticket resellers from Google.

“MMF and FanFair have long been calling for greater transparency in the resale market and we have been concerned that fans have been misled by the advertising practices of the secondary market.

“FanFair research has shown that search is a key driver of ticket sales, and this policy change to certify ticket resellers will help improve the ability of fans to understand who they are buying from and to avoid being ripped off by touts.”