Industry News

How Spanish music group led to Google ticket ad rethink

Google reformed its policies on secondary ticketing adverts only after being made aware of potential illegalities by a Spanish live events trade group.

Speaking to IQ Mag, Gabriel Rossy, lawyer for Spanish Association of Music Promoters (APM), praised the tech giant for its recent crackdown on resellers.

Rossy, who will speak at this year’s TheTicketing Business Forum in Manchester in April, approached Google in mid-2017 after becoming increasingly concerned about the way resellers were dominating web searches for tickets. He later sent a formal note outlining potential breaches of Spanish touting laws.

Rossy said Google executives were unaware of the scale of the problem, but acted quickly after the approach.

Rossy told IQ Mag: “We told them, if you go to any big event or concert and stand at the gate and ask people where they got their tickets from, you’d realise just how important Google is to misleading people.

“I offered them all the information we had, from hundreds of victims [of ticket fraud or voided resold tickets] and said, ‘I’m sure most of them would be happy to come here and discuss it with you.’

“They were completely honest – that was my impression – and obviously Google doesn’t want to test the limits of the law, so I was sure they would want to be on the right side of this.

“And that’s why I pushed them with the letter in November: I said, ‘I believe you were unaware of this, but now you know – so it’s up to you to do something about it.”

While APM led discussions with Google in Spain, FanFair Alliance applied pressure in the UK and leading promoters Michael Chugg and Michael Gudinski led the fight in Australia.

Google announced late last year that it will, as of this month, include ticket resellers in its ‘other restricted businesses’ AdWords category, requiring them to be certified with Google before they can advertise through its AdWords service.

Rossy said that the new AdWords policy is “very positive” step forward for consumers.

He told IQ Mag: “These potential improvements do not overshadow the fact that these measures prove Google is on the side of both the music industry and consumers. I am sure they will be receptive to any future suggestions.”

  • Gabriel Rossy will be one of more than 50 leading figures from the events and ticketing sector to speak at this year’s TheTicketing Business Forum (TBF18) at Manchester’s Emirates Old Trafford on April 17