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Viagogo suffers major user decline since Google ban

Viagogo has suffered a serious decline in users since Google banned it from paid-for searches for allegedly breaching advertising rules.

In July, the search engine giant announced a global suspension of Viagogo’s advertising account in what was described as a “landmark moment” for the ticketing industry.

Prior to the ban, Viagogo’s UK website attracted 4.5 million visitors in June, according to analytics service SimilarWeb, which slumped to 2.5 million in July, the month the ban came into effect.

In August, visits to the site fell to just 820,000, the first full month affected by Google’s decision, a decline of almost 80 per cent.

Over the same period, the resale company’s global website also saw a decline of two-thirds, down from 15.3 million visits to 4.5 million.

According to the Guardian, Viagogo said it hoped to again be allowed to use AdWords, a product that allows businesses to pay to appear above the organically generated results.

Politicians and entertainment trade groups had long campaigned for the ticketing site to be barred from advertising on Google, claiming its infringements of consumer laws.

The company said in a statement: “Google is a key part of any company’s advertising mix and the suspension has certainly seen a decline in traffic from this source. However, as a global business we employ multiple marketing methods, to ensure we can reach the widest global audience effectively.

“This has allowed us to manage any impact of the suspension on the overall business, whilst we are working with Google to resolve their concerns and be reinstated. Viagogo has long enjoyed a close working relationship with Google and we are in discussions presently to resolve the suspension.”

A spokesperson for Google responded: “Any advertiser can appeal [against] an account suspension through our online form and we’ll review against our policies.”

Last month, Viagogo got a boost after the UK’s competition regulator suspended preparations for court action, after the controversial resale company finally made its ticketing information transparent to customers. The Competition and Market Authority (CMA) ruled that Viagogo addressed its outstanding concerns about how it presents important information to its customers, claiming it is “worlds apart from the one they faced before the CMA took action.”

Despite this, the Guardian obtained figures that the Citizens Advice Bureau has received 3,280 requests for advice relating to Viagogo since the start of 2016. StubHub attracted the second-highest level of requests for help with 82, around 40 times fewer than Viagogo.

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