Viagogo is once again advertising on Google some four months after it was banned.
The controversial resale platform, which agreed to buy StubHub in a $4.05bn deal earlier this week, is again the top-ranked result for many ticket searches.
TheTicketingBusiness has contacted both Google and Viagogo for details of the decision to allow the platform to return to the world’s biggest search engine. Neither operator announced the decision publicly, but it is believed Viagogo was allowed to begin advertising again in the last few days.
Google announced that Viagogo had been suspended from its Ad Words platform worldwide on July 17 after ruling the controversial ticket resale site was in breach of its advertising regulations.
“When people use our platform for help in purchasing tickets, we want to make sure that they have an experience they can trust,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement in July. “This is why we have strict policies and take necessary action when we find an advertiser in breach.”
The decision came at a time when Viagogo was still the subject of legal action by the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) in the UK which said it was not compliant with consumer protection law. The CMA ruled in September that Viagogo is now compliant with UK law after a series of changes.
The ban had a major impact on Viagogo, with reports claiming global site visits fell by around two-thirds from 15.3m in June – before the ban came into effect – to just 4.5m in August. In the UK, visits fell by 80 per cent to just 820,000 in August.
Viagogo’s return to Google has been criticised by campaigners who long called on the search engine to bar the resale platform.
FEAT (Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing) suggested Viagogo has not amended its practices, citing a listing for Billie Eilish in a tweet issued on Tuesday.
This is the 1st listing for tickets to Billie Eilish following Google’s ad ban lift — no indication these are resold tickets & clear evidence of pressure selling. While they may tick Google’s boxes, Viagogo are still clearly misleading fans who think they’re an official supplier pic.twitter.com/qxkewarXkA
— FEAT (@FEAT_org) November 26, 2019