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Michael Chugg questions Google lifting ad ban on ‘scumbag’ Viagogo

Australian promoter Michael Chugg has expressed his “disappointment” at Google’s decision to lift Viagogo’s advertising ban following its agreement to buy StubHub in a $4.05bn deal.

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.

However, Viagogo is once again back as the top-ranked result for many ticket searches, including for the Chugg Entertainment promoted Elton John tour, after a four month ban that saw its global site visits fall by around two-thirds.

In his speech to the Australian music industry, Chugg said, according to the Industry Observer: “I was very disappointed to read in the international papers that Google has put that scumbag Viagogo back on the ticketing page. We’re going to talk about that over the next couple of weeks.”

In addition, Live Performance Australia has called on Google to explain its backflip on Viagogo’s ad ban.

LPA chief executive Evelyn Richardson said in a letter to Google’s Australia and New Zealand managing director Melanie Silva, that it wanted “urgent clarification” of how Viagogo has met its commitments around its business practices.

Chugg, Michael Gudinski are among a group of industry veterans leading the case against Viagogo, which was the subject of a Federal Court action by the ACCC.

Richardson said: “Our industry has been calling out Viagogo for its misleading practices for some time now, and it has also been subject to Federal Court action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

“In April this year, the Federal Court found that Viagogo had made false or misleading representations and engaged in conduct liable to mislead the public when reselling entertainment, music and live sport event tickets. And, yet, only months later it is back in action on Google.”

She added that Australia’s live performance industry “wants some answers from Google on its turnaround.”

The decision to ban Viagogo from Google AdWords came at a time when the resale ticketing firm 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.

Image: Ludmila Joaquina Valentina Buyo