July 18, 2019

Google confirms its Viagogo advertising ban includes Australia

Former Assistant Editor
Google confirms its Viagogo advertising ban includes Australia

A much-needed win overnight for promoters and punters in the secondary ticketing war.

Viagogo will no longer be able to pay Google to appear at the top of its search results after the platform was suspended from advertising.

The ban on Viagogo has come into immediate effect, following a concerted push by the music industry worldwide against the platform.

Google announced that the UK-based company breached its advertising policy, and confirmed to TMN that the global ban includes Australia.

“When people use our platform for help in purchasing tickets, we want to make sure that they have an experience they can trust,” said a spokesperson for Google.

“This is why we have strict policies and take necessary action when we find an advertiser in breach.”

For its part, Viagogo issued a statement saying it was “extremely surprised to learn of Google’s concerns today.”

That’s despite the fact that Viagogo has fallen foul of both the UK’s Competiton and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

In April, the Federal Court of Australia found that Viagogo mislead local consumers and breached Australian consumer law.

The Court found Viagogo misled consumers by claiming tickets to certain events were scarce when the scarcity only referred to the tickets available on its resale platform and didn’t include tickets available elsewhere.

“Viagogo’s claims misled consumers into buying tickets by including claims like ‘less than 1 per cent tickets remaining’ to create a false sense of urgency,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

The Court also found that using the word ‘official’ in its online advertisements was misleading.

As a result of this, consumers were misled into thinking they were purchasing tickets from an official site, when in fact Viagogo is a ticket resale website.

Gang Of Youths were among several Aussie acts to publicly shame the resale platform, and launched a campaign against Viagogo in late 2018 on behalf of the industry.

“As many of you have encountered, Viagogo has become one of the most disgraceful and disruptive scams our live industry has faced in recent years,” said GOY.

“Viagogo impacts promoters, managers, venues, ticket agencies and most importantly artists and their fans”.