News July 19, 2019

Aussie music biz reacts to Google’s “long overdue” Viagogo ban

Former Assistant Editor
Aussie music biz reacts to Google’s “long overdue” Viagogo ban

Those fighting the battle against ticket scalping on behalf of the music industry were dealt an ace on Thursday when Google announced it had banned Viagogo from advertising on its platform.

The ban follows a global push against the ticket reseller, which has been used to re-sell tickets way above market value for several years.

The news has been welcomed around the Aussie music industry, with artists, labels, touring companies and more celebrating the win.

“Today’s news is a great win for artists and fans worldwide, and is long overdue,” promoter Michael Chugg told TMN.

“The entire concert industry has been putting immense pressure on Google for over three years worldwide. The increase in government pressure in many many countries has seen wins by consumer bodies in courts worldwide.

“The massive pressure brought by fans and artists brought on by education through social and mainstream media has finally won the day. There is no doubt in the industry that Viagogo have paid Google millions and millions of dollars in click-here fees, but finally they have seen this criminal activity for what it is.

“The industry now needs to make sure no other secondary ticketing company takes Viagogo’s place.”

Music mogul and concert promoter Michael Gudinski has long been vocal about Viagogo and secondary ticketing market.

“We’re thrilled at Frontier to hear of Google’s global decision regarding Viagogo,” Gudinski tells TMN.

“This is a huge and integral step towards safeguarding music fans and we couldn’t be happier.”

Live Performance Australia’s chief executive Evelyn Richardson also applauded the long overdue and welcomed arrival of Google’s decision.

“Live Performance Australia has applauded Google’s decision to remove Viagogo from its paid search results after finding it in breach of its advertising policies,” she said.

“This is a great outcome for Australian ticket buyers, performers and producers who have been subjected to Viagogo’s misleading and inflated ticket resale practices, which have also been called out by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

“We had approached Google some time ago for action to be taken over Viagogo’s advertising in Google’s paid search, and we’re delighted this has now been done.

“It’s good for the ticket-buying public, and it’s good for artists who don’t want to see their fans being disappointed or ripped off through dodgy ticket resale practices.

“We would now like to see other online platforms follow suit and take similar action to protect consumers.”

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).

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