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Google bans Viagogo from paid-for search results

Written by: Emma Lunn
Adverts for controversial ticket reseller Viagogo will no longer appear in paid-for search results generated by the search engine.

Google has suspended Viagogo from advertising with immediate effect, following pressure from campaigners and MPs.

The move will be a huge blow to the ticket company which is also facing legal action from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Businesses that pay for adverts on Google often appear at the top of search results for particular phrases. The ad ban means Viagogo adverts will no longer at the top of the page. However, the website may still appear in ‘organic search’ results which are ranked by their relevance to the search terms.

Google said it had found Viagogo in breach of its advertising policy and would begin removing its ads immediately.

Viagogo’s adverts often appeared at the top of the search results when music fans searched for tickets, even for artists who have banned secondary tickets from their gigs. Campaigners say this has led to buyers assuming the site is authorised by the musician or band to sell tickets.

A Google spokesperson said:  “When people use our platform for help in purchasing tickets, we want to make sure that they have an experience they can trust. This is why we have strict policies and take necessary action when we find an advertiser in breach.”

Viagogo has been accused of snapping up large numbers of tickets for popular acts as soon as they go on sale, then selling them on at hugely inflated prices. It’s also been accused of misleading consumers with hidden fees and not providing information about ticket sellers, particularly in the case of ticket touts.

In November 2018, the CMA secured a court order against Viagogo – warning it to add disclaimers that warn customers about seat details and any risks of being turned away at the door for an event.

Viagogo failed to fully comply with the court order, leading to the CMA to move forward with legal proceedings for contempt of court earlier this month.

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