Fan Fair Alliance have called for Google to cut its ties with secondary ticketing sites, such as Viagogo and StubHub.
Back in 2017, Fan Fair Alliance, an industry-led consumer advocacy group seeking to reform secondary ticketing, published research illustrating that sites such as Viagogo and StubHub were using misleading pay-per-click ads to encourage music fans to purchase tickets. In some circumstances, fans were led to believe that the event was sold out and ended up paying unnecessarily marked up prices for secondary tickets.
In a new report, Fan Fair Alliance (FFA) have found similar results, despite reforms in the industry. By searching for gig tickets on Google, including shows from Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones and Superorganism, their analysis found that on 98% of searches, secondary ticketing sites were paying to top Google search results.
“However, despite the availability of face value tickets, we found on 98% of occasions that either Viagogo, StubHub or Get Me In! were still paying to top Google search – and without any obvious disclosure that they were listing “second hand” tickets,” FFA said.
The FFA singled out Viagogo’s negative impact on the live music ecosystem
The FFA were particularly keen to single out Viagogo’s negative impact on the live music ecosystem and questioned Google’s acceptance of money from the company.
“Viagogo are operating in breach of both UK consumer law and an ASA ruling on misleading pricing. There is overwhelming evidence of Viagogo’s negative impacts on both audiences and artists. For Google to continue profiting from a law-breaking enterprise seems untenable,” the FFA said.
Members of Parliament have also spoken out in support of the FFA’s research.
“Further research from FanFair Alliance has confirmed what we already knew – secondary ticket sites such as Viagogo, StubHub, and GetMeIn! use misleading pay per click ads from Google to direct consumers to their websites, even though tickets are still available at face value on primary ticket websites,” Labor MP Sharon Hodgson said.
“As the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, I am very concerned by Google’s relationship with secondary ticket sites, the platform it provides for them and the priority it gives over primary sites."