Viagogo has been suspended from advertising by Google following claims that touts use the site to sell tickets at an inflated price.
The move from the search engine giant comes as the secondary ticketing service faces further legal action from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). MPs and campaigners for fair ticket prices have also hit out at the site.
In a statement today (July 17), Google explained their decision to suspend Viagogo as an advertiser. “When people use our platform for help in purchasing tickets, we want to make sure that they have an experience they can trust,” they said.
“This is why we have strict policies and take necessary action when we find an advertiser in breach.”
In a further statement, Google clarified that the website would only be suspended from paid-for advertising – not removed from organic searches. These adverts will begin to be taken down from today.
Google’s surprise decision is thought to be a result of many calls for Viagogo to review its controversial business model.
Last year, Google was urged to take action against the website by campaigners from the Society Of Ticket Agents And Retailers (STAR), FanFair Alliance, and more. The organisations hit out at Viagogo’s practice of paying for advertising in order to gain prominence in search results.
MPs warned music fans to avoid using Viagogo until it “fully complies with consumer law” in March. The report claimed that the secondary site “caused distress for too many music fans for too long”.
“We regret that such time and public money is being spent on bringing the platforms, principally Viagogo, into line with consumer law that they should have complied with from the outset,” the report stated.
“We believe that Viagogo has yet to prove itself a trustworthy operator given its history of resisting compliance, court orders and parliamentary scrutiny, and flouting consumer law.”
The CMA initially began legal action against the company in August 2018. In November last year, they obtained a court order to demand that Viagogo cleaned up its practices to ensure full legal compliance to protect consumers.