Google to clamp down on online ticket touts using its advertising service

The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers is drawing up a code of good practice for websites that resell tickets. Photo: Shutterstock Photo: Shutterstock
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Google has announced that event ticket resellers will need to be certified before they can advertise through its advertising service AdWords.

The new policy will take effect next year from January 2018 and will apply globally.

In a recent YouGov poll, 48% of respondents said they wanted ticket reselling sites to be banned, due to inflated prices and a lack of legally required information, such as seat numbers.

Google, through this change in strategy, aims to assist consumers in purchasing “face value” tickets from authorised sellers.

FanFair Alliance, a campaign group against online ticket touting, commissioned a report that found 43% of respondents said they used Google as “first port of call” to locate tickets. The report also revealed that 52% could not identify which sites were authorised primary sellers.

Google’s updated policy will result in resellers disclosing the fact that they are not the original providers for the event and that prices may be higher due to this. It will also ensure that resellers provide a breakdown of the prices before checkout, including fees and taxes.

From March 2018, Google will also require resellers to post the original price of tickets alongside theirs.

FanFair Alliance released a statement today commenting that they are “pleased that Google have listened to concerns on this issue, and have acted in an assertive manner and on a global basis. This move should be a major step forward in cleaning up the secondary market.”