Google gets tough on secondary ticketing websites advertising on AdWords

live concert

 Ticket resale websites will be subject to stricter advertising guidelines on AdWords as Google looks to prevent buyers being exploited. 

Google has put in place to regulations to ban secondary ticketing websites from implying they are primary ticket sellers via their AdWords advertising platform. The new guidelines also instruct ticket resale websites to be more transparent about their pricing, or have their adverts rejected.

The purchase of tickets for events such as music concerts often begin with a search on Google, but the first page of results is often dominated by PPC ads from resale websites such as StubHub, GetMeIn, Viagogo and Seatwave, which are displayed alongside the official ticket agents and primary sellers - even when the event still hasn't sold out.

A recent report by lobby group FanFair Alliance found that a ticket resale website had paid for the top ad position in Google's results for 77 out of the 100 UK tours it studied.

Now Google is taking action and requires all websites to make it clear that they are second hand ticket sellers. Any ticket resale site that wants to advertise on Google must carry a disclaimer at the top of the webpage declaring that they are not the primary seller of the event tickets.

The move follows a review by Google who felt they needed to do more to protect searchers.

Google spokesperson Jennifer Kaiser said in an interview with the BBC: "We felt like we needed to do more to make sure the advertising of secondary ticketing is clear on our platform."

Many secondary ticketing websites have come in for criticism over the last few years and have been accused of misleading consumers by implying that they are official sellers, over-charging for tickets and selling invalid tickets.

Ms Kaiser explained the new AdWords guidelines, saying:

To carry on advertising on Google, secondary sites can't use words like "official", they can't use the artist or venue name in the website URL, and they'll need to clearly say they are a reseller at the top of their page.

About the Author

Luke Glassford

Luke Glassford is an SEO expert with over 15 years’ experience.

During his time working in SEO, Luke has set-up an SEO agency, worked as an in-house SEO for a major national company and managed his own successful SEO consultancy - using a lot of different SEO tools along the way!