LONDON (CelebrityAccess) — Fan Fair Alliance, an industry-led consumer advocacy group seeking to reform secondary ticketing, has renewed its call on search giant Google to cut its ties with secondary ticketing services such as Viagogo and StubHub.
n July 2017, FanFair Alliance published research which purported to show that secondary market sites such as Viagogo and StubHub paid for search engine placement and in some instances mislead fans into believing they were purchasing tickets from an authorized ticketing agent. Moreover, the results often led fans to believe the event was sold out even when they were not, leading some to purchase marked up tickets on the secondary market.
This month, Fan Fair Alliance reported that they conducted a new examination of ticketing information and despite some reforms, they said the found similar results.
According to the FFA, they searched on Google for tickets to a random selection of concerts in the UK, in the UK, including Ed Sheeran, Roger Waters, Justin Timberlake, the Rolling Stones, Superorganism, the BBC Proms, Wiz Khalifa, Tony Hadley and Krept & Konan.
“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 as an especially egregious example and questioned Google’s decision to accept money from the company under regulatory sanction for search results placement.
“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,” Fan Fair Alliance said.
The Alliance also drew support from some members of Parliment.
“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.”