Google has taken a hammer to the dodgy dealings of some online ticketing resellers, announcing a bunch of new rules that sites will have to follow if they want to keep advertising on the global search giant.
As consumer group CHOICE points out, re-hocking websites like Viagogo (which last month won an award for being “as reliable as a scalper in a back alley”) will now be forced to ‘fess up to the exact price jack-ups they’ve applied to their tickets, as well as disclosing the fact that they’re not official resellers.
So basically, if these corporatised scalpers still want to appear in a Google search — where two-thirds of all music, entertainment and sporting tickets are found and purchased — then their sites will have to clearly spell out exactly how much they’re trying to f*ck you by.
This includes listing the OG value of the tickets, plus any extra fees and taxes, so you have all the info right in front of you before you decide to proceed to the checkout.
“This policy will apply globally, across all accounts that advertise ticket resale from early next year,” a Google spokesperson tells CHOICE.
“We believe these changes strike the right balance between helping Google users find tickets to their favourite bands and acts online, while protecting their interests and those of artists.”
And while the move is all about protecting fans from the underhanded tactics of these unscrupulous resellers, it’ll also likely take a wrecking ball to their profit margins.
“Given the extent of poor practice across the ticket resale industry, it’s great to see Google is playing its part to dry up their site traffic,” says Tom Godfrey, head of media at CHOICE, who’ve been campaigning for reform since doing their own independent investigation into the online reselling industry back in March.
“Once you land on a resale site you don’t really stand a chance with resellers using tricky tactics such as disguising buttons to look similar to authorised sellers, not disclosing the full price before you pay, or making ‘official’ claims.”
Google’s move comes after state and federal regulators issued warnings about ticket resellers, prompting some states to introduce legislation this year banning ticketing bots and imposing huge fines on anyone caught reselling a ticket for more than 10 per cent above the original price.
In conclusion, EAD scalpers.