Ticket reselling site Viagogo is back in the spotlight following Google’s decision to suspend it from paid-for global search rankings.
The suspension, which is effective immediately, follows pressure from a number of campaign groups, MPs and trade body UK Music. Last year, they came together to pen an open letter to senior Google executives calling on the company to stop Viagogo from advertising on its site due to its supposedly unethical business practices. They claimed the site misled customers who bought event tickets that may have been invalid.
Google’s decision is likely to significantly impact Viagogo’s ability to do business. Previously its ads have appeared on the top of searches for various events but, as of today, they will all be removed.
A spokesperson for Google said: “When people use our platform for help in purchasing tickets, we want to make sure that they have an experience they can trust. This is why we have strict policies and take necessary action when we find an advertiser in breach.”
- New Anti-Fraud Rules Could Hinder Online Shoppers
- Google Admits Workers Are Listening to Google Assistant Recordings
- New Facebook Reporting Tool to Crackdown on Scam Adverts
The controversial Switzerland-based company has previously come under fire from notable celebrities, such as Ed Sheeran and the Artic Monkeys, who said the site should be shutdown.
The Competition Market Authority (CMA) has accused the business of not doing enough to improve its business practices and has started fresh legal action against it. The CMA first launched proceedings against the company in August 2018 over concerns Viagogo was breaking consumer-protection law.
As a result, the company was ordered to drastically revamp its business practices, including informing buyers of what seat they would get and if there was a risk they would be turned away at the door.
But, the watchdog is now accusing the company of disregarding the court order and plans to launch another action against the company for contempt of court. The CMA claims Viagogo is still giving:
- misleading ticket-availability messages
- incomplete addresses of business selling tickets
- insufficient warnings with resale restriction may not allow entry
If found in contempt, Viagogo could face high penalties.