The music business just might get some divine intervention on illegal ticketing: Google is cracking down on shady ticket resellers operating on its massive online advertising platform.
Under new proposals due to come into effect from January 2018, secondary ticketing sites keen to advertise through the tech giant’s Google AdWords service must first get certified through a raft of measures which push transparency.
Those new hurdles will require resellers to inform customers to clearly disclose they aren’t the primary provider of the tickets and that their prices may be higher than face value (with breakdowns on those added fees during the checkout process). And from March 2018, businesses will need to provide the face value of a ticket along with the reseller’s price, and in the same currency.
Also, resellers will no longer be allowed to imply in their ads that they’re the “primary or original provider of event tickets”, so obfuscation is out. If you try selling tickets from AC-DCTickets.com.au or something to that effect, you’re busted. And don’t even try using “Official” or the venue name in the website’s URL or ads.
Primary ticket sellers need not apply for certification. But the new rules are very clear for the likes of Viagogo, StubHub and Seatwave. “If you are a reseller or secondary market for event tickets, you need to be certified,” Google states. “This includes businesses that sell tickets both as a primary provider and a reseller.”
The new AdWords policy will apply globally, and the response from the live sector has been positive. “This is potentially a game-changer,” Adam Webb, campaign manager at the U.K.’s FanFair Alliance, tells IQ.
Live Performance Australia has welcomed the news:
LPA Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson said: “Some ticket resellers have been passing themselves off as the official ticket seller for shows and events through their manipulation of online search and advertising practices.
“Google’s indisputable influence in search and online advertising means these measures should make a real difference in addressing some of the problems associated with the secondary ticket market.”
The comments are echoed by Annabella Coldrick, CEO of the Music Managers Forum, who notes, “This is fantastic news and we welcome this global change of policy on ticket resellers from Google.”
TIO has reached out to Live Performance Australia for comment.
Google’s crackdown comes a week after the Victorian parliament approved new regulations on ticket touting for the state’s biggest events, including concerts.