Tech giant Google has blocked ticket reseller Viagogo from the top of Google search result pages amid years of complaints about the platform from ticket-buyers and artists across the world over.
The ban doesn’t mean the Swiss-based platform will disappear from Google Search completely: it just means that Viagogo will stop appearing at the top of the page, where paid-for search results appear.
But the ban is indefinite, and worldwide, meaning that Viagogo will stop appearing as one of the first options no matter what country you’re using the search engine in.
In a statement to Yahoo Finance, a Google spokesperson said people using the Google platform should have “an experience they can trust”.
“This is why we have strict policies and take necessary action when we find an advertiser in breach.”
Clearly, the decision has resonated with netizens: people took to Twitter to express their rather fierce joy.
“About time!” said Twitter user Clair Connor. “Blows my mind that Viagogo have been getting away with it for so long!”
Thank you @Google from every Victim of @viagogo & to everyone who has worked tirelessly to bring positive change. This feels momentous for all of us @FanFairAlliance @SharonHodgsonMP @ByRobDavies @markhmcgivern @StuartCamp @DHPFamily @KilimanjaroLive #VofV #fairgogo— Claire Turnham MBE (@clairelouisetur) July 17, 2019
Aussie singer Brendan Maclean was among those that were more explicit about their feelings.
Another tweeted: “Very happy about this.”
Very happy about this. Hope it’s just the start: Viagogo, a ticket reseller with few fans among consumers, gets stung by Google. https://t.co/ApTZ3lRxdd— NaØmiD (@Naomi_U2Sydney) July 18, 2019
Several artists have also publicly decried the platform, with Brisbane-based dance-punk trio DZ Deathrays actively discouraging fans from buying tickets through the site.
Please remember!!! DO NOT purchase tickets to our shows from viagogo. Always use https://t.co/8ExkQmBKxm and stay safe 👍🏻— DZ DEATHRAYS (@DZDEATHRAYS) July 17, 2019
UK campaign groups have been lobbying Viagogo, and UK Labour politician Sharon Hodgson welcomed the news.
The news that @GoogleUK will suspend paid for ads from Viagogo is more than welcome. Such a well respected brand such as Google should have done this a long time ago, but I am now pleased that fans will no longer be directed to Viagogo by Google ads. #PutFansFirst— Sharon Hodgson MP (@SharonHodgsonMP) July 17, 2019
Meanwhile, others think the decision to only block Viagogo from Google’s paid search results just doesn’t go far enough.
Viagogo needs to be banned full stop and period. https://t.co/VJ2rj1LrW0— Toby G (@Epigrammist) July 18, 2019
Viagogo caught for lying to customers
Earlier this year, the Federal Court found Viagogo had made misleading representations to customers when it sold entertainment, music, and sport event tickets by suggesting the tickets were more scarce than they were.
“Viagogo’s claims misled consumers into buying tickets by including claims like ‘less than 1 per cent tickets remaining’ to create a false sense of urgency,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said at the time.
Live Performance Australia chief Evelyn Richardson said Google’s decision was a “great outcome” for Aussie ticket-buyers.
"We had approached Google some time ago for action to be taken over Viagogo's advertising in Google's paid search, and we're delighted this has now been done," she said.
"It's good for the ticket-buying public, and it's good for artists who don't want to see their fans being disappointed or ripped off through dodgy ticket resale practices."
A Viagogo spokesperson told Yahoo Finance that they were “extremely surprised to learn of Google’s concerns”.
“We are confident that there has been no breach of Google’s policies and look forward to working with them to resolve this as quickly as possible.”
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