When you want to attend concerts, sporting events or go to the theatre the most common way to purchase tickets is by going online, but as we have just seen with U2’s Dublin gigs, you can end up paying a lot more than the face value of the tickets. The Fine Gael T.D. for Dublin North West, Noel Rock has been very active and is bringing in legislation to combat the eye watering gouging that can be seen online on various websites, and Google have decided to get in on the act by updating their Event Ticket Reseller Policy.

Elijah Lawal, Google spokesperson, said: “We constantly review our policies to ensure we are providing good experiences for consumers. When people use our platform to purchase tickets, we need to make sure that they have an experience they can trust. We think that event ticket resellers that agree to these new transparency requirements will provide a better and safer user experience on our platform.”

On a blog titled “An Update to Our Event Ticket Reseller Policy” which was published today Google state the following:

Google is often the first stop for sports fans, music lovers, and theatre goers looking for tickets and information about upcoming events, shows and concerts.  We strive to connect these folks with relevant and accurate results, and are committed to delivering the best possible user experience.

Many venues sell tickets directly and some use resellers to help, making it easy to get the seats you want. Unfortunately, some ticket resellers provide limited transparency in their ads about ticket costs and fees, as well as their association with a specific venue or event. Lack of transparency can erode trust in the online ticket ecosystem and makes it harder for legitimate businesses to reach customers.

We only want companies that offer a great user experience on our platform. Effective today, we are tightening our standards and will require all event ticket resellers to be certified and to radically increase their transparency. This will give users more clarity on the vendor reselling the tickets and the total cost of those tickets, including any associated fees.

To be certified by Google, an event ticket reseller must:

  • Not imply that they are a primary marketplace.
  • Prominently disclose themselves as a ticket reseller / secondary marketplace.
  • Prominently disclose that prices may be above face value.
  • Provide the total and breakup of the price across fees and taxes before requiring payment information.
  • Prominently provide the face value of the tickets being sold in the same currency (this will be required starting in March 2018).

This updated policy is a result of our own research as well as the insights and feedback we gathered from users, advertisers, partners and third-party industry groups. To allow advertisers time to prepare for this change, we issued a change to our AdWords policy page in November 2017.

Transparency, trust and safety for our users will always be top priorities for Google. We remain dedicated to ensuring that the ads our users see are helpful, relevant and trustworthy.

Now that Google are taking a more proactive approach to online ticket reselling, how long will it be before other companies such as Ticketmaster join them? And will we ever see a situation where tickets that sold out in 2 minutes and suddenly reappear online moments later for wallet busting prices, become a thing of the past?

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