Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

Ticket reseller Viagogo dropped from Google ad rankings

Ticket site's listings immediately dropped to the bottom of search results

Tennis fans go the old-fashioned route and wait in a queue to get tickets to enter the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London. AP
Tennis fans go the old-fashioned route and wait in a queue to get tickets to enter the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London. AP

Google suspended ticket reselling company Viagogo from its paid search rankings, with immediate effect, The Guardian reported Wednesday.

The surprise move by the world's most popular search engine levels a damaging blow to the controversial ticket hub and comes amid pressure from politicians and legal action from watchdog Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK for Viagogo to change its business practices.

Google said it found Viagogo in breach of its advertising policy and would begin removing its ads Wednesday.

“When people use our platform for help in purchasing tickets, we want to make sure that they have an experience they can trust,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

"This is why we have strict policies and take necessary action when we find an advertiser in breach."

The Swiss company's listings for concerts and events went from the top of Google's search results to the bottom as soon as the ads ban took effect.

In one example of Viagogo's controversial practices, an Abu Dhabi resident was charged a booking fee of more than Dh450 on one Dh1,588 ticket on the site, The National reported last December.

She said she was not aware of the high booking fee until after she pressed the button to confirm she would pay. And although under pressure as the clock on the site was counting down, she is certain it was not displayed.

“It said there was a booking charge but didn’t list what it was,” she said at the time.

Updated: July 17, 2019 07:10 PM

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