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Scale of secondaries’ Google domination revealed

After IQ revealed how ticket resale sites are spending up to £15 per click on sponsored search results, new research from FanFair reveals just how well it's working…

By Jon Chapple on 10 Jul 2017

Google search on tablet

FanFair Alliance has again called for music fans to avoid using search engines to buy tickets, after it emerged more than three quarters of Google results for some of the biggest upcoming UK shows are topped by secondary ticketing websites.

Data released this morning by anti-touting campaign group FanFair Alliance reveals that of 100 upcoming UK tours – “by artists ranging from Metallica and Cliff Richard to Lulu and Run the Jewels” – a ticket resale site was the no1 search result for for tickets on 77 occasions, despite only six of the tours being sold out.

Expanding the search to include the top two results, that figure rises to 94%.

The research by FanFair follows an IQ report that revealed secondary ticketing sites such as Viagogo, StubHub and Seatwave are paying as much as 15 times more than promoters to appear at the top of Google’s sponsored search listings.

Google drawn into secondary ticketing controversy

Viagogo, predictably, is the worst offender, topping search results on 65 of those 77 occasions (and, most controversially, presenting itself on Google as an ‘official site’ for concert tickets).

Echoing comments made to IQ in March by Kilimanjaro Live CEO Stuart Galbraith, FanFair’s Adam Webb says: “The reason that Viagogo and other secondary sites can manipulate Google search in this way is simple: it’s because they can afford to. Their business model is practically risk-free and their service fees are typically set at around 20–30% of the resale price.

“The reason Viagogo and other secondary sites can manipulate Google search in this way is simple: because they can afford to”

“As a result, when purchasing AdWords they can outbid authorised ticket sellers whose charges are significantly less.

“FanFair has brought these practices to the attention of regulators and Google itself, but until action is taken we strongly recommend that would-be ticket buyers give search engines a swerve and check first with the artist or festival website.”

FanFair’s guide to ticket buying, released earlier this year and backed by a host of famous faces, advised fans not to “trust search engines”, instead heading straight to the artist’s or promoter’s website.


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