The UK’s FanFair Alliance, which campaigns against abuses in the secondary-ticketing market, has published some new research on how secondary services are using search-engine marketing.
The body analysed ticketing for 100 upcoming tours in the UK, and claims that for 77% of them, a secondary-ticketing service had paid for an advertisement to ‘top’ Google’s search rankings. Note, though, that a single service, Viagogo, accounted for 65% on its own.
Meanwhile, FanFair claims that 94% of Google search for tickets for the 100 tours returned a secondary service in the top two results.
“This is a real problem for UK audiences. If you’re looking to attend a gig or festival, you’d probably expect a search engines to act as a trusted guide and direct you to the legitimate ticket seller,” said FanFair campaign manager Adam Webb in a statement.
“However, we consistently see secondary ticketing platforms, led by Viagogo, using paid search to dominate search rankings and even masquerade as ‘official’ sellers – causing considerable confusion in the process.”
However, it’s hard to see what action Google could take, given that these services remain legal. For now, FanFair is advising fans to “give search engines a swerve and check first with the artist or festival website” when searching for tickets.