Google Goes After Resellers

In the commercial world, venues and promoters are often frustrated by widespread reselling and scalping of their most popular events. And for consumers, it’s maddening to be unsure about whether you’re buying “primary” tickets directly from the event organizer, or from a secondary source, often at a higher price. In the arts, this doesn’t occur all that frequently, but nonetheless, Google recently made an important announcement that will help every organization that sells tickets.

Starting immediately (and in a process that will take many months), Google will now require secondary ticket resellers to become certified in order to advertise on Google. They will have to comply with a strict level of transparency, as outlined in this Billboard article. Not only will the buyer know who they are doing business with, but they will also see the full price of the ticket in a clear way. And, most importantly, deceptive URLs that include the venue name, but are not actually the venue itself (i.e., something akin to will be banned.

This move is rightfully being celebrated by most in the industry and can only happen at this point because Google has near-monopoly power in the online search industry. With all the negative press going on about “fake news” online, it’s great to see Google taking an action like this, which addresses a vexing problem head-on, and should accrue to everyone’s benefit.

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