Google begins enforcing certification process for event ticket resellers on AdWords

In an effort to ensure users don’t get misled or scammed in buying event tickets through third-party resellers advertising through AdWords, Google is instituting a certification process before these businesses can advertise through AdWords.

Initially announced in November, the new restriction goes into effect globally today.

“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,” wrote David Graff, senior director, trust safety, global product policy, in a blog post Wednesday. “Lack of transparency can erode trust in the online ticket ecosystem and makes it harder for legitimate businesses to reach customers.”

Ticket resellers and resale marketplaces, which resell tickets bought from primary vendors such as the event venue or organizer at their own prices, must complete an application to become certified advertisers with Google.

The requirements focus primarily on providing proper disclosure of pricing and fee structures on advertisers websites. There will not be any consumer-facing changes to the way ads from resellers are presented.

Qualified advertisers 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 breakout of the price across fees and taxes before requiring payment information.
  • Beginning in March, advertisers must prominently provide the face value of the tickets being sold in the same currency.

“Google’s dramatic step in consumer protection is of major significance to The [Broadway] League’s membership. We strongly support requiring brokers who advertise Broadway tickets on its platform to disclose when they are unaffiliated with an official box-office and itemize costs before collecting payment,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway show industry in New York and North America, in a statement.

Google notified resellers of the changes and certification requirements in November and again in December when the company emailed impacted advertisers. Certification review will typically take about a week after a reseller submits a completed application.

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