What Does Google’s Viagogo Ban Mean?

Source: Wikimedia

The internet’s biggest secondary ticket-seller, Swiss-based firm, Viagogo, has been banned from Google’s paid-for search results by the Silicon Valley giant. It’s a decision that comes out of the blue after years of protests and lobbying by music fans and bands alike, and many didn’t see it coming.

So? What’s the big deal? It’s tempting to see it as an isolated incident, one which only affects ticket sellers and the ticket selling industry. However, the repercussions for companies around the world are huge regardless of the sector. If a global organisation such as Viagogo is liable, then so is every other firm that doesn’t meet Google’s standards.

Here are five more consequences from the affair that your business should contemplate. 

Google Is King

As soon as word got out, Viagogo’s ability to continue trading was under investigation. Experts believe they will have an uphill task trying to turn over the same profit without the help of the biggest search engine on the market. It has plummeted down the rankings since the announcement and is now way behind its main rivals.

This is a perfect example of Google’s power and what can happen to any business, big or small, once it pulls its support. Everyone on the outside, then, should contemplate over-reliance on search engines and SEO. If this one move by a conglomerate can split your company in half, it’s smart to devise a backup plan.

That way, even without them, there is a way to continue trading and not risk going out of business. There’s no doubt Viagogo’s bosses wished they did the same after the revelation.

The Policies Are No Joke

Some people have questioned the legitimacy of Google’s terms and conditions. For the most part, businesses can use paid for advertising to sell products and services without consequence. In Viagogo’s case, there were doubts over what they sold – everyone from the Football Association to the CMA disowned its practices. 

However, the recent ban means Google isn’t playing around regarding its Ts & Cs. Organisations that flout them regularly are going to end up in the firm’s bad books, and a potential ban is on the cards. Sticking to the letter of the regulations is the wisest move in case there is a backlash. The last thing you want is a Viagogo-style revolt from customers and regulators alike, bringing attention to your processes.

They might have seemed like a joke in the past, but this advertising ban is a message to everyone to play nice. If you don’t, your entire operation might fall to its knees in a matter of days.

Lobbying Is Effective

The idea this has happened because the higher-ups at Google have acted alone isn’t the truth. With the prominent groups involved calling for a marketing ban, there has been an undercurrent of lobbying. In fact, the likes of the CMA, the FA and UK Music signed an open letter last year. The Competition and Markets Authority is taking Viagogo to court, too.

What this shows is the importance of lobbying in the industry today. Companies need to be on the right side of a public relations event, regardless of who they are. Yes, even Google has to consider the fallout and whether it’s worth backing their client. If they do, there is undoubtedly going to be a backlash which will drag the brand name through the mud. Once the lobbyists jump on the bandwagon, it’s easier to find a middle ground to ensure they aren’t liable for negative PR or anything more sinister.

From the outside looking in, this fact might enhance the apology culture that exists today. If your business is perceived to do something wrong, isn’t it more comfortable to say sorry and conform than fight back?

Source: Ybierling

Paid For Beats Organic

Search engine optimisation is an interesting subplot. Currently, Viagogo sits on the front page yet it isn’t anywhere near as high as it was previously. The paid-for searches are out and it has to rely on organic results to boost the brand. On the face of it, it makes it seem as if paid marketing is the king of SEO.

However, there are caveats to consider. Vine Digital has lots of interesting facts, but the main one is that 95% of clicks are on the organic search results. Of the nearly 7 billion there is every day, more than 6.6 billion are accounted for by natural traffic. Plus, Google has a 77% stake in the market, which goes to show it is the boss. 

What does this mean? It means paid-for advertising beats the organic kind, but not in the way you think. You need natural search results, as proven by the stats, yet you can’t do it yourself when the stakes are as high. Paying for a specialist is a must, and Blue Corona has some advice.

Trust Is Paramount

The thing which has killed Viagogo more than anything else is the lack of trust. From MPs to regulators to general customers, nobody seems to have faith in the company. And, with scandal after scandal breaking semi-regularly, it’s not hard to see why. Colluding with touts and selling tickets on their site that aren’t available isn’t going to increase confidence. Neither is the call from a member of parliament to boycott the site which was reported by the BBC.

Without trust, there isn’t a brand to sell because nobody will believe in the platform enough to use it. Yes, the lobbying was effective, and Google has stamped its authority on the matter too, yet this wouldn’t have happened if Viagogo acted with integrity. As long as businesses work in good faith and are transparent, there is no need to worry.

An advertising ban on Google is a massive deal, one that is easy to bypass if you have the conviction of the local community. Viagogo didn’t due to its poor practices and seems to have lost out in the long-term.


Owners and entrepreneurs have to be wary after the decision, but there’s no need to worry. As long as you follow the rules, you shouldn’t end up on the scrapheap.

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