On November 25th, the highly controversial “secondary ticketing” platform Viagogo announced it will – subject to regulatory approval – acquire its competitor site StubHub in a $4bn deal with eBay.
Viagogo has a long history of misleading and unlawful practices in the UK and around the world. In November 2018, the site was served a court order by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) and told to “overhaul” its business practices.
The prospect of a single, dominant, for-profit “secondary ticketing” platform in the UK carries a risk of further anti-consumer and anti-competitive behaviour.
FanFair Alliance has therefore written to the CMA urging that this proposed merger is investigated.
Coincidently, so they tell us, Google have taken the decision to reinstate Viagogo’s advertising account, following a global suspension made effective in July 2019.
This u-turn came only hours after news of the StubHub acquisition was announced, and despite Viagogo continuing to face serious allegations – including criminal proceedings – in multiple territories around the world.
FanFair Alliance are continuing to discuss this decision with Google, which appears to breach their own advertising guidelines.
Until this discussion is resolved, we suggest music fans do not trust search engine results when looking for ticketing information online – and instead seek information on artist and event websites.