UK Study: Secondary Ticketing Buys Dominance

The UK’s FanFair Alliance conducted a study that revealed that secondary sites topped Google search results in almost 80 percent of studied cases.  

“In a study of 100 upcoming UK tours, a secondary ticketing website topped Google search for tickets on 77 occasions – despite only 6 tours being sold out,” the report states.

Investigated tours included MetallicaCliff RichardLulu and Run The Jewels. Viagogo alone topped search results 65 out of 100 times. One reason the company features so prominently is that it has been search engine optimized, for example by featuring artists’ names in its URLs.

The other reason, according to FanFair, is that secondary platforms charge high service fees that allow them to buy premium placement with Google.

FanFair’s campaign manager, Adam Webb, said: “The reason that Viagogo and other secondary sites can manipulate Google search in this way is simple – it’s because they can afford to. Their business model is practically risk free and their service fees are typically set at around 20-30 percent of the resale price. As a result, when purchasing AdWords they can outbid authorised ticket sellers whose charges are significantly less.

“FanFair has brought these practices to the attention of regulators and Google itself, but until action is taken we strongly recommend that would-be ticket buyers give search engines a swerve and check first with the artist or festival website.”

FanFair’s results were the same for UK festivals, of which it examined 33. While, again, only 6 percent were sold out, “a secondary site had paid to top Google search on 17 occasions. Secondary sites were among the top 2 search results on 91 percent of occasions.”