Google suspends Viagogo from advertising over trust concerns

Soccer fans enjoy a free pie from the 'Viagogo Pie Activation' stall.
Adam Davy - EMPICS | PA Images | Getty Images

Ticket resales company Viagogo has been suspended from advertising globally on Google's search engine.

Google took action on Thursday after concluding that the Swiss firm was in breach of its advertising policy, basing its decision on advice from advertising regulators. While Viagogo will not be able to advertise on Google, its suspension will not apply to organic search results.

The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced earlier this month that it was moving forward with legal proceedings against Viagogo. The company faces contempt of court charges for allegedly failing to comply with a court order that demanded it overhaul its practices.

According to the CMA, Viagogo has not done enough to alter the way it sells products, and therefore is in breach of U.K. consumer protection law. It accused the company of using misleading ticket availability messages, failing to warn people that certain tickets may not guarantee entry to an event, and not displaying seat numbers for some tickets.

Google told CNBC via email that it would be suspending advertisements from Viagogo from Thursday.

"When people use our platform for help in purchasing tickets, we want to make sure that they have an experience they can trust," a spokesperson from Google said. "This is why we have strict policies and take necessary action when we find an advertiser in breach."

Cris Miller, Managing Director of Viagogo, told CNBC on Thursday that the firm was "extremely surprised" to learn of Google's concerns.

"We are confident that there has been no breach of Google's policies and look forward to working with them to resolve this as quickly as possible," he said via email.

In early 2018, Google updated its policies to ensure that resellers could not claim to be official ticket vendors, and resellers must now provide a breakdown of ticket prices across fees and taxes before payments are taken.

Last year, Google removed 2.3 billion adverts found to be in breach of its policies or the law.