ASA asks Google to censor Viagogo ads and content from sear…

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has requested search engines including Google and Bing remove some listings and PPC ads for controversial ticketing site Viagogo.

The regulator today judged the site to be misleading consumers by failing to be transparent about fees, wrongfully using the term ‘official site’ to suggest it was an authorised ticket agent and falsely claiming it could ‘100% guarantee’ entry to events.

The ASA had previously issued a warning to Viagogo about editing such claims on its website and advertising content. However, ASA chief executive Guy Parker said it failed to respond by the 29 May deadline.

The ASA has now referred the Geneva-based company to National Trading Standards (NTS).

“Viagogo was given clear warning and handed the opportunity to play fair with consumers by removing misleading pricing information from its website; its failure to do so means it will now face the consequences,” Parker said.

“Where an advertiser or business is unwilling or unable to follow the advertising rules we will act. In light of Viagogo’s inability to get its house in order, we’re referring it to National Trading Standards to consider appropriate action.”

In addition, it issued requests to search engines Google and Bing to remove any links which would take a consumer through to a page containing non-compliant content.

Generic brand ads will not be subject to that sanction however the ASA has begun its own PPC campaign which will see it “pin” its own ads warning consumers off the site to any ads Viagogo buys itself.

The ASA has also added it to a list of non-compliant companies.

NTS has since opened an investigation into Viagogo, which could see the company issued fines or face legal action against staff.

Meanwhile, digital minister Margot James has also urged consumers to boycott the company.

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