Years ago, my Mom told me she wasn’t going to be able to take her grandkids to the theater anymore. “Why not,” I cried, feeling a bit betrayed.
“It’s too expensive! I took them to see Annie in Worcester, MA and paid over $500 for just three of us, and we didn’t even have great seats!”
That price didn’t make much sense to me, so I did a little googling. Turns out, my Mom didn’t buy from the official site. Instead, she did some googling of her own, like most people do when looking to buy something that isn’t on Amazon.
When she got the results, she clicked an ad that sent her to a secondary market seller, who was charging well above face value.
The problem? She had no idea she was buying from a reseller and could have paid less. (In fact, this Secondary Seller was engaging in some black-hat tactics to make my Mom think she was buying from the official source.)
It’s stories like this that make me and my Producer Peers nervy. My Mom was ready to give up on the theater, all because she didn’t know where she was buying from.
That’s about when I started writing blogs and speaking at conventions hoping the government would come in and make Secondary Market Sellers be upfront and transparent about who and what they are. See, I have no problem with what they do.
Well, despite my e-shouting, the government never stepped in.
But last week, someone even more powerful did.
In an effort to protect consumers, Google announced that in order to use its AdWords advertising platform, Secondary Market Resellers will have to adhere to certain guidelines on their websites, including revealing that they are not the primary source for the tickets and that they may charge a higher fee.
(And I’d expect their super-secret algorithm for how they deliver results in their organic rankings will also figure out who is playing by the rules and who isn’t.)
Like playing poker without one of the Aces, this move is a game changer.
It’ll help Producers as it’ll put us on a (more) even playing field to be able to compete in the important AdWords market for our own titles.
And it’ll help Consumers make smart choices as to where they get their tickets.
This is a big risk on Google’s part, as the secondary market spends a ton of bank on ads (they can afford it since their margins are so high), and I applaud the Big G for taking a short-term hit, in order to help consumers.
And Secondary Sellers . . . I’m convinced this is good for you too. There are people who will always want what you do. And there are some things you can do so much better than we can. In the 21st Century transparency is an essential part of a successful business. So if you focus on that white glove service that you can provide instead of hiding behind an e-mask, I bet you’ll see your business grow on Google.