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Google building a concerts index / vertical?



10:42 am on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Was sent this screenshot by a colleague in the US (I'm UK based and can't recreate it here);


To do this Google must be building an index of concert dates (harder than you might imagine, because event meta data is often messy and hard to disambiguate). This is not just a form of rich snippets / sitelinks, it is showing data that doesn't even exist on the site.

This looks to me like the beginning of Google moving into another vertical.


4:12 pm on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I think it's more likely that Google has outsourced this the way they've been doing with sports information. I think they enter into an agreement with one or more third parties who build and maintain the information. Will do some research and see what I can turn up.

There was another post here about in-depth information on various concert venues, too.


4:31 pm on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks Tedster. I work for the largest supplier of this kind of data and I'm pretty sure no-one is providing it for them. Afaik no-one in the industry collects data in this format.

I suspect they are taking event hcard markup from trusted sources and denormalising / aggregating it into an index of concert data. This is not a trivial problem because there is a lot of ambiguity and noise in concert data (e.g. multiple bands with the same / similar name, tribute bands). It's a much harder problem than dealing with cinema times, local business reviews etc.

Interesting development.


4:32 pm on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Looks like rich snippets with a bit of branding mixed in... as well as a vertical to ticket type sites. Using the coldplay search, its interesting to see the Philadelphia show with a sitelink to a UK site.



8:08 pm on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Those are the events rich snippets, see [support.google.com...]


8:54 pm on Jan 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hey Barry,

These are not rich snippets. Look at coldplay . com (the above example). For starters there are no events on the root page at all. Now look at the live page (/live.php). Not only is there no markup on this page, but also there is no mention of vividseats, viagogo etc in the source code (the links point elsewhere).

This looks a lot more similar to the mechanism used for deduping places and linking to local reviews (e.g. pulling reviews from trusted sources like Yelp, Zagat, urbanspoon).


seo cagayandeoro

2:11 am on Jan 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

Read the topic last night until now I can't wait to use these to one my campaigns and found it very useful for those site who has events and tickets whew... thanks for this post


9:35 am on Jan 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

i was contacted by them last year about making it easier for them to grab events snippets from my site. i guess this is one of the reasons why they wanted them.
[webmasterworld.com ]

its funny, because when they were talking to me they made a point of saying how it was going to be good for me... and how i was going to benefit by having my events snippets stand-out in the SERPs.

thats the problem with rich snippets... you are basically handing over your info for free. info which you have collated at a cost. and google just comes along and grabs it, mashes it up, and reprints it


11:11 am on Jan 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Do you think Google will be getting into the tickets and events business? If they are using all this rich snippet info then they could be. But what would that look like, the first ten results are Google properties that sell tickets to events? Hownarenthey doing it with hotel reservations? Think it will be similar?


11:21 am on Jan 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

My take on it is initially they'll use this data to make Google+ and YouTube more attractive to the music industry. Nearly all of the top "brands" on Facebook (and Twitter) are musicians / bands, if they can persuade some of these onto Google+ (and YouTube) it will really help drive the consumer adoption of these products, and provide them with a semi-lucrative source of monetisation in the future.

The other spin on this is mobile payments and NFC. This is going to be a huge business in the future, and tickets will be a sizable chunk of it. Google might be gathering this data as part of a move into the mobile ticketing space.


3:42 pm on Jan 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

slightly related (or unrelated)...

So I was checking on flight information for an arriving flight (to see if it would be on time or not) so I searched for [airline name][flight number][destination city], and lo and behold, there was the arrival and departure times at the top of the google SERPs page, above any of the natural listings.

First time I had seen that. Sorry if this is old news to others.


4:08 pm on Jan 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's not just concerts. Check out this Google Places listing that is pulling data from Eventful.com: [g.co...] It's a bunch of irrelevant crap because 1) It's in French; 2) It's about a museum/town in France with the same name, not a children's clinic. Hopefully there will be a way for verified listings and webmasters to turn this off, especially when it's a bunch of unrelated info.

Robert Charlton

10:32 pm on Feb 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Just to put this discussion in context for future users who might be looking at this, perhaps after some of the screen captures are down...

The url in the original post displays a screen capture of a Google serp display for the official site of the band Coldplay... coldplay.com... showing bullet point listings for Coldplay's concert dates. As the OP correctly points out, most of the data is not available on coldplay.com itself.

As for the sources of the data, you can see both in the screen capture and in a Google search that it's attributed. The Google listings are (currently) showing "More info" beneath each concert date bullet point, both from ticket suppliers as well as from myspace.

I did a Google search for [coldplay] to check current serps, and the suppliers list apparently has evolved, perhaps depending on the events displayed. They currently include viagogo.co.uk, ticketmaster.com, vividseats.com, with individual events listed in myspace.com.

Part of the markup in the myspace listing...

It's a well-structured listing.

If you go, say, to viagogo and use their site search to search for coldplay, in the search suggestions that appear, you'll get a list of dates similar to the Google list but more complete.

It's not yet clear whether Google is at this point licensing these results, or providing them in exchange for traffic, as it did for a while with reviews in places, etc etc etc. Perhaps this is in a testing and evalutation phase.

For movie listings, Google apparently is now licensing its data from various commercial suppliers of such data, who get it from theaters and theater chains...

Where does Google get movie listings?
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4384312.htm [webmasterworld.com]

If anyone's so inclined to search other bands, it would be interesting to see how widespread these bullet points in serps are, and how much they change over time.

Note that bullet point listings and other search refinements come and go on Google, part of what's apparently a continual process of Google's own site optimization, as well as source of data for Google to use in refining its algorithm.

Robert Charlton

11:26 pm on Feb 5, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

erikeric - That's a fascinating example of how badly Google can get its signals crossed... by pulling events listings for an ongoing art exhibition in Paris and putting those on a Place Page of a children's clinic in Florida because of a single French word overlap in the name of the clinic and the source museum in France. I'm purposely not mentioning the word here because I don't want to distort the serps.

Google's got the single-unusual-word signal turned up too high here. I haven't checked into how eventful.com might or might not be distorting the signals further. IMO, Google's approach on a system of its size simply has to be to test such results in a limited fashion and use corrective measures.

Are you by any chance located in the same area as the clinic? Welcome, btw, to WebmasterWorld.


1:56 pm on Feb 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi Robert,

If Google is licensing this data, then it's from a new player in the industry, because there is no-one that offers licensable data like this at the moment (at least publicly).

I'm pretty certain they are aggregating this from markup, and processing it internally. I guess we could disprove this hypothesis by seeing if we can find data from / links to a site that doesn't have proper event markup, but this is difficult for me to do as it's only rolled out in the US.




7:56 pm on Feb 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Unfortunately Google is not just unworried by aggregating info from other sites, but as stated above it also manages to regularly present incorrect information - Google maps/places being one example. The Indian restaurant it says is in my street is actually 3 miles away!
All we need is for a gig by a tribute band (say Goldplay) to be listed as Coldplay and that'll be interesting.


8:03 pm on Feb 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks Robert. I am not located near that facility, but someone I know is.


10:23 am on Feb 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is official now; [insidesearch.blogspot.com...]


3:59 am on Feb 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I was just getting ready to post about this article and you beat me to it ;) - well done. The article ends with a confirmation that rich snippet data is involved:

If you have a website listing upcoming events and would like them to appear in search, you should add rich snippets markup to your web pages. After following the instructions to mark up your events, use the rich snippets testing tool to test your markup and see how it would appear on Google.

This is currently available to those searching on google.com in English, and we'll continue to expand the feature to more countries in the future.

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