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Complaints Board Rules On NZ Online Marketplaces

Advertising Standards Complaints Board Rules On NZ Online Marketplaces

Media Release, Thursday 31 July 2003
For Immediate Release

In a decision released today, the Advertising Standards Complaints Board (ASCB) has moved to address claims of false advertising relating to online marketplaces.

The ASCB has decided on a complaint by Trade Me concerning some Telecom sponsored advertisements that alleged that exchangepoint.co.nz was New Zealand’s most successful online marketplace.

The ASCB found that an error had occurred in the advertising relating to exchangepoint.co.nz and observed that steps had been undertaken to prevent the error re-occurring.

Trade Me business development manager Sam Morgan welcomed the decision, citing the importance of accurate and impartial information when it came to describing the success or popularity of a site.

“We were annoyed to see misleading statements made as to the audience figures of a competing website,” said Mr Morgan.

The advertisements alleged that exchangepoint.co.nz had 100,000 unique visitors and over 5 million page views per month. By contrast Red Sheriff audited information from the same period showed the actual numbers to be 34,825 unique visitors and 700,525 page views.

In the latest audited Red Sheriff figures for June, Trade Me was New Zealand's second largest online publisher, behind XtraMSN. Trade Me had 385,558 unique visitors – over three times the size of all of the ACP Trader sites combined, which had only 103,664 visitors. In page views, another key measure of site use, Trade Me was nearly 20 times larger during June.

“If online commerce is to progress in a meaningful way in New Zealand we need to ensure that claims about web traffic are correct and verified by independent means.”

“I am delighted by the ASCB’s decision. We hope our competitors will think twice before quoting inaccurate figures."

ENDS

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