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Two of Australia’s best-known real estate websites have crossed swords after one ran an advertising campaign claiming to be the biggest and best in the country.

REA Group Limited, which owns and operates www.realestate.com.au, claimed its competitor Domain, owned by Fairfax Media, engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct with ads claiming to have more property listings and to be more highly rated.

The campaign in question began in February 2016 across Victoria, NSW and Queensland, with wraparound ads across The Age, The Sunday Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and well as billboard ads in all three states.

Federal Court Justice Bernard Murphy said an ad claiming Domain had “the most property listings in Sydney” was misleading, because the evidence showed its app and website did not have more property listings overall in Sydney than www.realestate.com.au.

However, he found that ads claiming “the best property listings in Melbourne are on Domain” and Domain app is the “#1 property app in Australia” were just advertising puffery and would be understood by the audience as such.

He also declined to uphold REA’s claims that Domain’s ads stating it was “Australia’s highest rated property ad” were misleading, instead saying they had a “legitimate basis”.

“The evidence shows that at the relevant time the Domain app was the highest rated property app of its kind by reference to consumer ratings of all versions of the app on the Apple App Store and The Google Play Store,” he said.

Both parties have been directed to confer and prepare a timetable to deal with issues of relief.

 
  • The war of words which Domain and REA Group continuously have is like the petty war that all the commercial current affair programs have.

    What neither group realises is that consumers have no interest whatsoever in any of their petty squabbles. Bottom line, if I'm a property seller/buyer and I can successfully sell/buy the property that I want, I'm going to list with you/search on your site or not list on your site irrespective of any war of words.

    Bottom line, if I am looking to buy an apartment in St Kilda, and I look on your site and see a good range of apartments in St Kilda within my target price range, I will keep looking at your site. But if I don't see heaps of good options, I'm going over to your competitors.

    Another thing I don't like is how major media organisations who own these sites sometimes insert what are really advertorials to promote their own sites and dress them up as proper articles. I've lost count about how many times I have read 'articles' in the front of the business section of the The Australian which tell readers about how realestate.com (owned by News Corporation) is doing so much bettter than Domain and about the special deals which realestate.com is having. These are not dressed up as editorials and not marked for what they are as advertorials.

    This goes beyond real estate sites owned by the majors. My favorite example was when News Corporation ran an article on the front part of their business which had a title indicating that the article was about an ACCC ruling about Foxtel. What the article was really about was how Foxtel (part owned by News Corporation) had announced a special deal by which subscribers could pay $24.95 per month.

Autodesk – 300 X 250 (Exp Dec 31 2017)
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