Domain is back with its “Australia’s number one property app” adverts, but it’s taken five months for the property site to fire back, following a battle with News Corp which ended in Federal Court action.

From “advertising puffery” to simply “misleading ads”, the Fairfax vs News Corp property war ended in February with both sides claiming certain victories.


The saga commenced a year ago when publicly listed REA Group, which is majority owned by News Corp, alleged that its property listings rival, Fairfax-owned Domain, had breached Australian Consumer Law by publishing adverts that were misleading or deceptive.

REA’s complaints related to claims that the Domain app has the number one property app in Australia; the most property listings in Sydney; the best property listings in Melbourne, and to claims the Domain app is Australia’s highest rated property app.

In broad summary of two of the ads, Federal Court Justice Bernard Murphy said evidence showed the Domain app and website did not have more property listings overall in Sydney than the REA app and website ‘at the relevant time’.

Domain is now back with the slightly tweaked advert, with its chief editorial and marketing officer Melina Cruickshank taking to Instagram at the weekend to say “Federal Court Case later and our campaign is back. Australia’s number one property app was worth the fight” (above right).

At the time of the court case, Justice Bernard Murphy said one of these ads, a front page wrap-around on The Sydney Morning Herald (below) falsely implied Domain had the most listings in Sydney and the caveats on newspaper ads were too small for readers to easily find.

Speaking to AdNews, Cruickshank says: “Both REA and Domain had a good tussle in court. Justice Murphy ruled the #1 Property App ad wasn’t misleading. There is enough room for two strong Australian businesses in the real estate market and everything we do is in the spirit of friendly competition.”

Despite two of the six breaching rules, he said the remainder of the claims were not misleading or deceptive, broadly because they amounted to “advertising puffery”. See Federal Court case ends REA and Domain feud.

Old ad: Domain’s wrap-around which was deemed misleading

In February Fairfax Media confirmed it plans to split out Domain into its own entity to maximise shareholder value as the media company’s print ad revenue continues to decline at a rapid rate.

Domain posted revenue growth of 5.8% to $162.9m in the six months to 31 December 2016. This was driven by 15% growth in digital revenue to $114.3 million, while print revenue was down 11% to $48.6 million.

Last week Fairfax said it had ceased discussions with both private equity firms TPG Capital and Hellman & Friedman. Following the receipt of the two separate proposals this year, the Fairfax board granted both parties access to confidential due diligence to explore whether a whole company proposal was available. However, in an announcement on the ASX, the publisher says there was no certainty a proposal would result in an offer and now, as it has not received a binding offer from either party, it has “ceased discussions with both parties”.


About ljgrealestate 据联大

Removing the Hassle from Sales and Rentals across South East Queensland. Aim to Empower other like minded Property Investors. L J Gilland Real Estate is a prestigious boutique agency specializing in Property Investment Management Services and the Sales of Investment Properties with tenants in place. Comprised of a top performing group of handpicked specialists, our Agents proudly serve Property Investors in Queensland. Since 1996 our Agency has demonstrated a genuine enjoyment of working with people, developing long-term relationships and delivering on the promise of great service. Carlos and Linda Debello offer property investor's the confidence to sell and lease in any market. We provide comprehensive market appraisals, exclusive multimedia marketing campaigns, and knowledgeable, highly personalized counsel on all aspects of real estate. Our Property Management Team is equally considerate, offering investors with in-depth advise, well-researched rental valuations, and highly professional rental management services. Carlos’ direct mobiles are 0400 833 800 & 0413560808. Linda’s mobiles are 0409995578 & 0414978700 (prefer email contact for Linda). Office 07 3263 6085.
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