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REA accused of ‘deceptive and misleading’ behaviour

20 February 2015 Nick Bendel

Domain Group has threatened to report REA Group to the regulator after accusing its arch-rival of fudging figures. 

Domain chief executive Antony Catalano said REA Group had falsely claimed to have made audience gains over Domain when announcing its results earlier this month.

The accusations were contained in a letter that he sent yesterday to REA Group chief executive Tracey Fellows.

“When you include mobile app visits, traffic to our sites grew by 19 per cent, or over 55 per cent faster than your growth rate of 12 per cent over the same period,” the letter said.

Mr Catalano said an apples-for-apples comparison between the arch-rivals’ site traffic clearly shows a higher growth rate in visits for Domain Group sites.

“It is therefore our belief that the statements you made at the investor briefing and in subsequent media and investor comments are deceptive and misleading, and we would request that in future you reflect our comparative market positions honestly,” he said.

“Should you fail to do so, we will take action under Australian competition and consumer law.”

Ms Fellows told Residential Property Manager that REA Group disputed Domain’s claims. 

“We take our reporting obligations seriously and report traffic comparisons correctly and in line with industry standards. We confidently stand by the figures reported,” she said.

Mr Catalano also sent a letter to agents yesterday in which he elaborated on the dispute about audience share.

“That is deceptive and misleading conduct, and we have today written to REA reminding them of their obligations under Australian competition and consumer law,” Mr Catalano said.

“In summary, Domain Group is gaining market share in visits, and we are confident that as the impact of other investments starts to flow through, this trend will continue.”

Meanwhile, Domain has enjoyed strong revenue growth according to its half-yearly results, which were released yesterday.

The group’s revenues reached $94.5 million for the six months to 31 December 2014. That represented a 27.2 per cent increase on the year before.

Subscriber numbers across Domain’s products of domain.com.au, ReviewProperty and Allhomes increased 20 per cent to more than 9,650.

Those 1,592 extra subscribers helped Domain increase its market penetration from 78 to 88 per cent.

[Related: Property portal pushes for dominance

REA accused of ‘deceptive and misleading’ behaviour
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