Fairfax Media fined $15k for Domain ad

Fairfax Media has been fined $15,000 over a newspaper advertisement it printed two years ago promoting its real estate arm, Domain.

The ad, which ran in 2016, contained the phrases ‘#1 property app in Australia’ and ‘the most property listings in Sydney are on Domain’.

Fairfax’s fine follows a legal battle between Domain and its News Corp-owned rival, REA Group, who were in Federal Court early last year over the use of the phrases. But the case in question came after Fairfax gave an undertaking to the court not to publish such phrases.

While the court case has been resolved, Fairfax Media has been held in contempt for publishing the ad a day after the undertaking.

“We note the Court’s decision. At the time of the proceedings, we apologised unreservedly to the Court for unintentionally running two advertisements while court orders not to do so were in place,” a Fairfax Media spokesperson told Mumbrella.

Mumbrella has approached REA Group for comment.

The Australian is reporting Justice Bernard Murphy has ordered Fairfax Media to pay the fine within 28 days and has awarded indemnity costs to REA.

Domain is currently without a CEO after Antony Catalano abruptly resigned in January. Shortly after his exit, Catalano was accused of fostering a “boys’ club workplace culture”. But at the release of its first results as a separately listed ASX entity, executive chairman Nick Falloon said the departure of the former chief executive had not dented the Domain business.

The real estate business was spun out of Fairfax Media late last year.

Update 12:00pm 9th of May:

REA has offered a statement from Tracey Fellows, REA Group chief executive officer: “We’re pleased with the judgement and are happy that the case is now resolved. Ensuring the market is transparent and honest is very important to us. We took action against Fairfax because we felt people were being misled by claims in Domain’s advertising. The result is a win for our customers and consumers.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.