Telegraph web claims investigated by ASA

The Daily Telegraph is being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority following complaints that a billboard poster campaign claiming the paper’s website is the ‘most visited quality newspaper site’in the country is misleading.

The Telegraph has unveiled an advertising campaign in train stations and on billboards for its newly relaunched website, Telegraph.co.uk.

The ads claim the site is ‘Britain’s number one quality newspaper website”. The source for the claim is the ‘competitive intelligence service’Hitwise, which in the period from July to September last year ranked Telegraph.co.uk as the highest in terms of numbers of visitors.

A spokesman for the ASA confirmed a complaint had been received from a member of the public and said the authority normally takes about a month to announce its decision. It can uphold the complaint or dismiss it, though much of its work involves mediation between the complainant and the accused.

Simon Waldman, Guardian Media Group’s director of digital publishing, denounced the Telegraph’s claims on his blog, citing statistics that show that The Guardian and Times websites receive more visitors, although he said there was no industry-wide online traffic measuring system. Figures from ABC Electronic, the independent online auditing service, show that in November last year, the Telegraph’s website received an average of 350,000 daily visitors while The Guardian had 750,000 and The Times 470,000.

A Telegraph spokesperson said: ‘Telegraph.co.uk received the greatest number of visits in the audited period concerned, indicating a very high degree of brand and consumer loyalty. We have not received any complaints about our current promotion and we shall continue to offer the high quality of online content for which users return to us again and again.”

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