The Guardian has accused Media Monitoring Services (MMS), which measures how much advertising newspapers carry, of “toothlessness” following revelations that free ads in The Independent are knowingly being monitored as paid-fors.
Guardian advertising director Carolyn McCall says: “It just makes a mockery of MMS and means it has no currency if it is going to count free ads when it knows they are free ads. I’m very angry about this.”
The Guardian has complained formally to MMS.
However, MMS is declining to take any action. In a letter sent to The Guardian it says: “If we set a precedent in this we would have to respond every time we are informed of such examples.”
MMS has claimed in the past that it operates a policy of monitoring paid-for business only and does not report free or repeat advertising.
The row concerns The Independent’s new City+ section, which is carrying free ads if they are run in giveaway titles Girl About Town and Ms London.
Earlier this year it was revealed that The Independent was giving away ads and not declaring this to MMS (MW February 7).
Telegraph deputy managing director Len Sanderson comments: “I think the worst thing is not the fact that MMS is doing this, but that The Independent is linking itself with Girl About Town and Ms London.”
Nobody from MMS was available for comment. A spokesman from The Independent says: “This shows how worried The Guardian is that The Independent has challenged it in every way.”