Organisers’ anger at Ad:Tech audit fiasco

A scandal that saw DMG World Media promoting the wrong ABC-audited visitor attendance to exhibitors for more than three months after its Ad:Tech event has caused industry-wide condemnation and calls for both the organiser and the ABC to put their houses in order.

A scandal that saw DMG World Media promoting the wrong ABC-audited visitor attendance to exhibitors for more than three months after its Ad:Tech event has caused industry-wide condemnation and calls for both the organiser and the ABC to put their houses in order.

The digital marketing and advertising show Ad:Tech took place at Olympia from 26-27 September. Its pre-registered visitor database was sent to the ABC in error and a Certificate of Attendance was issued on 10 November showing a 200% rise in visitor numbers to 9,124.

The correct audit was finally reissued on 20 February proving an attendance of 5,245, but it did not state what the correct figure was revised from or why the audit had needed to be reissued.

The ABC did nothing to prevent DMG using the false data and Event can exclusively reveal that the Ad:Tech team, headed up by DMG vice-president for technology Jason Franks, was sending out its 2006 post-show report with the incorrect attendance figure as late as the day the revised audit was reissued.

Three organisers for Ad:Tech’s main rival shows have led the outcry, supported by Association of Event Organisers group chief executive Trevor Foley.

Ithaca managing director Andy Center has accused DMG of “market distortion”. Together with CMPi and Reed, the company feels that DMG has stolen an unfair competitive edge to promote Ad:Tech 2007.

At CMPi, Technology for Marketing event director Simon Mills said: “The reason we signed up to ABC auditing was because of its high standards but this has highlighted flaws that could have had commercial implications.” Reed Exhibitions UK managing director Alistair Gornall said: “I want to hear from the ABC how this was allowed to happen and what it intends to do so that it is not allowed to happen again.”

As Event went to press, DMG chief executive Mike Cooke was conducting an internal investigation into any wrongdoings after issuing an apology to its exhibitor customer base.

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