Controversy forces a change for owners of Joe.ie

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Controversy forces a change for owners of Joe.ie - Image Credit AIB Bank
Controversy forces a change for owners of Joe.ie - Image Credit AIB Bank

MAXIMUM MEDIA FOUNDER Niall McGarry has stepped down from all executive responsibilities of its Irish businesses. No doubt this will be very embarrassing for him, and whilst we like Mr McGarry he potentially got this one wrong.

Media reports said that listenership figures on some sponsored content were inflated by the use of a ‘click farm’.

A ‘click farm’ is a large group people hired to click on links or otherwise inflate the figures associated with a piece of content, according to the Business Post, which reported many of the original details relating to the controversy. 

The newspaper reported that Ireland’s largest media agency, Core, suspended all its campaigns with the Joe.ie and Her.ie publisher after it emerged that audio-plays on the 2017 AIB-sponsored Capital B podcast were artificially boosted – Two years ago.

An email seen by Independent.ie noted Maximum’s desire to impose “greater controls” following the controversy. But there may also be investigations into the advertising/marketing investment all other marketing organisations have put into the group since this incident was discovered.

It is not clear what impact this will have on the company’s credibility and trust value – The organisation has quickly moved to restructure its management team in Ireland.

Interestingly an interview with Mark Paul of The Irish Times (Feb 22, 2019) Mr McGarry spoke about influence and engagement.

“When I say influence, I don’t mean by sending people subliminal messages. We’re a lifestyle publisher. I mean influence defined by the regularity with which they see, and interact with, our content on social media.”

“It is about being a distributed media business. We started by trying to drive traffic to our sites. Now we focus on content for people to consume natively elsewhere. The future is about how media brands can own the social channels.”

We think the immediate future for Mr McGarry and the organisations he is associated with  is how to enhance his own personal brand again – Maybe he should donate some of his advertising space and marketing reach to organisations and brands who can’t traditionally compete, with Christmas around the corner, a spirit of good will would go a long way to moving this Controversy on.

Mr McGarry remains a shareholder in the business and will be involved in the UK operations.

Image Credit: AIB Bank