Just whose reputation got smeared in the property porn battle?

Domain’s catch-up in commercial real estate would easily provide a trigger for more aggressive tactics by News Ltd. Photo: Pat ScalaFairfax is calling it dirty.
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At the very least it’s intriguing that a particularly salacious porn site that was found to contain pop-up redirects to the Fairfax-owned Commercial Real Estate property website has been discovered by The Australian newspaper.

The paper’s owner Rupert Murdoch’s, News Corp, is also the majority owner of the website’s arch commercial rival REA Group, which runs realestate南京夜网南京夜生活.

Adding to the intrigue is the fact that The Australian newspaper’s information came from an executive at REA.

There is nothing wrong with healthy competition between these two media groups.

But if Fairfax correctly states that it was not behind this move to redirect porn watchers to its real estate sites, we will see the mother of all investigations.

In a statement from Fairfax on Monday that makes it abundantly clear that it sees The Australian’s editorial attack  as commercially motivated it said: “News Limited (Corp) has never had any shame about using their media platforms for attacks on competitors. They dress up their bile as news and bore the rest of the industry with their seemingly endless appetite for gutter dwelling.”

The gist of the story published in The Australian on Monday was that Fairfax’s real estate portal, Domain, was buying advertising space on porn sites to inflate audience figures.

But inspection of the screen shots from these sites – which News Corp supplied to Fairfax on Sunday – show that they did not contain advertising but redirected those on the sites to Commercial Real Estate.

In the world of digital media – where advertising or redirects can be generated by algorithms rather than by the decision of an advertiser – things are less easy to control. But Fairfax says it has in place systems to prevent this kind of event.

The story in The Australian initially claims that, “it shows how Domain is using greasy tactics to lure internet users from sites advocating ­por­no­graphy and other illicit actions”.

Then, however, it goes on to say: “There is no suggestion that Fairfax, led by chief executive Greg Hywood, and Domain knowingly funded these sites. It is likely the ads were delivered to the sites by intermediaries ­including ad networks and ad ­exchanges.”

Fairfax IT technicians were unable to find the redirects from the sites – an outcome that only adds fodder to theories that  their appearance was maliciously generated.

If one ignores for a moment how these click-throughs ended up on porn sites, the other question that needs addressing is how that has impacted audience levels.

Fairfax says spam or bot traffic (from these kind of sites) is a tiny fraction of total sessions.

The growth in traffic that has pushed the Fairfax site to be almost level pegging with its News Corp rival has come from organic traffic, Facebook and referrals from Fairfax mastheads such as  The Age, SMH and The Australian Financial Review.

“As we do with many large and small businesses in Australia, we work with Domain to ensure that its content is targeted and that it resonates with audiences that are valuable and relevant to their business”  a Facebook spokesperson for Australia said.

“The growing success of Domain can be attributed to the high calibre and focus of Domain’s digital marketing team, the quality of Domain and the considered use of the Facebook platform.”

“We’re proud to play our part in their continuing success.”

While The Australian claims that the rising Fairfax real estate online traffic bolstered the audience numbers, the fact is that the official measurements taken by Nielsen ignore any traffic from these sites.

Thus, Fairfax would have no reason to push traffic via these sorts of sites.

The fact that the ferocious competition between the two  media operators is being played out on the digital property battleground is no accident.

With the decline in print-based advertising, both companies are increasingly reliant on revenue from their growing online real estate business.

Domain’s catch-up in commercial real estate would easily provide a trigger for more aggressive tactics by News Corp.

Meanwhile another motivation could have come from speculation that Domain would be spun out into a separately listed company.


Ardent Leisure raises $126 million from sale of d’Albora Marinas

The d’Albora Marinas portfolio comprises seven high-profile marinas. Ardent Leisure’s chief executive Deborah Thomas at the reopening. Photo: Tammy Law
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?Dreamworld chief executive Craig Davidson at the reopening on Saturday. Photo: Tammy Law

The reopening of the Dreamworld and WhiteWater World theme parks on the Gold Coast, called “Open Hearts – Open Doors” on the weekend helped raise $157,225, which will be given to the Red Cross.

More than 6000 people attended the park, which has been closed since October 25 after a tragic accident.

Ardent Leisure, the owner of the parks, said the donation will be distributed to those affected by the tragedy through the GIVIT Appeal Independent Distribution Committee.

Ardent Leisure’s chief executive Deborah Thomas said the group will continue to offer “our support to the families who lost their loved ones”.

“Our talented Dreamworld team were ready to reopen our doors and were touched by the warmth and kindness shown by so many of our visitors this weekend. Altogether, we welcomed back over 6000 guests,” Ms Thomas said.

While not all the rides were open on the weekend, Ms Thomas said $25 from every guest entry fee from the charity weekend will be donated to the Red Cross and Dreamworld will also contribute the $25 donation on behalf of all pre-paid ticket and pass-holders.

Dreamworld chief executive Craig Davidson said “every single attraction that opened had passed an unprecedented multi-level safety review, encompassing Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s audit, Dreamworld’s internal engineering review, Pitt & Sherry’s independent review and the external peer-review by UK-based theme park safety specialists, LTC”.

This comes as Ardent has sold its d’Albora Marinas portfolio after a long process.

The d’Albora Marinas portfolio comprises seven high profile marinas located in premium locations, including Spit Junction and Rushcutter’s Bay in Sydney, and Victoria Harbour and Pier 35 in Melbourne.

After an open expression of interest sale process, the group has sold the d’Albora Marinas business for $126 million. That represents an 11 per cent premium over current book value of $113.5 million.

The purchaser is a special purpose vehicle jointly owned by Sydney‐based Balmain Corporation and Goldman Sachs. Completion of the transaction is expected to occur before June 30, 2017 and is dependent upon securing landlord consents for the transfer of the head leases.

The sale process incurred transaction costs of about $3.3 million and a commitment to complete about $5.6 million of pre‐planned capital expenditure projects prior to completion.

“The group’s decision to prepare d’Albora Marinas for sale with extended lease tenure, targeted capital works and a transparent sale process has ensured that the maximum value for investors has been realised. The agreed sale price of $126 million represents a premium to current book value and will improve the balance sheet capacity of the group,” Ms Thomas said.


Australia v Pakistan: Nathan Lyon urges restraint with pink ball Test revolution

Lighting up: Nathan Lyon impressed with the pink ball in Adelaide but wants Test cricket’s traditions maintained. Photo: Cricket AustraliaNathan Lyon has urged against overkill with day-night Test cricket, saying Australia’s players supported the concept but wanted to keep the format “as traditional as possible” and have the pink ball used only occasionally.
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The Australians are preparing for the second consecutive Test under lights, against Pakistan at the Gabba starting on Thursday, and an official announcement of the first day-night Ashes Test is imminent, with Cricket Australia expected to this week confirm next summer’s Test schedule against England.

Players are no longer staunchly opposed to the pink ball as they once were. A survey taken by the Australian Cricketers’ Association after this season’s first day-night Sheffield Shield round found that 57 per cent of players believed the quality of the ball had improved in its latest, black-seam incarnation. According to the poll 68 per cent of players felt the day-night conditions affected the outcome of matches.

Despite being more open to the innovation, after successive pink ball Tests in Adelaide, players do not want to see it infiltrate Test cricket.

“I don’t think we need to overkill it,” Lyon said on Monday. “It’s been a great success down in Adelaide but I think it’s quite important we leave Test cricket still a traditional game … [that] we don’t come in and overkill the pink ball.

“I know the game is moving forward but I’m a big believer in trying to keep Test match cricket as traditional as possible with the odd pink ball game. I’d hate to see a five Test match Ashes series next year, all pink ball.”

That won’t happen – it’s likely there will be only the one during the Ashes, in Adelaide, after England agreed to a day-night contest – but Cricket Australia will be pushing for at least two in home summers to follow, as they have scheduled this season.

Ambitious targets have been set for crowd numbers at the Gabba, which have been dismal in non-Ashes years lately, a problem that led the Brisbane Test to be switched from its usual place at the front of the home summer to mid-December. But while ticket sales are encouraging the attendance this week will not challenge the total attendance of 125,993 over four days for the third Test against South Africa in Adelaide last month.

A total crowd in the region of 70,000, up on the 53,572 who witnessed the first Test between Australia and New Zealand last summer, is considered a more realistic expectation.

Razzle-dazzle: Matthew Wade stumps Kagiso Rabada in Adelaide. Photo: Getty Images

Lyon could not be blamed for not wanting to change something that’s not broken at the Gabba. He has a better average at the ground than any other Australian Test venue and his strike rate in Brisbane is superior to even Shane Warne.

“I do like the concept,” the off-spinner said of the pink ball. “I think the ball has improved from last year but I think there is still room for improvement there and I know Kookaburra is working hard on that.”

Meanwhile, the ACA have expressed major concern at proposals outlined by CA for a new memorandum of understanding after the first of two days of meetings between the parties in Melbourne.

CA intend to scrap the 20-year-old percentage-of-revenue pay model, which guarantees players a 24.5 to 27 per cent share of turnover, and propose to set the payment pool for players themselves.

“This will clearly be a very long negotiation and a very detailed discussion,” ACA chief executive Alistair Nicholson said. “CA have shared some information regarding the positions they hold, but we are still to receive full financial information regarding CA’s submission which will underpin the negotiations.”

“We will take time to initially consider their position, but for now we are very concerned by some of the responses, and encouraged by others.”

Lyon said the players would leave it to their union to negotiate with the governing body over pay.

“The players are working with the ACA,” Lyon said. “They’re doing a fantastic job to look after us and we’re purely focused on the pink ball game here,” Lyon said. “Whatever happens will happen, it’s out of our control. We’ll leave all the higher stuff to the big fellows and we’ll just worry about playing cricket.”


Sport concussion class action closer with website launch

A professional sports concussion class action in Australia is a step closer after the launch of a website seeking expressions of interest from former athletes.
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The website concussionmatters南京夜网南京夜生活 is by outspoken concussion campaigner Peter Jess, the veteran player agent who has long railed against perceived inaction from the AFL in relation to head injuries.

The website asks players to detail their condition and diagnosis. “We want to help you and provide an opportunity for you to obtain medical support and adequate compensation,” the website says.

“If you suffered concussion/head injury while playing sport – AFL, Rugby League, Rugby Union, Soccer, Basketball or other professional sports – we want to ensure you have access to proper medical support and are compensated for the effect this may have on your life – now or in the future.

“Concussion Matters will contact everyone who registers and will arrange to test those most at risk using multi-modality analysis using objective and validated neurological testing methods.

“In addition to diagnosing potential medical issues, Concussion Matters will seek to develop a Class Action to compensate those people who have been affected.”

Concussion has become an increasingly sensitive topic in Australian sport. The Australian Athletes Alliance – a conglomerate of Australian player unions – recently established a concussion working group with the aim of funding independent research into concussion. The AFL has helped bankroll research into the effects of head knocks to players, although a timeframe for the release of data has been elusive.

The league also sent a contingent to the recent International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport in Berlin.

Several AFL players have retired in recent seasons as a result of concussion, including Brisbane Lions pair Matt Maguire and Justin Clarke, North Melbourne’s Leigh Adams and Geelong’s Sam Blease. Melbourne’s Heritier​ Lumumba had much of his 2016 season wiped out because of concussion, and is set to retire as a result. The prospect of the former Collingwood player taking legal action against the Demons has been mooted.

Cricket Australia has also upped its game in terms of concussion management, recently introducing a concussion substitute – one of the recommendations to come from an independent report into the death of Phillip Hughes following a blow to the head from a bouncer in November 2014.

The extent of the concussion problem is however contentious. Earlier this year, Associate Professor Paul McCrory – who is part of the AFL’s concussion working group – slammed the media for “over-simplifying” the issue, particularly in the US where the NFL finalised a $US1 billion settlement with thousands of former players.

There is also a divergence in views surrounding the management of concussions.

A recent Harvard University study into the health of American football players questioned practices surrounding club doctors, and whether players, suggesting that players better utilise personal doctors. “Club doctors are clearly fundamental to protecting and promoting player health,” the report said.

“Yet given the various roles just described, it is evident that they face an inherent structural conflict of interest. This is not a moral judgment about them as competent professionals or devoted individuals, but rather a simple fact of the current organisational structure of their position in which they simultaneously perform at least two roles that are not necessarily compatible.”


Newcastle Jets: Coach confident Ben Kantarovski will bounce back from latest knee surgery

SIDELINED: Jets medical staff examine Ben Kantarovski’s knee after the midfielder aggravated an injury against Sydney FC. Picture: Marina NeilLUCKLESS midfielder Ben Kantarovski had arthroscopicsurgery on his troublesomeright knee on Monday and faces up to six weeks on the sideline.
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The 24-year-old consulted a specialist on Thursday after aggravating a cartilage problem in the 2-0 loss to Sydney 10 days ago.

It wasthe fourth operation on his right knee since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in 2010.

“It was a minor tear and they nicked it off,” Jets coach Mark Jones said. “The knee was actually in much better condition than they thought. He should only be out for four to six weeks.”

Kantarovski, who is off contract, injured the sameknee in the first encounter with Sydney in round four and missed Newcastle’s next two games.

“Kanta is a fairly positive guy,” Jones said.

“He just wants to play regularly. It is disappointing for this to happen but it was only a minor thing. It was probably the best outcome. However, he needs to get through the remainder of the season without any injuries.”

Midfield is an area where the Jets have depth.

“Steve (Ugarkovic) and Mateo (Poljak) were very good against Perth,” Jones said. “Midfield is Johnny Koutroumbis’spreferred position. Browny can obviously drop back there, although I thought he wasmagnificent as a 10.”

Jones also had high praise for Koutroumbis, who has has made seven straight appearance since joining the Jets from Adelaide as a injury replacement.

“He is a young kid thrown in a little bit early than he needs to be but he has done a job,” Jones said.“Whensomeone like that firstcomes into the league, they make mistakes and they turn things over. But if you don’t give them an opportunity and don’t stick by them, they never get to step up. No matter what happens that kid gives 100%. He has something about him. He has an undying belief but he is also very critical of himself and doesn’t accept when he makes mistakes.”

Kantarovski is the seventh player to suffer a serious injury in 10 rounds.However, most are either back or about to return.Dan Mullen (knee) and Andrew Nabbout (ankle) were outstanding in their come back game against Perth. Morten Nordstrand (hip flexor) and Lachy Jackson (ankle) will be available for the clash against Adelaide at home on Friday.

Skipper Nigel Boogaard, who travelled to Perth but didn’t play, will also have another week of training under his belt.

“All of a sudden, we start to have some depth in positions,” Jones said. “There is competition which will help us maintain the level we showed against Perth.”