Thursday 5 December 2019

Niall McGarry steps down from Maximum Media's Irish board after 'click farm' allegations

Maximum Media founder Niall McGarry
Maximum Media founder Niall McGarry

Shawn Pogatchnik

Maximum Media founder and major shareholder Niall McGarry has stepped down from his position atop the Irish media company over allegations the firm used a "click farm" in 2017.

An email seen by Independent.ie noted Maximum’s desire to impose “greater controls” following the controversy.

It came after marketing communications firm Core this week withdrew its clients’ ads from Maximum Media publications such as Joe.ie.

Maximum chairman Justin Cullen will take up the newly-created role of executive chairman.

In a statement Mr Cullen said: "Further to recent events relating to an audience delivery incident in 2017, we have been reviewing how we can do better as a business.

"As part of this management change Niall McGarry will be stepping down from all executive responsibilities in the Irish business.

"Niall remains a shareholder and will be heavily involved in our UK operation.

"Day-to-day executive management of Maximum Media will be the responsibility of Chief Commercial Officer Gillian Fitzpatrick, Chief Marketing Officer Paul Dunkin, and Chief Financial Officer Ronan Doolin. These three executives will report directly into the Executive Chairman.

"We are confident that with this new leadership structure will deliver the solidity and market confidence required to ensure the business can operate effectively and continue to innovate and grow.

"These structures will continue to be appraised to ensure that they are the best they can be, and should they develop further I will update you accordingly," the statement added.

Maximum spun out a UK division of its digital publications in 2015.

"Click farms" often involve human workers or non-human "bots" to inflate audience figures or other data.

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