Eye on Oracle

Jul 25 2012   12:37PM GMT

Oracle pulls misleading Exadata ad, but vows to appeal

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

A division of the Better Business Bureau has recommended that Oracle pull an ad suggesting that its Exadata Database  Machine is 20 times faster than IBM Power-based servers.

IBM filed a complaint with the National Advertising Division (NAD) over the ad, which detailed a European retailer’s move from IBM Power to Oracle Exadata. Oracle claimed that the ad was meant to highlight one particular customer’s results, but NAD found that it was reasonable to infer that it referred to Exadata and IBM Power more broadly. A cached version of the page that the ad was on detailed the retailer’s database consolidation project onto a single Exadata machine. The ad itself is to the right (courtesy of Wired).

A full-page version of the ad ran in The Wall Street Journal with big lettering at the top that said “Exadata 20x faster replaces IBM again.” That was the main issue IBM and NAD had with the ad.

Oracle plans on appealing the decision to the National Advertising Review Board, according to NAD. According to a statement, Oracle said it was “disappointed with the NAD’s decision in this matter, which it believes is unduly broad and will severely limit the ability to run truthful comparative advertising, not only for Oracle but for others in the commercial hardware and software industry.”

This isn’t the only time Oracle has been chided by NAD. Back in April, due to yet another complaint from IBM, NAD recommended that Oracle pull an ad related to its Sparc servers. The ad, which also ran in The Wall Street Journal as well as other publications such as The Economist, compared the Sparc Supercluster to a big IBM Power server. NAD found that claims in the ad – which included better performance and cheaper price – were not supported well enough in the information provided in the disclosure.

Does this mean that publications such as The Wall Street Journal should do more due diligence in determing the veracity of advertiser’s claims, especially when they are competitive claims?

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