BPA boss attacks ABC pull-out

The head of audit firm BPA Worldwide has branded the ABC UK’s decision to quit the Middle East because it required increased resources as “preposterous”.

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By  Tim Addington Published  April 16, 2006

The head of audit firm BPA Worldwide has branded the ABC UK’s decision to quit the Middle East because it required increased resources as “preposterous”. It comes amid concerns over the continued commitment of its website auditing sister company, ABC Electronic, to the region. At least one portal that has recently signed up to be audited said it was still waiting for “verification” that ABC Electronic would still be managing its audit. In a stinging attack on its rivals, Glenn Hansen, president and CEO of the US-based auditor, said he was shocked by the company’s decision given the current drive by advertisers and publishers for greater accountability and measurement. In a statement, ABC UK said it was pulling out of the region because of the “need for greater local resources from ABC UK”. But Hansen told Campaign: “The idea that this market requires extraordinary resources is preposterous.” He added: “Now two ABCs have exited the region. The first one, which went largely undetected, was the South African ABC. It had done one or two books [publications] and they are gone, next ABC UK pulled out. I guess if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. It is unfortunate, it was a shock, quite a shock given the progress that was being made.” Hansen said that the BPA could handle the extra work from publishers whose titles were lodged with the ABC. BPA will shortly be opening its fifth international office in Dubai to serve the Middle East, as well as appointing a full-time marketing person to encourage publishers to sign up for an audit. He added: “We provide audits in 25 countries and we have never abandoned one.” Kunal Wadhwani, senior vice-president of sales at subscription-based business and financial site Zawya.com, which has just joined ABC Electronic, said there was now uncertainty in the market about its role in the region. “If they [ABC Electronic] can give us guarantees, then we will still move ahead with them — we have no reason not to,” he said. “But if they’ve pulled out of the print side, we’re waiting for verification that the electronic side is still going ahead. “If they can give us that guarantee, we will not move, but yes, there is uncertainty and we want to know what’s going to happen next.” ABC Electronic declined to be interviewed, but in a statement said it would continue to offer audits of in the region.

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