The ABC gave BHP Billiton a free plug last week, accidentally sending out a PDF about the mining giant's new climate change policy to subscribers on its newslist.
In place of its usual ABC news roundup, subscribers received an email entitled 'BHP Billiton Launches Revised Climate Change Policy', which contained a press release and a policy overview from BHP Billiton Investor Relations
A closer inspection reveals the email was sent from: "ABC News Online - Bi-daily bulletin mailing list NEWSMAIL@ABCNEWSLETTERS.NET.AU".
BHP's communications spokesperson, Samantha Evans, claimed the email was sent because of a "spamming problem at ABC's end". However, ABC Online Editor, Bob Johnston, said it was "not deliberate spam ... but a technical glitch which we are currently investigating."
Whether it was a mail-server problem or because the spam filter failed to work properly, BHP stands to benefit from the blunder.
Although the ABC doesn't release subscriber figures, a broadcaster of its stature could expect to have in excess of tens of thousands recipients on its list, making it a highly sought-after target for advertisers.
Tim Burrowes, editor of advertising, marketing and media magazine, B&T, said in terms of dollars, the cost to the ABC would not have amounted to much as the delivery medium was a low-cost email.
For Burrowes, the most "intriguing" part of the bungle was that the ABC advertised a global corporation, an activity that the ABC Act prohibits.