The long-simmering feud between the Telegraph and Britain’s other quality newspapers about who really has the biggest online reach is heating up again.

Back in November, both Times Online and Guardian Unlimited rubbished *Telegraph *editor Will Lewis’s claim that his web site has the most UK traffic among the quality newspapers’ sites.

Lewis’ claim is based on data from Hitwise, a network-centric metric that was rejected by the editors from the two news sites generally thought to be well ahead of

The dispute has become more interesting in recent days, since an anonymous member of the public has filed a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority about the Telegraph’s claim, which is now repeated in giant letters on billboards across Britain.

Today Simon Waldman, director of digital strategy at Guardian Media Group, could no longer contain himself. He has weighed in with a long, detailed post on his blog explaining the competing web metrics available, and why he feels these suggest that the Telegraph’s claim is bunk.

Sure, the newspapers like a good public row. But one of the bigger issue in this dispute, Waldman concludes, is that online publishers are failing to stick to the standard of audience measurement represented by the audited unique user measure prescribed by ABC Electronic:

There is little that’s perfect about measuring Unique Users. It’s not the same as people. But we have all (including the Telegraph, indirectly) agreed through Jicwebs that audited unique users are the way forward. At least it is consistent and frankly, our industry looks a shambles if we keep hopping from one metric to the other just because it suits us.

Stay tuned.