facebook rss twitter

Do Google and Yahoo advertising networks support piracy sites?

by Mark Tyson on 3 January 2013, 12:20

Tags: Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabqvz

Add to My Vault: x

A new study published by the University of South Carolina says that while internet mega-corporations cosy up to film, TV and games media publishers they also rank “among the top 10 advertising networks that support major piracy sites around the world”. Both Google and Yahoo network ads can be found “all over the pirate sites”. At the time of writing Yahoo has yet to respond but a Google spokesperson insisted that the report conclusions are “mistaken”.

The USC report was written to help major brands make informed decisions about their online advertising. One of the report authors, Innovation Lab Director Jonathan Taplin, says he hopes the advertisers will use the information to steer their spending away from sites that exploit illegal downloading behaviour to get large amounts of traffic.

According to The LA Times “Whenever we talk to a brand about the fact that their ads are all over the pirate sites, they're like, ‘Oh, how did that happen?’” Taplin said. “We thought it would be easier if they knew what ad networks were putting ads on pirate sites - so they could avoid them.”

Film cam copyist caught in the act!

The researchers used Google’s Transparency Reports of takedown notices and found those site’s supporting ad networks. Big-name online advertising networks such as Google DoubleClick, Yahoo Right Media and Quantcast feature among the top 10 “supporters” of these piracy heavy sites.

The top ten ad networks placing the most ads to Pirate sites are:

  1. Openx
  2. Google (including Double Click)
  3. Exoclick
  4. Sumotorrent
  5. Propellerads
  6. Yahoo (including Right Media)
  7. Quantcast
  8. Media Shakers
  9. Yesads
  10. Infolinks

A Google spokesperson has contacted The LA Times to claim the report’s suggestion that Google ads are a major revenue source for piracy sites is a mistake. The spokesperson said “Over the past several years, we've taken a leadership role in this fight. The complexity of online advertising has led some to conclude, incorrectly, that the mere presence of any Google code on a site means financial support from Google.”

Google has often found itself under scrutiny for linking to pirated content and has to constantly remove links to such material following rights-holder takedown requests. As far as pirates profiting from ad networks is concerned, Google teamed up with PRS for Music on a research study entitled “The Six Business Models for Copyright Infringement” in July last year. That study concluded that a key source of funding for piracy sites was online advertising revenue.

HEXUS Forums :: 7 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
to be honest the question should be do we actually care ?
Not quite the same thing, but when I do Google searches for blu-rays of films, I often get shown that the cheapest site is a very questionable one; the “language” used suggests that everything is on PC burned blu-ray discs, it's mainly obvious on things like TV boxsets where they state “8 discs (4BD)”, implying that it's originally an 8 disc set squeezed onto 4 blu-ray discs. The problem is, Google don't give you a way of contacting them directly to give feedback.
Does it really matter? I mean, they're paying the sites for legitimate business. Those sites host the ads and people visit those ads from those sites. Should we be upset if Google and Yahoo ads are posted on porn sites or something similar? It's like blaming Coca-Cola if a terrorist decided to drink one when they're thirsty. Coca-Cola quenched a terrorist's thirst; I can't believe they support terrorism!
You could argue that the torrent sites are only advertising torrents on their sites, also.
You could argue that the torrent sites are only advertising torrents on their sites, also.
That was argued in the last big court take-down. The judge dismissed it entirely because it was the level of piracy was far from incidental to the site, and the point of the torrents was to facilitate the piracy. In other words, the intent mattered far more than the mechanics, because they don't affect the result. I can dig out the actual judgement if you'd like the detailed legal argument rather than my no doubt inaccurate representation of it.