Report Finds Online Piracy Remains an Issue for Advertisers

Last month, the Digital Citizens Alliance and MediaLink LLC issued a report on the profitability of ad-supported online piracy, “Good Money Still Going Bad: Digital Thieves and the Hijacking of the Online Ad Business.”  The report is a follow up to a report last year that found that the most popular sites dealing in pirated entertainment content generated hundreds of millions of dollars a year in ad revenue.  This new report found that ad-supported content theft remains a problem, with nearly the same revenues as the year before - $209 million – and that as quickly as some sites are shut down, new sites offering stolen content appear.  The report also contains a list of so-called “premium brand advertisers” whose ads appear on pirate sites.  

ANA and our partners in the advertising industry have attempted for a number of years to develop means for advertisers to have a greater ability to avoid pirate sites.  We issued a Statement of Best Practices in 2012 with the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), urging our members to include conditions in placement agreements or insertion orders with ad networks and others that would prevent their ads from being placed on sites dealing in content piracy.

Recently the ANA, the 4A’s, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) launched the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) which includes fighting internet piracy as one of its four core areas. TAG has established a Brand Integrity Program Against Piracy, which will help advertisers and agencies avoid placements on sites dealing with pirated content.  To help combat piracy, the program establishes Digital Advertising Assurance Providers (DAAPs).  DAAPs provide tools to limit exposure to undesirable websites by meeting certain Core Criteria for Effective Digital Advertising Assurance.  These criteria include identifying “ad risk entities;” preventing advertisements on undesired ad risk entities; detecting, preventing or disrupting fraudulent or deceptive transactions; monitoring and assessing the compliance of ad placements, and eliminating payments to undesired ad risk entities.  Additional information about TAG’s work on internet piracy can be found here.