Ad Agencies Cut Off Revenue Pirate Sites
July 17, 2013

Ad Agencies Try To Throttle Pirate Sites By Cutting Off Revenue

Enid Burns for - Your Universe Online

Pirate Bay and other websites that facilitate the downloading of pirated content will soon have to find another source of revenue. An initiative formed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau will help ad networks better police their networks and copyright holders protect their intellectual property.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released their Quality Assurance Guidelines initiative (QAG) in order to help buyers and sellers of advertising maintain a healthy network of relations. The IAB hopes the guidelines will "help establish trust between buyers and sellers in a complex and ever-changing digital advertising ecosystem," the IAB said.

The main goals of the program are to:

  • Support the information needs of advertising buyers.
  • Define a common framework of disclosures that sellers can use across the industry.
  • Offer clear language that enables buyers to make informed decisions.
  • Review compliance and facilitate the resolution of disputes and complaints.

The IAB works to put together such guidelines and systems before the government has to step in to regulate the industry. The Office of Management and Budget in the US government commended the industry agency's efforts to combat online piracy and counterfeiting.

At the start of the QAG Initiative, a number of big name ad agencies, including 24/7 Media, Adtegrity, AOL, Conde Nast, Google, Microsoft, agreed to support the guidelines.

"It is crucial that such efforts be undertaken in a manner that is consistent with all applicable laws and with the Administration's broader internet policy principles emphasizing privacy, free speech, fair process, and competition. We encourage the companies participating to continue to work with all interested stakeholders, including creators, rightholders, and public interest groups, to ensure that their practices are transparent and fully consistent with the democratic values that have helped the internet to flourish.

"We also encourage other participants in the online advertising space to consider adopting voluntary initiatives that protect ad networks, publishers, advertisers, creators, rightholders, and above all consumers," it said in a statement from the Office of Management and Budget.

Ad networks have been under fire over the past few months for allowing ads to run on pirated sites. The University of Southern California Annenberg Innovation Lab put out monthly reports between January and May detailing the activities of ad networks, advertisers and websites associated with pirated content.

In the May report, the top-10 ad networks serving ads on websites that distribute pirated materials were named. Propellerads, ExoClick and Admxr appeared as the top three. None of the networks named in partnership with the IAB QAG Guidelines were named in May. However, in the January report, the first edition from the Annenberg Innovation Lab, included Google and DoubleClick (#2) as well as Yahoo (#6) among the top ten.

The new guidelines will block ads from participating ad networks from appearing on sites that offer pirated copyright materials or counterfeit goods. It is reported that sites including Surfthechannel have made as much as $53,000 per month, the UK's Guardian reported. Some of the larger sites with more content, such as Pirate Bay, have been reported to make much higher monthly profits from ads that run on the site next to content available for download.