Shocker: Ad Networks Profit from Piracy

Now here’s an interesting article in AdExchanger, a site apparently targeting the ad network trade.  (Lest we be accused of speaking of that which we do not have direct knowledge, it’s perhaps best to seek confirmation from a knowledgeable source.)  It is quite remarkable in the blitheness with which it acknowledges that big brands are funding pirates (or what used to be called “rogue sites,” if you remember that one).  To wit:

A big factor in play is that these categories [that is, the piracy categories] toward lead gen[eration] and other performance driven metrics. In other words, they’re inherently less focused on adjacency issues.

Ah, “adjacency issues.”  Of course.  Sounds so insignificant, doesn’t it?  What exactly would constitute focusing on “adjacency issues”?

“I would guess that the CMOs of many companies do not actually understand that they are appearing on some of these sites to the extent that they are and do not understand the amount of dollars they are putting in the pockets of these guys,” Will Luttrell, CTO and co-founder of advertising data provider Integral, told AdExchanger. Integral, formerly known as AdSafe, releases semi-annual reports analyzing the online advertising environment, including high-risk inventory.

I see, massive world wide piracy is just some guys selling “high risk inventory”.  High risk of what, exactly?  Getting caught, maybe?

“It’s difficult to advertise online at scale and not wind up on pirated content, at some point, as you’re buying through various exchange and remnant inventory sources,” Luttrell said. “It’s bad for the entire industry to shame companies who are not knowingly trying to advertise on these sites, but may just be caught up in this.

So because it’s difficult to know you’re paying Vladimir and Constantine to pirate software, music and movies instead of…oh, say, selling land mines to terrorists…then there’s nothing defective about the ad exchanges or anything.  No, no, it’s bad for the industry because the brands are just “not knowingly” advertising.  It’s not like they cared enough to find out they were helping launder money…I mean “caught up” in…”this.”  Whatever “this” is.  These guys seem to know exactly what the “this” is they are “caught up in”, however.

Luttrell also agreed with self-regulation, saying, “Washington is not very good at regulating Silicon Valley. Self-regulation can work. It’s a much slower process [slower than Congress not passing legislation they have no intention of enforcing?] and the key is to cut off funding [what is slow about that?] and that means figuring out ways to stop the advertising from appearing on these sites.” He highlighted how, in the past, ad networks and advertisers worked to keep their ads off of pornography sites, and noted that the same thing can be done on the piracy side.  [Especially now that Professor Taplin is naming the offenders maybe just maybe?]

The smug callous obliviousness to the harm these people are causing is really rather breathtaking.  But wait for it…

For the ad networks and exchanges, he added, it can be a painful process because ads on the piracy sites do drive revenue for these companies as well. “But ultimately, if an advertiser is telling the networks, ‘you will lose our business if we find out you are placing our ads on these sites,’ then they will comply,” Luttrell said. “It’s really about awareness and getting the CMOs involved in making this an issue.”

A “painful process”?  You mean, like watching your life’s work be stolen every minute of every day?  Painful like that?  And if the networks will comply if the brands tell them to stop, then would now be too soon for that call?  But note the qualifier: The usual Big Tech standard–“if we find out” meaning if we get caught.

“If we find out”?  Well, there’s the problem.

In order to “find out”, someone would have to look.

And let’s all remember–according to the Megavideo indictment, Kim Dotcom made his substantial millions in part from selling his advertising inventory through which ad networks?  Google Adsense and Adbright.  After the “Mega Conspiracy” lost another appeal today in New Zealand, that information got a little closer to being thoroughly litigated in a criminal case.  I wonder who’s paying his legal bills.

The Google Shill Listers will no doubt say nothing to see here, move along.  But if that were true, why would these ad network folk quoted in AdExchanger confirm the nature of the problem, the scope and the solution?

2 thoughts on “Shocker: Ad Networks Profit from Piracy

  1. Why half of these folk are not behind bars is beyond me.
    If you were to act as these folk do, but walking around the streets, you’d be snatched up in a NY minute. Of course, the trick is to steal enough money. Criminals are not subject to the law if they’re raking in the big bucks. (see WallStreet)


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