Digital Top Stories

Is Google planning a crack down on pirates using its ad network?

By | Published on Tuesday 19 February 2013


The number of top brands whose ads routinely appear on websites that participate in or enable piracy has been a talking point of late, though the real problem – of course – is the ad networks that sit between brands and their marketing agencies and websites which earn from banners and text ads.

Most ad agencies have entertainment-industry informed black lists of websites they won’t directly shunt advertising or sponsorship money to on the grounds said sites are involved in piracy, but the online advertising networks they also hand ads and budget to aren’t always as on it – partly because of slackness, partly because of the scale of their operations, and partly because of the issue as to who, exactly, other than a court of law, has the right to deem any one website as being a hot bed of piracy.

But according to the Telegraph, Google, as the owner of one of the leading online ad networks, is stepping up its efforts to cut off the advertising revenues of piracy enabling sites, and is talking to the likes of Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, who have been in cahoots with key entertainment industry trade bodies for a while in a bid to stop piracy services taking money direct from users, with a view to joining their more coordinated effort.

Google has, of course, been under increased pressure from the content industries to be more proactive in the fight against piracy on various fronts, and the web giant has made various commitments along the line, though with mixed results if you ask the big music, movie and media companies. The downgrading of unlicensed content sources in Google searches remains possibly the hottest topic, though the web firm has been more vocal on the need to stop the pirates from carrying its ads, and last year it partnered on some research with PRS For Music that focused on the need to cut off the revenue streams of piracy enablers.

Quite what new plans Google may be concocting in this domain isn’t clear, though the Telegraph seems to think they could be more radical than past efforts.