Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Other Big Ad Networks to Block Ads On Pirate Sites

From the "Why wasn't it done sooner?" file comes word that the Web's major advertising platforms will soon be blocking ads from being seen on sites designed to distributed pirated materials. The consortium of sorts that's responsible for the movement involves the Interactive Advertising Bureau and seven participants: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, 24/7 Media, Adtegrity, Condé Nast and SpotXchange.

If I were to burn you a copy of Adobe's or Microsoft's latest and greatest piece of software, that'd be frowned-upon. If I were to charge you for it, it'd become a criminal offense. With that perspective, it's little wonder why so many torrent site owners have wound up in jail; by displaying ads that help fund both the network and their wallets, they're effectively selling you access to pirated software - even if it's inadvertent (likewise, while no one has to pay for HotHardware's content, those who allow ads to be seen pay inadvertently to help keep the site alive and well).

While you'd imagine that the likes of Google and Yahoo! would have the capability to detect whether or not their ads are being displayed on such websites, these collective media companies will require copyright holders to contact them, submitting a complaint. This seems a little clunky; it's as though these companies would rather have the ads displayed by default because after all, revenue is revenue. Torrent sites are big revenue.

That's so much the case, that it's been said that The Pirate Bay has had casino ad deals that have hovered around the $100,000 per month mark, and defunct torrent site Surfthechannel generated over $50,000 per month. Clearly, these figures don't just cover hosting costs - they're in-pocket revenue.

Content creators believe that with these advertisers' help, the guilty sites' revenue will be starved, and eventually they'll die off. That = less piracy, and that also = total nonsense. What I could see stemming from this are ad networks that don't care where their ads are seen. After all, while many ad companies are all taking part, they're doing so by their own free will - this isn't a law.

"Private" torrent sites thrive, but have no ad revenue

Further, while this move would undoubtedly maim the revenue stream for some of these sites, to think that they'll simply go away as a result would be naive thinking. Many private torrent sites exist which survive on donations - donations that users feel compelled to contribute because they don't want these sites to die off. The owners of these sites are pocketing nothing, but the sites live on - and as has been proven a countless number of times before, if you take one torrent site down, another is going to pop-up.

Still, this move is hard to disagree with - it only makes sense that these companies would want to distance themselves from pirated and illegal materials, thus, the fact that this took so long is rather surprising.