Look who’s Pirating now! University Of Georgia Music Business Program’s Preliminary Study Of Advertising On Copyright Infringing Sites.

Jonathan Taplin at  USC’s  Annenberg Center has spent the last few month studying which parts of the online advertising ecosystem are delivering advertising (and hence revenue) to unlicensed music sharing and streaming sites.   His study has caused quite a stir in the advertising and entertainment industry.  Jonathan recently asked me to corroborate some of his findings regarding which brands are advertising on these websites. These are  the results of my preliminary survey.

Over two weeks in April  I had a group of students at UGA note which “brands” were advertising on a small set of sites that stream and distribute my own music without permission or compensation.  I chose sites that featured my own music for a very specific reason:  I could be 100% certain that they were exploiting my material without permission and were hence illegitimate sites.  Third party sources agree with my assessment. For instance The Google Transparency Report has all but 1 of these sites  in the top 200 recipients of DMCA takedown notices.

The purpose of the preliminary study  is not to identify how these advertisements end up on these infringing sites, but simply which brands are appearing on these sites.  We realize that brands often do not realize that their ads are appearing on these sites.   We hope this information is useful to advertisers, advertising agencies and the entertainment industry.  We believe along with artists the brands are also victimized by this practice because they are not geting the quality advertising for which they’ve contracted. And often their ads  appear next to unseemly videos and ads for adult and fetish sites thus damaging the image and reputation of the brands.  We encourage the listed brands to conduct audits of those responsible for placing these ads.  If it’s not possible for those responsible  to comply with an audit demand you should be aware that it is then highly likely that your ads will continue appearing on these sites!

Below I’ve listed the brands in two orders.  The first lists the brands by frequency, adjusted by a “breadth” coefficient. I will explain this breadth coefficient in subsequent post, but because of the way advertisers “track” web users,  the sheer number of a brand’s ads on a website can be somewhat misleading.   For instance ads for the apartment complex “River One” seemed to follow a single student the entire two weeks, but none of the other students recorded an ad from this company. This does not mean that “River One” isn’t in fact funding sites that exploit artists without compensation, it’s just a number of factors could be distorting their overall rankings.  Hence the breadth adjustment to dampen some of these effects.

In the following days  I’ll publish my rather simple  methodology and links to raw data.  Items that expose students identity will be redacted.

University Of Georgia Music Business Program Top 40 Brands Advertising On File Infringing Sites- Preliminary Survey (Breadth Adjustment):

Based on sample of 1,851 pageviews.

April 10-26 2013

rank Top Advertisers instances % “breadth” frequency adj for breadth
1 Country Financial 157 8.5% 100.00% 8.48%
2 Become.com 89 4.8% 100.00% 4.81%
3 AT&T 60 3.2% 100.00% 3.24%
4 Champion roofing 51 2.8% 100.00% 2.76%
5 State Farm 47 2.5% 75.00% 1.90%
6 Target 39 2.1% 87.50% 1.84%
7 Georgia Natural Gas 31 1.7% 100.00% 1.67%
8 AAA 29 1.6% 87.50% 1.37%
9 Rooms To Go 33 1.8% 62.50% 1.11%
10 Allstate 20 1.1% 100.00% 1.08%
11 Transunion 24 24 1.3% 75.00% 0.97%
12 H&R Block 18 1.0% 75.00% 0.73%
13 Pirate storm 26 1.4% 50.00% 0.70%
14 Quibids.com 13 0.7% 100.00% 0.70%
15 Coca-Cola/American Idol 16 0.9% 75.00% 0.65%
16 The New York Times 16 0.9% 75.00% 0.65%
17 One River Place (Atlanta GA) 94 5.1% 12.50% 0.63%
18 Progressive insurance 22 1.2% 50.00% 0.59%
19 Xfinity 15 0.8% 62.50% 0.51%
20 Nationwide 15 0.8% 50.00% 0.41%
21 Suntrust 14 0.8% 50.00% 0.38%
22 The Gold Coast Casino 11 0.6% 62.50% 0.37%
23 Norton 9 0.5% 62.50% 0.30%
24 Just fab boots 14 0.8% 37.50% 0.28%
25 Wartune 10 0.5% 50.00% 0.27%
26 Bing 5 0.3% 100.00% 0.27%
27 Dominos 15 0.8% 25.00% 0.20%
28 Karaolke Pink 28 1.5% 12.50% 0.19%
29 Charter 7 0.4% 50.00% 0.19%
30 Google chrome 12 0.6% 25.00% 0.16%
31 Sea World Busch Gardens 6 0.3% 50.00% 0.16%
32 Victoria’s Secret 11 0.6% 25.00% 0.15%
33 Royal Carribean 11 0.6% 25.00% 0.15%
34 Publix 7 0.4% 37.50% 0.14%
35 Dodge dart 20 1.1% 12.50% 0.14%
36 Bodies The Exhibtion 10 0.5% 25.00% 0.14%
37 The Heist 16 0.9% 12.50% 0.11%
38 HTC 5 0.3% 37.50% 0.10%
39 Pull-ups 5 0.3% 37.50% 0.10%
40 Spirit Airlines 5 0.3% 37.50% 0.10%

Unadjusted for “breadth.”

rank Top Advertisers instances % “breadth” frequency adj for breadth
1 Country Financial 157 8.5% 100.00% 8.48%
2 One River Place (Atlanta GA) 94 5.1% 12.50% 0.63%
3 Become.com 89 4.8% 100.00% 4.81%
4 AT&T 60 3.2% 100.00% 3.24%
5 Champion roofing 51 2.8% 100.00% 2.76%
6 State Farm 47 2.5% 75.00% 1.90%
7 Target 39 2.1% 87.50% 1.84%
8 Rooms To Go 33 1.8% 62.50% 1.11%
9 Georgia Natural Gas 31 1.7% 100.00% 1.67%
10 AAA 29 1.6% 87.50% 1.37%
11 Karaolke Pink 28 1.5% 12.50% 0.19%
12 Pirate storm 26 1.4% 50.00% 0.70%
13 Transunion 24 24 1.3% 75.00% 0.97%
14 Progressive insurance 22 1.2% 50.00% 0.59%
15 Allstate 20 1.1% 100.00% 1.08%
16 Dodge dart 20 1.1% 12.50% 0.14%
17 H&R Block 18 1.0% 75.00% 0.73%
18 Coca-Cola/American Idol 16 0.9% 75.00% 0.65%
19 The New York Times 16 0.9% 75.00% 0.65%
20 The Heist 16 0.9% 12.50% 0.11%
21 Xfinity 15 0.8% 62.50% 0.51%
22 Nationwide 15 0.8% 50.00% 0.41%
23 Dominos 15 0.8% 25.00% 0.20%
24 Suntrust 14 0.8% 50.00% 0.38%
25 Just fab boots 14 0.8% 37.50% 0.28%
26 Quibids.com 13 0.7% 100.00% 0.70%
27 Google chrome 12 0.6% 25.00% 0.16%
28 lowermybills.com 12 0.6% 12.50% 0.08%
29 The Gold Coast Casino 11 0.6% 62.50% 0.37%
30 Victoria’s Secret 11 0.6% 25.00% 0.15%
31 Royal Carribean 11 0.6% 25.00% 0.15%
32 Wartune 10 0.5% 50.00% 0.27%
33 Bodies The Exhibtion 10 0.5% 25.00% 0.14%
34 Norton 9 0.5% 62.50% 0.30%
35 Colorado tech 8 0.4% 12.50% 0.05%
36 Charter 7 0.4% 50.00% 0.19%
37 Publix 7 0.4% 37.50% 0.14%
38 Bruno Mars 7 0.4% 12.50% 0.05%
39 Sea World Busch Gardens 6 0.3% 50.00% 0.16%
40 Alzhiemer association 6 0.3% 25.00% 0.08%

3 thoughts on “Look who’s Pirating now! University Of Georgia Music Business Program’s Preliminary Study Of Advertising On Copyright Infringing Sites.

  1. Pingback: Get Off This » David Lowery Talks Piracy and the University of Georgia

  2. what’s with the password, etc in order to comment on your excellent research? David Wils

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