But This Time We Mean It… Welcome To The Ad Tech Time Machine…

Welcome to the Interactive Advertising Time Machine… set the dial for 2010

“The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has pledged to work with content producers to make sure that ads don’t inadvertently end up on sites peddling unauthorized copyrighted material.”

That was back in 2010 when NPR aired the story, “Feeding Pirates: When Legit Companies Advertise On Shady Sites.” That’s right, 2010 when filmmaker Ellen Seidler brought the issue to light when she documented the piracy around the release of her indie film “And Then Came Lola.” Highly recommended reading is Ellen’s highly detailed blog, PopUpPirates.

Ok, so maybe not far enough back for you? Set your Interactive Advertising Time Machine to the year 2007...

Here’s  the case of easydownloadcenter.com which found Google caught red handed actually helping the site improve it’s SEO to maximize advertising revenue. This as reported by DailyTech at the time:

“The two men said in sworn statements that Google offered them credit as an easy start to advertise on Google’s search engine, and that the search company also suggested ad keywords such as “bootleg movie download,” “pirated,” and “download harry potter movie.” According to the report, Google received $809,000 for its advertisements.”

And this was Google’s response at the time (arguably the biggest member of the IAB):

“Google declined to comment on the specific clash over its ads, but did say that it is working on ways to screen out ads that violate the company’s policies.

A spokesman for Sony Pictures said, “Discussions with Google have been ongoing for a while, and there’s hope it can result in a mutually satisfactory arrangement whereby Google will not give support to pirate sites.”

Read that again. “Discussions with Google have been ongoing for a while,” that was in 2007 for activity that dates back to 2003.

So please forgive us if we are less than optimistic over the latest so-called “Best Practices” announced by the IAB. This is not a new or unknown issue and what’s worse is that actual knowledge by Google and other members of the IAB dates back at least to 2003, a decade ago.

Think we’re biased? Ok, fair enough but DigiDay calls the latest appeasement “Toothless” and it is a trade publication that reports on internet advertising that is owned by The Economist:

There are also plenty of built-in outs. The networks, for instance, can keep ads running on sites engaging in piracy if those sites have “substantial non-infringing uses.” Also, the agreement lets networks simply remove ads from pages engaging in piracy, while leaving ads running on the rest of the site. The agreement places the onus on the rights holder to notify the networks about pirated content, not requiring the networks to monitor the content themselves. The agreement “cannot, be used in any way as the basis for any legal liability.” The agreement excludes ad servers and ad exchanges.

The agreement may not be not much of an agreement at all.

Yeah, that’s pretty much what we think too. So, what does the creative community have to do to protect itself from the blatant exploitation of its products and labor from internet robber barons? Stay tuned…


The Ad Network Transparency Conspiracy