On December 3, 2015, I posted a blog about a new Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) study, which found that advertising fraud, piracy websites, and “malvertising” costs the U.S. digital marketing, advertising, and media industry $8.2 billion annually in potential revenue. The study also specifically found that illegal content costs advertising companies and digital marketing firms $2.4 billion annually in potential revenue.
This week, on December 8, the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) announced a list of major advertisers who have pledged to require their advertising partners to take aggressive steps to help fight the $2.4 billion annual loss. Some of the big names include Allstate, American Express, Comcast, and Walmart. (See my February 2015 blog on TAG’s Brand Integrity Program Against Piracy.)
Also, on December 9, the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) released a new report entitled “Digital Bait.” The report found that one out of every three piracy websites contains malware. Additionally, consumers are 28 times more likely to receive malware from a website with illegal content than from a website with licensed content providers. The report also found that 45 percent of malware is delivered by “drive-by downloads,” which invisibly download malware onto a user’s computer without the user clicking on anything. Lastly, the report found that advertising revenue and sales of user information on piracy websites amounted to $70 million in revenue in 2015.
If it was not already clear, the IAB and DCA reports show that advertising fraud, piracy, and malware-related advertising are serious problems costing companies billions of dollars in potential revenue. However, it is encouraging to see voluntary initiatives from TAG and major advertisers that stand up against websites which facilitate illegal content.It is necessary to diminish ad-supported piracy and advertising fraud to help ensure that content providers, artists, innovators, and marketers can earn a return on their creative works – thereby incentivizing more innovation, investment, and economic growth.