There’s nothing like a good public shaming to inspire a fit of conscience. Last month, the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab began tracking the online ad networks that place the most advertising on website that facilitate peer-to-peer sharing of pirated digital content. In its inaugural list of the 10 worst offenders, Google ranked No. 2, after only Openx.
One month later, the rankings have been updated, and Google is in the clear. Here’s the new list:
3. Yahoo (Right Media)
Openx also managed to get itself out of the top 10. But for Google, being named a top enabler of piracy was particularly embarrassing. In preparing its list, the Annenberg Lab draws from Google’s own transparency report of the domains with the most copyright-related takedown requests.
Google was also the co-sponsor of a study published last summer that looked at, among other things, how peer-to-peer communities rely on indiscriminate ad placements to fund illegal file sharing and streaming.
The Annenberg report also detailed a list of brands whose advertising was found on multiple occasions to be running on infringing sites. It’s a who’s who of top marketers, from American Express and BMW to Verizon and Walmart, but one name that jumps out of the list is Walt Disney World. The theme park’s parent company, Disney, is one of the top issuer of takedown notices. According to the Google Transparency Report, in a typical week Disney sends 20 requests lodging complaints against more than 6,200 offending URLs.