The Drum reports that 'New international reports will name and shame brands which advertise on websites that feature pirated film and music content' and OMG that is GREAT. If it'll work.
It's called "The USC Annenberg Advertising Transparency report" and it is an attempt to damage the amount of advertising spend that goes to pirate movie and music sites around the world. No small feat that, since it seems these pirate movie and music sites are popping up and going down like a game of whack-a-mole. Usually all run by the same guy from some semi-exotic South American island.
“It is an attempt to bring a little transparency to the ad network business, which is the wild west in a weird way. It’s not really very clear how there’s an audit trail for advertisers to know where their ads are going, who’s watching them…hopefully it’ll be a way to bring a little clarity to that situation,” Taplin told The Drum.
Yes, it's the wild west. The entire web is the wild west, I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that even the ad-charlatans are carrying revolvers. Back in 2007 when hackers sent uplothario through adnetworks, and evil flash banner ads hijacked your clipboard, I voiced the opinion that sites who joined ad networks should demand a better job from said networks.
If you serve banners you should demand that your banner network do this as a service to you - after all it is your readers who get hijacked and they'll assume (kinda correctly) that it is your sites fault and might not return.
...as we all know that a lot of sites worked hard for their reputation, and to have it ruined by a stray hijack that a network - who gets a bigger cut of the advertising money - is quite a bit unfair. Now my tune, and everyone elses it seems, has changed. It's not the very small publisher™ who should demand that an advertising network actually do their job and vet the ads they are running, it's the brands that are placing the ads via these networks who should demand to know where they are going. It seems that neither publisher, nor advertiser, know what is going on in the banner ad-networks little black box. And isn't that part of what you pay for, when you as a brand decide to buy media off of "network X"? Knowing where that ad goes?
“If ad agencies said that they didn’t want anything to do anymore, and told the ad networks ‘if you put our ads on these sites, we’re going to find someone else to be our ad network. The problem is not so much the brand, it’s the ad networks,” he concluded.
so, it's all the ad networks fault but which ones?
Like when Canada's government sponsored the Pirate Bay. TheNextWeb, or rather Emil Protalinski, reported on the appearance of a Canada ad on ThePirateBay's website, and illustrated it with a photograph of the screen to quell the "pics or it didn't happen" choir.
Alt-Shift-3 or 4 ain't good enough for this reporter you see. Neither is Alt-Command-U, which is a shame, as in chrome at least, they would have been able to read source and find which adnetwork exactly put that ad there. Now we're all guessing, and calling people, hoping they won't lie to our ears. "Wasn't me" says Yahoo, the agency, and Sympatico. Well, it was somebody, and we'll never know who.
Lets go back to that fantastic idea of Jonathan Taplin;
“I’d like to see more money flowing into legitimate advertising supported content sites and less flowing into criminal enterprises,” he explained of his core intent.
So do I, and what effect wouldn't this have on the web as a whole? People could no longer carve a living out of building content scraper sites. It would change everything.
He also says "Brands don’t want to be associated with supporting piracy..." which we've told you before, following the money is an ugly path. So will this help stop the flow of legit cash funding people who later get arrested for hacking government servers? Who knows. Only time, and your own moral compass, will tell.