Content theft is nothing new. People all around the world have found people stealing their great content in an attempt to make more money. However, it has now gone one step further: The content thieves are stealing advertising for publishers. They are actually taking the money earned from the original content, not just the words on the page.
More Money Stolen Than You Think
More money is being stolen than anybody would think. According to a recent report by Digital Citizens Alliance, small sites can make $100,000 dollars each year from their advertising. However, the larger websites see millions, and all that is being stolen by others. The benefit for the thieves is that the profit margins increase because not as much time or money is put into creating the original content.
The report took the number of take-down requests in the third quarter of 2013. The Digital Citizens Alliance then looked at those websites in the fourth quarter to assess the issue. There are four different types of sites commonly used for this type of content theft: BitTorrent/Peer to peer lending websites, Video streaming hosts, linking sites and direct download hosts.
Directing the Advertising for Publishers Away From the Content Creators
There are different ways that the websites work to direct the advertising dollars away from the publishers and content creators. The BitTorrent websites allow people to download content directly without having to pay anything. Meanwhile the sites make money through the advertising on the sites. The video streaming websites allow people to stream videos that are actually hosted on other websites. The main point of the website is to load it with ads for people to view while they’re watching their videos.
Direct download websites often have two different models. Users can choose to access the content for free, but will have ads appear. If they want to remove those ads, there is a subscription model that encourages them to give the thieves money. This is also a method that some video streaming websites opt for.
Linking sites work a little differently. Instead of hosting any of the content, they allow people to search for the content found on other websites. However, there are ads on the pages while people are searching. The report shows that this is the most popular way for content thieves to steal the money from publishers.
“Easy Money” for the Thieves
The content thieves few this method of making money “easy.” The copied content is placed on websites that are extremely easy and inexpensive to place online. They then use advertising to make money, and it is usually more than publishers would make. By spending less upfront, the profit margin is much bigger for the thieves.
The Digital Citizens Alliance report does have its flaws. There were a number of websites kept out of the test for various reasons, including the fact that they were spammy or hateful websites. However, the look into the various content thieves within the report shows just how they are taking dollars from advertising from publishers through the copying of content.