back to article World's biggest ad agency keelhauls 2000 'pirate' sites

Advertising giant GroupM will stop buying advertising space on more than 2,000 global sites said to offer pirated or unlicensed content. The blacklist, assembled with help from key entertainment clients, includes The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents, but also features legitimate download sites such as BitTorrent Inc and business …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "GroupM is the world's biggest advertising agency, with $3.5bn in annual online billings"

    Really? Isn't Google closer to the $30bn/year mark?

    1. Mike123456

      clue's in the words...

      But Google is not an advertising agency.

      1. Nael

        Ad agencies vs Media agencies

        Group M isn't an ad agency. They're a MEDIA conglomerate. Ad agencies come up with creative product. Media agencies simply buy spaces to display the work ad agencies come up with. Bad journalism to miss a basic fact like this.

    2. T.a.f.T.

      I thought that...

      ... but then I remember that Google does not make adds; it just sells virtual spaces on pages.

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    I'll steal that

    How helpful was it to advertise products on a site dedicated to making acquisitions without payment?

  3. Combat Wombat

    It's not like..

    I see the ads anyway.

    I installed adblock long ago.

    Nothing of value was lost.

  4. Peter Simpson 1

    Good for them

    Now, maybe they can turn their attention to making sure the malware authors can't submit bogus ads containing malware into their ad serving networks.

    1. Combat Wombat


      They won't be doing that...

      That affects their product (users), not their customers.

      Just install adblock. You never get plagued again.

      Not to mention the pages load so much faster, since they don't have to wait for the gerbil powered ad servers to wheeze out their crap-tastic, crudd filled flash ads

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Interesting idea

    Very interesting idea, but all files on the internet are NOT illegal to download! Like I said interesting idea but don't pull your vigilante justice on those doing nothing wrong.

    It is good to know that if I couldn't make a LEGAL BACKUP because of some asinine copyright DRM protection BS, I don't have to purchase the media AGAIN! As I now have a list of over 2000 URLs to download the media and make my LEGAL BACKUP... Har Har Har

    Hmm paranoia says that this was WAY to easy... Everyone knows that blacklists can work two ways... Why are they giving us a free list of websites to download software from? Wonder how many sites on that list are honeypots.

  6. Jess--

    next stage

    blacklisted sites call an iframe from a non-blacklisted site (still under their control) so that the request for the ad shows the non blacklisted site as the referrer, the ad still gets shown, the site owners still get paid for any clicks.

  7. I am the Walrus

    Good for them I guess.

    It looks like they're going to boycott every site that has the potential to share/transfer files. I'd like to see how that business strategy works for them in the ling run?

  8. 7mark7

    I knew all along ...

    ... that ad agencies were beacons of propriety and upright honesty. They are so terribly misunderstood.


  9. Neil Cooper
    Thumb Up

    Fantastic news!

    They are voluntarily removing their bullshit advertising from even harmless and legal sites!

    GroupM's amazing cluelessness is fantastic news for internet users.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Notable that the entirely legitimate is on their list.

    As if by accident. Next stop, ban public libraries. Fahrenheit 451 is here and it's not the goverment trying to suppress dissent, it's the MPAA and RIAA trying to impose a tax on all forms and expressions of human culture.

    Piracy is the only ethical response.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      fahrenheit 451?

      You sound slightly insane. It's unethical to make money off parasites, pure and simple.

      If you want to buy a bunker just to avoid paying 99 cents a song, good luck mate.

  11. Hardcastle the ancient


    Sounds like a "patacake" paddy fit between two groups of people about whom I don't give a fig.

    let them paddle the air between them while I get on with not caring at all.

  12. -tim

    So much for being top dog

    There is lots of money to be made in advertising to the age groups that frequent their list of banned sites. Of course it will also drive down click rates.

  13. bbx10


    oh STFU scared poor bastards

  14. Steve Brooks

    Business failure

    The point of advertising is to reach as many people as possible, therefore companies want to have their wares advertised on sites with the highest traffic. So what this company is saying to their customers, "we are no longer going to place your ads on high traffic sites, in fact we are going to deliberately avoid high traffic sites and put your ads on low traffic sites." Surely this is self defeating? When the companies who pay these idiots find that their ads are no longer attracting anywhere near the previous revenue won't they simply move to a another advertisig agency that will list their ads on high traffic sites?

  15. Drefsab


    I wonder what the reaction of the sites that are perfectly legitimate will be, if I ran a business something like and was blacklisted and basically accused of piracy I wonder of someone may choose to see that as liable/slander as they are basically accusing the valid actions of unlawful acts.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "we are serious about combating..."

    Translated as "Our Big Media clients started squeezing our testicles until our eyes started to bulge..." Time to call a spade a backhoe loader.

  17. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

    So, let me see if I've got this right?

    "We are serious about combating piracy and protecting our clients' intellectual property as forcefully as we possibly can," GroupM Interaction Global CEO Rob Norman said

    Um, were I one of his clients, I'd be asking Mr. Norman just exactly what the hell he thought he had been doing advertising on these sites up until now.

    However, no doubt this question will no be raised, what with the advertising industry being full of unethical, amoral tossers.


  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm sure there are many agencies willing to grab the opportunity to fill in the gap.

  19. Jim Morrow

    i must be missing something

    so, there are will be more web sites that won't have adware crap all over them. how could that possibly be a bad thing?

  20. g e

    Follow the money

    If they or their clients were making money from those ads they'd not pull them.

    Most visitors to those sites likely have AdBlock+ installed so the ads never get viewed/served. They're just spinning it as an anti-piracy move when in reality they're cutting deadwood.

    1. 7mark7

      Perhaps ...

      ... all that unused advertising space could now be used to advertise AdBlock+ ?

      It would be highly targeted at the people who don't have it.

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