$1.34 billion in ad revenues are being generated by apps producing illegal content

Anne Freer | August 16, 2021

App Business

Cyber criminals who put up stolen movies and games on apps and websites are making a killing in ad revenues according to research from safety coalition the Digital Citizens Alliance and anti-piracy experts at White Bullet.

A total of $1.34 billion are being generated in ad revenues in this way according to the latest report that followed brands and advertisers over a year and uncovered that many are (un)knowingly supporting these illegal apps.

Amazon, Facebook and Google were all supporting these operators of apps and websites.

“For too long, online piracy has been treated as a nuisance and not the multi-billion dollar industry that baits consumers to expose them to fraud and malware, hurts the reputation of brands and the overall advertising ecosystem, harms creators, and poses new challenges for law enforcement,” said Tom Galvin, Executive Director of Digital Citizens. “It is time for Fortune 100 companies and the legitimate advertising industry to stop funneling tens of millions of dollars to criminals.”

The research also found that ads for the big three accounted for 73% of major brand ads that appeared on piracy apps during the study period.

Some of the biggest risks to internet safety are coming from piracy, malware and fraud.

“This report confirms the simple fact that digital advertising funds piracy,” said Peter Szyszko, founder and CEO of White Bullet. “Despite the alarming scale of the problem, today we are fully armed with AI technologies that can both track illegal activity and advance solutions. That underlying data is the evidence needed to drive action and change. We have already stopped millions in ad spend from funding piracy, reducing the profit of Intellectual Property crime, but clearly more has to be done. By connecting rights owners and the advertising industry with real-time data about piracy risk, all parties can take action.”

The leading apps that offer stolen content generated a whopping $259 million in global ad revenues.

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