According to the Digital Citizens Alliance, top pirate sites generate $227 million (€165.4 million) in annual ad revenue.
The major torrent sites, the report finds, generate about $6 million (€4.37 million) per year each. Most of this money comes from brands such as Amazon and McDonalds, TorrentFreak reports.
Titled “Good Money Gone Bad: Digital Thieves and the Hijacking of the Online Ad Business,” the report aims to give everyone some insight into how much money sites that host pirated content make simply by displaying ads.
More than half of the sum mentioned above goes to the top 30 largest sites. “The 30 largest sites studied that are supported only by ads average $4.4 million (€3.2 million) annually, with the largest BitTorrent portal sites topping $6 million. Even small sites can make more than $100,000 (€72,900) a year from advertising,” reads the report.
Amazon, American Express, Dell, Ford, Lego, McDonalds and Xfinity are just some of the premium brands whose ads appear on these sites. According to the report, their ads show up on nearly 30 percent of large sites, which “highlights the ineffectiveness of current approaches to protecting the brands’ reputation and value.”