A new report from MarkMonitor found 43 digital piracy sites combined for 146 million visits per day, or 53 billion per year.
New research from MarkMonitor revealed just how much traffic Websites selling counterfeit and pirated content can generate.
In a study, MarkMonitor searched the Web for sites believed to be
offering counterfeit and pirated digital content tied to 22 well-known
brands. The results were narrowed down to include 43 unique sites tied
to digital piracy and 48 selling counterfeit goods.
What they found is staggering
based on data collected throughout 2010, the top three Websites
classified as -digital piracy' sites - rapidshare.com, megavideo.com,
and megaupload.com - collectively generate more than 21 billion visits
per year. The traffic numbers for the 48 sites selling counterfeit
goods were sky-high as well, reaching a combined total of more
than 240,000 visits per day on average.
"The operators of these sites use -best practices'
online marketing, just as a legitimate marketer would," said Te Smith,
vice president of communications at MarkMonitor. "The difference, of
course, is that they're not following all the rules. Spam,
typo-squatting, black hat SEO, linking strategies, sometimes even paid
search advertising - the scammers have a whole bag of marketing tricks
that they use to lure traffic to their sites."
Overall, the 43 digital piracy sites generated 146 million visits
per day, or 53 billion per year. To fit the -digital piracy'
classification, the domain needed to offer or point to one or more of
the brands used in the digital content portion of the study for free,
Smith explained. Though some of the identified sites offer to take down
pirated content, the action must be initiated by the content owner, she
Breaking the numbers down further, MarkMonitor discovered the 26 sites in the study selling counterfeit prescription drugs
for an average of more than 141,000 visits per day, or better than 51
million per year. Meanwhile, the 21 e-commerce sites selling
counterfeit luxury goods is more than 98,000 visits per day, which
translates to more than 36 million per year.
Seventy-three percent of the sites labeled counterfeit were hosted
in North America or Western Europe. Eastern Europe was home to another
14 percent of the sites, while nine percent were hosted in Asia.
Sixty-seven percent of those classified as digital piracy sites were
hosted in North America and Western Europe.
"In terms of difficulties, it's important to remember this is a
complex problem, crossing global boundaries and covering multiple
jurisdictions...International cooperation between brands, law enforcement
and governments makes sense when dealing with a global,
multi-jurisdictional problem," Smith said. "While online
counterfeiting, in general, -hides in plain sight', the detailed
knowledge of the brands regarding product features, distribution
channels and pricing is a crucial component in devising effective