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UK police using banner ads to target piracy

Police forces in the UK have started using online banner advertising as part of their fight against pirated content.

The ads, which are being used in place of  PPC and other paid-for campaigns, will be displayed on sites suspected of providing and publishing illegal content.

The adverts will ask users to click away from the site and to close down their browsers. It is hoped that the presence of the ads will make illegal sites look and feel less authentic for the visitor.

The first force to use the online banners is the City of London Police, with the detective chief inspector in charge of online piracy for the service, Andy Fyfe, commenting:

“When adverts from well known brands appear on illegal websites, they lend them a look of legitimacy and inadvertently fool consumers into thinking the site is authentic.”

The City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (Pipcu) DCI continued:

“Copyright infringing websites are making huge sums of money though advert placement, therefore disrupting advertising on these sites is crucial and this is why it is an integral part of Operation Creative.”

The ads will be placed using systems developed by Project Sunblock, which detect the subject matter of a website, enabling control of the ads displayed alongside it. Major brands that use the professional writing services of Pressroom often use such software to ensure their brand integrity.

With more and more brands using online advertising syndicates to place their ad campaigns online, the use of such technologies is critical to today’s marketing methods.

It is hoped that the latest initiative by Pipcu will be more successful than previous attempts, with the body having been knocked in the past for its ineffectiveness. Blocking off revenue at the source is seen as a key weapon to prevent illegal sites from operating.

Steven Morris

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