Google: the pirates' best friend?
Posted on 13 Apr 2012 at 14:13
Joe Williams, founder of SEO Training, noted that a staffer at one major rights lobby group has taken his training course, with the hope of improving the search situation, especially for independent music labels that sell tracks directly to consumers.
“One of the things we were talking about in the training is why it is that Google rates these sites, and what he can do to combat it. He’s looking to see what he can do to help more independent websites actually do well and combat some of these pirate sites, and he’s finding it quite frustrating,” Williams claims.
Google seems to be saying actually, we’re seeing a lot of people talking about this website, so we’ll start ranking it
Without serious SEO luck or intervention on Google’s part, it could be difficult. Williams points to Open Site Explorer, which SEO specialists use to judge a site’s popularity and Google ranking.
The Pirate Bay, for example, gets a 90/100 page authority ranking, “which is high, and if you compare that to more legitimate websites, it’s probably higher or at least on par,” Williams notes. “This is to do with other websites linking to The Pirate Bay. Google seems to be saying actually, we’re seeing a lot of people talking about this website, so we’ll start ranking it.”
Rights-holders argue that people are confused by the high ranking of questionable sites in search results, suggesting would-be customers head to Google not knowing where to find legal content, and unwittingly start downloading from illegal sites because Google ranks them above legal options.
A group of rights-holders – including the BPI, the Motion Picture Association and the Premier League – submitted recommendations to the Government last year.
That document, marked private and confidential, was revealed via a Freedom of Information Act request by the Open Rights Group (ORG).
“At present, consumers searching for digital copies of copyright entertainment content are directed overwhelmingly to illegal sites and services,” the document says. “This causes consumer confusion and significantly impedes the development of licensed digital entertainment markets in the UK. Search engines, as trusted intermediaries, should assist consumers in finding legal services and should not contribute to copyright infringement.”
However, it isn’t clear how many people actually go to Google to search for legal downloads, rather than searching in their store of choice by heading directly to Amazon, 7digital or iTunes – or, for those favouring illegal downloads, to their favourite, already-known torrent or sharing sites.
Using Google’s Trends tool, we compared the frequency of each of the aforementioned search terms. Searching for the band name and track was significantly more popular than adding the word “download” or “mp3” – the first term “David Guetta Titanium” had a search index of 30; include “download” or “mp3”, and the search volume barely cracked an index score of five.
Add the word “free”, and the search volume is even lower. In other words, people search for bands and song titles, but don’t head to Google specifically looking for free downloads of their favourite tracks nearly as often.
Indeed, there’s one good reason to think music fans aren’t confused by Google’s search: they’re buying a lot of tracks. “Digital revenues have been skyrocketing, and single sales are at an all-time high,” claims ORG campaigner Peter Bradwell. “I don’t think that people struggle, and I don’t think it’s that confusing.”
Copyright protection lobbyists – and even secretary of state for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt – have argued that Google could and should help legal services by tweaking its system to push infringing sites down the rankings.
Much griping over nothing
Murdoch complaining of losing his monopoly again.
Google is search engine not a provider of music or films it is up to the user to decide which links to click on. So if he clicks on illegal sites its the user that's at fault not Google.
By curiousclive on 14 Apr 2012
Small, and baseless rant.. Sorry
OMG this article annoyed me so much... I feel a rant coming on
Oh and the rights groups don't poor millions into lobbying
Google provides a search of the Internet. Free from any bodies tastes or preferences. Google tries to give you the best results for what you are looking for. It is not its fault that there are sites that have illegal material. The e-crime unit of the police should deal with this not google. If you see a crime, report to police. let's say a theft in a store happened, you don't got to the manager of the store and say why are you allowing this in your store.
God the rights holders are such d***heads. They are still earning millions. They just don't know what to do with it. So they waste it on trying to get even more money.
This take down service would be mis used a lot. And probably already has been.
You say dodgy site, but google does not sit there rampaging through every site for every keyword. They simply have a system. Come on pcpro you know this, you did an article on how google works in your magazines, perhaps it would help if some other people read it too.
Google is not the law. Police is not going to go to your house and say why did you not stop those robbers. No they will not do that. They will investigate. Is the police so undertrained and useless in these technology things. They should be bringing down the people who put up the sites. Not block them in google.
There should be a world wide agreement regarding the website owner disclosure, so that lets say if your website hosts large amount of illegal material, you will be sought after by the law.
There are a lot of SEO optimisation companies out there, that the music industry can use in order to increase visibility. They are able to advertise with google. Simple.
Consumers confused. Of course yes. I would lead you to a nice meme here.
Really. People would go to sites and see a torrent. Download it. Oh wait you need to set up utorrent or equivalent. Doubt this is done by accident.
And so we come to the end of my little rant. Let me get a few things straight. The right holders are fighting a losing battle.
Nobody ever will switch to other search engines.
Music industry must learn, artists are the main component of music, not the company. You just steal money from the artists. That's why everybody hates you and nobody cares
Movie industry. The only thing. I would say now is make more downloadable content in hd. For let's say cinema prices. And I would say you should be Fine.
But you are also fighting a losing fight, free + Almost no threat of police finding you. It is. Crime of opportunity. You know you will get away it's it.
And as times go forward. People will switch to encrypted methods of downloading. And that's it. Nobody will ever get caught this way...
By mobilegnet on 14 Apr 2012
mobilegent: I totally agree with you regarding the movie industry - if they focussed on getting HD movies online and downloadable for cinema type prices (like netflix and lovefilm have begun doing), I think the volume of movie piracy would drop like a stone. Just like anything - if you price it out of the market, nobody buys and people will find cheaper (free) alternatives, but if it is affordable, people won't be arsed to go looking for crappy torrent files that may or may not work...
By spideryman on 15 Apr 2012
are the rights holders going to find the pirates, if they take Google down or stop them reporting links to pirate content?
Oh, I forgot, they aren't interested, Google has lots of money and a registered address, if they go after the pirates, they will shut up shop and move, before the lawyers turn up for a big pay-day, Google can't do that, so they are a big fast scapegoat that the industry can feast off of and prolong their demise, as opposed to actually doing something about solving the problem.
By big_D on 16 Apr 2012
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