Unauthorized Content Spread Costs Publishers Dearly

    November 13, 2008

Online publishers might be able to forget about this whole economic crisis thing.  A firm called Attributor has identified a potential source of income that, while potentially difficult to claim, is both huge and rightfully theirs.

We won’t fanny about.  In short, Attributor tracked content created by over 100 publishers to see how it spread in unauthorized ways.  It discovered that, "[a]cross all sites in the study, publishers have an untapped off-site audience that is nearly 1.5 times the size of the audience that visits their destination site."

pie chart
 Huge Audience Losses

Even larger figures were arrived at in categories covering automobiles, travel, entertainment, sports, and technology.

So content theft could be depriving publishers of massive amounts of money.  Attributor calculated, "Using a cpm of $1, 42 percent of publishers studied are missing out on up to $50k in annual ad revenue; 33 percent are missing out on up to $250k in annual ad revenue and 25 percent are missing out on more than $250k in annual ad revenue from off-site content."

Of course, since Attributor offers content monitoring products, and 100 publishers don’t exactly make for a huge sample, these findings may fall into the grain-of-salt category.  They seem far too good to ignore, however, so publishers should look into sending out some licensing offers, link requests, and removal notices.