Google has been always criticized for its inability to curb piracy and tougher actions again these pirate sites. Finally, with an aim to protect the interests of the copywriters Google has downranked 65000 sites pirates sites. This will make finding these pirates site on Google search difficult for its users. This action has led to drop in around 90% referrals from search results.
Organisations like MPAA – (It is the voice of the film and television industry, a community of storytellers at the nexus of innovation, imagination, and creative expression) and RIAA -(The Recording Industry Association of America is a trade organization that represents the recording industry in the United States) have been demanding the search engine to remove violating websites from the search results entirely, especially after being declared illegal by the courts.
Google has not been entirely supportive of the policy to entirely remove such pirate sites but given the recent criticism, they might change.
Earlier in the year, 2014 Google changed algorithms had focused on lowering the visibility of “pirate” sites. Google uses the accurate number of DMCA requests as an indicator and these sites are demoted in search results for certain key phrases.
Google in response to this said – “Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in search results. This ranking change helps users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily.”
There was an immediate reaction to Google’s action of downranking, these pirate sites were hit hard. There was a considerable reduction in traffic for these sites but remains to be seen how they counteract as they would not be pirates if they didn’t respond with their countermeasures.
An Australian media reported saying Google has demoted around 65000 sites in search results compared to the actual DMCA takedown requests were over 1.8 million domain names. Which means under 4% of these requests were downranked.
Google spokesperson told media “Demotion results in sites losing around 90 percent of their visitors from Google Search,”
The result of the action taken by Google is that people will not be able to see a pirate site when they search for it. This will result in a considerable drop in visitors from Google. Though it has been observed such sites usually tend to change domain names in an attempt to evade the downranking efforts. Apparently, the action taken by Google opens doors for small players to gain from the loss in traffic for the main players. So it’s not clear how Google’s demotion efforts lowered the search engine’s referrals to pirate sites.
Voices are being raised in Australia, where Village Roadshow co-chief Graham Burke has been vocal. He has accused Google of profiting from piracy-related traffic and demands that the search engine permanently removes infringing sites from search results.
According to him, piracy is the cause of the decline in revenues as people like him and many others, can’t compete with stolen goods being sold for free. Whereas on the other hand, Google has clarified its support to address the piracy concerns.