As we have all learned over the past few weeks & days Google & the Microsoft search engine Bing have teamed together in a voluntary code of practice that means pirated digital content on the web will be pushed further down the search engine results pages (SERP’s). As leaders in search engine optimization we at Zeppelin IT love all kinds of digital content but we do support the move that means content that has been pirated is removed or deliberately pushed farther back in the page rankings. However, due to this massive shuffle by not one but two search engines in the way that they work we have become concerned as to what this means for the SEO industry and will it have benefits to us as white hat SEO’s and if so what are these going to be?
When we think of pirates we no longer think of the swash buckling pirate that sail the 7 seas stealing all the gold that they can carry, no piracy has moved on in to the form of digital content piracy. Digital content piracy first came to front of everyone’s attention back in around 1999 with the invention of the Software as a Service (SaaS) Napster. Napster allows the streaming of online digital content of over 30 million songs ad free and 100% legal, it is able to achieve this by asking users after 30days to pay a subscription to the service which allows the company to pay for the content that it has on its servers. Fast forward approximately 12 months and you came across P2P or Peer to Peer networks that allowed the sharing of content across the web free – all that was needed was for a user to download the GUI (Graphic User Interface) of their selected torrent provider and they were free to download all the digital content from the web that they wanted from peers in their network many users of these P2P networks chose the likes of PirateBay & ISOHunt as their source of digital content. Of course because there was no payment made to the publisher of the content then the content that a user had just downloaded was pirated content. In the 17 years since 1999/2000 there have been a number court orders that have resulted in search engines taking down pirate sites, only for them or site with similar features and similar layout to appear in its place and be indexed by the search engines within a matter of hours. The most pirated content on the web isn’t always content that you are going to use over and over again but it is more likely to be a major sporting event
Since 1992 the cost of having exclusive broadcast rights to the premier league matches has increased from £191m to over £5.1billion. This although a deal struck between BT and Sky (BSkyB) to the Premier League for right to broadcast the matches. With the current level of internet digital piracy though it is unclear as to whether or not the value of these deals will continue to rise – if the trend of the last 24 years is anything to go by it is safe to say this rise is set to continue. This means higher multimedia package costs from the likes of BT and Sky, although these companies are proactive in how they deal with pirate sites. It is unclear if the costs of media packages are related to the rising cost of internet piracy or are due to the rising costs of inflation and living.
Digital piracy isn’t something that is going to go away overnight. The voluntary agreement (that may or may not see or ISP’s and other search engines sign up) really is a sticking plaster over a much bigger issue than anyone really knows. However, we do support the move made by Google & Microsoft in its latest attempt to combat digital piracy. In the long term unless more people and companies sign up to the agreement then any notable difference to the SERPs remains to be seen.
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