Visits to websites offering pirated digital material and counterfeit goods are on the up, a report from anti-fraud outfit MarkMonitor has revealed.
The company monitored illegal traffic levels on 43 file sharing websites, as well as those selling counterfeit goods, and found that they received 53 billion visits annually.
According to the BBC, direct download sites like RapidShare.com, Megavideo.com and Megaupload.com attracted 21 billion visits last year, making them nearly as popular as peer-to-peer portals for accessing illegal downloads.
The study also found that 67 per cent of sites offering illegal material and 73 per cent of those classified as “counterfeit” were hosted in the USA and western Europe.
MarkMonitor estimates that these websites cost the industry an annual $200 billion worldwide.
“Examining traffic patterns and geographic information are vital in identifying and prioritizing enforcement actions rather than playing ‘whack-a-mole’ with egregious offenders,” Frederick Felman, CMO of MarkMonitor said.
The company warned that this study is only a snapshot, hinting that the problems listed could actually be far more prevalent than the results would suggest.