A Call to Protect Copyright’s Answered

- by Patricia McLinn

You know how some stories change in mid-stream? Well, this is one of those. I started writing this blog saying that it was a work in progress. That I was “telling you upfront that there’s no ending – happy or otherwise – to this tale. Not yet.”

I was wrong.

There is an ending. And it is happy.

After having it pointed out that AT&T ads were appearing on a website that offered downloads of copyrighted material that had not been authorized by the copyright holder, AT&T said Monday that it is pulling its advertising from 4shared.com.

That is worth celebrating.

Maybe you have questions about all this. I can think of three big ones (those who know me are shocked – shocked! – that I can think of questions):
– Why should readers care about this?
– What does this mean in the big picture of copyright infringement and abuse of intellectual property?
– How did this happen?

Why should readers care?

I mean those many, many, many readers who don’t traffic with the copyright infringers, who buy from legitimate sources that pay the author and publisher – why should they care? For the same reason all of us honest shoppers care about shoplifting – because we are penalized for it. Just as shoplifters’ dishonesty becomes a cost that is calculated into the bottom line that stores need in order to stay in business, so it is with the cost of intellectual property infringement and the bottom lines that publishers and authors need in order to stay in business.

There’s another way the honest are penalized for the dishonesty of the shoplifters – suspicion. If you’ve ever noticed with discomfort cameras or eagle-eyed employees watching you in a store, you can thank the shoplifters for that. Consider DRM and its attendant annoyances the digital version of those cameras, and you can thank the infringers for that, too.

What does this mean in the big picture of copyright infringement and abuse of intellectual property?

In the context of one company removing advertising from one website, alas, it’s closer to a drop in the bucket than a tidal wave. Even in that context, however, it’s very good news that a.) it’s a big company and b.) it’s a drop in the right bucket.

And, in a broader context it might mean a lot more, because it alerts authors to an effective tool to use against some copyright-abusing sites.

Granted, there are a lot of sites abusing copyrights that are not supported by advertising. However, the ones that are supported by advertising tend to be glossier and more attractive, which lends an air of legitimacy to the whole abuse of copyrights that is not there with many of the mushroom sites we know and loathe.

If these legitimate-looking sites are not supported by advertising we might, eventually, have one less level of hell to pass through to protect our copyrights.

How did this happen?
After 4shared.com was mentioned on NincLink, I checked it out last week.

I didn’t check every file 4shared.com offers for sharing so I can’t say it doesn’t offer some legitimate file-sharing exercises that do not infringe on copyright. But it definitely has been offering free downloads of copyrighted material that were not authorized by the author. Including books of mine.

I went through the rigmarole of their “takedown request” form, which included promising that I really, truly, honestly was the copyright holder entitled to do this extraordinary act of taking down this material.

(You’d think that if they were that stringent about letting people put files up that they could avoid infringing in the first place. You’d also think that when they have, say, 10 files up under an author’s name and the e-mail addresses of the “sharers” are all different and not one of those addresses has any association with the author’s name that it is highly unlikely that it was the author/ copyright holder putting the files up. And you’d further think that people tech savvy enough to create such a site could create methods to prevent copyright abuse instead of forcing authors to expend time and energy in trying to undo the abuse of their intellectual property the site has fostered.)

Still in a state of irked about text telling me that my book Match Made in Wyoming had been downloaded 130 times in violation of my copyright, I noticed a banner ad above the text. The banner ad was for AT&T.

I checked other authors’ names, and saw more ads for AT&T. Hmmm.

So I searched online for the name of the AT&T executive who oversaw advertising and/or marketing. Bingo. I found a news release from May announcing Esther Lee being named senior vice president-Brand Marketing and Advertising. I also found Catherine M. Coughlin is the senior executive vice president and global marketing officer of AT&T Inc.

I called corporate headquarters and asked for Esther Lee’s office.

(Hint: You can find corporate headquarters phone number and address for publicly traded companies on financial websites, such as Yahoo!Finance, under “company profile.” The sites  also list executives, and you might find the person you want to contact listed right there for medium or small companies. But for huge companies the folks listed are basically too high up to do much good . . . at least to start.)

On the first call, I reached the answering machine of Esther Lee’s executive assistant. I left a message. I called back about three hours later.

(Hint: Don’t wait forever to be called back.)

I explained who I was, and that I wanted to ask Ms. Lee about AT&T’s advertising on a site that infringed on copyright. He said Ms. Lee was traveling and would not be available the rest of the week. I asked when she would be back in the office. Monday, I was told.

So, I called Monday. This time the operator didn’t put me through. She put me on hold, eventually coming back to say Ms. Lee wasn’t available, but that she had someone else for me to talk to.

(Hint: Note the name of each person you talk to. Take notes of what they tell you. If a thread breaks, you want to be able to go back and pick up with one of the people you’d talked with previously.

(Another hint: If this handoff had resulted in a brushoff, I would have called the office of Catherine Coughlin, the senior executive vice president for global marketing. I’d also noted the CEO’s name. Try to always have another avenue to pursue, and be prepared to go higher if necessary.)

So, I called Melissa Oakley, who works in corporate communications for AT&T. She was expecting my call. She, in turn, gave me the name and contact information for another woman in corporate communications for AT&T, who worked closely with the area I was interested in.

(Hint: Don’t get discouraged. Keep following the thread, keep taking notes.)

I left a message for Jenny Bridges.

(Hint: Decide beforehand how much time you’ll let elapse before you call back.)

Bridges returned my call before my call-back time. Since my books had been removed, I directed her to listings for Kathleen Korbel (in case anyone’s in doubt, they were not authorized by the copyright holder, Eileen Dreyer.)

After some discussion, Bridges said she would look into it further and get back to me.

She had mentioned seeing different ads from the ones being displayed to me – not that she was denying AT&T was advertising on the site, but that she was seeing other ads. Interesting.

I kept searching more authors’ files. The vast majority of the banner ads I saw were AT&T, but I did pick up a few from Toyota. So, while I waited for a call from Bridges, I started tracking Toyota. That is still a work in progress; I’ll let you know how it goes.

I hope they’ll be as responsive as AT&T.

I had started drafting this blog when I received a call from Oakley, picking up for Bridges, who had other obligations. Oakley gave me the good news that AT&T was pulling its advertising – as quickly as possible.

She also connected me with Steve Governale through a conference call.

Governale team does online media buying.

He explained that AT&T works with network partners to set up online advertising aimed at certain audiences; the networks deal with myriad smaller sites. AT&T has guidelines for its network partners to follow in selecting acceptable sites for placing AT&T ads. To this point those guidelines have focused on avoiding such areas as pornography or, more broadly, sites that “basically wouldn’t be family friendly.”

He said he wasn’t sure that the guidelines explicitly address matters of copyright infringement.

He also said there were “a lot of sites where peer-to-peer is valuable and rights are well-managed.” However, “in this case, it felt like something we didn’t necessarily want to be aligned with.”

As a result, all AT&T ads would be pulled down.

AT&T’s withdrawal of its ads from 4shared.com “raises a red flag” to the network. “If they start to see that certain sites within their network have a bad reaction from advertisers,” Governale said, the network will be less likely to include those sites.

So, if authors contact more advertisers supporting these sites – and the advertisers respond as positively and promptly as AT&T has – the networks will recognize that sites infringing on copyright do not make good business partners. And the infringing sites’ financial support will dwindle.

Governale finished by saying that AT&T was “going to take a look at” including in “our requirements to any network partners that in file-sharing or peer-to-peer” sites all material has to adhere to copyright regulations.

Authors hope AT&T will adopt that requirement immediately, and that more companies will follow its lead.

Many thanks to AT&T’s Melissa Oakley, Steve Governale and Jenny Bridges for their time and their prompt response on this issue.

So, what should authors do?
– Note the advertisers supporting any site that infringes on copyright.
– Contact the advertiser and express your disappointment that they are supporting a site that infringes on copyright and intellectual property rights. (Some companies will actually appreciate it, as AT&T did. “You did the right thing – call the company,” Oakley said. “It’s a good way to alert us,” Governale added.)
– Go through the hoops to get your material taken down.
– Communicate to the site that you withhold permission for that site to ever offer any of your works.

And add another drop to the right bucket.


  1. I have to say you are my heroine of the year. You are amazing.
    I am definitely going to follow in your footsteps.
    Is there someway Ninc can recognize AT&T’s taking of the high ground in this issue? For example, a free ad in the conference brochure. Or an honour roll of companies who suppor the arts in this way on the website.
    I must say when I started reading I did not expect such a positive result. Good for you and good for AT&T.

  2. I am amazed. Delighted. And rather awed by your pragmatic persistence. Kudos to you, and to AT&T for responding with what, for a major corporation, is lightning speed. That suggests they really do not want to be associated with infringement in any way. Good for them, and a huge thanks to you for undertaking this quest!

  3. I, too, am amazed. I had never heard of this site, so I went to it, found 8 of my books uploaded–mostly in Spanish–and emailed them and told them to take all 8 down. The ad on my site is CB2 (Crate & Barrel light). I don’t know if I have it in me to make all those phone calls, but I will email them.

  4. Go Pat! I didn’t think this would work, so I’m glad you proved me wrong.

  5. Wow! This is amazing. Thank you for being so persistent. This benefits all of us and we need to follow your example. You’re my hero.

  6. I’m thrilled, too, at AT&T’s amazingly swift response.

    But what I love the most is you all saying you’re going to give it a shot, too — that’s how we’ll make progress!

    And I KNOW there are other sites with advertising. As folks spot them, I hope they’ll alert Ninc-ers, so we can act.

    Hey, we’re all persistent or we wouldn’t be published!

  7. Pat, you’re brilliant! You followed the money and got results.

  8. UPDATE:

    I’ve heard back from Toyota. A VP. He’s going to talk to the advertising people and have them get back to me or get back to me himself.

    In addition, I spoke with some folks at GM, who were also advertising there. They, too, have said they are going to talk to the appropriate advertising people and get back to me.

    I’ve also left messages at Starbucks and Crate & Barrel.

    As I’m talking to these folks, I’m emphasizing how AT&T has said it’s going to look at its guidelines to prevent this happening again. Encouraging these other mainline corporations to do that will go a long way to making this a more useful exercise.

  9. Kudos, Pat! I’m impressed, and I’m grateful that you took the steps to follow through. Here’s to hoping that corporate responsibility will blossom on the internet.

  10. UPDATE II: Crate & Barrel called back. The director of public relations is going to talk to their advertising people and general counsel (love that!) and get back to me.

  11. One of the most provocative answers to piracy I’ve seen yet. Many many thanks for your actions and posting about it. I certainly will try it. Although my problems seem to stem more from shadowy bottom feeders than sites that actually acquire sponsors.

    It’s amazing the disconnect that had to have occurred for these companies’ advertising dollars to be spent at these types of sites without anyone bothering to see what it is that goes on there!

  12. UPDATE III: Starbucks is also looking into it. And will get back to me with more info later.

  13. Patricia, I am not a NINC member, but I work with corporations daily. This is fantastic!!!! This is exactly right and what an impact you have already made. What an awesome job and I will help any way I can.

  14. Patricia, I’m delighted that your action against this thieving practice was successful. I’ve forwarded the URL to this blog post to my publisher in the UK, who has just had to have some of my books taken down. Maybe we can start spreading the word among our publishers about this, as well as among advertisers?

    Good for AT&T!

  15. I contacted 4share.com to take down my books and got complicated instructions…so I emailed legal at Harlequin and was told the lawyers would get the books taken down. I hate calling and phone trees and people who try to put me off. So I emailed two advertisers. Geeks.com director of marketing got back to me right away. He said they don’t advertise directly with websites but I guess there’s a way to do it indirectly, meaning he doesn’t know where they go. He asked for a screenshot so he could tell where it came from. I said I couldn’t give it to him because the ads kept changing. I thought that would be it, but he emailed me again and asked for the URL where I saw the ad (when I called up my books). I gave that to him and he said he would see what he could do. I consider that positive. CB2 (Crate & Barrel light) sent me an auto respond. Someone was supposed to follow up, but so far, no one has. I won’t hold my breath.

  16. Wow. Thank you. Very much.

  17. Well, hot damn. How frickin awesome is that…

  18. Kudos to you! It’s a great idea. Feel like taking on ebay?

    And thanks on behalf of all writers and honest people.

  19. Patricia, if I ever needed another reason to love and adore you, this is it.

  20. You are brilliant and tenacious, Patricia. Thank you,


  21. Pat – you have always been a huge inspiration and you’ve done it again. What an awesome job! Thanks for being so persistent and showing everyone how they can get action to stop this nasty thievery!

  22. YAY Pat! That’s fantastic!

    I found 13 of my books available on that site and contacted Harlequin, and also notified the site myself that they were breaching my copyright. I love your idea!


  23. Pat, you are just brilliant. In the past, I’ve just emailed Harlequin, but in future I’ll try this, too.

    As you say, one drop of water – but they soon add up :)

  24. Well done!

  25. Pat, talk about a HEA, at least as a beginning! I find the take-down notes don’t work half the time. But hit them where the money is–big time advertising, and that is the way to go!!! You’re truly a trendsetter!

  26. OMG you are my HERO!!!! Awesome job!!

  27. Pat, you never cease to amaze and inspire me!

  28. WOW! Awesome! Way to sock it to the pirates.

  29. Yay! You are my new hero! What a shot across the bow!

    I’ll also follow your example and maybe we can start a trend. I have long been frustrated with the it’s-not-our-problem attitude of the file sharing sites. Great way to make it their problem!

    I bow to you.

  30. Way to go, Pat! Good for you!

  31. This is incredible! Not only am I damn excited and appreciative of what you’ve accomplished, I printed out your blog as a step by step guideline of how things get done. I’m also sharing the blog with every writers’ group I’m a member of.

    I say all Ninc members band together and pony up to pay Pat’s way to this year’s conference.

  32. I went to their website.. Dish Network is a sponsor of theirs too. As a writer myself, I loath pirates. If people only knew how much work went into writing a book…

  33. Pat, you rock! I’m another one who’s not good on the phone, but I will definitely start emailing the PTB. What’s the old adage… follow the money? This is just brilliant! Thanks for sharing your experiment with us. One drop at a time adds up fast.

  34. Thank you so much for that hard work! I really appreciate it. Tons of my books are on these sites and are downloaded coutless times. I have felt so powerless after going through the hoops to have my work taken off only to have it put right back up. Thank you!! I will certainly follow the steps you outlined when I find my work on a pirate site again.

  35. You are truly amazing. I bow at your feet.

  36. I’m amazed this hasn’t been done before. Mark of true genius – a real, simple solution that might just change how we fight copyright infringement forever. I’ll be doing the exact same thing with the sites offering my stuff.

    Thank you!

  37. Tyou for your unflagging efforts on the behalf of authors.

    I found 46 pages of my books on this site, then sent the form as well as notified my publisher.

  38. Pat, this is fantastic, well done! 4Shared has some of my books, but the advertisers are horoscope and weight loss scams, so I doubt I’ll have much luck appealing to their honor. However, as soon as I see a reputable advertiser, I will phone them – I suspect phone is a lot more effective than email!

  39. I came here by way of Carly Carson (see her comment further up).

    What a great story!

    Thanks for sharing :)

  40. Brilliant. And you’ve put the corporation on notice of its involvement with something nefarious. They can’t afford the bad publicity that might ensue, so they’re apt to pull the ads. But for those corporations that fail to pull the ads, you can then point that out to all who care to read about it. That’s even worse for the corporation — ‘we contacted corporation A about its support of a copyright-infringing website but they’ve decided to continue advertising there….’

  41. Thank you all for the wonderful words. Again, I’m especially thrilled at those who are doing the same thing. That is FABULOUS.

    I do find the phone more effective. But phone or e-mail remember to go high.

    If you start with the phone trees or the “contact us” e-mail addys on corporate websites you’re dropping into the Black Hole. The job of those entry level folks is to block annoyances from reaching their bosses. (Can’t blame them or the bosses, that’s just the way it is.) So you have to get above that level.

    And then be polite, reasoned, persistent, and emphasize what’s in it for them

    Michael, are you going to contact Dish Network?

    For any of you who do contact a company, I’d love to hear the results. Remember to encourage them to adjust their guidelines/procedures to prevent this in the future. ALSO, if you can get any info on which specific “ad networks” they use, that would be greatly helpful, too.

    As others have noted, advertisers such as get-a-degree-in-two-weeks or get-out-of-debt-by-paying-us are unlikely to be swayed by either ethics or public opinion. But sites with only those folks advertising a.) have significantly less revenue coming in and b.) look more like what they are without leaching legitimacy from mainstream companies.

  42. UPDATE IV: Received a call from Crate & Barrel’s Manager of Public Relations Vicky Lang. She had been in contact with their direct marketing person.

    They are blocking 4shared.com from their ad program. She said it had previously been blocked from the main C&B ad program, and the CB2 ad was an oversight.

    “I absolutely know that this is not an element we want to be associated with,” Lang said.

    (Authors feel the same way — we don’t want to be associated with those elements, either. Alas, we aren’t given the choice by those elements.)

    I asked about guidelines. She wasn’t sure if they have specific guidelines. I suggested they consider it — and said that if the director of marketing would like to talk to be directly, I would be happy to have that conversation .

  43. GREAT post!! Have you by chance talked with the corporations that make the actual BBs a lot of the pirates used. Perhaps encourage them to consider ways to prevent illegal copies from being load. Hmmm… I think maybe I’ll do some rooting around myself.

    WONDERFUL job.

  44. UPDATE V: Received an e-mail from Starbucks’ Beth Jayne (Brand, Content, Online & Advertising Services):

    ” . . . our ads are no longer running on this website and we are investigating if we will be placing ads on the website moving forward. Thank you again for bringing this to our attention.”

    Great news! And, of course, authors hope Starbucks will avoid similar sites as well

  45. Information is born free. Everywhere in chains. You are a tool. I understand, but a tool. This issue is this; publishers, labels, and eventually studios are becoming irrelevant.

    Copyright is a way of commoditizing and exchanging intellectual property, but it is also a tool to control dissemination of ideas and info.
    Are the facts contained in a english 101 course at “blow me U” actually less correct than the facts in an english 101 text at Harvard? Then why the price difference?; information has been commoditized and sold, in this case under a brand name (Harvard). Even if one does better at one school, the other may weigh heavily by brand weight alone, regardless of the sense behind it.

    Many institutions act as gatekeepers of media. and information. I apologize, but you are caught in this struggle. Until the creative class sees that those in control of vectors of information and wealth (vectoralists) needed to disseminate an idea or expression are not at all behind the creators or the creations and refuse to let the vectorialists make money off it, the system will spring leaks and eat itself. The vectorialist is a landowner, a creator a farmer; the land is useless to an owner without exacting capital from it. In this way, the vectors are useless without a product to push, a product the vectoralist knows not how to make. Wouldn’t a publishing firm made of writers just be plain better?
    The vector is only useful to the creator of content in as far as it gets his/her book/movie/song printed/shot/recorded.
    The creator no longer needs the gatekeepers. The publishers, labels, and studio exist to further their own capital expansion and give not a single penny about your or any other book.
    Why do you think the only lawsuits you hear about are major brand issues? Protecting the sanctity of the vectors, the forms (logos, brands, and the system at large.

    The companies producing ‘big content’ act more actively to keep other things off the shelves rather than pack the shelves with more product. They are parasites. All their profit is extracted from artists/creators. Not one dime is not.
    Its like the ID theft scare; they’ve created a system open to these problems, which threaten them more than us (even as creators), and they’d just love it if we’d become convinced that these things need to be prevented/fought against by us. ID theft only has limited legal implications for the victim; its nothing compared to what is a stake for the companies which have created the credit system without a means of safeguarding it. Copyright violations are very similar in this way.

    I’m guessing you think I’m insane, but I feel that saying ‘intellectual property’ is a way to get academics to feel violated and threatened, when the issue lies somewhere else.
    People always ask me; “Well, what should an (music) artist do then?”
    “Not make use of labels.”

    The world owes its artists a living. The artists and the world do not owe anyone else a living. Providing services to an artist is fine, but are you going to tell me that you feel the publishers work for you? Bet not.
    Yet they do. Or did…

    When they weren’t suing us for the crime of Eve…

  46. ps- make copyright work for you, not your publisher. or label, or boss, or slaveowner….

  47. Naxalite,

    Copyright can’t work for authors when it’s being flouted.

    There might be exceptions I didn’t encounter, but all the copyrights I saw being infringed on the website in question are held by authors. The author can license some of the rights to a publisher under contractually specified circumstances and for compensation. when that license expires, all rights revert to the author. Either way, copyright infringement hurts the copyright holder — the author.

    You wrote: “Wouldn’t a publishing firm made of writers just be plain better?”

    The book of mine most frequently infringed on that site is available from http://www.BelgraveHouse.com — an e-pub run by an author for authors. Didn’t stop the infringers.

    If publishers cease to exist . . .
    If authors create more publishing firms . . .
    What then? The copyright infringers suddenly say, “Oops, NOW we see we’re really hurting the creator, so we’ll stop immediately”?

    Do you believe that will happen? I don’t.

    You wrote: “Information is born free.” The building blocks of information — words and thought — could be said to be born free. What is created using these building blocks is not.

    If a potter digs clay from a riverbank, then creates by dint of her skill and labor a bowl from that clay, I am not entitled to the bowl because anyone (including me) could have dug up that clay. If I take that bowl without permission and compensation, I am a thief. If someone takes what I create from words and thought by dint of my skill and labor without permission and compensation, they are thieves.

    Authors are working very hard to have copyright work for us — by fighting infringers. Whatever your issues with publishers, we hope you will join us in fending off this assault on our rights and ability to make a living from our labor and skill.

  48. Pat, thank you! You have given us a way to fight back.

    Question: These advertisers are in essence enabling a criminal enterprise, aren’t they? Is it possible to launch a class action (or some sort of suit) against these advertisers to cut off funding to these sites while making advertisers aware of the harm they are doing?

  49. Thank you so much for this. I am the widow of an author who has practically every title he ever wrote on that site. We get very few royalties (the titles that are in print are with a publisher who gave my late husband a sizable advance about a year before he died, so any royalties earned are swallowed up against the advance). My hope of paying off old medical bills, paying our son’s community college tuition, and maybe, someday, putting a marker on his grave, lie in building up enough demand for out of print titles to interest a publisher. With the titles freely available online, that hope is squashed. If my late husband’s “fans” are doing this, it’s a strange tribute to him.

  50. Many, many thanks for your diligence in fighting these sites, and for sharing your methods.

  51. Kathryn, the question of a suit could be an interesting one to ask through Ninc”s Ask-the-Lawyer column.

    Although, even if it’s possible, I would strongly favor contacting companies in the manner I’ve used first. Better to work as allies, imo. And the response so far indicates these companies are very responsive when informed. So no sense in going up against them with a tank.

    OTOH, I would not be at all surprised to encounter some companies that won’t be moved by an appeal to their ethics and image.

    So, absolutely, thinking of different methods for different targets is important.


  52. Eva, my heart goes out to you and your family. Your situation shows the true cost of piracy.

    If your husband was represented by an agent s/he’s office might be able to help you fight the piracy sites. I hope you are reaching out to any writer organizations your husband might have belonged to. They might be able to give you more ideas of ways to fight. And perhaps Authors Guild.

    All my very best wishes,
    Patricia McLinn

  53. UPDATE VI: Touched base again with GM and Toyota. Both say they are continuing to pursue it.

    My contact at Toyota and I did some more checking. It could be that the ad was placed by a regional group (I’m talking with national), and she’s going to check into that.

    Stay tuned!

  54. As my understanding of website advertising goes, it seems most advertisers make use of ad networks (Google Adsense, Amazon Affiliates, etc) where the website owner and the end advertiser never even know of each others’ existence. This is also why many respondents here are seeing different advertisers. (It might not be the case here, but I would be surprised if they were directly-placed ads).

    Wouldn’t a more wide-reaching and effective approach here be to find out what ad network this site is using (looks to be Quantcast at the moment) and raise the matter with them? They’re not going to like the idea of their advertisers being associated with copyright infringement, and such practises are likely to be a breach of their Acceptable Use Policies (i.e. presto kicko!).

    That’s not to stop you from raising the issue with the end advertisers — as it may encourage them to make sure they only do business with ad networks who work actively to protect intellectual property — but there are a lot of major companies who use ad networks, and you’re only seeing a fraction with each visit.

  55. Matt,

    You are absolutely right about the ad networks. I’d love to contact some of them. (How did you conclude that Quantcast is the ad network for 4shared.com?)

    Contacting the ad networks would reach more advertisers.

    Contacting the advertisers reaches more ad networks, because (at least of the ones I’ve talked with) they use multiple ad networks.

    It would be terrific to hit this from both angles. So any info you can share on determining which ad network is servicing a site would be very welcomed.

    Also, if you or anyone else knows of other sites with mainstream advertisers — give a holler!


  56. UPDATE VII: Dionne Colvin, Toyota National Manager Advertising, called back to update me.

    She tracked down the ad and found it was not a national Toyota ad (her area), but rather an ad placed by three regional groups. Still, she followed up with those groups and they agreed to pull the ad off all three regions where it was running.

    She said she relayed our concerns to these and other arms of Toyota.


    P.S. Still waiting to hear back from GM. When we talked this week, she said the GMers she’d contacted hadn’t gotten back to her. Will call again next week if I haven’t heard anything.

  57. Hi Patricia,

    I viewed the HTML source of the page that displayed the ad. In their case, the relevant info was down near the bottom. Often ad network and that kind of info appears surrounded by comments, but not so here.

    There may be online tools that you can use that make this easier, but your favourite search engine will be your friend with this, I’m afraid. As it will for finding the many and various ad networks out there.

    Best of luck, :)

  58. OMG Patricia! You are a goddess!!! What a fabulous idea. Always follow the money–such an obvious thing, but it took a genius to think of it! Thanks for coming up with our next weapon. One that might actually have a real impact.

    You go girl!

  59. I’m about to try this with insurance.com over on Demonoid. Hope I have the same results as you do!

  60. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free!! I enjoy seeing websites that understand the value of providing a prime resource for free. I truly loved reading your post. Thanks!

  61. Hope other folks are having success using the follow-the-money method to hamstring parasites.

    Just discovered another of my books at 4shared.com … it’s an ongoing battle!