Swedish firms’ ads on internet piracy site

Several of Sweden’s most well known companies appear to have purchased ad space on a controversial website catering to illegal file sharing.

“We wonder how our ads ended up there,” Erik Hörnfeldt, spokesperson for mobile operator 3, said to Dagens Nyheter.

In addition to 3, advertisements for the bank SEB, energy company Telge Energi, as well as telecom company Telia have appeared on the site undertexer.se.

The website provides downloadable Swedish sub-titles for often-pirated foreign movies and televisions shows.

The ads appeared however, not because the companies had paid for the ads directly, but because the companies participate in an advertisement placement program offered by AdSense, a Google-affiliate that matches advertisements with a website’s content.

“Sites included in the network are screened according to our policy,” said Goolge spokesperson Maria Göth.

She explained that pornographic sites, as well as those that sell tobacco, weapons, and alcohol are not included, although she was unable to give a definitive answer as to whether a site like undertexter.se ought to be included or not.

The companies were unaware that there ads had appeared on the site, and expressed concern that their brand may be associated with an internet piracy site.

“We have to take a look at this. We’ve decided to remove our ads until further notice,” said Telia spokesperson Patrick Hiselius.