Thursday, July 07, 2005

Part four. Policies in practice:
Effects of online poker prohibitions; Law skirting, googlebombing, and by-any-means-necessary/possible

The LV Sun ran an article on the b!tch's sports & marketing conference (DN was a speaker, perhaps he's slipslidingaway from poo mtn to onto the spinycoated cerberus? or perhaps he really will set up a skin to call his own as recent posters have shaken their collective 8balls around...) -- which touched on what I've been meaning to pick up in my series of longwinded rants...

Web casinos are using a host of techniques to skirt the law and appear to be successfully avoiding prosecution.

That includes launching play-for-free sites using ".net" suffixes instead of their real-money casino counterparts, which use the ".com" moniker. Many major online casinos now advertise their free play sites to placate media companies even though those sites are designed to teach players in preparation for real money games. Free sites often link to registrations for online casinos. In some cases, Internet casinos are running variations of "void where prohibited" disclaimers to avoid lawsuits in specific jurisdictions.

This is exactly my next "what irks the sh!t out of me regarding the state of online poker" rant series.

A little setup: When you get to know me, you'll see I'm very pro-American. Which is not to say what a lot of people would think that means-- I'm really a sandal-wearing hippie from berkeley with a useless degree from Cal-type if you ever met one. What being pro-Am means to me is that I rabidly adhere to the notion that the state of being "an American" is a prized one, a welcoming-hand type model, a vision to uphold and make as true today as yesteryear. In my world view, big brother is just that: A reified vision of epitomized democracy and humanity, complete with the star spangled banner playing in the background.

So the third thing that really bothers me about the state of online poker, as far as the world looking in and acting in on it, is this sidestepping of supposed "laws" which ban the aiding and abetting of online poker (and what better example than the media as the aider & abettor of the poker boom we're in the midst of, and runs advertising for.) It honestly bugs me, hurts the pride I feel for the strength of the American legal system.

In order to sidestep government prohibitions on the advertising of online poker rooms, they set up .net play-money-only sites. To me, this is such a bastardization of the issue; if it is going to be enforced as illegal, and a company flouts the supposed illegality by advertising a .net instead of a .com, and THAT stops the enforcement of the "law" banning such advertising... To me, this sets up and encourages a daily insult to the justice system, by making such a silly dance around it so easy. A mockery, both in the winkwinknudgenudge "we don't play for real money ossifer" sense *and* also in the "lets look a blind eye because .net isn't literally .com" sense... Both guilty, but who's the chicken and who's the egg?

What's worse is that I believe the DOJ has forced its hands in this mockery, and is partly to blame for it. Which is disheartening for a girl like me, seeing self-inflicted harm on the government which I esteem so highly.

I know a lot of players would say its ridiculous for me to say, "if they're going to have a law, enforce it and don't let sillyass humiliating antics kick dirt in the face of the laws and powers of the country" (which is what I'm trying to say, apologies for obliqueness). I know a lot of people like the fact that some advertisers are willing to .net it to cast a fishnet out. But imo its worse to set this silly sadiehawkins up and jump over broomsticks about than it is not to be forced to do this in the 1st place.

These laws policies banning advertisers from taking up advertising are not only responsible for the degradation of the shine the US justice system should ideally have by letting it be played keep-away with, they are also creating a dirty, ugly vacuum of "advertising" in its place.

I've been thinking about the idea of spam marketing and online poker quite a bit, ever since reading about the googlebomb to get wikipedia's definition of "online poker" to the top of the google search (and, really stick it to blog comment spammers.) See, online poker spam is always lumped together with the other reliable genres: porn spam and male erectile dysfunction/"help my penis is falling" spam. (last trip to mexico, 4 years ago-- ernie/6th college roommate brought back a 6-pack bubble card of viagra at $10 each; he self-experimented two and went the real thing three times, saving one always for "later." no trip reports from any escapades, too weirded out to ask!)

Begging me to ask the question...

Is online poker really porn and 'no-boner need-pill' ads?

Imo, the necessary deductions...

1) The DOJ keeps the association between online poker and online porn on purpose, by consistently closing US advertising markets, forcing advertising spending towards such spam-ad farms. And of course the association btw online poker and porn can only help the anti online gambling cause...

2) Death by forced association. Online poker = porn ads keeps the fish from frying; spam email/sites aren't as effective as you'd think (in terms of drawing new, paying customers to a site) and if that's the only way you've got to tap the glass, it suxxors. By the DOJ keeping online poker's legitimacy associated with porn spam (and actually SAYING that online gambling is of the same caliber as child pornography), they wage an effective, free, silent war against online poker-- death by association. Our herdish, Oprah-worshipping culture (*love* oprah, btw) needs to be led by the nose, and if its led to the red-light district when looking for poker, its going to just buy another WPT dvd set and forget about losing money to poker bots and card sharks.

2a) Googlegod is king, and to be at the tops of his ranks-- especially conceding the fact that no search engines will accept online gambling ads any longer-- is key in this unique arena of advertising online. Won't sell me some ad sense? Okay, lets artificially bump my page to the top of the pops by spamming links like hot milk in a nursery. Comment spam to pump links to the top of the heap, but who's to blame? An (extremely well-funded) industry with no outlet will find has found a crack in the dyke, and screws both bloggers and google's own ranking system in the process.

3) Online poker advertising is a sick beastie. (i got the conch. and sucks to your assmar, paz!) Because of the consistent thwarting of advertising means that normal, well funded moneymakers use, such as regular print and television media, online poker advertising is... well...

You know. You know how embarrassing, can't look away accident on the highway sort of stuff online poker advertising can be.

But, it is more than that. Online poker relies heavily on 3rd party marketers to do its dirty work; to 3rd party marketers with much less money than the parent room while still being constrained by the same laws that force the rooms to outsource their advertising in such volume... aka affiliates.

I don't have anything to say about affiliates right now (i have the distinct feeling ive droned on again for too long), except that behind online poker blogspam is an affiliate pimping their own "page rank n/a" site, not a parent poker room. But people who get spammed and run across spam don't know that-- they only know "try poker" has dumped a sh!tload of junk onto their hardearned blog (you know they check their comments religiously). And those surfing blogs (which is like, everyone apparently) get that same impression as well. So it leaves an ugly taste in their mouths, and an ugly tasting mouth does not a poker player make. [for you yoda fans ;)]

And the dirty cycle continues, wax on-wax off.

I think the next part will be specifically about affiliates and the differences of online poker advertising... but I'm not sure :) Be sure to catch Bill's post about poker affiliates & blogging, if you haven't already though.


GamesGrid Poker

11:58:04 PM  
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