There isn't a single online gambler who hasn't been forced into awareness of properties held by Cassava Enterprises Ltd. 888.com ( Casino-on-Net ) Pacific Poker and Reef Club Casino. Virtually every search on any search engine for gambling terms spews forth a slurry of sites teaming with browser-freezing pop-ups and little else. The majority of these sites are promotors of 888.com and Pacific Poker, both properties of Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd.
The majority of these sites employ what we refer to as "Blackhat" Search Engine Optimization techniques. These range from blog spaming to content scraping (whereby they steal content from other sites which have content. Blog spaming is unethical, copyright theft is illegal.
If terrible results in the search engines don't bother you, the player, their use of scumware will. Scumware hijacks your browser and takes you to their sites, whether you wanted to pay them a visit or not.
There are debates rumbling on about whether or not Cassava Enterprises are aware of these issues, and even whether or not they are directly involved in scraping content themselves. Whether or not they are directly responsible, it's clear that by allowing webmasters to employ these aggressive search engine marketing techniques, "they are still guilty of failing to protect their brand names and ensure their business is promoted responsibly, at a time when online gaming is in the glare of the authorities' spotlight."
The reputation of the online gambling industry has been smeared terribly by online casinos who allow destructive, illegal and unethical marketing campaigns. Online gambling has been lumped in with porn, since porn is another industry which will stop at nothing to get noticed.
"There isn't much worse a tarnish than being lumped in with the spam and virus lot." - Anti-spam expert Mark Sunner, CTO at MessageLabs.
They (Cassava) could easily stop the "spam and virus" by making it unprofitable - close the accounts of spamming, scraping affiliates. Unfortunately, it isn't easy for them to do - they are now a public company (wonder what their shareholders would think if they were aware of the trouble brewing), and an educated guess tells us they are collecting at least half their new players via these unethical sites, so blocking out those affiliates would have a grave impact upon their revenues and their stock value.
Honest webmasters have come together to ask you, the player, to not condon illegal marketing techniques and help us clean up the online gambling industry by not playing at online casinos who employ these techniques. We will all benefit by improving the image of Online Gambling.
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