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Thread: 888 / Casino On Net Condoning Site Scraping & Copyright Theft?

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    888 / Casino On Net Condoning Site Scraping & Copyright Theft?

    This issue affects all webmasters and to a certain extent players of online casinos.

    888 Holdlings PLC, the powerhouse behind brands such as 888.com and Pacific Poker have over the last couple of months come in for a battering from concerned webmasters over on
    CAP
    regarding their lack of action when dealing with Site Scrapers.

    Currently there is a thread over on Casino Affiliate Programs which has run into 15 pages over a period of 1 and a half months, solely dealing with the issue.

    So what is Site Scraping exactly, for those of you not up to speed with all the various technical speak?

    • Basically Site Scraping is where a black/grey hat webmaster uses a bot to grab as much content as possible from different websites. This content is then used to form the basis of this webmasters new site.

      So not only is this content theft, the offending site could possibly affect your own sites rankings in the Search Engines if they utilise your stolen content as it is possible you will be hit by a duplicate content filter, thus lowering your serps across the board.

      The benefits of scraping allows these webmasters to upload normally recently expired domains that they have purchased thus avoiding the google sandbox, with thousands of pages of themed content. This in turn will initially allow the site to rank highly for it's targetted terms. However, the pages being served to the visitor will redirect to the targetted casino of which the webmaster either affiliates with, or works for.

      Google and the other Search Engines, do eventually ban sites from their index that practice the above. However the problem is, that ten more are put in their place for every one banned.


    Over on Casino Affiliate Programs, many many sites which promote 888 Holding's Brands have been reported to the 888 Rep. Due to the fact that they are engaging in site scraping and thus stealing the hard work of other webmasters.

    Unlike other Affiliate Programs, such as Wagershare, Brightshare and 32Red who take a very dim view of their affiliates engaging in illegal activities, 888 seem to be dragging their feet on this issue. To the extent, that one can surmise that they either don't care too much, or they are earning too much revenue as a result of these illegal sites, that they do not wish to cut off this particular revenue stream.

    Also, unlike other affiliate programs, 888's Affiliate Program does not currently vet the websites of webmasters who wish to promote them. This means anyone can throw up a banner in cyberspace and start promoting 888. Not only that, no check is made to see if the site in question is not engaging in activities which are illegal i.e: content theft.

    Given the vast size of 888's marketing budget, I find it surprising that no resources are set aside for this particular area. I mean, they can afford to sponsor Middlesbrough Football Club, The World Snooker Championships and also advertise on MSN Messenger, but they are unable to police effectively their affiliate network?

    Ok so why should people be concerned at this practice? Well quite simply put, by taking firm action against these scrapers in the form of permanently shutting down each and every one account. 888/Cassava have the power to help eliminate scraping from our industry. As it will no longer be possible to earn a lucrative living off the back of somebody elses hard work.

    The latest post from the 888 Rep on Cap states this:

    However, discussing our policies, is a process that takes time, and I hope you understand that this means we will not have immediate answers to post here.
    My own view is the following:

    Why is it taking 888 a month and a half to come to a decision which should be clear cut?

    So this brings me onto another dubious blackhat activity and the Art of Blog Spamming. Blog Spamming as some may already know, is a webmaster's way of gaining backlinks to their website and thus helping to increase their own rankings in the search engines such as google, msn and yahoo. Whilst being extremely annoying for the owner of the blog that has been spammed, it also goes against the guidelines laid down by all the main search engines.

    So what i want to know is, why do 888 Holdings / Cassava actively participate in this activity?

    The site www.casinoonnet-online.com is registered to the following company:

    • Registrant [52981]:
    • Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd.
    • Europort 601-701
    • Gibraltar
    • Gibraltar
    • 1111
    • GI



    • Administrative Contact [52981]:
    • Guy Margolin
    • Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd.
    • Europort 601-701
    • Gibraltar
    • Gibraltar
    • 1111
    • GI
    • Phone: +350.49800
    • Fax: +350.50309



    • Billing Contact [52981]:
    • Guy Margolin
    • Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Ltd.
    • Europort 601-701
    • Gibraltar
    • Gibraltar
    • 1111
    • GI
    • Phone: +350.49800
    • Fax: +350.50309


    Ok so what is the harm with that? Well on digging deeper and looking at all the links this site has, it appears an employee or employees of Cassava have been very busy indeed spamming blogs. Take a look at this:

    http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=lin...=20&fl=0&x=wrt

    Examining the backlinks, as well as the several thousand blog spams, these two sites stuck out:

    xxhttp://patish27.l1h.net/

    xxhttp://site2all.250free.com/

    Unbelievable!

    So you may say, what's wrong with that? Well blog spam as with forum spam, email spam is just that. An annoying everyday occurence of the internet which we can do all without. Furthermore Cassava with their site are breaking search engine guidelines laid done by the likes of google, msn, yahoo as a result of taking part in blog spamming.

    Indeed, the blog spam coming from Cassava direct and their collection of rogue affiliates has even made it onto Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Cassava_Enterprises

    Furthermore other webmasters not even in our industry have been affected by it:

    http://www.davidgalbraith.org/archives/000783.html

    With all problems and concerns regarding the legality of Online Gambling in the US with HR4777 at this moment in time, it is not good for one of the largest online gambling companies to participate in these activities. Indeed as a Public Listed Company on the FTSE/LSE, they should lead by example.
    Last edited by Webzcas; 27th April 2006 at 06:03 PM.
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  2. Thanks Simmo!, dominique, Pinababy69, Chatmaster, Chill and 2 others thanked this post
  3. #2
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    Exclamation Admin note:

    I've moved this from the Webmaster's Section to here since I feel that this affects everyone in this industry: affiliates, operators, players, etc.

    Site scraping and content theft are very serious issues that need to be halted now.
    “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”

    ~Mark Twain

  4. Thanks dominique, Chatmaster, Webzcas thanked this post
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    I am in total agreement. This 888.com stuff has too stop, my personal opinion they are criminals and should be dealt with as such.

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    Great detective work Webzcas.

    The text on those two sites you highlight would be hilarious if it wasn't so blatantly underhand:

    One would, should he caught a look of terror in her online casino eyes, be a question of waiting for breakfast
    Night and day were 888 the same in this prison room, or daughter, for it was one of the gang. Free betting are you, with sudden glints of gold in it
    (the bold bits above were linked in the text).

    This is unreal. Imagine if this were any other big company outside of our industry!

    All these pages link to other pages in a "network", each with different chunks of what appears to be randomly generated text, but in actual fact could just as easily be copied from other sites and pasted together to appear random - a not uncommon practice - but incredibly difficult to prove.

    Irrespective of where that text comes from, each page, somewhere in it, links to the domain Webzcas highlights in his initial post. Its using the clasic "contextual linking" mechanism that search engines use to assume as a "vote" for each link, with the aim obviously of spamming the target site up to the top of the search results.
    Last edited by Simmo!; 27th April 2006 at 06:28 PM.
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    I have rogued them here http://www.gamesandcasino.com/blacklist.htm which is #1 in google for blacklisted casinos and ranks well under rogue casinos etc also.

    That a supposedly respectable, public company resorts to such underhanded and illegal methods is simply disgusting.

    I expect this sort of thing from fly by night outfits and not a supposedly respectable place like 888.

    I guess the scumware isn't performing anymore because people got smart and use spyware removers, so the next thing is spamming the searchengines.

    What a poor reflection on this industry. As if we weren't in enough legal trouble already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dominique
    I have rogued them here http://www.gamesandcasino.com/blacklist.htm which is #1 in google for blacklisted casinos and ranks well under rogue casinos etc also.
    I have given them until tomorrow to let us know how they are going to deal with this very serious problem. As far as I am concerned it is a black and white issue. They have to stop lining the pockets of the scrapers who promote their brands. Anything less, is no good.

    Failure to resolve this, will mean I will also be adding them and their other brands such as Pacific Poker to my Rogue Section. Which ranks just below
    CM
    for rogue casinos in google.
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    Bryan, does 888 have a Rep registered here? Our ( Webmasters on
    CAP
    ) dealings with Shelly the rep on
    CAP
    have not been very helpful.

    I have even offered to meet with John Anderson to discuss this issue as I am conveniently based across the road from their Gibraltar Offices, but was ignored. Shelly preferred stalling until the
    CAP
    Spring Break in Miami at the end of May to discuss this issue face to face.

    Unfortunately I do not have any contacts with even middle management at Cassava, so this is not something I can pursue myself.
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    I have left word for John that I am willing to talk, but I would be quite surprised if he took me up on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Webzcas
    Bryan, does 888 have a Rep registered here? Our ( Webmasters on
    CAP
    ) dealings with Shelly the rep on
    CAP
    have not been very helpful...
    No, after Vahe left (two years ago) they never got someone to take his place. Too bad.
    “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”

    ~Mark Twain

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    (Greedy) 888.com vs Intercasino.com

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