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888.com aka Cassava Enterprises aka CON

Discussion in 'Casino Industry Discussion' started by jetset, Jun 23, 2006.

    Jun 23, 2006
  1. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    xxhttp://www.casinoaffiliateprograms.com/bb/showthread.php?p=74777#post74777

    This will really stir things up.

    Talk about taking a sledge hammer to an issue best resolved with a rapier!

    I think this sort of threatening approach is a huge mistake - I would rather have seen a consultative approach with leading affiliate representatives, public condemnation of the black hat tactics and a public presence explaining what they are doing to counter the behaviour they have been accused of.

    This is imo an arrogant, heavy handed approach instead of a professional and communicative course backed by real action to resolve the issues.
     
    2 people like this.
  2. Jun 23, 2006
  3. Casinomeister

    Casinomeister Forum Cheermeister Staff Member

    Occupation:
    Homemaker
    Location:
    Bierland
    Talk about the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing.

    I'm wondering if this rep is speaking on behalf of 888.com or Random Logic's?

    It may not be Random Logic that is doing the blog spamming - it's probably someone in Cassava's office. How else would this be explained?

    http://www.casinomeister.com/rogue/888.html

    Regardless - it's happening, and it looks as though they don't understand what is wrong with this picture.
     
    2 people like this.
  4. Jun 23, 2006
  5. dominique

    dominique Dormant account

    Occupation:
    webmistress
    Location:
    The Boonies
    888 proved to me that they have been trying to get in touch with me. Likely what happened is that my boxtrapper sent them a query back to confirm they were a live being, and their spam filter filtered out the boxtrapper notice as mass mail. Result: mail stuck in cyberspace.

    We have the (^$#(*^^ing spammers to thank for that, it is becoming more and more frequent that important communications get lost like this. :mad:

    Due to the nature of these older communications I am going to be talking with them, in spite of that threatening post above.

    The objective here is to clean up a mess in the industry, and that is my only goal. If that can be done, I will be happy. There has been some sign of 888 cleaning up some, now we need to see the rest of it.

    It would also be helpful if threats were kept at a minumum, they could result in a class action law suit and I don't really want to see any of this.

    What I would like to see is an industry that self polices and cleans up messes.

    Maybe I am just an old fool, but I strongly believe that we can do that, and that we are slowly making progress.

    Perhaps 888 will join in the effort. If so, I would welcome it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Jun 23, 2006
  7. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    If 888.com is smart they will eschew the legal threats and build on this letter by engaging with top affiliates to develop a joint approach to put a stop to black hat practices.

    Lev's letter claims that they are making moves, and that they are prepared to act on credible complaints made to them about their affiliates. That's a start.

    I'm sure 888 affiliates are not the only questionable marketers pulling these stunts, but 888 is the one under the spotlight and they need to respond to that as a matter of urgency by working with the affiliate community instead of in confrontation with it imo.

    And if the top affiliates are wise they will get their heads together and meet 888.com halfway in an effort to resolve this crippling feud.

    That's short term. Long term is that affiliates need to bind - a fragmented sector is a weak sector.
     
  8. Jun 24, 2006
  9. Professor

    Professor Dormant account

    Occupation:
    Webmaster - Community Moderator
    Location:
    DontArrestMe USA
    Actually and unfortunately they have seemingly chosen to go in the opposite direction. They are openly and actively courting the Blackhat SEO community rather then taking the high road. See this:

    xhttp://seoblackhat.com/2006/06/05/seo-poker-tournament/x

    For anyone not familiar with the term "Blackhat SEO" this is a rather broad label which encompasses any banned, illegal or unethical technique used to acheive top ranking positions at major search engines like Google. These would include content theft or scraping, blog and message board spamming and organized sabotage of competitors and legitimate providers via Google Bowling or distributed denial of service attacks (DDOS). Believe it or not there are communities where practicioners of these so called black arts congregate and 888 has decided to align themselves with these people!

    I have no idea how a publicly traded company could openly embrace illegal activties, but that's exactly what's happening. Excerpts from the site listed above read:

    We have been doing just that since 2000 at groups like CAP and GPWA, but it's still an up hill battle. In the case of 888 we are dealing with a company with vast resources and no compunction about using any means available to them. If people viewed this as an industry wide challenge rather then merely an affront to affiliate webmasters that would certainly help.

    I hope through education and positive dialogue on the issue we can convince other organizations like eCogra to assist us in directing the online gaming industry away from the wild west attitude of "might makes right" that is being taken by 888 casino.
     
    6 people like this.
  10. Jun 24, 2006
  11. dominique

    dominique Dormant account

    Occupation:
    webmistress
    Location:
    The Boonies
    I have just received word from 888 regarding this: xhttp://seoblackhat.com/2006/06/05/seo-poker-tournament/x

    It was the very first point I brought up in a mail exchange, and 888 says they will make sure to do no business with them from now on.

    That is a start.

    Unfortunately this sounds nice but is a rather useless offer. Since the sites in question are produced in multiples of 10,000, it is almost impossible to find them all.

    These type of sites expect to only get one click a piece, so literally hundreds of thousands of sites are produced to generate enough clicks to produce a worthwhile number of actual depositing players.

    888 needs to be proactive on this and locate the sites themselves. This should be fairly easy to ascertain, as statistics can provide the URL of origin of a visitor. If an affiliate has visitors coming from hundreds of sites, it will be easy enough to locate this, and check these sites out to see if they are blackhat spam or not.

    Deleting one site at a time after complaints is quite useless.

    888 is not the lone offender, there are at least two other places that routinely use such spamdexing. (the multiple sites described above).

    They are not slipping under our radar, and would be wise to take measures to switch marketing techniques to more acceptable and legal forms.

    Affiliates may not be united, but increasingly have been acting in tandem. Cooperation has been improving and I hope it will continue to improve.

    We do all have the same interests at heart.

    Let's also keep this in mind: Annoying the heck out of google is bad business!

    The professor says:

    That would certainly be nice.
     
  12. Jun 24, 2006
  13. Pinababy69

    Pinababy69 RIP Lisa

    Occupation:
    Crusader
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario - Canada
    You know Dom and Professor, sometimes big things can be accomplished in small steps. I think you guys are definitely on the right track, and as Jetset stated, you guys all really need to pull together if you're going to accomplish anything...and you need to stick together. It is the ONLY way to get anything done in this business. You have obviously turned up the heat enough for 888 to feel it. If only more people in this industry would become more pro-active about even one issue that affects them, or that they feel strongly about. There are lots who will comment from the sidelines, but not enough who will actually DO something. It can get really frustrating.

    Professor, thanks for that post. For the first time in a few weeks, I was able to sit and actually read through something that made sense re: 888, without it just being about eCOGRA. I really wish you guys the best of luck with this, and hope that you can achieve a satisfactory outcome for all involved. :)
     
    3 people like this.
  14. Jun 24, 2006
  15. Webzcas

    Webzcas Winter is Coming!

    Occupation:
    Webmaster
    Location:
    Block S25, South Stand, Ashton Gate, BS3
    I have been having dialogue with Andrew Beveridge from eCOGRA just this week, when he contacted me on Thursday.

    I have also had Yariv a media buyer from Random Logic contact me earlier in the week on Tuesday:

    Part of my response was this below, which I also cc'd to Andrew @ eCOGRA:

    As it was quite clear he had not even visited my site in question which he wanted to buy space on, otherwise he would have seen that 888 were currently and still are rogued.

    Now Lou ( Professor ) recieves that mail from a Mr Lev at Random Logic.

    One thing 888 have proved is communication is an area that they are not exactly hot on. Otherwise as Bryan pointed out:

    The key for this whole mess to be resolved is for 888 to open dialogue with all members of CAP. But I guess 888 figure they are too big for this to happen. Time will tell....

    One final comment for 888 to ponder on. FACT INTO DOUBT WON'T GO
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2006
    2 people like this.
  16. Jun 24, 2006
  17. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    I'm not in the affiliate sector at all, so you-all clearly have a way better knowledge of the politics of the animal and happenings within it than myself, but sometimes an outside perspective is worth hearing.

    Whilst I can absolutely understand the anger and frustration this situation is generating (and that comes over clearly in these posts for me), I truly think that the best way to go forward is not through recrimination but reconciliation. That's assuming there is a genuine will on both sides to resolve these serious differences.

    Factual contributions such as those listed here by the Professor, Dom, Casinomeister and Webzcas need to be addressed by 888.com in collaboration with the affiliate community if anything significantly positive is to be achieved.

    It needs to be an engagement of equals and kept as businesslike and calm as possible.

    It needs to be between the same hopefully senior people on both sides for consistency and agreed plans of action.

    Is there no way that senior affiliate representatives could suggest to 888.com's top management some sort of face to face discussion? Taken at face value, the statements from both camps would indicate to me that there is common ground to build on here.

    The alternative is an increasingly bitter war of attrition on the message boards, possibly escalating to direct business confrontations and who knows what else. That's not good for either party or the image of the industry i.m.o.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2006
    5 people like this.
  18. Jun 24, 2006
  19. Webzcas

    Webzcas Winter is Coming!

    Occupation:
    Webmaster
    Location:
    Block S25, South Stand, Ashton Gate, BS3
    This is certainly something I do not want and I am also sure everyone involved including 888 feel the same way.

    In the meantime I am going to be concentrating on my sites. This whole issue has been too much of a distraction and it is clear we all are going round in circles.
     
  20. Jun 24, 2006
  21. Professor

    Professor Dormant account

    Occupation:
    Webmaster - Community Moderator
    Location:
    DontArrestMe USA
    We have asked Nicolas of 888 to return to CAP as a guest and hash things out, as Jetset said it's in everyones best interest to come to a resolution whereby the content theft, spamming and DDOS attacks come to an end and honest Affiliates can once again partner with 888 casino and Pacific Poker.

    I hope 888 takes us up on that offer. I also have no problem meeting with them in a round table type setting to discuss this. While I dont want to wait months to do it, I can suggest we have a panel discussion at CAC in Las Vegas if that's the first time we can assemble everyone.
     
    1 person likes this.
  22. Jun 25, 2006
  23. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    Thanks for that, Professor: as one of the affiliates perceived by most to be a leader in the sector it is reassuring to see such a preparedness to engage with 888.com in a representative and businesslike manner.

    Speaking personally, I would avoid the message boards as a venue for a serious and reconciliatory formal discussion of the issues, because as we all know this can so quickly degenerate into a bunfight that at the end of the day serves noone.

    So, again in my personal opinion I would guess that your suggestion of a face-to-face at Vegas is probably the more viable option. In the meantime a representative group from the affiliate community could perhaps profitably spend the time getting 888.com to participate at a senior level and agree an agenda?

    I would like to reiterate two points, however:

    It needs to be an engagement of equals and kept as businesslike and calm as possible. By that I mean that neither side should enter this exercise with the attitude that it is *superior* or in authority over the other.

    Any ongoing debate needs to be between the same hopefully senior people on both sides for consistency and agreed plans of action. And based on facts.

    A totally independent professional facilitator from outside the industry may be worth considering too - this often helps broker an agreement in cases where feelings are running high on both sides.

    Good luck!
     
    2 people like this.
  24. Jun 25, 2006
  25. dominique

    dominique Dormant account

    Occupation:
    webmistress
    Location:
    The Boonies
    I'll be having a chat with them on Monday and see what we can set up in ways of a summit.
     
  26. Jun 25, 2006
  27. bb1webs

    bb1webs Webmaster

    Occupation:
    gambling portal webmaster
    Location:
    BondedCasinos.com
    Is there a Dr Phil is the house?

    :)

    It seems to me there has become way too much "not knowing what the other hand is doing" in this industry and I cannot guess as to whether this has become an intentional situation which so often times is an excuse to be let off with a "oh you saw that? we didn't. But we're real sorry and won't do it again ... but keep in mind we don't control our affiliates so we can only address each individual instance ...."

    or whether it truly is a communication gap that is not intentional.

    I think the near future will greatly clear up that confusion since things are coming to a head where programs are going to need to either step ALL THE WAY UP and actually make an honest effort to thwart black hat marketing or else the little sideways-efforts which carry nearly no impact at all ... are going to publicly-outed for their true colors.

    If/when a site is brought to a program's attention they need to find out who the offending affiliate is: give them one warning to clean up their act (because there will likely actually be instances where the affiliate didn't realize they were in the wrong and benefit of doubt must still prevail even though many of us are so fed up that its easy to call for a public hanging first and forget about anything less ... but we must rise above) : and then if that affiliate is caught dirty a second time the account should be cancelled with all earnings not paid.

    This is much bigger than just our industry and this needs to be understood by such big players on the net as 888.com. If black hat SEO continues to be rewarded then it sets a tone which will inevitably carry over into other niches because once one is successful and others see that: they will follow in said example.

    That will inevitably lead to an internet which consists of nothing but re-hashed information because scrapers don't add anything new to the mix. They at best merely echo someone else's content in small snippets.

    It is for that reason if a program is known or seen to be courting black hat webmasters then that too: should be seen as a lack of sincere effort on their part to stop theft and other such tasteless tactics and that program should be publicly outed for its willingness to support these unethical approaches.
     
  28. Jun 26, 2006
  29. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    QUOTE: It is for that reason if a program is known or seen to be courting black hat webmasters then that too: should be seen as a lack of sincere effort on their part to stop theft and other such tasteless tactics and that program should be publicly outed for its willingness to support these unethical approaches.UNQUOTE

    This all comes back to affiliates presenting a stronger, united and therefore more influential front i.m.o. because the programs probably need some encouragement before making an effective effort to thoroughly police their affiliates in a responsible and ethical manner as suggested above.

    Publicly "outing" suggests to me a level of cohesive effort from the affiliate community to be successful.

    The focus in the current SEO blackhat issue seems to me to have been almost exclusively on 888.com so far, and the letter from Lev suggests to me that they find this unfair.

    Presumably 888.com are not the only ones with whom affiliates have a beef, so this exclusive focus is possibly due to a number of factors:

    1) 888.com and/or its affiliates is the chief perpetrator of these tactics

    2) It's a big target as a major operator and a publicly listed company

    3) It's a member of eCOGRA, and that was thought to offer possible additional leverage potential.

    4) There is as yet insufficient evidence to link other companies/programs with unethical conduct.

    For all I know, the strategy may be to take on offending companies/programs one at a time, in managable bites but what other companies have been identified as involved in unacceptable practices on the SEO front?

    Whatever the answer, I still see the best potential for a solution here as engagement with senior reps from 888.com.
     
    1 person likes this.
  30. Jun 26, 2006
  31. Professor

    Professor Dormant account

    Occupation:
    Webmaster - Community Moderator
    Location:
    DontArrestMe USA
    Ok, I just got off the phone with Nicolas Lev and Brian Kohn from 888 casino and am happy to report the opening dialogue seems encouraging. 888 has indicated they are committed to working with CAP on a resolution to the valid concerns raised over the past several months by our affiliate members.

    Nicolas will be sending me a statement of action on the proposed changes we discussed and I will post that at CAP and here at Casinomeister upon receipt.

    The objective of these changes will be to eliminate the unethical marketing practices that have taken place in the past by removing the profit incentive for using them. These program changes coupled with public dialogue and private meetings I have scheduled with company representatives here in Orlando should lead to a postive resolution for 888, their affiliate partners and the industry as a whole.

    I will report more as there are new developments.
     
    4 people like this.
  32. Jun 26, 2006
  33. Casinomeister

    Casinomeister Forum Cheermeister Staff Member

    Occupation:
    Homemaker
    Location:
    Bierland
    Thanks Lou,

    Now, are they focusing primarily on the black hat SEO affiliate stuff, or will they be addressing the Blog spamming that's being done by Casava. I believe these spams are not being done by affiliates as I have pointed out here:
    http://www.casinomeister.com/rogue/888.html but by Casava itself. Will this be included in the discussion?
     
  34. Jun 26, 2006
  35. lots0

    lots0 Banned User - troll posts - flaming

    Occupation:
    I do nothing productive
    Location:
    Hell on Earth
    I would hope that the discussions would include all aspects of 888s blackhat marketing.
     
  36. Jun 26, 2006
  37. dominique

    dominique Dormant account

    Occupation:
    webmistress
    Location:
    The Boonies
    That's exactly what will happen. And talk is talk, we will be looking for action.
     
  38. Jun 26, 2006
  39. GrandMaster

    GrandMaster Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Mathematician by day, online gambler by night.
    Location:
    UK
    Did any other poker room organise a special blackhat seo tournament?
     

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