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Is this Google "advertising" Fraud?

Discussion in 'Webmaster Detectives' started by Petunia, Mar 31, 2005.

    Mar 31, 2005
  1. Petunia

    Petunia Dormant account

    * Or just an annoyance?

    I have recently gone on a mission to check the rankings and working on SEO stuff for casinos.

    As a matter of interest, I checked on some of my favourite casinos to see where and how they ranked. As any good investigator would, I also checked other message boards and relevant companies!

    Most of the time I would enter their domain name first, to confirm the spelling, and then proceed to see how many variations there are etc.

    Then I noticed something odd. When you type in a casino name in google, to the right you find the adwords sponsored links. In there was the casino link (as a header to an add) and of course, by clicking on it, you will find that you end up on a page selling some system or the other!! (Baccarat, slots, each having their own site!)

    I contacted my casino, and asked them if they had any association with this other website, and the reply was pretty much NOT AT ALL - if they did, Id be thinking them idiots anyway, but one never knows!!

    Anyway, this intrigued me to the point where I made a game of this and started entering in casino names at random, and known message boards in the industry low and behold, them too are advertised in this way!

    This persons add then looks as follows:
    You must register/login in order to see the link. (header)
    Poker, Blackjack, Slots, & More!
    Tips & Strategies To Win Big Cash
    You must register/login in order to see the link. (actual url!)
    Both linking to the actual url of course!!

    Well, I want to know if the owners of these domains are aware of this happening?! This person very cleverly disguised some of this by NOT using the url but only the name (as in the case with Meister!)

    Casinomeister (Header linking to website)
    Choose From a Wide Variety of Your
    Favorite Games Now. Free & Easy!
    You must register/login in order to see the link. (actual url)

    I picked up on all these names, and ran a Who Is on them, and again, low and behold!! Most of these sites are registered to the same person or group!!

    I want to know this from you guys today, as I am NOT very clued up on these things.
    Is this fraud of some kind?
    Does this not contravene some marketing law that google has?

    I contacted google and asked them to get back to me, but they stated that this was an adwords issue, and therefore I have to wait for a reply from them since they are only a virtual office and you can only contact them via e-mail. It has been TWO DAYS now since I made this discovery, and no news yet.

    Am I the only one who cant seem to accept this as just clever marketing scemes? You guys can even put in MICROGAMING and whallah!! Same results. Dont believe me? Try it who knows you might be promoting these systems yourself and in avertedly put your name to it.

    Anyways, I have informed at least the casinos that I know who said theyd look into the matter. What do you guys think? Any reason for concern here at all?? **
     
  2. Mar 31, 2005
  3. Casinomeister

    Casinomeister Forum Cheermeister Staff Member

    Occupation:
    Homemaker
    Location:
    Bierland
    Some really good points. I'm really adamant about this - and quite vigilant as well. I'll do google searches weekly (I only care about the first page of results BTW) on "Casinomeister" You wouldn't believe the lowlifes that try to steal traffic (yeah, it's mine) with websites or webpages that target "casinomeister" as a key word. You click the link and voila - it's a Casino888 or Empirepoker affiliate link. I've had a number of affiliates either reprimanded or booted from their programs for this. Pisses me off to no end.

    All serious webmasters should be proactive about this. If you have a site or name to protect - protect it. This industry is full of sleaze.

    I regularly do google searches on my content as well, but now I'm going into a tangent. :D
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2005
  4. Apr 1, 2005
  5. Petunia

    Petunia Dormant account

    **Hi Petunia

    Thanks for contacting me about this.

    As stated in our Terms and Conditions, the advertisers themselves are responsible for the keywords and ad content that they choose to use. Accordingly, we encourage trademark owners to resolve their disputes directly with the advertisers, particularly because the advertisers may have similar advertisements on other sites.

    As a courtesy to trademark owners, however, we are willing to perform a limited investigation of reasonable complaints. Our procedure differs depending on the country in which trademark rights exist.

    To answer your questions, please follow this link to our trademark procedure for further info: You must register/login in order to see the link.

    Please let me know if you need anything further.

    Thanks

    Richard

    **

    Bryan, my question is... where and how does one start to stop these pple (and i use the term loosely) ... I was told that it is virtually impossible, and that is why pple just leave it alone? Are there any operators who would care to make a statement on this? Since it is up to each individual, I guess a 'mass clean up' is in order. Personally, I can only go out on the 'brawl' for my own sites, but will certainly make an effort... any advice would be appreciated. THANKS!! **
     
  6. Apr 1, 2005
  7. Webzcas

    Webzcas Winter is Coming! Staff Member

    Occupation:
    Webmaster
    Location:
    Block S25, South Stand, Ashton Gate, BS3
    It appears that Google's Adsense program is not as stringent as their overture counterparts. For instance overture does not allow you to bid for company names and your chosen keywords are checked by an editor to approve. I believe google's system is automated.

    As for natural ranking in search engines. If solely done to make an affiliate link tag rank higher ( and not an article ) or on the same page in google which then redirects you once clicked on, to a casino. I agree completely.

    The other issue at the moment which is of some concern is google's inability to cope with 302 redirects. This allows some webmasters to page hijack the rankings of a targetted site. Indeed I notified a casino who I had found that they were being subjected to a page hijacking of their site - They had lost their page rank and all recognised back links reported by google as a result, but their positions were not affected.

    It turned out to be one of their affiliates who had done this. :eek:

    Needless to say the affiliate concerned removed it pronto upon the casino getting in touch.
     
  8. Apr 1, 2005
  9. Petunia

    Petunia Dormant account

    ** well, my investigation not only got me to pay attention when i search, but also clued me up on a few issues.
    With help from a very clued up IT boy and well-versed coleague, I found out a lot about the responsible party to this.

    "Domains by Proxy can be found here : domainsbyproxy.com"
    and their terms & conditions states :
    you will be shut off if :" If the domain name DBP registers on Your behalf
    violates or infringes a third party's trademark, trade name
    or other legal rights;" And of course, in this case, it does, and I fully intend on taking them up on it.....

    If there is ONE thing that this industry tought me, it was to weed through the rubbish, read the T & C's and proceed with caution! This is my game-plan for now, and I am sticking to it. I was told by google adwords today that they "encourage" me to take this up with the site in question as in their t & c they state clearly that the advertiser is responsible for their own action. Well then... I think a few more pple should actually let google know that this is not really acceptable... farting against the wind maybe... but it could still leave them with a 'stink' of note! **
     

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