Advertisers Work Around Search Engine Bans

Published June 22, 2004 by OCR Editor

Advertisers Work Around Search Engine Bans

The web's biggest search engines have recently tried to impose a full ban on online gambling. The suspected reasons for the ban are due to private and government pressure being put on the search engines but they have yet to divulge their reasons.

Two of the web's biggest search engines have recently tried to impose a full ban on online gambling. The suspected reasons for the ban are due to private and government pressure being put on the search engines but they have yet to divulge their reasons. Although they say the ban is in effect, it seems to be proving difficult to enforce.

Just a couple of months ago Google and Yahoo! two of the biggest search engines on the net -announced their decision to do away with online gambling ads altogether. The Speculation suggests that legal pressure is coming from the U.S. Department of Justice and possibly other media. Both companies have so far refused to explain the reasons for the restrictions.

Despite threats from both search engine giants that all ads would be removed from their listings by the end of April, a search for the keywords "online gambling" as recently as mid-June of this year on both search engines still seems to bring up online casinos in the results. Gambling portals that direct web surfers to online casino also come out high in the ranking on both search engines. So far the ban doesn't seem that effective.

Some of the reasons why the ads still appear are probably related to how the search engines filter the content that appears on their sites. Google automatically posts ads that pass its automated filters. Eventually the ads will be viewed by human eyes but a fair amount of time may elapse between the auto-filter inspection and the human inspection by which time the online casino may have already had a decent amount of online exposure.

"It appears that Google doesn't like to do anything manually; they want to have it be automated," states Brad Fallon, CEO of interactive marketing consultancy Smart Marketing Inc. He says "people are just reposting their ads ... They're making hay while the sun shines."

According to Peter Horan, CEO of About.com "Google does their best to implement the [Internet gambling policy, but people have become clever at beating the filters," Horan remarks that About.com can ban specific URLs from sponsored links that appear on the site, but acknowledges that advertisers can avoid being banned by using a different Web domain. About.com has no outright ban on online gambling advertisements.

Marc Lesnick, organizer for the Casino Affiliate Convention, argues that many people from the industry that attended the annual conference claimed that the advertising restrictions would penalize affiliate sites that drive traffic to the sites more than the sites themselves. And, while he's heard of advertisers simply reposting ads in order to dodge Google's censors, he says that many are turning to search engine optimization to boost their rankings in Google's search results.

See also

Search Engines Still Stand Civil Trials

Quickspin Rolling Out Achievements Engine on Slots This Month

Germany Gambling Ban to be Torn Down?

Pennsylvania Politicians Split on Issue of Federal Online Gambling Ban

Greece Says Goodbye to Slot Machines!


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