CasinoAffiliatePrograms.com is reporting that 888.com has changed their affiliate terms of service to openly condemn "unethical marketing practices" and offer a means for outsiders to report misconduct by 888.com's affiliates.
As many will recall, 888.com and its affiliate sites were recently blacklisted from many online gambling groups for tolerating scraping, spamming and other illegal/unethical marketing activities.
The announcement has been treated with guarded optimism in the online gambling community. Most seem to be hopeful that 888.com is serious about this crackdown but are very skeptical of the company's motives.
Personally, I have two major problems with the announcement:
- As my previous article on the subject showed, 888.com has had anti-scraping and anti-spamming clauses in its affiliate terms of service for some time. The question has always been whether or not these issues were actually acted upon. The International Gaming Affiliate Marketing Initiate (IGAMI) certainly doesn't think so.
- Also, earlier this month, 888.com sponsored an online poker tournament for a site known as SEO Black Hat, which openly advocates scraping, splogging and other "unethical marketing activities" and the site went on to give a glowing review of the 888.com affiliate program, encouraging other black hat SEOs to sign up for the service.
In short, as of just three weeks ago, they were ignoring their own terms of service and openly endorsing scraping and spamming, even letting an admitted spammer join their ranks.
It is very hard to believe that they changed their tune this quickly and this drastically without some drastic reason. However, no reason has been given to date.
In the end, I will remain optimistic and watchful of this. I will try to give them a fair chance to prove themselves and will be following this closely. Gaining the cooperation of affiliate programs is critical in the fight against splogging and scraping as the only effective way to stop "unethical marketing activities" is to cut off the reward for engaging in them.
I am hopeful that this push to stop spamming and scraping is serious, but am very, very wary of it.
[tags]Plagiarism, Content Theft, Scraping, Splogging, 888.com, Gambling[/tags]