Online casino 888.com has again been linked with the problem of messageboard spam, with one industry body blacklisting the company for what it calls "unethical marketing techniques".
The problem appears to be not with the direct actions of 888.com itself, but with its affiliates, who profit from revenue sharing agreements when they drive traffic to the casino site. In order to do so, many affiliates appear to have taken to using Web crawling technologies — known as spiders or bots — to locate messageboards or chat forums and spam them with links to 888.com and other online casinos.
As a result, industry body the International Gaming Affiliate Marketing Initiative (iGAMI) has blacklisted 888.com and its affiliate schemes, claiming it has breached its code of practice.
Although iGAMI is a small, self-appointed body with no direct authority over the gaming industry, the action of the group which is looking to clean up the tarnished reputation of affiliate marketing underlines the need for casinos to crack down on the way their brands are being promoted.
Brian Nank, chief executive of iGAMI, told ZDNet UK sister site silicon.com 888.com was first blacklisted in January 2006 for 10 days. He added the body has now reinstated the sanction for a period of no less than one year.
A statement from iGAMI said: "We discovered numerous instances of blog and forum spamming where domains owned and operated by Cassava Enterprises [888.com's parent] were being impermissibly promoted on unsuspecting Web sites."
888.com declined to comment.