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Web Gambling Advertisers Sidestep Google Censors
Despite Google’s ban on accepting online gambling
ads, Web wagering outfits are evading the search king’s sentries. In
recent days, searches on Google for terms including "online
gambling"–and, just in time for last weekend’s Kentucky Derby, "horse
racing"–resulted in Google AdWords ads for online gambling sites.
Google last month said it would ban online gambling ads. Unauthorized
sponsored links to gambling sites are also showing up on About.com
through its partnership with Google.
Google and Yahoo! on April 2 announced decisions to eliminate online
gambling ads. Industry insiders point to legal threats from the U.S.
Department of Justice to other media companies as the impetus for the
search firms’ new restrictions. Both companies declined to comment on
whether they have received specific legal notices regarding the issue.
A Google search on May 2 for keyword terms "sports betting," "sportsbook,"
"Kentucky Derby bet," and "horse racing" yielded AdWords text ads for
Internet betting sites such as KingPin Sportsbook, BetUS.com,
SportsBetting.com, TVGNetwork.com, and RaceBook.com. Another Google
search that day for "online gambling" prompted ads for Sands of the
Caribbean Online Casino and No Deposit Casino.net. Searches for the same
five terms on Yahoo! resulted in no sponsored listings or ads for online
gambling operations. Both Google and Yahoo! claimed that Internet
gambling ads would be removed from their search results by the end of
The MediaDailyNews questioned Google about the ads on May 3,
and since then, some have been removed from the system. However, while a
subsequent search for "online gambling" on May 5 indicated a removal of
the ads viewed two days prior, it prompted new ads for GoldenPalace.com
and Aspinalls Online Casino. Google automatically posts ads that pass
its automated filters, and eventually subjects those ads to human
inspection. Changes to the search firm’s system affect result listings
on its site, as well as links and ads it serves to partner sites. Google
declined to speak on the record for this story.
"It appears that Google doesn’t like to do anything manually; they
want to have it be automated," suggests Brad Fallon, CEO of interactive
marketing consultancy Smart Marketing Inc. He believes that "people are
just reposting their ads … They’re making hay while the sun shines."
Fallon adds that as a result of Google’s Web wagering decision, some
advertisers that sell things that appeal to a wide audience–such as Web
hosting services–are taking advantage of depreciated bid prices by
purchasing Web gambling-related keywords to advertise their unrelated
Google provides sponsored links and/or text ads to partner Web sites
including iVillage, Ask Jeeves, and About.com. As viewed by the
MediaDailyNews between April 28 and May 2, About.com content areas
including Casino Gambling, Sports Gambling, Florida for Visitors, and
Horse Racing featured sponsored links provided by Google for Bodog
Sportsbook, Cobra Gold Casino, PartyPoker.com, KrunchTimePicks.com,
GoldenPalace.com, and MyHorseRacing.com.
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2004 Online Casino News Archive