|Several months after leading search engines Google and Yahoo announced their blanket ban on advertising of online gambling sites, it appears that the ban is still proving difficult to enforce. The initial intention was to remove any ads relating to the online gambling industry from their search engines by the end of April this year, it seems that many are still getting through.|
Neither of the search engines has yet released their reasons for adopting this ban, although commentators believe it is likely to be a response to pressure from the US government, or potentially other media sources. The intent however was clear, whatever the motivation that no ads would appear on their sites after the self-imposed deadline. Despite this intent, searches for online gambling still seem to produce sites that online bettors could visit, and searches just for gambling often result in portals, which then offer directions and recommendations for visitors to online gambling sites.
Brad Fallon, the CEO of Smart Marketing Inc, and interactive marketing consultancy believes this inability of Google and Yahoo to completely abolish links to gambling sites is largely due to the way the engines filter content of the listings that appear on their sites. Google particularly uses an automated system which may be responsible for some sites making their way through the ban: 'It appears that Google doesn't like to do anything manually; they want to have it be automated…people are just reposting their ads ... They're making hay while the sun shines.'
Another commentator Peter Horan, chief exec of About.com adds to this idea by remarking that, 'Google does their best to implement the [Internet gambling] policy, but people have become clever at beating the filters.' Meanwhile Mark Lesnick, the organiser of the Casino Affiliate Convention, agrees that he does know of online casinos who will simply repost their ads and change their Web domain in order to stay ahead of the filters, many are also just attempting to optimise the use of search engines, boosting their rank amongst searches, often through affiliates who direct traffic to their sites. Indeed at the annual convention he organises, there was concern expressed that the main victims of the search engine advertising ban would actually be these affiliates rather than the online casinos themselves.