Stealth Web Advertising Tactics Of Illegal Sites

Stealth Web Advertising Tactics Of Illegal Sites

Advertising a​ website is​ never easy. But imagine how much harder it​ would be if​ advertising your website were illegal.

Gambling websites face just that challenge in​ reaching US and​ Canadian audiences. in​ both countries, the​ government has put media outlets on notice that accepting advertising from gambling websites is​ illegal. (Note: in​ the​ US, at​ least, the​ industry disputes this, and​ charges have never been filed by the​ US or​ Canadian federal governments.)

The sites have come up with some pretty creative ways around the​ law. Are their tactics worthy of​ imitation? or​ do they threaten to​ drag down the​ image of​ ecommerce faster than a​ wave of​ no-prescription online pharmacies dispensing questionable images of​ minors via browser-hijacking adware?

Have a​ look at​ some of​ these stealth web advertising tactics:

Domain Name Games

A while ago I saw a​ TV commercial for​ a​ poker-related website. the​ commercial carried the​ prominent warning "not a​ gambling website." Curious how such a​ site could make money, I typed in​ the​ domain name. What did I see? Gambling!

I later realized I had typed in​ the​ dot-com version of​ the​ domain name rather than the​ dot-net. the​ dot-net version, the​ one advertised, has only play gambling with no money. the​ dot-com version is​ the​ real moneymaker.

Web experts have long said that any serious business website needs a​ dot-com domain name. Many consumers won't remember any other extension such as​ dot-biz or​ dot-net, and​ will instead simply type in​ the​ much better known dot-com. You can call them stupid, but they'll spend their money on the​ other site.

It seems the​ marketers of​ that poker website were definitely not stupid. But is​ this ethical? Worse, could this open up a​ can of​ worms for​ other websites that have a​ dot-com and​ dot-net version, if​ policymakers try to​ close this loophole?


One casino website has taken to​ buying items on eBay that have generated a​ lot of​ media coverage already. the​ items have included a​ grilled cheese sandwich with the​ supposed image of​ the​ Madonna on one side. the​ site has managed to​ ride the​ wave of​ publicity of​ items such items by buying them. They thereby get their company name (which contains their domain name) in​ any story about the​ bizarre auction item (well, except this story).


Gambling websites have tried hard to​ get their domain names plastered over as​ much sports-related real estate as​ possible. it​ hasn't been easy. Professional sports world has long been wary of​ anything relating to​ gambling. Billboards in​ major stadiums and​ arenas are out of​ the​ question. So, some sites have started sponsoring rodeos and​ other smaller events. One site even bought advertising space on a​ female model's midriff.

Are any of​ these tactics working? There are some gambling websites that say it's all more hype than substance. They stick to​ buying ads on other websites.

The battered image of​ the​ internet, meanwhile, seems to​ have suffered relatively little from all this. After all, even the​ strongest gambling opponent has to​ admit there are more dangerous things online than poker.

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