We’ve Been Offered Money to Promote Online Gambling
When I started this site it was an extension of a hobby. I like writing about movies, games and whatnot and I would express my thoughts on such matters on forums and other sites. Upon the recommendation that I should set up my own site I did just that and invited a few other fans to join me. It’s been great, and I hope it continues to be a creative outlet in the future.
I never expected it to create ethical dilemmas.
When the opportunity to include banner advertisements on the site came along it was a no-brainer. House of Geekery requires money to stay live and the small income from the ads goes towards that. It doesn’t quite cover expenses but it helps. We also get a large amount of spam comments trying to sneak some free ads around the place, but the filter catches most of that. And then there’s the emails from PR companies wanting to publish ads in the form of articles, but they go away if you ignore them hard enough. Call me old fashioned but I like my ads to look like ads.
The most recent communication persisted. They offered a sum equal to about 4 months of our usual advertising income in exchange for publishing an article that links to their client’s website, which they described as an online gaming community. Since they had followed up their first totally ignored email with another enquiry I asked them to at least identify the client in question, and they named the online gambling website they wanted promoting (or not directly promoted, as they claimed).
This isn’t just a little site either. It’s a big one. Huge. I’m not naming names, because if I was doing that I might as well get paid for it, but their weekly income is equatable to 1,500,000 months of our advertising income.
What the hell do they want with us? Our readership (hi there, folks!) would only be a tiny, tiny fraction of their paying customers. I can only assume they’re looking for a blanket coverage marketing strategy, hitting as many sites as possible regardless of relevance or individual outreach. If that’s the case, then what’s the harm in grabbing a slice?
The harm is online gambling. The proffered sum for this article (which they offered to write for us, specially catered to our target demographics!) is less than a particle in their ocean, and a rejection from me is not going make anyone working there cry. With this in mind I am very adverse to linking our readers to an online gambling site within an article mimicking our usual, unbiased output. That’s dishonest in it’s own right.
Personally I don’t support gambling. I enjoy gambling on card games at a casino but I don’t do it because I recognise my own weakness for such addictive activities. I won’t prevent anyone else from pursuing this legal form of entertainment – that’s simply not my place. You’re free to find your own way to such sites. That said there’s no escaping the many problems associated with gambling – online gambling in particular. Studies in the UK have recently revealed that more than 75% of online gamblers are pathological in their approach, compared to 20% of participants in physical casinos displaying the same issues. The problems arise due to gamblers being unable to clearly see the real money being exchanged.
There are endless criticisms of the online gambling systems. Heavy handed tactics are used to encourage more gambling and many sites feature ‘free’ practise games that have heavily skewed odds to create the impression that it’s easy to win. The site that approached us is widely known for taking a percentage of every win generated on their site, so even when you turn a profit for yourself the gambling site will still take something out of your pocket. The site was met with much controversy when they implemented a new policy of taking a ‘premium charge’ from their higher earning customers, sometimes up to 60% of commission, flying in the face of their claim to remain completely impartial.
This site in particular has been met with several criticisms concerning suspicious betting patterns. When accused of corruption by leading bookies the website countered with the claim that sure, corruption is possible but their accusers are just jealous. They also point out that they’re kept honest because they share their customer’s details with about 30 other businesses. Wait, what?
Still, amid all the void bets on major events and other accusations of corruption, what can’t you trust about an online casino that recently moved it’s accounts off-shore to Gibraltar and out from under the control of the gambling commission?
Thanks for the offer, but no. The ideology of House of Geekery is based on giving everyday geeks the chance to write about their passions, so we’re going to write about the whatever it is we want to write about today without any hidden agenda dictated by a major business. We’re never going to get rich off it but we can feel good doing it, and with new subscribers joining every day we know that someone out there is still reading. Thanks for joining us and we hope to provide more unbiased reviews, interviews and rants in the coming years.
And now back to being poor. I regret nothing.