Coming from a gambling background, specifically affiliates, the news that broke on the 15th April was massive news that rocked the gaming fraternity worldwide. Four of the world’s leading poker sites pokerstars.com, fulltiltpoker.com, absolutepoker.com and ub.com were shut down and sites seized by the FBI due to an investigation into fraudulent activity.
The reason behind the shutdown was due to these sites contravening the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) implemented in the US in 2006. Basically these sites were not allowed to accept player’s money that had been gambled into the US hence most were based offshore. However it seems that to some extents money was being laundered into the US through the sale of merchandise and in at least one case both the banks and sites conspired to launder money into the country.
11 people including Managing Directors and even Bank Managers were charged with a number of offenses defendants now variously face charges of “Conspiracy to Violate Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act,” “Violation of Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act,” “Operation of Illegal Gambling Business,” “Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud and Wire Fraud,” and “Money Laundering Conspiracy.” Lengthy jail time obviously awaits those found guilty
Anyway get to the relevancy to the SERPs Andy, well Patrick Altoft was quick to point out the significance that this may hold on main industry keywords such as ‘online poker’ where three of the four sites affected sat 123 in Google. Google was simply not going to let this one go, once a site is down for a significant amount of time, it’s going to get booted from the SERPs and that seems to be what has happened to some extent already. Fultilt and Pokerstars have disappeared leaving just ub.com in No.2 with a bad link.
This is the current status of the four sites in question:
- ub.com – site down
- absolutepoker.com – site down
- pokerstars.com – redirected to pokerstars.eu
- fulltilt.com – interestingly this site is live and just quickly searching, here is the reason why
Looking into the backlink history over the last month in Majestic SEO proves pretty inconclusive. But the publicity brought by the charges have resulted in a massive traffic peak. The below screendump shows the surge in traffic experienced by pokerstars.com up 265% in the last 7 days.
One would think once back live, or should that be if back live, these massive sites will be back to the top soon enough. Could the recent traffic even benefit them? A lot could depend on how their affiliate activity continues, losing their affiliate link permanently could be their downfall.