Casino link risks?
September 17, 2010 6:15 AM   Subscribe

What are the risks of accepting an offer to put a single link to a casino site on your website?

I own a website in the gaming space. Someone has contacted me offering to buy an advertising link on my site; his site is a casino site. After several back-and-forths, he is offering $1000 for the link. I have no other advertising links like that on my site.

Couple of questions: First, I understand that Google frowns upon paid links. Should I pass for this reason alone? (I plan to decline the offer.)

Second, is this guy a scammer? Is there anything illegal about this? It's just surprising to me that someone would legitimately want to pay a grand for a single link on another website, unless they're making exorbitant profits on their site.
posted by singularian to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Response by poster: [Just to clarify, I'm not so much asking if I should accept, since I don't plan to, but rather wondering how and why they can offer such a high price for a single link.]
posted by singularian at 6:23 AM on September 17, 2010

By "gaming" do you mean "casino gaming" or "video gaming"?
posted by griphus at 6:24 AM on September 17, 2010

If you're located in the US or are a US citizen the US government may argue that it is illegal to have a link to an online casino on your site.
posted by dfriedman at 6:25 AM on September 17, 2010

Best answer: On the one hand, if your website is really popular, has no other ads on it, and has a demographic attractive to a casino site, I can see a single ad link to casino being worth a lot of money. Say you get 10,000 visitors a month - the casino only needs 100 of them to join and deposit $10 to make their money back. Maybe even 100 out of your 120,000 visitors a year, since it seems like $1000 is a one-off amount, not a monthly amount.

On the other hand, maybe this is a scam where this guy a) is not employed by the casino but gets referral money if people sign up via his link, and b) will pay you in a way that ends up not working out (fraudulent money transfer, bounced cheque, PayPal payment that is disputed, he just never gets round to it, etc), and so he makes money out of the link but never pays you anything. Or as an alternative, he does the whole "instead of paying you $X, he "accidentally" pays you $10X and asks you to send back the $9X overpayment, but then the original $10X cheque bounces" scam.

If you wanted to try it out in case it is legit, ask for the payment and wait for it to clear 100% before adding the link. And run like hell if he "accidentally" pays you too much.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:32 AM on September 17, 2010

If you give the link the rel="nofollow" attribute, then Google will ignore it for web crawling / rating purposes.

I guess the question revolves around how you think a link to a casino will change your user's perceptions of the rest of your website, and how much that matters to you. (Assuming it's not some kind of scam as EndsOfInvention suggests of course.)
posted by pharm at 6:39 AM on September 17, 2010

Best answer: NB. If the buyer insists on the link not having rel="nofollow", then they aren't actually interested in your userbase directly, but in taking advantage of the rating Google gives your site. Supposedly Google doesn't depend on pagerank so much anymore, but I'm guessing that it still makes a positive difference.
posted by pharm at 6:41 AM on September 17, 2010

I have had two offers recently, each for a few hundred dollars for *basic text link* for one year.

I have refused.
posted by Sylmobile at 6:42 AM on September 17, 2010

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