Media Lawsuit Coming Full Tilt’s Way?

by , May 26, 2007 | 5:35 pm

(Wonder if youwannapoker.com will even read this before they gank it.)

I had pretty much forgotten about the abundance of poker content thieves out there — was just gonna keep doing my thing and not let them bring me down. But then I read Gary Carson’s blog … and he reminded me that really, while maybe we can’t stop this practice outright, that doesn’t mean we should stand idly by as our “good friends” at Full Tilt continue to profit off the “work” of known internet thieves.

I’m being kinda serious: I think it might be time for a good-ole-fashioned lawsuit! Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson, Clonie Gowen, Ray Bitar, Michael Craig … so many others — just dropping a few names who might take note and have a concerned interest in this matter — are you listening?

(Ultimate Bet, we’re looking at you, too.)


You have clearly been made aware of the problems with sites like youwannapoker. (More here.) And while you may not have it in your power to do anything about an “anonymous” site itself, you do have plenty of authority over its affiliate-code business. Yet the only solution you have offered is to “warn them”? Why aren’t you doing more to separate yourselves from this ilk of internet bad guy? Because you are making money off them, we can only presume. I for one might want to put you through the American discovery process to find out.

Many of the offending blog pirates have been shut down, have pulled out, or have changed their business model. But not youwannapoker. The site’s “Poker Girl” continues to steal from Pokerati, PokerNews, and maybe others — to the point of claiming she actually is doing the writing. From there, Full Tilt gets new players, keeping 75 percent of their lifetime rakes. Perhaps the readers will tell me if I am being crazy/greedy or have my numbers wrong … but I know it’s not right for Full Tilt to profit off our creative efforts like that, right?

Yet what Full Tilt is essentially saying to the content thieves with their negligence to address the situation: “Keep doing what you’re doing — so long as it keeps the real-money players coming in! In fact, we love whatever it is you do to get us these players so much so that the more you send us … the more we will pay you! We love you Poker Girl! We may be conscientious objectors to the UIGEA, but if there were a way for us to get mass conversions via killing, we’d encourage homicide and offer a great CPK!”

OK, so maybe I’m getting a little overhyped — punitive damages after all — but Full Tilt, the longer you let this sorta thing fester, the more problems you’ll have. That’s in no way a threat — because for as many lawyers as I know, I can’t imagine too many getting excited about fighting an untested internet case across international borders (especially one where you have to explain the concept of rakeback to a jury) — it’s just an observational reality. Because we understand how you might want to honor your agreements with all your affiliates lest you look dishonorable; but even if you cut off the online-poker bad guys, you’ll continue to make rake on players who might not have found their way to Full Tilt poker were it not for shady practices that you’ve encouraged. At best for you, these gains are like OJ’s NFL pension.

Below is Pokerati’s correspondence a couple months ago with Full Tilt about the matter. My last email, fyi, garnered no reply.

From: Dan Michalski
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 9:05 AM
To: ‘The Affiliate Team at Full Tilt Poker’
Subject: RE: bad affiliate

Which content are you referring to? Just my content … or all ill-gotten RSS bastardizations? Taking down just mine might actually do me more harm than good, so please don’t do me any favors. I was hoping you would be willing to help set a standard by letting your affiliates know that you can not support websites that use unethical and possibly illegal means to send traffic your way.

Yes, you benefit because people do searches, say for “WSOP news” … and google provides them with the teaser text of a post written by me and others … but on youwannapoker. So when these people click … they land on a site that wasn’t really what they were looking for or thought they were clicking, which probably increases the likelihood that they will leave the site via an affiliate ad. Good for you, I guess, because Full Tilt is the primary and most prominent advertisement on the site. But this affiliate’s entire business model is based on stealing. I know Rafe, Ray, Chris, Howard, and many others at Full Tilt … and I didn’t think your operation would support doing business this way.

From: The Affiliate Team at Full Tilt Poker
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 8:35 AM
To: ‘Dan Michalski’
Subject: RE: bad affiliate

Hi,
We shall write to the affiliate of this website and warn them to remove the content from their site.

Best Regards

Kevin
The Affiliate Team at Full Tilt Poker

Full Tilt Poker
Chat with the Pros. Play with the Pros. Learn from the Pros.

From: Dan Michalski
Sent: 28 March 2007 10:22
To: ‘The Affiliate Team at Full Tilt Poker’
Subject: RE: bad affiliate

Yes. Visit the site and the evidence is right there. The entire site is based on stealing content. They provide linkbacks (barely) to the original post … so you can see that “poker girl” did not write the posts.

From: The Affiliate Team at Full Tilt Poker
Sent: Monday, March 26, 2007 12:17 PM
To: ‘Dan Michalski’
Subject: RE: bad affiliate

Hi,
Please can you provide some evidence of this so that we can contact the owner of youwannapoker with particular examples.

Best Regards
Kevin
The Affiliate Team at Full Tilt Poker

Full Tilt Poker
Chat with the Pros. Play with the Pros. Learn from the Pros.

From: Dan Michalski
Sent: 26 March 2007 05:50
To: Support AT FTP
Cc: Affiliates AT FTP
Subject: bad affiliate

Hi there, my name is Dan and I run Pokerati.com. There is a site – [youwannapoker.com] – that is improperly stealing content from my site and others (such as PokerNews.com) for SEO purposes … which they then use to make money via Full Tilt. Can you help me put a stop to this?

Best,
Dan Michalski


4 Comments to “Media Lawsuit Coming Full Tilt’s Way?”


  1. Pauly
    says:

    They were stealing from me for a while and they still rip off LasVegasVegas. I wrote Full Tilt months ago and they blew me off.


  2. uncle ray
    says:

    I think Full Tilt figures it can ignore (or just pay lip service) to ANY little guy. However, my guess is there is a better chance they’ll listen to MANY little guys.

    Dan (1), Pauly (2), how many more bloggers who have been ripped off can you get together to send a nice multiblog reminder (or warning, or threat, or whatever)?


  3. DanM
    says:

    That’s what we are doing here, Uncle Ray. If they are not already aware of the concerns, they will be. If no one forwards this post or Gary Carson’s or others to them, I will have the opportunity in Las Vegas to see the owner(s) and say, hey, I’ve got a beef with you …

    But it’s not really about Pokerati,PokerNews, PokerProf or any of our other blog friends. Truth is we like the folks at Full Tilt. For the most part they do good things — for poker and their own people. But these individuals are also the ones most vehemently defending the game, and they shouldn’t want to give poker detractors the ability to paint them as profiteers off the work of internet hoodlums. It is short-sighted at best.

    And though I suppose they could just pay me a chunk of cash to make this post and any thought behind it go away … the real way to make it right would be to cut off youwannapoker’s account and take all the rake money generated off of it and throw a freeroll for the offended parties — and maybe make a donation to a wholesome internet PAC to boot.

    Full Tilt is full of (extremely) smart people. If they don’t see how the above suggestion could turn a bad thing into a really good thing, I am sure they will come up with some other way to make things right without being forced into it by forces far more powerful (and threatening to their bottom line) than a cabal of irritable bloggers. Right?


  4. Lance Bradley
    says:

    Dan,

    I think there are some creative ways that we (as bloggers) can get together and work to pressure Full Tilt, Ultimate Bet or others. The WSOP is five days away. Let’s you and I and anybody else interested in this sit down and find a way to end the nonsense and turn FTP into allies in our fight.

    Lance
    ThePokerBiz.com