Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rights, Expectations, Responsibilities And.... Poker

It appears to me that a shift in society over the last 20-odd years has seen an increase in the general awareness of something we call our 'rights'. These take many forms ranging from human rights to freedom of speech rights through privacy and - notably - the new 'right to own things'... graduated recently? Then you have some magical 'right' to a well paid job and house,... Work hard this week? then you have a right to a better car, bigger TV and holiday (just add it to the credit card....).

Anyway, veered off right at the start... my other perception is that society as a whole has become more likely to point a finger of blame to the mysterious 'them'.... 'they should have stopped it', 'it is all their fault' etc - you can see it with the current economic turmoil - everyone wants to blame bankers / governments / hedge funds / property speculators and whoever else.... on a micro level falling over because you were on the phone and not looking where you were walking is now the fault of the local authority for not maintaining the pavement, rather than your own carelessness.

I'm not arguing that institutions and governments did not have a role to play here, just observing that society as a whole appears more likely to point the finger of blame than to accept individual or collective responsibility... that at a macro and micro level the sense of responsibility is lower than ever - at the same time as peoples sense of 'rights' and ' entitlement' is higher than before.

Now, this blog post was triggered by reading about yet another case of CPA fraud over at the poker affiliate programs forums.

It started as they do, with an affiliate complaining that poker site XYZ had not paid them money owed - that this poker site was a sham and fraud etc. Anyway, the director of affiliates (nice made up title by the way!!) at this top 5 site investigated, found that most of the players had deposited but never played, most were from India (where this chap was located) and almost half of them registered from the same computer (!)... basically this guy was a cheat, a parasite on the poker affiliate business - in my own opinion rather naive in thinking he could get away with it in the first place.

So, he has a collection of sites linked in his signiature - pretty standard bonus info that seems to fill the web every hour of every day. Here is the rub - many other affiliate programs are involved, some big names and some smaller outfits.

If this guy is scamming one site for the CPAs (1-off payments for each player) then it is pretty clear to me that the chances all the players sent to the other sites being 100% legitimate are very low indeed.

Now we can tie things together. I considered contacting the affiliate programs involved, pointing out that a case of fraud had been uncovered and implicitly suggesting that they might want to look a little closer at the accounts of this affiliate... after all, the alternative is to sit and think 'well, its not my duty to do such a thing, they should have checks and controls in place which catch this kind of cheat' (actually they do, and will catch him eventually).

While the programs catch up he will probably take $1000's out of the poker economy. You might say that this is fine, since it comes from the 'fat cat' poker sites pockets - but that just does not rub with me... the collective fraudsters (and there are many forms) are a leak of money that could benefit all participants from players through to genuine affiliates.

Long post... will get there shortly.

So, my 'right' is to be protected from such scum as the guy outlined above, but what is my responsibility? Can I, a small affiliate, really be expected to contact a bunch of affiliate programs to let them know? Is it my job to do this?

Been thinking about this question overnight, and however I bend the logic and run the argument the answer has to be 'yes it is'. Its like failing to vote and then complaining about your government. If I want to operate in an honest field as possible then I have to take my responsibilities along with my 'rights'... and spend 30 minutes putting together a few mails.

Finally - only a small percentage of my readers will be in the poker business, what I wanted to finish with is that this relates to players too... if you see something that looks like cheating, hear of multi-accounters or are invited to collude then it is your responsibility to let the poker sites know... assuming you wish to exercise your rights to fair play.

One more, of course this applies to life outside of poker in a million ways. Hopefully this post will get a couple of people thinking about this subject - whether you agree with me or not, my self-imposed role is to get you thinking - so it is job done!

GL at the tables, Mark

Quicky Update - 9 mails sent - one place with no easy contact details out of 10. Only took 40 minutes of so... now I can leave things to 'them' for a month of two!


Poker kid said...

I think what you've perceived is commonly known as "The Man."

Poker Affiliate Partners said...

I think it is good that you have contacted the sites to let them know of the possible fraud. Poker affiliates need to keep an eye out and report suspicious activity.

TiocfaidhArLa said...

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing… nice post.

PS What is CPA?

Mark said...

ok, thanks for the support chaps.

CPA stands for 'Cost Per Aquisition' this is the one off payment the poker rooms send for giving them a qualifying player... I personally use a mix of revenue share, CPA and rakeback deals.

Cheers, MArk

Anonymous said...

Correct decision its important to speak up. In line with the first section of your post - another part of "new world" tendencies is to leave action to others.(unless it directly affects us) At some point no one will take responsibility for anything but, at the same time, expect everthing for nothing - if that makes any sense. Anyway good post, Thanks