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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

August 5, 2008

Orwell And The Internet

by G-Rob

I'm not much of a conspiracy theory guy. As a rule, most conspiracies involve far too much cooperation and silence to ever be real. I find it hard to believe that the same folks who couldn't get a bottle of water to the Superdome are able to plan 9/11 and keep it quiet. Did the same bozos who planned the Bay of Pigs kill Kennedy?

Doubtful.

I'm a conspiracy theory disbeliever. Not because I think the governement is too honest. I think the government is far too witless to pull it all off.

But I will admit to crafting a tinfoil bodysuit this summer. Three months of bizarre and unexplainable behavior on the internet that have left me scratching my head enough to produce a blizzard warning in three counties.

There were three phases of my conspiratorial fear. Two of them were the real schlemiel:

1. Giant internet monopoly declares war on me.
2. Giant internet weblog service delcares war on my friends.
3. Still larger computer monpoly seems to declare war on everyone.
4. We wonder if anyone still reads the best poker blog on the web.

I have war fatigue.

1. Giant internet monopoly declares war on me.

Otis was already in Vegas for the middle of the WSOP and Luckbox was moving cross country when I "googled" the words "poker blog." For most of the past 4 years or so, this page has been among the top 5 referals in that search and number one in hundreds of others. So I was mighty surprised when one day this blog disappeared altogether. I contacted Otis, who contacted Luckbox, and they did their own search to see if I was truly nuts.

In this singular case, I was not.

It seems that one lazy afternoon someone at Google deleted this blog from their search function. The coming days and weeks revealed it had happened to several dozen of the longest running and most popular poker pages.

We began to speculate wildly and have since asked google to tell us exactly what happened. There is some suggestion that some of our links may have angered the global search titan. Our questions have, to date, gone unanswered.

Again, I'm not a conspiracy guy, but I was puzzled by this comment left on Otis' personal blog:

"It's something more than advertisers. I never had any advertisers on my site, but when checking my google results in advance of sending out some resumes recently, I noticed that my poker blog is no longer listed as the first result as it has been for the past 2 years."

But if not advertisers, then what?

Here's another comment from Otis' personal blog, which like this one, is GONE from the Google:

"I heard that Google was nuking sites that Focus on the Family was reporting as violating Google's Adsense clickfraud policy. FoF is on a fullout assault against anything poker related. Same thing happened with a bunch of political blogs, from their opponents."

Again, this ain't a comspiracy guy a-talkin' but I do wonder about the folks at focus on the family.

Right now they've got an internet campaign going asking their supporters to "Pray for Rain in Denver."

I don't think the government is capable of doing much, but FoF isn't the government. They are asshats and this is exactly the kind fo thing asshats do.

2. Giant internet weblog service delcares war on my friends.

So then, after I've finally accepted the seeming internet anonymity that being on the wrong side of an internet super-behemouth brings, I saw this little gem on the "Twitter" page of my good friend Dr. Pauly:

Four of my blogs got flagged by Google bots as SPAM BLOGS. All accounts have been frozen until a formal review. Uggh. 12:45 AM August 01, 2008 from web

it wasnt a nightmare or hash-induced flipout. Google/Blogger/NSA has still frozen my account during investigation. Cannot update my blogs! 11:36 AM August 01, 2008 from web

Breaking news... google/blogger junta released two of my blogs; Tao of Pauly & Truckin. Sadly, Tao of Poker & Coventry are still hostage. 08:19 PM August 01, 2008 from web

So? Can Google/blogger actually DO that? Clearly, the answer is yes. We are using their service and must agree to specific terms of use. But Pauly is easily one of the best and most frequent providers of new, original, and, eventually, stolen from, content on the web.

Calling his blogs spam blogs is like calling "Focus on The Family" an intellectual clearinghouse.

By this point, I had purchased about 40 boxes of Reynold's Wrap.

3. Still larger computer monpoly seems to declare war on everyone.

It was in this very paranoid frame of mind that I tried to produce the live homegame blog that is posted below. About 5 minutes after we had cards in the air, our blog was apparently felted.

I couldn't load this page with Internet Explorer, the fine product of the globally conscious giant Microsoft. Microsoft makes other great products like VISTA, so I know they couldn't be at fault.

So, what gives. We thought it was my laptop and so Otis called his wife to try and have her load it at home.

No dice.

Upon further review, Otis' personal blog wouldn't work either. Neither would Al Can't Hang, Iggy, or Pauly.

I sent Otis to the porch to look for black helicopters.

Luckily, after a bit of close inspection, we learned that this blackout was a false alarm. It seems the fine folks at "Sitemeter" which is one of the tools we use to track traffic to this space, had changed their code. And not told anyone. That new code shut down half the blogs in the galaxy.

Good times.

But at least I didn't blame James Dobson.

4. We wonder if anyone still reads the best poker blog on the web.

To be sure, the google thing has cut our traffic by about 60% or more. That's been quite a downer and we're working to resolve it. We hope that at the very least Google will respond to our inquiries.

And if it turns out that FoF had nothing to do with it, I'm confident I can find a thouand other reasons to like their name "Focus on the Family" to the word, asshat.

In the meantime, we're still churning out content for those of you who can still find this space. We post here because we love it. And, DAMMIT, no internet Goliath can that that away from us.

| G-Rob's Thoughts