Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), a law passed that essentially made it “unlawful” to play poker online. Bodog’s payment processing infrastructure was nearly crippled for a prolonged period of time while management scrambled to find new payment solutions, and perhaps the worst blow of all – Bodog lost its coveted domain name (Bodog.com) in a brazen patent case.
Up until this time, Bodog had relied heavily on search engine rankings. Following the domain debacle, the online poker and sports betting power house soon found its search ranks dissolving drastically. The Bodog.com links all went to that great Purgatory of the World Wide Web (”Website Not Found”).
Alas, 2008 is looking up for Bodog and its newest reincarnation BodogLife. Search engine rankings for critical Super Bowl betting between the New England Patriots and New York Giants and online poker related terminology has returned for the site.
“Because the company lost much of its search engine presence during the second half of 2007, Bodog Poker has had a tough time climbing out of the lower top 10 of worldwide online poker sites in terms of real cash players,” comments Payton O’Brien, Senior Editor of Gambling911.com. “The fact that they have been able to maintain their position and alternate between the 4th and 5th largest US-facing online poker brand during this tough time speaks volumes of Bodog’s ability to adapt and their potential to become one of the top 3 rooms by year’s end.”
Search placement is pivotal. Just ask the folks from Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars, both of whom have dominated in search rankings for key terms while increasing the number of real cash players.
“Dominance can make leaders sloppy though,” points out O’Brien.
She points out the fact that Paradise Poker once reigned supreme among online Online Casino Singapore before PartyPoker came out of nowhere to dethrone Paradise. PartyPoker has been struggling itself of late to maintain a top 5 ranking among online poker rooms, having once owned half the online poker market.
“The Bodog product is amazing,” says O’Brien. “The one thing that became apparent in 2007 is that the company drastically curtailed its marketing efforts.”
Calvin Ayre, Bodog’s founder, advises that all this is about to change. He is already slated to spend much of his time in Asia during the month of February. The company is also positioning itself to compete in Europe. Antigua – the jurisdiction in which Bodog operates – is close to gaining approval for its operators to advertise in the United Kingdom after they were initially denied.
But another lesson learned in 2007: Do not neglect the North American market. Bodog’s losses during the past 12 months (the domain name, long established relations with payment processors, loss of search engine rankings) have only helped to reinforce the importance of maintaining a strong market presence in all the Western Hemisphere.