European Cookie Laws – Royal Navy SNAFU

There is plenty of information regarding the new EU cookie laws which have come into effect recently, as well as numerous posts from various experts in the field as to what the new cookie laws will mean for businesses. However, I just wanted to highlight how implementing the warning regarding cookies, as the new law requires, could lead to a few issues with your site and the search engines, especially if you’ve missed out a few key elements that relate to SEO when building your site.

Enter: The Royal Navy. They have successfully implemented the meta description tag on their homepage and various other pages… however not all pages have had a unique meta description included in the page header:

Add to this the fact that their new cookie warning appears at the top of the page when you first visit the site, as per the screenshot below, and you’re looking for trouble:

You see, in the absence of a meta description, Google and other search engines will usually pick up the first piece of text it finds and given it’s prominence, use it to form the snippet in the search results. Whoops:

Easily fixed, but perhaps something that shouldn’t have been overlooked in the first place. Try not to fall into the same trap.

Full Tilt Poker License Revoked

Following on from my post back in June when Full Tilt’s License had been suspended, it has just been announced that the Alderney Gambling Control Commission have revoked Full Tilt Poker’s license with immediate effect.

Here is the announcement from the AGCC in full:

AGCC Commissioners, sitting as a tribunal, have today revoked the licences of Vantage Limited, Filco Limited and Oxalic Limited, trading as Full Tilt Poker (FTP), with immediate effect.  This follows the earlier suspension of the licences on 29th June 2011.

At a hearing held in London over six days, it emerged that FTP had fundamentally misled AGCC about their operational integrity by continuously reporting as liquid funds balances that had been covertly seized or restrained by US authorities, or that were otherwise not actually available to the operator.  Serious breaches of AGCC regulations include false reporting, unauthorised provision of credit, and failure to report material events.

At the commencement of these proceedings on 26th July, AGCC made clear its preference to hold the hearing in public, to the benefit of players and media alike. However, the tribunal was persuaded that the hearing should be held in camera on the basis of claims by FTP that this would maximise the chance of a commercial rescue of the business for the benefit of players. For this reason an adjournment of 54 days was allowed.

It is important to note that the revocation of FTP’s licences does not, as has been suggested, prevent a reactivation of the business under new ownership and management. Unresolved claims by players against FTP become a matter for the police and civil authorities. Now that FTP’s licences have been revoked, AGCC no longer has jurisdiction over these companies.

The licence of Orinic Limited, a recently added geographic sub-division of the FTP poker room, remains suspended.
The determination notice containing the decision of the Commissioners and reasons for it is available at

What this means for the players who are still trying to extract their funds from FTP is as yet unknown, but it certainly isn’t looking good…


How to get the Facebook Timeline Profile Update

I registered my interest for the new Facebook Timeline profile a week or so ago but it hadn’t activated, so I had a search and found an article about how Facebook Developers using OpenGraph were being given access to Timeline already. So, here’s how to sign up to be a Facebook Developer (don’t worry, it’s just going through the motions) and get the new Timeline:

Become a Facebook Developer

Search for the Developer App on Facebook using your search bar:

Add Facebook Developer Appand accept the relevant permissions:

Allow Facebook Developer Permissions

Create an OpenGraph Enabled App

Don’t worry, you’re not going to publish the app or anything like that, we’re merely going through the motions so your Facebook profile is flagged as Developer. Click on Create New App within the Developer home page:

Create New Facebook Appand give it a name and namespace, anything will do:

Name New Facebook AppYou’ll be prompted with a CAPTCHA at this point, just fill it in and move on to the OpenGraph tab on the left hand side of the App page:

Enable OpenGraphNow, OpenGraph allows apps to use the notifications where “X is [action] a [thing]” – eg: “Andy is reading some news on Newspaper“. It does this by having certain words, etc, built into the app. Fill the main ones in here:

Enter OpenGraph descriptionsYou can simply click “Save Changes and Next” on the following two pages and “Save and Finish” the final page.

Enable Facebook Timeline

Now, go back to Facebook, click on your name at the top right to go to your profile and you’ll be presented with a notification for your new Facebook Timeline profile:

New Timeline Profile for FacebookAll done :)

Andy's Facebook Timeline Profile

No More PPC Brand Bidding?

Back in December of 2008, two large companies in the UK went head to head in the High Court in London over something completely and utterly intangible: a brand name. The offending company wasn’t using the trademarked brand name, nor were they copying it or trying to sell a product as that trademarked brand – they were simply bidding on that keyword on Google’s AdWords PPC platform so their advert shows when a user searches for “interflora”:

Interflora Brand Bidding M & S

The trademark in question is Interflora, the offender, none other than UK high street superbrand: Marks & Spencer. You can read more about that case over on The Register, but yesterday’s news is of much more importance.

Yesterday, the EU Court of Justice (full judgement can be found here) ruled in Interflora’s favour stating that M&S are in breach of trademarks in place and should not be allowed to profit off of someone else’s trademark. The UK High Court needs to now follow suit with the Court of Justice’s ruling, which Interflora expect to happen during the course of 2012.

If/Once the High Court applies this change, this will set the precedent for all other companies to block their competitors from bidding on brand names thus taking away potential profits from that company. That leaves a really important question ringing through my head:

Will Google block people from advertising on partial brand names?

For example, could I bid on “inter flowers” “flora inter” etc? The reason I ask, is because within this great iGaming industry in which I work, there are a lot of major players who have a pretty important word in their brand name: bet. If no partial brand-bidding will be allowed either, is it going to be a matter of advertising spend that decides on who gets to use “bet” as part of their brand name? Betfred (who, incidentally finally relaunched their site after over a year of planning, preparation, development and deployment), Betfair, Bet365, 188Bet, SkyBet, SportingBet, UniBet, BetDaq and plenty more will be fighting over it!