Freitag, 23. März 2012

PokerStars WBCOOP: "Best Blogger" title for PokerStars Promoter?

Moin tosamm,

two weeks ago PokerStars announced the winners of their "World Blogger Championship of Online Poker" tourney series. And gave the title "Best Blogger" to a candidate who's choice might not have been worse.

In touch with PokerStars

It seems Paul Jones, who won the competition in the end, should not have been allowed to compete in the first place, at least according to the Poker Stars reglement published on their WBCOOP-contest page.

Employees and relatives of employees of PokerStars and any entities affiliated or related to PokerStars are not permitted to participate in the Promotion. For these purposes, the term "relative" shall mean spouse, partner, parent, child or sibling.

But Paul Jones is moderator at the PokerSchoolOnline (PSO), owned by none other than PokerStars. Not surprisingly the comments of the at PSO-website following the announcement of the Best-Blogger-winner can be called mixed at best. Some could not help but ask how he was able to enroll in the first place.

As a reaction to those comments, Jones linked to another posting on PSO where he quotes PokerStars support saying, moderators of PokerStars or PSO do have the right to participate at Promotions of PokerStars.

But I still think the whole thing is questionable: Where does working for PokerStars or PSO start? Do you need a written contract to be an „employee“ or am I already a part of the whole network when I accept certain rules related to my job as a moderator?

Here you see the LinkedIn entry.
LinkedIn says: He is a PokerStars Promoter

The choice of the Best Blogger might be considered even more controversial,  if you take a look on the LinkedIn profile of Paul Jones. LinkedIn is kind of a V-card network. Under "summary" you will find this:

Background in Hospitality and Public Relations. Currently striving to promote both the Pokerstars & Chili Poker brands. Avid poker player & blogger.

According to this, Paul Jones works as a Promoter for PokerStars and Chili Poker? Once again I cannot help but ask myself: Which connection does exist between between Paul Jones and PokerStars? What are those promotion activities in detail? Was his blog build up with the sole purpose to promote PokerStars and PokerSchool Online? If so, why?

Critics on the winner blog? No, Sir. Promotion like articles? Yes.

As I took a look onto the Royal-Raiser-Blog, three details caught my eye.

Number 1: A posting dating 23. of November 2011, in which the  author describes how he got in touch with Poker School Online in Juli 2011. The author goes on in full length and detail what PSO is about and why players should become members.

Number 2: In fact, you won't find a single post including criticism related to PSO or PokerStars.

Number 3: The twitter stream embedded into the page in the right hand column. Its main content is PokerStars and PokerGob. PSO is featured in it frequently as well.

Letter from Russia

So, why is the WBCOOP topic of my blog again? I got mail from Russia. Another blogger pointed out the fact that the title "Best blogger" was given to someone working at the PSO forum. Additionally, he mentioned a mail sent by him and several other users to PokerStars. In this mail they demand the title best blogger to be revoked or to chose another best blogger from the other top bloggers.

In addition, he underlined this issue is topic of Two plus Two and in other forums. To be exact: The LinkedIn part I found hasn't been mentioned anywhere.

What's to do now?

I tried to figure out whether Paul Jones is an affiliate at PokerStars. Unfortunately, their affiliate team wasn't able to help me because of their privacy disclaimer. My next step will be a direct mail to their press team. If the press team officially declares that the Royal Raiser is not a paid promoter, affiliate or worker for PokerStars or Poker School Online, I don't see any other way to shed more light into the darkness. On his blog, I wasn't able to spot any affiliate links. There might be two reasons for that: They don't exist or are very well hooded.

What remains? A bad WBCOOP after taste. To say it loud and clear: I don't want to start a fight with the blogger Royal Raiser. As he seems to be doing a good job at Poker School Online.

But I would like to point out that PokerStars to my opinion is obliged not to make a candidate like him "Best Blogger" of the World Blogger Championship of Online Poker as the connection between  PokerStars and Royal Raiser is way to obscure. What will the blogger community think in the future? The bloggers might very well ask themselves: Does it make sense to participate at the side events of the WBCOOP if the winner of the 5,000 Dollar prize is chosen beforehand behind the scenes?

What do you think? 

Tell me what you think about this? How can mishaps like that be avoided in the future? I am looking forward to your opinions and comments on this topis. And if you find some truth in this blog, spread my word! Thank you!

Beste Gröten, Nico

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