The highest paying content on the web
What is the most lucrative content on the web that represents an industry in itself? The online game. This area is by far the most profitable online. After the prizes are paid out to the winners, the industry gets revenues of around US$12 billion. One cannot ignore the phenomenon when one is interested in electronic commerce.
The association of online content publishers has been following the evolution of paid online content since 2001 and has always excluded from its analyzes two content “too strong for the league”, online gambling and online pornography. While online gaming crossed the $12 billion mark after earnings in 2005, all other categories of paid online content combined would cross US$2 billion together.
REDUCED SOCIAL RISK
Why are these types of content so resoundingly successful? This is mainly because of their very nature, gambling, like alcohol, is a difficult (read impossible) product to prohibit. And online gambling is all the more facilitated by the fact that the Internet reduces or even eliminates social risk, ie the danger of being seen gambling by one's social relations. The risk or physical exertion of not having to travel to a casino is a second argument, not to mention some geographies where gambling is illegal and players can fall back online.
Pathological gambling is unfortunately also a reality. According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project study published in 2003, almost 20% of American Internet users go to an online gambling site every month, and 4% of them gamble online at every day.
Where Loto-Québec is king and master of gaming in general, online gaming thumbs its nose at it. The West Indies and other islands with “flexible” jurisdiction, as well (we can say especially) that the Indian reserves in Quebec are the territories of the main online gambling portals. Even if it is no longer the place where the server is geographically located that matters, the place where the company is registered or incorporated does. Having a judgment can still be possible, but difficult, while having it applied is a feat...
ORIGINAL MARKETING TECHNIQUES
In such a lucrative market, all the shots are allowed to get into the good graces of online players, and different techniques are used.
The purchase of keywords, although banned for this industry at Google, still gives results in the other networks. Currently (February 2006), bids were around US$5 per click on online gambling related terms, but they have already exceeded US$20 per click, which is very indicative of the potential profits per online player. "conquered".
Another area where we've seen companies in the industry excel is in "humane" advertising, where spectators at sporting events have been paid to run around stadiums naked at major events or even worse, tattooed the foreheads of single mothers with the URL of online casinos in exchange for barely sending their offspring to private school.
Finally, to circumvent the few laws that apply to this sector with regard to advertising, some advertisers create sites where you can learn to play poker. It doesn't really take long for genuine online gambling sites to be suggested to the "student" unsubtly in general and for the latter to be bombarded with gambling offers in an environment where the solicitation for this type of service was basically illegal.
I don't believe that we should inspire such practices to do traditional e-commerce, unless we operate in sectors where the social risk is very high. Otherwise, you can expose yourself to all kinds of risks. It remains that it is always interesting to study industries on the margins of others. Despite all that one may think, these industries are still pioneers in online commerce.