The current AP/UB debacle
gives a nice opportunity to point out how incredibly biased, stupid, and incompetent most of the popular online poker news sites are. This is obviously the sort of thing that these sites should be reporting because their customers could lose money if they're not informed about the current problem and because of a general obligation for news organizations to hold large companies accountable.
So, let's see how the bigger poker news organizations handled this situation. I just considered poker news sites that I think of as popular: Card Player, Poker News, Bluff.com, Poker Listings, Bluff Magazine, Poker News Daily, and Poker Room Review. (I left out P5s because it's a news source and a forum, and their forum discusses it but they did not post an article. All of these sites have news stories on things that happened after this story broke.) Here's how they did:
Mentioned on Front Page: Poker News, Bluff.com, Poker Room Review (43%.. Poker Room Review's title makes this pretty much a non-mention, though.)
Mentioned somewhere else: Poker News Daily (14%)
No Mention: Poker Listings, Card Player, Bluff Magazine (43%)
Explains that users are not safe to play on the site currently: Nobody
LIES and says that the problem is fixed: Poker News Daily, Poker Room Review (29%)
Runs Ads for Cereus (only ones I noticed): Poker News, Poker News Daily, Bluff.com, Bluff Magazine, Poker Room Review (71%... almost certainly higher than this in reality)
IMHO, none of their articles sufficiently clarified the situation, though both Bluff.com and Poker News were at least good enough to link to PTR's own clarification.
Here are some particularly pathetic examples:
Poker News Daily
"Absolute Poker and UB.com Host Double Points Sit and Go Weekend"
Cliffs of article: "UB and AP are running some sit and go promotion this weekend! You should play SnGs on UB and AP this weekend! Here's a long description of what SnGs are! Also, PTR found some security problem with them, but it's no big deal and it's fixed now. AP/UB have lots of great promotions!"
So, they decided to run an article encouraging people to play on UB and AP while it's unsafe to do so AND bury the real story in the bottom half of a ****ty article with an unrelated title. AND, as if that wasn't enough, they also lied to their readers and claimed that the flaw has been fixed.
Do not go to this site if you're interested in reading news about poker. Go to this site if you're interested in seeing advertisements very very poorly disguised as news.
Poker Room Review
(The Online Poker Authority!)
"Cereus Poker Addresses Potential Security Issue With Software Update"
Cliffs of article: "There was some security problem with Cereus poker networks, but it's no big deal. Nobody was scammed, and it's been fixed."
Instead of writing an article about what security flaw was and how it could affect players, Poker Room Review decided to write an article that claimed that this isn't a big deal. They make sure to quote some random guy from PTR's comment section that says that this is no big deal and that PTR is scaremongering. They could've actually contacted an expert or stuck to the official statements from PTR or UB (Even UB's description of the situation is much harsher than PRR's), but instead they decided to go "Hey, look! Some guy is of the opinion that this isn't a big deal!" They of course don't quote anyone who has a different opinion, in spite of the fact that 2p2 and PTR's comment section are both almost entirely full of people with the exact opposite opinion.
They also completely misquoted PTR as saying "there are no cases of this vulnerability being used to exploit actual players." They made sure to put this quote in bold so that everyone saw the people who found this vulnerability essentially saying that it wasn't a problem. They left out the beginning of that sentence "To our knowledge," which obviously totally changes the meaning of the sentence from "Nobody's been affected by this" to "We don't know if anyone was affected by this because it's not our job to look for stuff like this."
This is obviously not an isolated incident; it's just the most recent one. There were similar problems during the big superuser scandals. I also know that most of the articles written about the stoxtrader scandal were clearly written by people who hadn't bothered to read even the cliff notes of the thread. In other words, there's a general lack of basic journalistic integrity in this world.
The huge problem with this situation is that a lot of casual players only know about the online poker world from these sources and trust these sources as legitimate, unbiased providers of news. So, a lot of players are simply not aware of this stuff going on. So, casual players are uninformed and go to less secure sites. There, they're more likely to get their money stolen in various ways. As a consequence of this, some more informed players come to chase the fish, where they
are more lilely to get thier money stolen in various ways. And as a consequence of both these things, sites care a lot less about security than they should, so everyone is more likely to get their money stolen in various ways.
(P.S. I didn't link to any of these sites because I don't want to give them ad revenue. If you feel the same way, you also shouldn't link to them either.)