This time last year, those with long memories might remember my little 'crusade' to get traders to shift over to Betdaq. I guess it was never really going to work but I did feel that more tennis traders would have made an effort to give Betdaq a try during a day when there was planned maintenance on Betfair. But my real anger was turned onto Betdaq because when it came down to it, they did NOTHING at all to entice people over. A year on and that still rankles with me and is the reason why I haven't even mentioned Betdaq on this blog since. However, things are changing; both for me and for Betdaq. You'll all know about the Ladbrokes takeover. As per usual with these things, it has been greeted with a hint of hope but mostly downright miserable cynicism. With my Betfair P&L getting closer by the week to a premium charge situation, I now have no choice but to view this takeover with supreme hope!
The big question I have is, why would Ladbrokes takeover Betdaq unless they wanted to make money out of it? Sounds simplistic but surely the core of anything business related is to just make a profit, so why do some people think they won't make an effort to maximise this? Certain sources claim Betdaq don't even make a profit. Surely Ladbrokes, with their huge revenue as a catalyst, will want to change that? And the only way that is possible is to spend large sums on advertising and a 'robust' (I really hate using this 'management-speak' term but I feel it actually makes sense here) marketing plan. I say 'robust' because in my view, Betdaq need to be stronger in their message. Let me explain.
All they have to do to get the long term winners
over, is say they won't be introducing a charge. A lot of trader's cynicism is based on the insistence that Ladbrokes will introduce one anyway at some point. This is
something I think they need to address straight away. I'm sure they would be reluctant to commit to such a promise but a short-term compromise of some sort could be reached. Anyway, I think most of us would agree that this would bring over anyone who currently pays the premium charge or like me, is considering the impact of it in future.
However, it's the
smaller fish that they really need to acquire. Remember what happened following introduction of the Super PC back in summer 2011? The big fish moved over in large quantities to Betdaq and for a few weeks, it seemed as though (certainly for horse racing and tennis) the revolution was finally happening. But it didn't last because the smaller players didn't also move in the required numbers and so most of the big money had no choice but to return to Betfair for easier pickings.
So thinking back to when I
was new to Betfair/ a casual user/ non-profitable, what would I have
wanted? I would require an incentive to move over to Betdaq. Better
commission simply isn't something that would've bothered me. I probably
wouldn't have moved my bank over to Betdaq unless I saw good liquidity on markets
I wanted to trade. For me, that would be tennis in-play. So in other
words, unless other tennis traders moved over first, I would've been
reluctant to move. I'm sure that's the same for any trader not yet paying the PC. Bit of a catch 22! So how do they get around this problem?
I've always felt that
Betdaq have never done enough to ram home the fact that Betfair is a
shoddy company. That is where their weakness lies - the way they treat
their customers. The customer service is shocking. When the site goes down they don't void matches. They place a charge
upon winners then write to us telling us it's fine cos we will 'never be a winner'. The new site is a convoluted mess that is far worse than the old one. The PC is completely unintelligible for the average person and totally against the whole ethos of the exchange model. The list is endless yet Betdaq never seems to go for the jugular! Why so nice? I notice recently that this has changed (adverts now seem to mention Betfair's higher commission and charges much more) but it's
still not enough in my book. It's not robust enough!
They should let people know
in simple terms that we are getting ripped off by Betfair because they
no longer adhere to the exchange model, which shouldn't ever make being a
winner a problem. I would give it to them both barrels! You could argue that everyone already knows how bad Betfair are, yet still use them. It's a general apathy. Everyone wants to move over but no one wants to go first. But it's like anything to do with advertising; the more you drum it into someone's mind, the more they become brain-washed! I want to see betting folk bombarded with how crap Betfair is, day in, day out on TV, radio, magazine, newspaper, internet, football match hoardings, bus stops, massive boards over-looking bridges. It will become ingrained into our subconscious, the same way that the slogan "Betfair: where winners are welcome" *cough* became indelibly marked and the way that annoying Italian bloke with the big moustache automatically sets off my gag reflex every time his stupid, wailing voice shatters my peace and quiet (honestly, 5 years of 'Go Compare!' finally over and now Ladbrokes bring along another one!).
Ladbrokes can even save a bit on advertising, as they can just re-use the annoying, Italian bloke, only instead of shouting "KAMMY NOOOOOOOOOOO, FOOTBALL IS OOOOOOOOOOONNN!!!" he can shout 'BETFAIR NOOOOOOOOOOOO, PREMIUM CHARGE IS WROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG" or some such. I would actually incorporate the word 'mug' into this advert as much as possible, for if there is one thing that people new to betting hate to be called or associated with, it's a mug. It's tantamount to being labelled a paedophile outside of the Betfair forums - there's nothing more insulting. Have the Italian bloke screaming "PREMIUM CHARGE NOOOOOOOOOOOOO, YOU MUUUUUUUUUGGSS WHY YOU PAY THIIIIIIIISSSS??? BETDAQ IS OOOOOOOOOOOONNNN!!!'" Or some such. If he shouted this, I'd happily refrain from muting.
Why not start an exchange war, a proper, dirty battle? I guess it all comes down to money. I know people are going to tell me that Ladbrokes won't want to spend the amounts required to catch up with Betfair, and that two exchanges cannot survive successfully together, and that the "ship has sailed" and exchanges have hit their peak already, and that a thriving competitor to Betfair will only split liquidity between the two, making it harder to trade certain markets. I even had a Ladbrokes employee tell me not to expect much! But I think if you had a whole week or weekend
where you offered 0% commission for betting in-play, people would
come over, even if just out of curiosity as to what things will be like
now Ladbrokes has taken over. Once there, we'd probably stay if
liquidity was decent but we'd need to know that the original exchange
model is not going to be messed with and taxes slapped on winners in
future. It's the big wild-card that Betdaq has over Betfair - it's still a 100% bonafide exchange, adhering (ironically) to the original Betfair model. If Ladbrokes can find a way to exploit that situation, then why on earth can't things change?
I urge you all to be more positive and let them know exactly what they need to do. Unlike Betfair, they actually want our input, so let's give them no excuse not to earn our custom. Email them: