Latest Cases - September 2015

Tipster 'warehouses' and the Shotgun School of Marketing...

10th September 2015

Good afternoon, friends,

In this issue of Punters’ Verdict….

  • Information worth paying for….
  • All in one place? Do me a favour….
  • Let the buckshot fly….

Information worth paying for….

I’ve been betting on sport for more than 30 years now. I’ve worked in the betting industry. And I make my living nowadays writing on betting-related subjects. 

I’m not asking for a medal or a knighthood. I’m not even asking for a round of applause. I’m just making a point and putting some context and perspective on what I’m going to say next….

In all that time I’ve only met perhaps 3 or maybe 4 people who I’d consider paying for betting information.

I’ve met so-called pro-punters, people who bet day-in-day-out, traders, odds-compilers, analysts, bookmakers, journalists, service providers and all the rest of it. Dozens of them. And out of the whole cartload I can point to maybe 4 of them who had genuine information, insight or intelligence worth paying for.

But my experience is not reflected in the climate we live and operate in. In the ‘real’ world information worth paying for appears to be everywhere. Everybody’s got it. At least everybody seems to be selling it.

These days you’ve only got to open a cupboard door and some guy running a tipping service pops out.

According to government figures every third person you see pushing a trolley in Tesco is a professional football picker armed with a website, a mailing list and a Paypal account.

Throw an egg into a crowded dance hall and its odds-on some guy with inside information from top racing stables is going to be landed with a dry-cleaning bill.

In 2015 it is easier to get your hands on a tipster than it is, for example, to locate a child with table manners. That’s the kind of world we are living in. Children who can handle a knife and fork or eat with their mouths closed are a very rare breed indeed. Tipsters, on the other hand, are everywhere – like litter blowing in the wind outside the local McDonalds.

But tipsters and information worth paying for do not necessarily go hand in hand. The existence of the former does not indicate the presence of the latter.

And whilst tipsters proliferate like rabbits, good information (information worth paying for) actually becomes harder to source. There is less of it around per head. The stuff that can sustain you is diluted by the volume of useless meltwater running down off the mountainside.

Overwhelmed by the deluge and the detritus carried by the flood, good information (the stuff worth paying for) is like the small gold nugget – it’s out there, somewhere, but you’ve really got to work that pan and sweat to find it….

All in one place? Do me a favour….

…. And this is why I am very suspicious whenever I am presented with the notion or claim that I can easily and painlessly get a whole load of information worth paying for from lots of different people – all in one place.

I got an email this week from some outfit calling itself The Tipster Empire – a name that tells you plenty more about the imperial ambitions of the people behind it than it does about what they are planning on doing for you….

So what is The Tipster Empire?

According to their website it’s a….

‘…. tipster platform giving you the best tipsters the UK has to offer. All have been proofed for a 3 month period so you know the tipster you join is the real deal and will consistently provide winning tips week in week out.’

I’m not sure I ‘know’ any such thing. I’m not sure the results of a 3-month trial can be projected into the infinite future. I’m not sure it works that way. But, hey, I’m just a guy with an opinion and we all have them.

And who knows? These guys – they have 3 services onboard right now in the form of The Snout, The Tower and DG Tips – might be absolute world-beaters. They may indeed be the very ‘best’ the UK has to offer – all conveniently sourced, gathered together and made available in one place. Who am I to argue with that eminently believable scenario?

And what would I know anyway? I can’t even be bothered to check out their results. Not because I have something better to do. I don’t. But because I have seen this ‘warehouse’ tipping model before – and the more I see it, the less able I am to buy into it as the real deal. I think of itas the Shotgun School of Marketing.

Put yourself into the cashmere-lined snakeskin boots of the average tipster for a moment. Look at life from behind his bloodshot eyes. See the world from his warped perspective….

If you’re going to market with just ONE tipping service then you’re going to be very much dependent on the quality of the information and/or the results of the selections that you provide on that ONE service.

If you’re good or you have sweated blood to build an audience that sticks with you through thick and thin (based on the underlying quality of your output) that’s no problem. You can live with it. You can work with it. You’ve got a solid business as opposed to an enterprise that is nothing more than a series of email marketing campaigns.

But if your results on that ONE service are poor, and you can’t get clients to stick with you once you have them on board, then you might start thinking you need MORE than one service. Because multiple services give you options….

Let’s say you run 4 or 5 services all under one umbrella. Four or 5 ‘high-quality’ and ‘professional’ services all producing tips simultaneously (not necessarily on the same events) loads the dice very much in your favour….

And why stop there? Some ‘warehouses’ are home to 8, 10, 12 or more tipping services….

Let the buckshot fly….

I call it the Shotgun School of Marketing because the strategy is a bit like firing a sawn-off shotgun into a crowd. You just point the barrel, take general aim and pull the trigger safe in the knowledge that you’re going to hit something….

With so many services all producing tips, it stands to reason one or two of them are going to find a winner on any given day.

That gives you, as the warehouse operator, something to brag about the next day. You can mail your list talking up and selling subscriptions to the ‘hot’ service that picked a winner, whilst ignoring the services that are misfiring.

Week by week and month by month it works the same way. Just focus your promotional efforts on the services doing well, the services picking winners and the services making profits. And ignore the services that are bombing and condemning subscribers to bankruptcy. Those services too will have their day in the sun. When they have a purple patch you can start actively selling them.

For my money the ‘warehouse’ approach is simply a multi-option Shotgun Model masquerading as a ‘center of quality’ or ‘the home of the finest tipping talents the planet has ever seen’. It’s a merry-go-round that seeks to shunt punters from one in-house service to another. To my mind it’s a cynical numbers game with the objective of increasing an individual customer’s lifetime value to the tipster at its heart. 

And that rather obvious sleight of hand (at least that’s how it seems to me) irks me. I can’t see past it. I can’t take the services seriously. In matter of fact I’m not even prepared to look at them. I don’t consider them real.

Services that are simply born of promotional maneuvering (where the cart pulls the horse), or because they provide a ready-made in-house alternative for another failing in-house service, are exactly the type of outfits I want to avoid.

Like I say, I haven’t given The Tipster Empire any more than a cursory glance. Call me prejudiced but I’m not interested in warehouse operations. But don’t let that put you off checking them out to your heart’s content. They may be the exception to the rule.

The people behind the site say they tried out 122 tipsters before whittling it down to 3. If that’s true then it may well be the case that there’s some real discrimination at work. Maybe The Scout, The Tower and DG Tips really are the best around?  You can certainly check all their results out on the service website.

And what if YOU are one of the best? Has it never crossed your mind that you could be the next big thing in British tipping?

Now’s your chance. You can sign up to get your selections proofed by The Tipster Empire for the next 3 months. And, if you cut the mustard, you could be earning 40% of the money they make selling your service in the years to come.

Let’s face it, it just about beats working for Mike Ashley and Sports Direct on a zero hour contract?

I’ll be back with the Verdict next week.

The Judge

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