I'd like to draw reader's attention to The Sports Exchange which is a new social network for punters of all persuasions. There's some good discussion going on and perhaps some momentum gathering, it's worth a go. Particularly as there's a good post on the same subject as my previous blog entry - here. This is imo, the right way to go about things. The betting community is the market, and we do have a lot of power, it's harnessing it that's difficult - and that is what needs to happen for things to change. I've just signed up.
Talking of social networks, you can now follow me on twitter, if you haven't joined twitter yet and can't see the use in 140 character 'status updates', let me say that till you use it, it's difficult to know just how useful it is. Those of you with facebook profiles will know about status updates, but on twitter there is none of the politics that go along with them. No unwritten rules about who you follow, or who can see your profile... It's pure information, some of it is tedious, but some of it is genuinely brilliant.
By following who you want to, you effectively build your own feed of information from people you personally find interesting. There more 'interesting' people you follow, the more useful stuff comes out of it - I've learnt about stuff I'd never have known about had I not joined.
There's the usual mix of attention seekers (celebrities included) and those that use the service the way it was designed to be used. These are easily spotted, though if I'm honest, I quite enjoy following some of the obvious show offs.
If there's a problem I encounter with twitter from a betting perspective, it's that it's quite difficult to find genuine punters who aren't selling a system, or marketing something else. I find I'm following fewer bettors, and more sports people. Maybe we can change that a bit. Join up, add me on and say hello. Feel free to pilfer the list of people I follow.
..Even if you can't imagine right now how this would occur, something will eventually come along to topple the giant. Inspired by an excellent small post by Cassini at Green All Over (where he gives examples of few fallen giants) I thought I'd add my 2p in the hope that someone will take up the mantle. (btw I have a cracking domain name if you have the right idea ;)
What will eventually topple Betfair does not necessarily need to be completely different (just in the right areas). As their website grew, they moved further away from their original idea. Their decision making process became messy, resulting in poor choices in usability, cost, design, customer service and regulation - the number of areas upon which improvements can be offered by a rival increases, as do the grievances of the current userbase (see Premium Charge, Cross Matching etc. as Cassini pointed out).
What is required IMO is a return to, and improvement upon, what the exchange concept was always about, betting person to person. Of course Betfair is still doing this, but they increasingly push their alternative products, where they take a much greater share of the profits. This aside, there are innovations to be made in the way people bet with one another, the way markets are set up and the social aspect of the site. I have a few ideas, but I won't be posting them here.
One thing I am more than happy to post is that any rival would do well to push for much better regulation. A site that actively seeks the same restrictions (or a variation) placed upon FSA regulated exchanges would be a leap in the right direction. Best practices must surely involve not placing bets on your own exchange (even if it is hedging multiples), not compromising on best execution (cross matching) - exploiting your own platform's short-comings for profit. Conflicts of interest (or potential conflicts of interest) need to be banished, as does this ability to switch between Bookmaker and Exchange at will, exchanges are very different to the former and should be treated as such.
We all brush these issues aside currently because liquidity is king, but undercurrent builds with each step Betfair takes at the moment. I met recently with one of the top guy's at Betfair, I mentioned that the users were disillusioned with the experience. I told him we need some good news, a step in the right direction... It's overdue. Perhaps a rebate on PC, or indeed a change in the way the charge is set up.. or frankly anything that is good for users would be helpful (when was the last time we had good news from BF ?). Hope you took it on board.
There will come a day when something more exciting and interesting to use will arrive. Something that experienced users see potential for profit in, at the same time as casual users have real enjoyment using. When that day arrives, the switch away from Betfair will most probably be quicker than they could imagine.
Much being made today about how old the 4 guys are left in the quarter finals at Wimbledon, the oldest for 35 years. There's some potential in these matches today, it's just a same that they clash in the schedule. The same went for yesterday's ladies quarters - I always forget how anti-climatic these days are, you've been watching it til 9:30pm the previous 8 days and suddenly it gets to 5:30pm and there's nothing doing. Hopefully the men's matches will last a little longer.
I'm still trying to figure out what I'm doing with my large green on Karlovic outright, I also on Federer, so whoever comes out of that quarter I'm doing well on. I will probably square it off to some extent. It's always a tough match up for Federer this one, you don't get many chances against Karlovic, but the chances he does get he should take without any trouble. There's always a tendency to think that it's an even contest, a serving lottery. But the fact is, if Federer gets the return in (and he is one of the best at reading an opponent's serve) then he is a heavy favourite to win that point, and that tips the balance of pressure onto Karlovic rather than Fed. Price has this factored in though, so lets wait and see.
Hewitt's played some of his best tennis for years in the last week, but Roddick is also playing great. No opinion on scoreline here, just hoping for a great match. Apparently Andy and Brooklyn have been sleeping on the floor due to an overly soft mattress during the whole of Wimbledon... you'd think they could afford somewhere nice to stay! ..or a new matress.
Hoping for great things from the Haas / Djokovic match up, though I think Djoko is playing much better at Wimbledon than he did at Halle where Haas got the better of him. I get the feeling he might run away with it, but Tommy seems inspired at the moment.
I don't see Murray having too much trouble versus the green clay specialist (!) JCF. But you never know.
So there you have it, 4 match previews, and not an opinion in sight. Guess I better put down some scoreline predictions, maybe you can average these with what the other blogs are suggesting for some sort of collective wisdom. I won't be betting on these btw.