I've been in the eGaming industry on a number of levels and in a number of capacities for 7.5 years now, a lifetime in that sector. Over the past couple of years specifically it has become increasingly clear that the industry is completely stagnant from a product perspective. I were to specifically look at the following major channels: Sports, Casino, and Poker you can see some innovation there.
Sports: the introduction of live betting and interacting with customers through social media (not spamming them) has grown the industry somewhat. Personally I enjoy "In Game" Betting.
Poker: arguably this is the most social and progressive of the channels. Since poker is community based there a a number of interesting innovations that have taken place but as for pur "innovation" it's still Texas Holdem without a ton of innovative build outs to that strategy and product development.
Casino: this is the stagnant sector. The traditional "money sucking machine" of the industry the competitive landscape is filled with less than reputable (trust me) offshore operators who hold their concepts of slow payouts, shady tactics and questionable marketing very near and dear to their hearts.
There are a number of reasons that this sector has not innovated from lack of regulations (promoting owners with criminal histories to maintain a fairly decent operation) to software providers who do not innovate their products or services which will always impact the marketing (if you haven't got anything but another Casino Bonus to promote then what are you *really* selling?)
Well I ran into Absolute Casino today and was very impressed. The actual site on registration is clearly in a testing phase but the concept is fantastic (it's actually exciting - which is new for me especially in the past couple of years). A social network aware multiplayer casino with Facebook integration.
This is brilliance and something I personally have pitched to previous consulting clients. The problem they have is paralysis, everything is so comfortable for them at the moment that innovation has gone out the window. There is also a level of arrogance, simply put - many operators are completely unwilling to invest the money and the resources into innovative products.
But if you look at Facebook, have a peek at the Poker, Casino and Gaming apps. There are hundreds of thousands of people playing on a regular basis. Mainly because Facebook makes it social, I'm not downloading some software client and clicking on a video slot machine. The interaction is the thing that makes this extremely unique.
I look forward to checking out the final product in a month or two. It should be very cool and could potential be a disruptive force in the world of eGaming. I hope so. The industry simply is no longer interesting and it is clearly being left behind, with it's head stuck in the sand.
But it's nice to know I am not alone in this point of view. Hussein Chahine who is the founder of Advanced Gaming Labs (and Absolute Casino) has it dead to rights:
“I have been a technology provider to the gaming and betting industry for the past five years and it became clear to me that the industry has stopped innovating. The technology suppliers are too removed from the consumer, while the operators are falling short of understanding and building a business that embraces today’s social-networked internet world. This has presented a unique opportunity for us to enter the market as a new gaming company, where millions of concurrent players are empowered to connect [and] compete.”
This should be of particular interest to any affiliates out there who are making money from the traditional model. The days for these sites are numbered unless there is innovation, have a look at the next generation of gaming providers and set yourself up for shifts in the industry. Being left behind is the worst danger.Continue reading
In today's episode of the Marketing (almost) Minute I'm looking at the importance of a correctly formatted and updated XML sitemap. Often times this is poorly implemented on a site.
There are a number of "optional" tags meaning you can get away without implementing them but I strongly recommend you make sure you are implementing a full URLSet.
Keep in mind that if you are running a dynamically generated site, this becomes even more important. In order to keep up with the changes on your site you're going to want to get the Google Sitemap Generator and install it on your server. More details in the podcast. Click the image below to Play the podcast.
Note: This is a pretty "grass roots" podcast 🙂 In time it will become more refined but for the time being keep in mind my main motivation for doing this is to give out some good tips that you might not find everywhere else in the universe. I'm refining the links I place in the podcast itself as clicking them will take you away from the site. For now these are the links in the podcast:
Here's the example for the suggested format:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"> <url> <loc>http://www.example.com/</loc> <lastmod>2005-01-01</lastmod> <changefreq>monthly</changefreq> <priority>0.8</priority> </url> </urlset>Continue reading
More interesting financials from online casino operator 32Red. Looks like they had an increase in active players, which is always good (customer service and retention likely get credit for that) but a revenue drop of 11%. Here's a brief synopsis of the interim results:
Some interesting quotes from 32Red:
32Red attributed the fall to “the challenging economic environment faced by the UK and the rest of Europe during the first half of the year”
"Despite the global recession, 32Red has managed to grow its new casino players by a record 9,733, driven in part by our new television advertising campaign that has helped deliver a lower cost of customer acquisition. 32Red is well positioned to take advantage of any improvement in market conditions.’’- Ed Ware 23Red CEO
Looks like the recession, economic climate and consumer's fear of spending on credit continue to affect the bottom line of gaming operators. But kudos to 32Red, they have the exact right idea. Investing into marketing now is the route to go - they've acquired new customers through investment in marketing. Obviously a revenue slip is not what you *really* want but then again during a global recession online gaming will be hit very hard. Particularly if the operator is seeking "retail" or casual players as opposed to heavy gamblers.
They'll be well positioned to retain those clients and activate them when spending trends begin to rise. Smart business in tough times.
So here it is: Twitter. It’s everywhere being hyped as the next great thing, but what can it do for your business?
Like any emerging technology the uses are somewhat open ended and there are still many questions.
A few things are absolutely certain:
I’ve put this guide together to get you started on your Twitter campaign and strategy. It is our hope that you find this guide useful. Please forward this to your friends, colleagues and relatives!
Also I'm looking forward to your comments, additions, thoughts, and general input on any of this.
50 TWITTER TIPS FOR CONVERSION
Social Media Marketing and Twitter in particular is a great way for stars like Ashton Kutcher to generate buzz. In fact it's great for anyone and any business (when done properly). Now I'm as open minded to all sorts of Internet Marketing techniques but this one strikes me as a bit desperate.
Ashton is basically buying paid advertising on another social network in order to increase his followers on a competing social network. Come on Ashton. As they would say on Twitter: srsly?
Clearly Ashton Kutcher using Twitter is not a negative thing. In fact I fully believe in the power of Social Network Marketing and provide channels for self promotion. However, As a business driven marketer and branding expert I'm still not 100% certain if Ashton Kutcher's campaign on Twitter produced any definable results other than the fact that he got some dedicated airplay on CNN. For a hollywood actor like Kutcher, this is definitely a plus, getting airplay like that will do nothing but promote his own brand, his movies and his career (and positively affecting his bottom line).
I wonder what type of metrics were taken into account except for the number of followers? Was any tracking done on Click Through Rates? How did it affect his Online Reputation? More likely than not, it was purely a branding play. I still think the Ad reduces the legitimacy of his entire Twitter campaign.
After my last article on Cleaning your Site after a WordPress Injection Attack I figure that it's time to take the old "an ounce of prevention us better than a pound of a cute" (or something like that). So here is a nice easy way to enhance your Akismet spam protection and quickly and easily blacklist an offending IP.
Personally I get really sick of blog spammers, especially since my blog is DoFollow. It doesn't stand for the same thing as DoSpam. Very annoying time consuming and potentially harmful - alot of these same idiots who blog spam would also be the same people who will try to inject your WordPress theme and plugins with Click Counter code.
Anyhow in this post I'm going to use the following plugins:
The first thing you need to do is install all of the above plugins and ensure each of them work. As a side note: I had trouble with WP-EasyBan on WordPress 2.7.1 but I corrected it. To be honest I am not 100% sure if it was a conflicting plugin issue or a core problem with WP-EasyBan. If you have a problem, contact me or comment here and I will share my fix (I wasn't able to see "Add Ban" in the user menu but a few changes to the plugin fixed it without any issue).
Ok moving right along.
Let's say you are getting a substantial amount of Spam in your Spam Bin in Akismet. You will easily be able to tell if it comes from one particular IP address. First go to your Spam Box and identify the IP address - see below:
Next step: Check your Security logs under "Tools -> Security Logs" - now if the person is simply annoying you can skip that step but the Security logs will identify if the user is on a blacklist:
Once you've done that it's time to "Add Ban" provided by WP-EasyBan. It's got a great interface for you to add various options. We want to add a specific IP address (adding a block if IP's could cause you to block legit visitors to your site.
Also as an ounce of prevention you can set a time limit and maybe you'll discourage the blog spammers after a period of time. The reason I like this method is that Spammers never give up unless they are certain that their stuff is not getting through. Blacklisting will let you send a message that there is no getting through to you.
As a last note: I like to add a personalized message to these idiots. Sometime I venture into more colourful language depending on how badly one IP is offending my site and messing with my hard work.
Then you can set another site to redirect them to as well. Get creative here you can have fun with this, there is also a sense of satisfaction to mess around with these people.
Anyone else have any tips? Let me know!