Is it all finally over for exchange users? It wasn’t long ago that several were suggesting it. A fair shout?
Sadly, it’s happened again. But is there deeper reasoning behind exchange failures, lack of growth, incompetent customer support and just a lack of overall feedback.
Some blunt observations from me…
When I first started my foray into the world of Betfair trading, it was a very different place. There were often new blogs sprouting up all over the show. The majority expressed usual frustrations, stories, and the dreaded in-play mistakes but the tone was always upbeat.
People loved Betfair for what they had done.
Revolutionising a rather archaic industry with the use of peer-to-peer betting, centered around innovation and technology. It gave the end-user more opportunities that had never existed before.
They did this by pioneering two different mediums of betting:
- Exchanging bets, otherwise known as trading
- Offering in-play markets
The former offered more flexibility to control your position, and at a better price. Whilst the latter was a new beast altogether. They would make their money by charging a small commission on the turnover of bets. For the end-user, this meant Betfair was more superior than any other product on the market.
The best bit being; they welcomed winners with open arms. What a great idea!
Holly shit, how times have changed.
Fast forward 10 years and the vibrant landscape of Betfarian blogs has vanished. A few hardcore users remain, but most of the blogs have been replaced by a bunch of disgruntled twitter trolls scavenging and bitching between themselves. Sifting through the fall-out of devastating outages, premium bombs, cross-matching algorithms and Sportsbook restrictions.
But can you blame them? have things really changed that much?
When you look at premium charge hikes and cross-matching introductions, it’s hard not to sympathise with them in part. As markets become more efficient and charges rise – there’s less benefit for the end-user. With regular outages on-top it can be fatal for those without a large bankroll…
I’m still yet to see a public statement about why these outages happen or how they plan to combat them in the future. Do they?
Core Vision & Values Statement:
Taken from the official Paddy Power Betfair site, there is a list of core values and standards shared.
I quote #3:
We take pride in doing what’s right. No exceptions. It’s about putting customers and employees’ best interests at the heart of our decision-making. It’s being hungry for commercial successes but not at the expense of ethics. And holding each other to account.
So, on that note – what’s happening?
What has happened to the exchange we all loved so dearly?
Could it be the Paddy Power gunman wasn’t only after chavs? Were the exchanges the real target?
Buying your problems isn’t a bad strategy if you’ve got deep enough pockets.
In some respects, it would seem that Ladbrokes buying Betdaq and Paddy Power merging with Betfair was just a tactical move – to eradicate their exchange problem. Not meaning to kill it altogether, that would open up the floodgates for others! But to keep it alive in the corner, under-control.
Maybe it’s why you see responses like this…
The terms and conditions confirm this customer service response is correct. However, it’s the direct opposite of the foundations that Betfair Exchange was built on in the first place. The clue being in the name – ‘Exchange’.
Any level-headed human being can accept; accidents do happen, there are problems, it’s bound to happen from time-to-time.
But really, this much?
Especially when you’re racking up monster profits.
There have been some crazy accusations around the frustration and anger of recent outages, but which ones are fair?
- It’s done on purpose, they generate income from the outage.
- Betfair doesn’t care, they have a monopoly on exchanges.
- Public figures get special deals so don’t speak out.
- They want people to use Sportsbook instead.
There are probably more, but these are the ones I see regularly, let’s address them individually:
It’s done on purpose, they generate income from the outage.
This is semi-true. Traders lose out when the exchange goes down because they can’t close their positions, meaning you’ll pay more commission if your bet wins… if it loses, whoever’s on the other side pays. But if you were able to close out, there still would have been someone paying that commission on the win or loss – it just wouldn’t have been you. Overall Betfair don’t gain anything when you consider all the bets they didn’t match, and the commission they didn’t get – and of course the reputation damage caused publically on twitter.
Furthermore, they lose out for a few days as regular users are cautious to return. I seriously doubt any claims of it being on purpose.
Betfair doesn’t care, they have a monopoly on exchanges.
This is a bit more difficult to argue on both sides. When Betfair goes down, the whole betting industry now cave’s in. Just look at two other exchanges liquidity below. The only way you’re likely to make any money on those would be with automation scattering hundreds of tiny bets throughout the market…
Do they care? I’m sure many of their employees do. However, they’re not bothered enough to make a public apology or significant changes it would seem.
At this point I want to be fair; SMarkets, Matchbook, and Betdaq aren’t squeaky clean either. They all have additional charges ranging from 10%-60% for winners. As the image above shows, their liquidity is largely false… whilst they focus on other projects like games and Sportsbooks.
Public figures get special deals so don’t speak out.
This one is point-blank crap! There aren’t special deals or incentives to keep schtum. Software vendors are incentivised to get users on their products, they get a % of users commissions, although that’s standard practice, it’s not a special deal. In any instance, this doesn’t help me as I’m not one!
As for not speaking out, well – this post should be enough.
They want people to use the Sportsbook instead.
To be fair – I doubt the exchange and Sportsbook infrastructure have much to do with one another. If one should go down it doesn’t necessarily mean the other will…
However, Exchange promotion and all-around love is rare these days. You’ll even see Sportsbook adverts on their Exchange twitter feed. Although it may not be an aggressive move, I’d assume they prefer punters bet on the Sportsbook.
Future of Exchanges?
The big question is; are exchanges going to recover?
It’s an open-ended question, as I don’t really know. The answer probably lies in the Betfair boardroom. Maybe they’ll make a public announcement, maybe they won’t.
In the meantime, there’s still plenty of cash to be made. It’s just sad to see as somebody that has spent so much of their time around the flashing numbers.
Betfair; over to you…
p.s. it’s happening again, right now! Ascot should be fun next week.
I wonder if the outage issues could be down to overload due to data-mining? Having just completed my first 6 months of trading with mixed (but not disastrous) results, I do confess to spending about one-third of my trading time in practise mode working on different strategies. Although I am not intentionally mining data, I would’ve thought that because of the increased popularity of sports trading, there could be many people out there spending days on end using software in practise mode (as I have done whilst learning). If this is the case, surely it has the potential to place enormous strain on the API within Betfair’s servers?
No idea, they don’t offer feedback to why do they…
I seriously doubt they can’t predict server load, or can’t handle users practicing. Now bots could put a strain on the API. But they have systems in place to rate limit. The historical data all seems to be on a different server, and it’s interesting that the sportsbook stays up while the exchange goes down. There’s one reason for that, they are throwing money and experience at keeping the most profitable parts of the site up. Believe me if you don’t want your site to go down you can hire people to stop it going down, everything goes down for a reason and they have endless logs and data to pinpoint that reason if they wanted to search for it. It’s likely that the exchange just doesn’t make as much as casinos and sportsbook and they don’t want push team members onto that side of things.
So frustrating! I’ve spent so much time and made so much sacrifice to learn about exchange trading and to supplement my income and Betfair just keeps going offline.
It impacts on us all negatively, myself included…
I don’t like it that I’ve invested so much and help others to use the exchange and then it repeatedly lets us all down. Leave me looking bad too!
I remember when everyone you spoke to about betting was excited about Betfair.
Hi Caan. What it’s the betfair link adress for your last screenshot. Mine doesn’t look like yours. Cheers
It was the Betfair homepage at the time of posting.
Betfair are continuously shite, yet we all still go back. We give them no incentive to improve. Someone needs to organise a mass-boycott. Even if betfair makes no changes as a result, it would be a good experiment to see the effect on the betdaq markets if we all agreed to only trade there for a day/week/month/forever
Agreement the problem there T…
As you probably realise, if most people left the snakes that remained would reap the benefits!
…and they’d know it.
An interesting scenario would be what might happen if thousands of Betfair users all agreed to boycot their platform in favour of signing up with one of the other exchanges, Betdaq probably being the most likely choice??
See previous response above to T.
Such an honest write up. It takes guts to speak out in your position I commend you sir!
I can attribute 90% of my losses to betfair crashes over the last month. i trade horses that are possibly going to be front runners. some at high odds. making very modest returns with the stakes im using. Im happy with that on a day to day basis, but i need to take sp for unmatched bets to limit the one that dont go the way i was expecting. today that didnt happen. thought it was me at first not clicking properly til it happened the 2nd time followed by a crash. if this was ment to be planned maintenance why didn’t the warn users in advance is my question? the answer i think is there statement on site was a lie
A combination of bad decision making and diabolical luck left me 50-50 about continuing trading , today’s shambles has made up my mind …. I’m done
I have quit too.
Its not worth the effort. plus the premium charge.No thanks.
Unfortunately, BFs refusal to respond to their customers questions adequately regarding these outages make them appear, at best, less than honest.
If betfair had intentions of planned maintenance work, they should have put up a warning before the scheduled time.
Unfortunately, when betfair went down, it affected the other exchanges too.
In smarkets, the spread was huge, and the money dried up as well.
I don’t understand why betfair doesn’t run the exchange in several different places. Surely, they could keep the exchange running somewhere, whilst maintaining the copy to improve it?
Another thing: I have never seen the sportsbook go down. Coincidence or not?
No good for me anyway, when I’m only allowed to bet a few pence there.
Matthew Downes.. with you on that one, spent lots learning and cannot build a bank. well its hard to. but don’t give up!! we all meet up in thailand when me get the big bucks, just hoping i make it before Caan retires! lol .
Very fair of you. I would not have been so pleasant writing this!
I just had an interesting thought, a lot of bots trade on betfair. Are the outages ruining bot profitability or are the bots getting direct access via the API? At the very least the bots can hammer the API until their orders get filled.