Over the last couple of years there’s been some negative media attention on the “Twitter Tipsters” — the guys that tweet sports betting tips to their followers. Vice Sports published an article which whole-wholeheartedly slated them, questioned their credentials, their honesty and what they actually offer to punters.
I have some experience in this field, so i’m able to offer an insider’s perspective…
Do Twitter Tipsters Deserve Criticism?
Disclaimer: I have tried to remain unbiased and rational in answering this question. But I couldn’t possibly claim to know about each and every ‘Twitter Tipster’.
► The Affiliate System
Firstly, let’s take a look at how Twitter Tipsters make a profit.
What Vice Sports drew attention to in their article was that the Affiliate Tipsters earn money when the very people they are advising to lose theirs. This is absolutely true for affiliates under a “revenue share” scheme, and it helps to explain why so many Tipsters are motivated to constantly share their so-called “knowledge” with the public.
How exactly does the “revenue share” work, you ask?
A Bookmaker’s affiliate system involves a referrer (the Tipster in this case), who will be paid a monthly commission when the Bookmaker earns. This is in the region of 20-40% of the net revenue.
Remember that Bookmakers only earn when their players lose money. So there’s every incentive for the affiliate Tipster to refer players that lose overall. Collectively winning players won’t earn them a commission.
chabuddy g will be in on the tipping game soon…
I’m not saying that all Tipsters provide losing bets. It’s actually very difficult to predict what’s going to lose you money in sports betting. If it were that easy we would all be making money by Laying “losing” selections on Betfair, right?
But here’s the truth. Tipsters should be recommending you odds on a betting exchange — where you’ll get the best deal possible. Instead they’re recommending Bookmakers, where you’ll get inferior odds. The problem stems from the fact that they’ll earn a lot more from the hefty commission % on losses incurred at Bookmakers than a share of the commission earned on winnings at the Exchange. There’s little motivation to promote betting exchanges.
Realistically, Punters avidly backing Twitter tips at the Bookies are likely to incur losses over a long period of time. The Tipsters ultimately benefit from that.
So think about that for a second.
Actually, don’t even think about it. Just ask yourself: if a Tipster needs losing players to earn money, then why would you accept tips from him?
Note: Some Tipsters charge a % on winnings, which is a slightly better scenario.
But hang on. Why would anyone even follow a losing Tipster to begin with?
It’s an interesting counter-argument. If a Tipster provides losing tips, then he isn’t going to attract too many followers that’ll sign up through his affiliate links, right?
Whilst I agree in principle, I know that there’s no shortage of Punters looking to blindly follow tips on Twitter. Just because one person sees through it doesn’t mean another won’t witness one or two legitimately winning tips, immediately buy into the Tipster, and load up their betting account. Not everyone does thorough checks.
I think Vice are right to criticise the affiliate setup Tipsters have with the Bookies.
► Twitter Tipping Culture
Tips are regularly fired out by Twitter Tipsters. And there’s no end of punters that are looking to be spoon-fed selections. But, you know what — who am I or anyone else to criticise that?
What Vice Sports failed to acknowledge is that a lot of Punters do just enjoy betting with a community. Twitter is a perfect platform for Tipsters and Punters to offer an opinion on sport, to brag/celebrate about their winnings in front of a crowd, and to soak up their losses together.
Whilst gamblers are an optimistic bunch I don’t think that all followers of Twitter Tipsters genuinely believe they’re going to earn huge profits. I think most of them realise they’re gambling recreationally like everyone else. It’s just a bit of fun, that’s all.
However, there are hundreds of Twitter Tipster accounts across social media asking for hefty subscription fees for private or ‘VIP’ tips. I’d avoid those. But I’ll get onto this in the following section on ‘Profitability’.
If you do follow the selections from a Twitter Tipster, you ought to at the very least:
- Verify the performance of the account (preferably over a lot of bets).
- Limit you stake sizes.
- Shop around for the best odds yourself as opposed to backing where the Tipster tells you to (crucial).
- Avoid following advice like “nevermind the losses, let’s re-barrel and go again tomorrow Lads!”
- Treat success stories — such as evidence/screenshots of winnings — with a pinch of salt.
I’m certain that many Tipster Twitter accounts involve their mates, colleagues, associates, and false identities to propagate positive feedback on their page. You can’t believe everything you read. Don’t take any of this stuff too seriously.
As I regularly preach on this blog, the whole concept of Tipping doesn’t really lend itself to value betting. If you’re receiving several selections in one go then it’s unlikely to work, full stop. Read more on this here.
One issue with the Twitter Tipsters is that they heavily rely on self promotion. For example, “bigging up” their own wins and playing down their losses. I don’t think it’s always deliberate either. Some Tipsters are gamblers themselves and are most likely in the habit of doing precisely that — playing up wins. It’s not a good trait, though.
The biggest problem is that profit-and-loss sheets are rarely kept by Twitter Tipsters. Vice Sport claimed that a lot of Tipsters were making up their profit/loss records, and when they tracked it independently it showed a big loss. I haven’t personally proofed any twitter Tipsters, so I can’t comment on that.
However, I subscribed to an online Tipping service with a professional website, payment gateway and neat user interface. The profit and loss records on this service was certainly deceitful. The records quoted odds which existed at some point throughout the day, but were ultimately impossible to achieve. Imagine when the odds settled at 5.0 (pre-race) but peaked at 9.0 earlier in the day. It’s unrealistic to assume you would have grabbed that ‘peak’ price. The moral here is to verify that the odds and results quoted are actually achievable. It’s vitally important.
► Punter2Pro was (sort of) a Twitter Tipster once upon a time…
I did indeed fire out betting stats on Twitter. Does this make me a hypocrite?
In my defence I always stated that the stats I provided were there to assist Punters in making informed bets. Nothing was speculative, it all came from an automated system. But importantly, I never guaranteed profits. Furthermore, I even quoted Betfair prices because they were the best value. For lack of a better term, the Punter2Pro Twitter was a “betting aid”.
However being a betting aid providing (seemingly) unrivalled statistics had limited success in the Twitter Tipping game. Whilst feedback from the professionals was almost entirely positive — the majority saw it as too much effort. After all, another Twitter account would spoon feed its followers magical tips that’ll make everyone a millionaire within the year. So why bother with Punter2Pro?
the suggestions were based on market data.
Who knows, maybe it just needed a little more time to catch on. I still believe there’s a gap in the market for a ‘betting aid’ which doesn’t promise results, but encourages smart selections.
Anyhow, due to the data collection required, the automated tips was an expensive project to run, so it eventually came to a halt.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving/receiving advice on betting. It actually brings a sociable element to what’s usually solitary. But just remember that a lot of Twitter Tipsters are using affiliate links at the bookmakers and won’t earn unless their referred customers collectively lose money in a given month.
As a result of the affiliate setup you can expect to find Twitter Tipsters saying things like “we’re releasing all our tips tonight lads — load up your Bet365 accounts and we’ll smash them!”. But as I’ve made clear in this post: there’s pretty much nothing that’s profitable about this approach to betting. And even if it was profitable, do you think Bet365 would tolerate their own affiliates encouraging people to take them down?
So do the Twitter Tipsters deserve heavy criticism?
Granted I’m not a believer in Twitter Tipsters. But the Bookmakers deserve more criticism — they facilitate this game to begin with.
Take my advice and assess Twitter Tipsters on an individual basis. Or change direction and use a Value Bet Finder instead. It provides a constant flow of selections that are extremely conscious of the odds… and i’ve proven that it works.