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.
Do Twitter Tipsters deserve the criticism?
I have some experience in this field, so I’m able to offer a fresh perspective.
Bookmaker Affiliate Schemes
Firstly, let’s take a look at how Twitter Tipsters earn 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 lose theirs. This is absolutely true for affiliates under a Revenue Share scheme, and this arrangement helps to explain why so many Tipsters are motivated to constantly share their so-called “knowledge” with the public.
How the “Revenue Share” Model Works
A Bookmaker’s affiliate scheme involves a referrer (the Tipster in this case), who will be paid a monthly commission when referred players collectively lose money. This is in the region of 10-40% of the net revenue.
Bare in mind that Bookmakers — and by extension, Revenue Share affiliates — only earn when their players lose. So there’s every incentive for the affiliate Tipster to build a base of customers that loses rather than wins.
It sounds cynical, but the best scenario affiliate Tipsters could hope for is that punters sign up to Bookmakers through their tracking links and lose large sums of money by following their bets. This leads on to the big question about social media Tipsters…
Why Social Media Tipsters Lose
Just like with winning, it’s also difficult to predict what’s going to lose in sports betting. If it were that simple we could easily earn a living from sports betting by Laying “losing” selections on Betfair. So I don’t believe that social media tipsters are purposely giving losing bets.
But here’s the issue I have: Tipsters should be recommending you the best odds. These are found on a betting exchange or a sharp Bookmaker. Instead they’re recommending retail Bookmakers, where you’ll get inferior odds, and will grind a loss in the long term.
The bottom line is that Bookmaker affiliates earn a lot more from the hefty share of Bookmaker losses than a share of the (relatively minuscule) commission earned on winnings from the Exchange. In other words, there’s little motivation to promote betting exchanges over Bookies.
Note: Some Tipsters charge a % on winnings. This carries its own risks. Learn more from my post: Will Tipsters Make Me Money?
Psychology of Social Media Gamblers
Here’s an interesting counter-argument: how do tipsters continue to maintain such large followings if they lead players to a loss?
It comes down to psychology. There’s no shortage of punters looking to blindly follow tips on Twitter, without ever doing the required research into a Tipster’s long term profitability. It’s not uncommon for gamblers to observe one or two legitimately winning tips and then attempt to replicate that.
Furthermore, some gamblers will keep faith even if they’re losing — putting the losing run down to a bad streak rather than a flawed system.
There’s also a lot of underhanded tactics going on. Some social media Tipster have been known to involve mates, colleagues, associates, and false identities to propagate positive feedback on their page to entice more followers.
Sure, some followers will see the cracks appearing sooner than others. But those people alone aren’t enough to slow down a huge collective of keen gamblers.
The (Positive) Social Element That’s Ignored
There’s no end of punters looking to be spoon-fed selections for upcoming events. But, you know what — who am I or anyone else to criticise that?
While there are obvious flaws in following Tipsters on Twitter, it’s understated that a lot of punters do simply enjoy betting within a community. Twitter is the perfect platform for both Tipsters and sports bettors to offer an opinion on sport, to brag/celebrate about winnings in front of a crowd, and to soak up losses together.
While gamblers are characterised as being dangerously optimistic, I don’t believe that all followers of Twitter Tipsters are victims, per se. Only a low percentage genuinely believe they’re going to earn huge profits; the vast majority are just gambling for fun.
My Experience As A Twitter Tipster
I used to fire out betting stats on Twitter. Does this make me a hypocrite?
My approach was slightly different to most social media tipsters. I always stated that the stats I provided were there to assist bettors in making informed bets. Nothing was speculative, it all came from an automated system.
Importantly, I never guaranteed profits and quoted Betfair prices because they were the best value. For lack of a better term, the Punter2Pro Twitter was a “betting aid“.
However, becoming a betting aid and providing (seemingly) unrivalled statistics had limited success on Twitter. Whie feedback from professionals was positive, the majority of gamblers saw my account as overbaring, and “too much effort”. After all, another Twitter account would guarantee its followers would be rich within a month — why bother with Punter2Pro?
the suggestions were based on market data.
Who knows, maybe it just needed a little more time to catch on.
Anyhow, due to the data collection required, providing automated tips was an expensive project to run so it eventually came to a halt.
If you’re looking for the most popular Twitter betting accounts, check out the article: Top Twitter Tipsters To Follow
Finding Profitable Tipsters
As I regularly preach on this blog, following Tipsters doesn’t always align with the principles of value betting.
The biggest problem with Social Media tipping is accountability and honesty. Profit-and-loss sheets are rarely kept, and some are fake/incomplete.
Tips For Using Social Media Tipsters
If you decide to follow the selections from a Twitter Tipster, you ought to at the very least:
- Verify the performance of the account yourself — preferably over a lot of “shadow” bets.
- Limit you stake sizes to a small amount.
- Shop around for the best odds yourself as opposed to backing where the Tipster tells you to (crucial).
- Avoid following anyone that gives advice like “nevermind the losses, let’s re-load and go again tomorrow Lads!”
- Treat success stories — such as evidence/screenshots of winnings — with a pinch of salt. Many Tipster Twitter accounts involve associates. You can’t believe everything you read.
Take Historical Records Lightly
Be aware that it’s easy for a Tipster to fake a historical record of bets without detection.
I once documented my experience with an online tipster service which had a professional-looking website, payment gateway and immaculate track record. Yet I came to find that the profit/loss records were deceitful. This particular service documented odds which existed at some point in time — but were infeasible to obtain in real life.
The moral here is to verify that the odds and results quoted by any Tipster are actually achievable in practice. It’s vitally important.
My Conclusion on Twitter Tipping
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving/receiving betting advice. It actually brings a sociable element to what’s often solitary.
But there are a lot of social media Tipsters using affiliate links for bookmakers, primarily motivated to raise turnover — not to guide their players to a profit. So it’s common to find Twitter Tipsters saying things like: “we’re releasing all our tips tonight lads — load up your Bet365 accounts and we’ll take them down!”.
But as I’ve made clear in this post: following advice like this isn’t going to be profitable. Bet365 would not allow their own affiliates to “take them down”.
Needless to say, I’m not a believer in following Twitter Tipsters. But it’s the Bookmakers that facilitated this whole game to begin with, and allowed it to spiral out of control to the point that gambling regulators have now had to step in by outlining more stringent advertising rules for social media.
So my advice is to always carefully assess Twitter Tipsters on an individual basis, or simply look elsewhere.
You might want to…
- Check out my favourite Tipster Services. These are the only Tipster sites I’m willing to recommend on this site.
- Use a Value Bet Finder instead. They provide a constant flow of selections that are extremely conscious of the odds.
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