tipstrr: a Betting Community you can Trust
Posted 23rd April 2018
I spent 14 years verifying online sports betting advisory services through my service Sports-Tipsters. In 2012 I wrote my second book about that journey, revealing the truth about this industry: its very limited ability to turn luck into skill, its overconfidence, its survivorship bias, and occasionally its fraudulent tactics.
Those of you who have followed me will know I place a lot of emphasis on simply being upfront and telling the truth when it comes to the buying and selling of betting tips. From the tipster's perspective, that obviously means not changing tips histories. But it also means not presenting results in a manner that makes you look better than you are, not claiming retrospectively tested results that pre-date the age of your service. not using bookmakers who are obviously joke brands with reputations for immediate stake limitation or outright bans, and taking a mature view regards the subscription fees you charge, the number of customers you have and the impact odds movements will have on the ability of your customers to back the prices you advise. Suffice it to say, I won't suffer fools in this industry, and if I see someone taking the piss I'll tell others that they are taking the piss.
Consequently, it is rare when I find a website that I actually have respect for what they are trying to achieve. One of these is tipstrr, an online sports betting and tipping community where punters can follow free and subscription tips from advisory services using their platform. Run by Damien Fearn, a former sports data analyst for English football clubs and latterly a sports trader, he and his team aim to put punters in touch with tipsters with a view to maximising the chances of making a long term profit. I won't mince my words here but having met him Damien won't mind me doing so: most of the tipsters that will use the tipstrr platform to sell their services will probably not be offering anything much more than luck. As with any tipster supermarket, the vast majority of profitable tipsters will not be able to sustain short term successes over the long run. Damien has agreed to allow me to analyse his database of nearly a million tips to find out if the distribution of tipster performance looks much like others I have found in the past. In due courseI hope to report the findings.
What sets Damien and tipstrr apart, however, is their willingness to embrace an honest and realistic approach. In addition to freely acknowledging that many of the tipsters using tipstrr will ultimately prove to be largely unskilled, the platform also limits the number of bookmakers that tipsters can use when advising betting prices. What is the point of quoting odds from a brand like Marathonbet, when the customer will almost certainly be limited to $1 stakes or less every time they try to use them after just a handful of wagers? People use tipsters in an attempt to make a meaningful profit. No one will be doing that at a brand like Marathonbet, and if anyone is it's because Marathonbet have strong reasons for believing you're and idiot who will give it all back to them in the future. Of the small number of bookmakers the tipstrr platform allows, Pinnacle and SBObet are two of them, both known for allowing winning customers. Taking such an approach creates an air of credibility to the prices the tipsters are advising and which the tipstrr platform is recording for tip histories.
Since the news broke last year that certain tipsters were deliberating offering losing tips to customers to help them earn an affiliate revenue with bookmakers, the industry has been awash with judgments and criticisms, some of them fair, some of them uninformed, about the incompatibility of tipsters seeking to profit directly from punters losses whilst allegedly distributing tips that make a profit. tipstrr has taken the decision to sidestep the controversy and simply refuse to enter into affiliate partnerships with bookmakers. Regardless of the rights or wrongs of tipsters choosing to follow the affiliation route, by taking this decision, tipstrr has left no room for criticism. You know where you stand: they will not be making money from punters losses, just their agreed percentage share for tipsters' subscriptions.
Some years ago when I first discovered tipstrr, my concern with it was that it was claiming a level of verification that lacked a credible independence. My Sports-Tipsters never took any money from the sale of tips, and existed purely as a 3rd party independent monitor of tipping services. As tipstrr is taking a percentage share of subscriptions it cannot be regarded as truly independent. This is a drawback that Damien has acknowledged to me, but then how do you go about getting an independent third party to verify potentionally thousands of tipsters and hundreds of thousands of tips that would simply be replicating what the tipstrr platform is doing anyway? Perhaps reproducing the same published performance form a randomised sample would be the way to do it. I'm sure Damien will be open to anyone with ideas.
When I met with Damien, he also explained to me other aspects of the management philosophy that focuses on achieving respect through credibility rather than simply profits via embellishment. For example, tipsters who are caught trying to manipulate the system in an attempt to enhance their records will be given a warning, followed by removal if persisting in such activity. Other features like comparing tipsters' advised prices to closing prices are also being considered.
I won't tell you that if you buy tips from a tipstrr tipster you will be guaranteed to make money. But what I am confident of is that you will be dealing with a platform that has the customer's interests at heart and which you can trust. Trust is often a limited commodity in he sports tipping sector, so when you find it, take note.