I was impressed to see Aintree splashed from top to bottom in purple the other day as the Daq marketing team had obviously chosen to go all out for the National. Huge white tanks were driven up the roads outside the venue as those on board cried 'Don't settle for Betfair' and covered the crowds in Betdaq flyers. Flyers, tanks and billboards are all lovely but they aren't much use if there is still no money in the markets. In a bid to gain more liquidity quickly, they offered commission free winnings on the National and this did certainly seem to have a positive short term effect (see below). Where the struggle lies however, is getting people to keep their winnings on the site and not, as I did, withdraw them immediately to return to Betfair.
Picture of total matched on the National (taken from Twitter account of @TrevDaq)
The biggest competition this week is The Masters and I was surprised to discover that Betdaq currently has almost double the amount matched in the outright winners market than Betfair, with £13.6m and £7.1m matched respectively. This would definitely appear to suggest that the tide may be turning and as long as Daq can keep hold of a few customers from each tournament, then it may well begin to compete. It will be interesting to see how the two progress as the tournament goes in play.
Unfortunately however things are not looking as good in Betdaq's other markets and if we delve into one of the (subjectively) biggest football matches of the day, the Daq's liquidity begins to fall down once again compared to Betfair.
A poor show from BetDaq
Better from Betfair
This is much the same across the board for most of the sports today, so it would be fair to assume that many of the National punters have just moved their winnings along to the Masters in search of another 66/1 winner.
So what can we learn from this? Is Betfair a machine which just cannot be caught? Or are BetDaq in it for real this time? Personally it looks to me like the Daq are still finding their feet and are progressing slowly but surely with the strong backing of Ladbrokes. This type of thing does not happen overnight, people do not just wake up and decide to take all of their pennies out of Betfair, it will need to be a very slow and gradual movement from one to the other. Offering the odd commission free market at the big events seems to be working so far, though I'm not sure what it does for their profit margins, but it is still going to take a lot more than that to work permanently, though based on the show so far their backers are willing to invest a lot in marketing and branding to boost their reputation, which is a positive sign. I'm not sure if it is possible or not but I would have thought that offering a commission free period on, say, football for a month would gain the site a lot of attention and attract a lot more customers. While I reckon this would be too much for the profit margins to handle however, it would probably achieve gains in the long run, even if there were short term losses.
Whatever the case, BetDaq appears to be slowly evolving into a genuine competitor to Betfair and it will be interesting to see if they can begin to match everyone's expectations soon.