Bookmakers, it’s time to think outside the box

Not tonight, love, I'm downloading my apps
Not tonight, love, I'm downloading my apps

Is it just me or does every UK betting website look the same these days? I understand that there is a need to identify the product you are selling and also to ensure new customers don’t get lost in navigation, but is it really a good idea to be a sheep?

Indeed, in the defence of sheep, being a sheep is all they have ever known, so being a sheep is no bad thing – unless of course you find yourself on the next truck to the abattoir. In the world of eGaming, though, surely a new focus, a new look, a brave new step would be no bad thing?

In the early days when companies were scrambling around to grab whatever land had yet to be claimed, some bookmakers tried to not only create an identity, but also to offer interesting content. The layout of the sites had yet to be controlled by a few software houses and bookmakers weren’t limited to functionality by dictatorial back-end suppliers. Unfortunately, though, this changed quite quickly when bookmakers started to use one of two main suppliers.

Suddenly, instead of being able to build and do whatever they wanted they had to wait in project line (the length of the line depended on which bookmaker you were) to eventually get told that the project was not cost effective or would take too long to deliver. In other words, it was scrapped.

These days all the major players’ websites look like they have been designed by someone that would prefer be in bed with an iPhone rather than Megan Fox and I demand to know why.

What is the bookmakers’ differential? The odds certainly aren’t. With bookmakers scared of putting their heads above the Betfair price threshold they need to come up with exciting products that set them apart. Everyone, rightly so, has jumped on the in-running wagon. But even here the products are unbelievably similar.

At least Bodog have thought outside the box in this regard and shown that the creative thought process is alive and well with their ‘Who Killed Archie Mitchell?’ live betting offering? This is a rare exception to the increasingly monotonous rule.

I believe, that if you take brand loyalty out of the equation there is room for a forward thinking bookmaker to mop up the floating punters. Give them a reason to keep coming back to your site. Wow them. Excite them. Offer something new. But, please stop copying each other, as progress will surely soon grind to a halt.