BUSINESS

Betfair Facebook app approval took a month of ‘midnight phone calls’

TAGs: Betfair, Facebook, Social Media

betfair-facebook-appGoldman Sachs has completed its offering of Facebook shares on secondary trading markets. Facebook raised a total of $1.5b via the deal, giving the social networking colossus a valuation of around $50b. (This news will delight the Winklevoss twins.) The company’s CFO was coy about how Zuckerberg planned to blow his new bankroll, saying only “With this investment completed, we now have greater financial flexibility to explore whatever opportunities lie ahead.”

Betfair would love if Facebook were to consider online betting an opportunity. Ben Carter, Betfair’s head of central online marketing, was one proud papa when the betting exchange became the first online gambling firm to launch a Facebook-approved branded app last year, albeit an app that only allowed fans to share match predictions. Convincing Facebook to lower the anti-gambling drawbridge even that far “took four and a half weeks and I don’t know how many midnight phone calls to the US to get approved.”

Carter obviously puts a lot of stock into online marketing, but he finds the inability to quantify social media’s return on investment problematic; worse, he doesn’t believe that picture will be any clearer any time soon. The lack of response data from mobile operators on Betfair’s SMS campaigns is another source of frustration for a guy who claims his company bases every decision they make on hard numbers. “All [SMS operators] can tell me is the campaign was delivered. It’s the same for mobile display.”

In an effort to fill that data void, Carter and his team spent part of last year hanging out in San Francisco, soaking up tips from digital marketing agencies and data analysts. Carter was impressed by the way social gaming companies could “change the color of a banner and measure the impact within the hour. There’s no reason why we can’t do that.” Given Carter’s can-do confidence, perhaps he’ll come up with something to give Betfair’s share price a boost. After beginning life exactly three months ago at £13 per share, and closing as high as £15.5 after its first day of trading, the stock closed on Friday at an even £10.

Speaking of share prices, we here at CalvinAyre.com feel we should apologize for our recent article that took a pessimistic view on the Pwin merger based on revelations contained within the companies’ disclosure documents. It has come to our attention that in the two trading days that followed our article’s publication, Bwin and PartyGaming stocks have each fallen around 6%. For the record, we had no idea we possessed such influence. Honestly. If we had, we’d have been shorting the stocks of every publicly traded gaming company on the planet. (Kidding, kidding…)

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