Online gambling and gaming is big business. In fact it's a £650 million in the UK alone with over two million regular active participants. It is one of the competitive online spaces out there, with companies working on razed-thin margins, looking at any way they can to gain a competitive advantage. Watch any sporting event on commercial TV these days and you cannot fail to notice the how many of these firms advertise during the ad breaks, all trying to tempt new customers with outlandish offers.
The race to acquire new online customers has been given a massive boost by the development of digital technologies including smartphones that have removed the tawdry image of smoke-filled sleazy betting shops to slick, sexy apps that allow gamblers to place a bet on virtually any sport, taking place anywhere in the world at any time at the click of a button.
Any technological development will give one of these organizations a competitive advantage for a very period of time before all of the other companies follow suit. In such a crowded market gaming firms look at two distinct areas to grab new customers - offering very attractive odds and outbidding their competitors in the digital paid search arena. Few digital gamblers stay loyal to one brand. With the attractive offers, including free bets, to entice new customers, most users of online betting will have accounts with multiple firms, taking advantage of the free introductory offers. The challenge is to try and keep them loyal.
There are a number of betting spikes during the year, events which drive significant activity. The Cheltenham Festival every March (worth £250 million in stakes alone) the Grand National in April and The Epsom Derby in June normally provide rich pickings for the bookmakers and signal an increase in online competitive activity. The terms "bet" and "betting" are two of the most competitive pay per click terms, and the average cost per click rises at times of heightened betting activity such as the run up to the forthcoming Epsom Derby.
However, could the digital battleground be about to take a new direction with the launch of the new dotBet gTLD? Google's ever changing search ranking algorithm hasn't yet started favouring new gTLDs over the traditional dotCom or dotUK domains but with over 100 applications of their own, the masters of the Internet are sure to have a thing or two up their sleeves that will start to look at the relevance of what comes to the right of the dot as well as what's to the left. The concept of Exact Domain Match (EDM) as a ranking favour is already being advocated by some SEO experts, which means the use of relevant generic Top Level Domains could hold the key to getting one step ahead.
Domain names such as online.bet, horseracing.bet, bestodds.bet, grandnational.bet and thederby.bet will be much sort after. Some of the online players will already have realised the power of these names and will undoubtedly be making moves to secure them, even if they come at a premium. But for the rest? We can always hope Google won't change their ranking algorithm, but I wouldn't dotBet on it!