Alexandru Teodorescu, the Chief Product Officer at Oddslife, spoke to SBC News about re-positioning the company within the market, his preparation for ICE and LAC, and a move into eSports.
SBC: You’ve been going through some intensive R&D at Oddslife – what have you been working on?
AT: Indeed, we’ve been through some very busy months here at Oddslife, researching and re-positioning our product offering. This was a business-wide exercise, spanning from the product itself to the monetisation avenues we’re planning to pursue.
As a quick example, we’ve rebuilt the user experience from scratch to align it better with the needs of our customers – sports fans and casual punters. Part of that process was to come up with brand new competition types, leading us to develop new engaging gameplays for the users, some of them being unique on the market. And I can say that we’ve only just scratched the surface, with a very strong roadmap ahead of us, loaded with cool engagement features.
SBC: What’s the key in keeping players engaged in a social environment?
AT: In the context of social betting, I would say that the engagement is derived more from the features of the gameplay rather than its social components. Of course, the social parts are still important: competing against others, liking/disliking, copying bets, commenting and so on, but what really makes the difference is the narrative, user journey and overall experience you have while playing, which is given by the game design.
It’s crucial to understand the psychology of your players, what motivates and demotivates them, and then use the appropriate game elements and design techniques to push the right buttons to keep them engaged. Things like having a good storyline, offering a sense of game progression, releasing variable rewards or unexpected ones – who doesn’t like surprises?! And the list is long and includes funny named ones, such as Magnetic Cap, Beginner’s Luck or Rare Diamonds – game techniques that gamification geeks – like us – would feel familiar with.
SBC: While the platform generates revenues through betting, you’ve also introduced other revenue streams; how does this work?
AT: From the very beginning our B2B business approach has been based on running a network of localised sites, in partnership with leading local sports media partners. This means that our software has been developed with careful consideration for scalability and customisation options from the get go, which further reinforce our decision to focus on being a B2B social betting solution provider.
Today we are offering a robust and complete white label solution to digital / sports media, gambling operators and consumer brand companies that are looking to acquire sports fans and sports bettors, or engage and monetise their existing audiences. The platform requires minimal operational resources, yet it comes with a comprehensive suite of administration and reporting tools, enabling our clients to manage the platform and profile their users effectively.
SBC: How flexible is the Oddslife platform? What can it do that the competition is unable to do?
AT: As mentioned before, flexibility was one of our platform’s main requirements from the get go. This refers both to the visual customisation – colours, fonts, styles, content etc. – but also to the components delivered. We recognise that different clients have different needs and our modular architecture allows them to pick and mix the components that are right for them. Our offering ranges from competitions and challenges to blogs, statistics, live scores, odds comparisons, tips and more. Besides this, our strong development team can quickly implement any additional requirements.
Another area where we stand out is the range and approach we have with the design of our competitions as many of them feature unique gameplay, carefully crafted to maximise the user engagement. For instance, a common problem with traditional tipster competitions that make use of monthly leaderboards is that users who start in the middle of the month or users who have a bad losing streak will feel demotivated and leave.
Our solution was to implement a dynamic leaderboard based on the last 50 transactions of the user, so the time of joining doesn’t matter anymore and a losing streak can be easily covered by 50 new good bets. This also makes things a bit more volatile, giving more users the chance to rank in the leaderboard.
SBC: Is there still a space in the market for social betting?
AT: Social betting is a busy and challenging market. We’ve seen many promising rising stars in this space turning into star dust. And we know all too well, from personal experience, that this is a tough nut to crack. However, I also think the playful nature of the social betting offers plenty of room for innovation. So yes, I do believe there’s space for new entrants, so long as the right ideas get matched with the right resources – especially the right budgets.
SBC: What will you be presenting at ICE & LAC this year?
AT: I am quite excited about our up and coming launch of EsportsPredictor.com (site not live yet), which will see our platform being utilised for free-play predictions with virtual currency on eSports. This new and intuitive gameplay will resonate very well with eSports fans wanting to have a go with match predictions on their favourite teams and players. For that reason, I welcome interested parties to reach out to me to have a talk about this at ICE and LAC.
Furthermore, I am excited about the coming launch of www.OddsDaddy.com, which will mainly be focused on sports predictions and social betting in the UK market. In this regard, I also want to encourage interested parties to get in touch to discuss sponsorship opportunities with me.
Last, but not least, Oddslife recently reached an agreement with Italian sports giant La Gazzetta dello Sport to become re-seller of digital advertising on www.Gazzetta.it. We can offer advertising towards millions of users from all countries in the world besides Italy (all traffic from foreign IP’s).
Oddslife and myself will be having meetings at stand SD2-C&D during ICE, and walking around the expo at LAC to meet with operators and potential media partners. Come by and say hello or book a meeting with me.