How to Land Poker Players? Try Blockbuster & Twitter

Not long after the Department Of Justice started shutting down poker sites in the US, it was surmised on some blogs and chat boards that plan of action from racing to land poker players should be front and center, and expected swiftly. Since that time we have heard very little from racing on how they might try to put in place such a plan, or even if they are thinking about it. Without a league office, money and some will, I guess no one is overly surprised.

I was struck with just how different it is in other businesses and we received a nice example of that this past week.

Netflix (the online streaming company, and former IPO darling) raised prices last month, much to the dismay of their customers, and they suffered mightily. Their stock dropped from about $220 since last month, closing today at about $113.

Like we see all too often however: One man's crisis is another man's opportunity.

Enter Netflix competitor Blockbuster and their new owner.

Sensing an opening last week - not in a month, or after they formed a committee - they got rolling.

"The decision by Netflix to raise prices on its DVD and video streaming rental packages did more than kick off the company’s slide in terms of customer happiness (and share price). It gave rival Blockbuster a rare opportunity to strike back, Twitter-style."

On September 19th, the day Netflix was getting clobbered for the first time:
  • Blockbuster started a new Twitter contest, promising a free year of service for the four best Netflix breakup stories.
  • In some cases Blockbuster has used direct messages—DM in Twitter parlance—to entice users—preferably those with a large Twitter followings–to promote Blockbuster offers in return for free subscriptions.
  • Blockbuster sponsored the word “Qwikster” on Twitter. When users searched Twitter for Qwikster, Blockbuster messaging would be the first to pop up in the search category. (Netflix hastily started a new arm for DVD rentals called "Qwikster", but failed to land the twitter account)
  • The team has also directly interacted with 150 thousand people in its #helloBlockbuster campaign.
As the WSJ article notes (the article is a good read) - they did not do everything right. But they did something.

Customers do not fall in your lap, they have to be earned through hard work. In today's world of streaming movies and DVD's the response is swift - almost immediate. Poker was shut down in April, and we're still waiting for racings response.


That Blog Guy said...

You may be too hard on racing. In the United States, racing is so overly regulated that it is hard to get anything moving.

Case in point. Someone relayed this to me. They suggested a promotion to someone at a track that they offer a $100 betting voucher for a drawing of all losing Pick4 wagers in an effort to stimulate interest in their Pick 4 one particular weekend.

The answer? They couldn't because they needed the racing commission's approval to offer such a promotion, which required a ten day lead time.

First it boggles my mind that they would need someone's permission to offer a $100 betting voucher in a contest, and being so it would take ten days to get permission.

Well, being this is the case, how could you expect racing to move fast to capture online players?

PTP said...


We know that, and it sucks, but no response at all? No plan, because one track somewhere can't do something? No marketing plan with a brand message about racing like Blockbuster is trying to do?

We throw up our hands in racing and say "we can't do that" so often it has become our mantra, and encourages negative growth, imo. Giving racing a pass on such matters is enabling.


Eric P said...

Evidence indicates that Associations in jurisdictions that receive slot revenue without any performance criteria are not very aggressive in attracting Horseplayers. I BET that would change if criteria were established in order for the Associations to EARN their slot revenue.

T.J. Burkett said...


Does this count?:

T.J. Burkett said...


Does this count?:

Anonymous said...

possibly much easier than the OP???
how about a horse racing add on the ESPN main page. Yet to be tried, for reasons unknown.

Pull the Pocket said...

Hi TJ,

That was a nice idea by Peter. It's one way to do something.



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