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There's been a remarkable amount of heat and light on the subject of Auto Bet System X - IV, an upgrade to an existing product called Auto Bet System X.
I've seen videos, blog comment dialogues with the author / vendor, and sundry other entries on various review blogs. One thing I haven't seen is an actual trial of the product! Actually, I have, just recently and more on that in a second.
Firstly, I want to make a quite important - in my opinion - distinction between marketing and product. Let me give you a few examples:
- Coca-Cola use little furry creatures on a sun-drenched day in the park to advertise a fizzy soft drink.
- Xbox computer game ads use CGI footage to promote the game, with a caption in small lettering far from the main on-screen action, which reads, "not actual in game footage".
- Apple's iPod / iPad / iPud (it's only a matter of time before they take on Aunt Bessie for the Yorkshire pud market - I mean the sales pitch is all set up! I digress) shows some super fast screen flows, and then in the same small lettering as above, there's a caption that says something along the lines of 'some screens removed from the flow for expediency purposes'.
Are Coca-Cola mis-selling us? What about Xbox / Microsoft? Apple? The answer, in my opinion, is that yes, they all are.
And, while I'm on this particular soapbox, why are we still receiving automated and unsolicited landline calls to the point where most people don't even answer the thing any more?!
Sales and marketing in this country is an ugly, poorly regulated jungle. In many ways, the horse racing betting system aspects of that jungle are either better tended, or no worse at misrepresenting the product than the big boys.
Let me go a step further, into the murky world of ad-speak, and unearth a few 'tricks of the trade'. In fact, many of you will have long since cottoned on to these, so bear with me if I'm showing you how to count.
Basically, what Coke / Microsoft / Apple are doing - and are allowed to do - is present what the prospective customer wants, rather than what the vendor (i.e. Coke / Microsoft / Apple) actually has.
So, for instance, the Coke buyer wants to be part of the 'in crowd' loving it up at festivals in the park on hot summer days. Drinking Coke ain't gonna do that for you, Master / Miss UglyandUnsociable. For that, you'll need to get a life!
The games addict who wants immersive gameplay to include the smell of guns discharging in his room whilst battling his 'friends' in Call of Duty 26... Mate, you're going to need to join the army and do active service for that immersive experience! (Apologies for minor flippancy with regards to the services - clearly not intended to be offensive).
And the gadget fiend, who actually has to be cool too... well, you my friend - like me - are a geek. Everybody - including you - who knows anything about 'smartphones' (one of the biggest lies in the history of marketing - my Blackberry found the junk drawer within five tortuous months of trying to make it do what it purported to do), knows a) that Google's Android operating system kicks serious faeces in the faces of Mac's OS, and... most embarrassing of all, b) HTC - the little (not so very little actually) Chinese upstart start-up - has a MUCH faster handset than the iPhone 4 in its Desire unit. And... that one doesn't switch itself off if you hold it in the wrong place!
Does this stop people buying Coke / games / Apple products? NO!! Of course not. Why? Because EVERYBODY is aspirational. We ALL want more than we currently have, in one form or another.
We want more sociability (Coke), more of a buzz (games), more speed and interaction ('smart' phones). And the experience in each case is generally great until the novelty wears off and then disappointment pervades (more literally with Coke, as it contains stimulants, but similar with other purchases as well).
I'm pretty sure, though I have no evidence to support this, that buying stuff where we really aspire to the end game, delivers some sort of natural high in terms of chemicals released. Marketers - including me - know there's something in this and play on it.
And, because the Governments of the Western world do not legislate against half-truths in sales copy (actually, the FTC in the US is at least acknowledging the problem with a ham-fisted and misdirected attempt to address online selling. I salute their stance and hope they find a better way to guide the laws toward the real targets), these global advertising monoliths are permitted to get away with their little white lies, all wrapped up in fluffy 'in crowd' 'user experiences'.
How many scam iPhone complaint sites are there? None. Or Coke sites? Not a one. Call of Duty? Actually, apparently Call of Duty is having problems - see the BBC's Newsbeat report. But still not many, if any.
Because there's another psychological force at play here. Without knowing much about the specific nerdy language, it basically says that when we buy something, we experience either positive or negative reinforcement.
In other words, when we buy a new xbox game or an iPhone, we're excited and can't wait to get cracking with it. It's not until we get some way into it that the little irritants begin to emerge. Our first - and most primal - emotion was one of positive reinforcement. We took it from the packet and it looked like what we expected. It had cute little frills that maybe even surpassed our expectations.
We started out expecting something cool, and the immediate experience supports that. It looks cool, it feels cool. Hell, it even smells cool!
With a betting system purchase, we start from a different position. Although we may have made a similar impulse buy, we start from a position of negative equity. Our starting point, and expectation, is that the product - like most / all of the other products we've purchased before - will be bunk.
Two qualifying picks in, and if the system hasn't found a winner yet, it's already reinforcing the negative expectation. As a seller of systems / manuals on occasion, I am staggered at how quickly some people request a refund. I've had a guy refund after the first qualifying race, citing the result of that first race as his reason, on a Â£1 product!
It wasn't his fault - at least not entirely - and it certainly wasn't the fault of the product. The problem here was that his mindset when putting the product 'to the test' was so deeply entrenched in negativity that the product could only fail. It was simply a matter of time.
Another classic situation which we see time after time after time is this: an established product has a winning streak. It sends out promotional materials stating how 'hot' the service is right now. Hundreds of new subscribers join the party. Then what happens?
Why, the same thing that always happens after a good run. A bad run! It's obvious that that is coming, no? To the point where, if you like a service, or have been tracking it for a while, the BEST time to buy - if you truly believe in the product or service - is in the depths of a horror run. Because as sure as a bad run will follow a good run with a decent product, so a good run will follow a bad run.
Anyway, the long and short of that is most people quit during the bad run, curse the vendor (and themselves for having been suckered in... again!), and move on to the next potential silver bullet.
Obviously. Clearly. It. Doesn't. Work. Like. That.
Choose a product based on track record - of the vendor if it's a new product with no track record of its own. Paper trade it for at least a reasonable portion of the guarantee period.
No guaratee period? Paper trade it for at least a reasonable portion of the free trial period.
No guarantee or free trial? Leave it well alone.
When you're happy that it might do what it says, proceed with caution.
If you're too impatient to do the above, do not blame the vendor. The fault lies closer to home....
Sorry, to Auto Bet System X - IV, and its marketing. As I say, it is important mark a distinction between marketing and product. I have been known to use hyperbole (supported by the numbers, I should add) to sell my products. Sadly, it is the only way to be heard amongst the throng of this virtual bazaar with hawkers yelling their empty promises from every stall, window and minaret.
The marketing for Auto Bet System X - IV contains some screenshots of - ostensibly - Betfair withdrawals to a NatWest online bank account. Let me show you what a Betfair withdrawal to a NatWest bank account looks like on the online statement. This comes from my statement:
And here's what a Clickbank deposit looks like on a NatWest statement, from my NW business account this time:
And then here's the image claiming to be a Betfair withdrawal from the Auto Bet System X - IV sales copy:
As we can see, my Betfair refund starts with a number and a date. My Clickbank sales deposit starts with 'Click Sales Inc'. I'll leave you to decide for yourself which of those text strings looks more apparent on the last image... (in case you're wondering, it's dead easy to fake Betfair screenshots. There used to be a website where these were done, but I think it's just a splash of photoshop now.)
OK, so we may not believe the images. But what about the car, and the bloke - Grey Samuels, no less - in the suit?
Well, quite honestly, I found this amusing. It's like a cross between the intro from a 70's porn movie and an out-take from Minder! The guy is called Grey. The car... is grey. Wow, what a grey day. There's two videos, one in a Ferarri and another in a Maserati, I think. Can't drive, not much into cars. Quite like Top Gear though.
That whole thing just looks cliche'd and corny to me, but you will of course make your own minds up.
The sales materials trumpet, "Warning: Auto Bet System X is NOT to be confused with cheap re-hashed products which litter the betting community".
And yet, this is version 4 (or IV if you prefer) of a product that sells for Â£37. Obviously, I understand your confusion. Although it's a reworked product selling for less than forty quid, it is NOT to be confused with cheap re-hashed products. Duly noted, Grey. Thanks for the heads up!
Now to my point... (1759 words in!)
Just because the marketing is so cheesy and possibly not quite reflective of the product, does that make Auto Bet System X - IV a scam?
What about in light of the Coke / Microsoft / Apple examples above?
If you aspire to be 'cool', you'll buy Coke or iPhone. Will it make you cool? Come on!
If you aspire to be 'rich', and you buy a betting system, will that make you rich? Equally, get a grip!
Now, if you're already 'cool', and you buy an iPhone, to a lot of people that will reinforce (there's that word again) their perception of you as 'cool'. If you're already 'rich', you'll treat a betting system as a means for entertainment and to hopefully make a small amount of pocket cash from something you enjoy.
Betting systems are generally for fun and minor profit. They enhance the betting of millions of people around the world who enjoy sport, horse racing and betting first; and enjoy making money second.
Of course, there are a handful of serious products which, in a portfolio, can deliver an income stream. But let me tell you, when you operate betting systems like that, you have to be prepared to sacrifice fun for something akin to running a business, with all the accompanying cashflow and logistical issues that abound in that blessed existence.
Auto Bet System X - IV, Matt. You were going to tell us about Auto Bet System X - IV!
Oh yes. Sorry. Now I've had a look at the product, and I can tell you the following:
1. there's a lot of STUFF in the virtual box
2. there was one element in the starter pack that was plainly predicated on thin air (the 3/5 element - insubstantiable in the extreme), but much of the rest was a lot sounder in basis.
3. the automated elements are slick, and look the part. I have no idea whether they generate any profit.
And there's the crux. If you're still with me, you'll have read 2,100 words without getting a view on the product.
But I'd never leave you hanging like that, so here's my Auto Bet System X - IV verdict... Ready? Steady? OK, OK,
My suspicion, based on the cautious (and mostly sensible) way it plays, is that Auto Bet System X - IV may just about break even over time. It will have small winning bursts and the occasional losing stint. If pushed, I'd suggest you might lose a small amount of your bank over the course of a few months.
Sam McCallion, a very good guy with a very good blog, is doing a trial of Auto Bet System X - IV on his site over at OnlineRacingReview. He's done a video and all sorts, so if you are interested in this, then he's the only person I know - myself included - who's actually taking the Auto Bet System X - IV Ferarri for a spin and fair play to him for that.
Is Auto Bet System X - IV a scam? That depends on how closely aligned you believe marketing and product should be. If you think that Apple and Microsoft and Coca-Cola (and any grooming product and, frankly, anything at all on telly) do a legitimate job of marketing their wares, then this is not a scam.
Getting beyond the scam word, which seems to have grown a little bigger than it ought to have really, is Auto Bet System X - IV worth investing in? Maybe, if you like automated mechanical rulesets. The trial is in the black - albeit very early days - on Sam's site.
No affiliate linkage to the product site here because I haven't reviewed it so I can't really say whether I think you should buy it. But I do think that - with anything you buy - you should perform due diligence which goes beyond absorbing the message in the sales piece. And that's as true of Grey Samuels' Auto Bet System X - IV as it is of Apple's iGadgetry.
Have a great weekend,