Arbitrage Spy is this week’s Dish of the Week, and it’s a little different from usual. Sure the distinctive marketing is there again, though slightly less ‘flamboyant’ in terms of sales page graphics. The ‘out of work actor’ voice over is there again – and this one’s awful! – as is the ubiquitous opt in form so that the vending crew can perma-spam you forever after.

In fact, you actually have to enter your email address just to get to the sales letter! Having gone through the hoops so you can see what Arbitrage Spy is all about before giving your details personally, my headline summary is… don’t bother!

A bit like the Grolsch ad where the guys break into the bank that’s still being built, only to be told by the foreman, “Shtop, this bank isn’t ready yet”… so Arbitrage Spy is not yet ready.

Basically, after signing up and buying (cost is £47), you’ll be sent through the normal Clickbank procedure (good because it means you can claim a refund, which I’ve done in this case). Oh yes, sorry, I forgot to mention the upsell/downsell pages where they try to get more money from you in the sales process… clicking the bottom link on each page enables you to eventually arrive at the download page.

This is a piece of software for identifying arbitrage* opportunities on UK horse racing. It covers around 25 different bookmakers and the software goes off and checks the prices on an odds comparison site as well as the current odds on Betfair, and finds arbs based on your criteria. Sounds reasonable enough, right?

*arbitrage is the act of finding back and lay bets on the same horse/team/outcome, which offer the identifier a risk-free wager, irrespective of the outcome.

But… Arbitrage Spy doesn’t have a user manual. There is NO advice on how to get it to work. I’m fairly savvy with software tools and the like, but it wasn’t obvious to me what I was supposed to do (and still isn’t). If it’s not obvious to me, then most people will struggle horribly with this.

It’s an unforgivable oversight to release a piece of software without so much as an instruction video, and it will lead to the vendor receiving nightmarish admin calls. Not that they will necessarily respond to them (although I don’t know this first hand, so I could be wrong).

Moreover, when I came to log in this morning, having bought it yesterday, it hadn’t remembered my login details, and there is no link to easily retrieve this information. In other words, the developer didn’t bother building in a security module and the username and password is hard coded. (Again, this is an educated guess on my part, but I strongly suspect I’m right about that).

In essence, this is nothing new, as tools such as Racing Synergy (aka Betting Automation) do the same thing, only better, and with infinitely more instruction. (Some instruction as opposed to no instruction equals infinitely more instruction!)

My summary is that, as with a thousand betting systems we’ve seen off this – or a similarly anonymous – production line before, Arbitrage Spy is a half-baked affair that could have been so much better… in fact, it could have been a useful tool for those who like their bets risk-free with plenty of small gains.

But it isn’t. The lack of a user manual renders this useless for many would be arbers, and that in itself is just plain daft. Beyond that, I wasn’t able to test the software in the morning (i.e. this morning) because I couldn’t log on. Yes, maybe I should have written down my credentials, but I expected to be able to easily retrieve them from my email address if required, like…. well like any sensible and finished software product would enable me to do.

If you like hotel rooms where the builders are still drilling outside the window, or chips that taste like hard potatoes, then you might like this. If, like me, you expect your experience to be ready for you before you take the plunge, you should steer very well clear of Arbitrage Spy.