I asked you last week for your thoughts on geegeez.co.uk and your betting in general. Almost 500 of you were kind enough to take a few minutes to reply, your responses forming the basis of what happens next on the site.
So, what exactly were your responses?
In what follows, I'll share much - but not all - of the summary data. Some elements are a tad 'commercially sensitive' (although in reality that's probably more me being 'personally sensitive' and a tad paranoid!), but I'm happy to share most by way of appreciation of you taking time to assist in your hundreds.
'Length of service'
As you can probably see from the header image, 80% of you have been visiting this 'ere corner of the webosphere for more than a year; which means a fifth are more recent arrivals. All, naturally, are equally welcome but that 'stick rate' is noteworthy.
56% of you are Gold subscribers of one ilk or another, with a further 38% enjoying the benefits of free membership. A small handful (6%) are not registered as members at all, and I hope you guys will take the free plunge at some point when you feel there's enough value for your, ahem, no money! 😉
How long have you been a Gold subscriber?
Again, accentuating the 'stick rate' (i.e. how long you hang around once you've tried us out), almost three-quarters of you have subscribed to Gold for more than a year, and less than five per cent of respondents are three months or less into their Gold journey.
Would you recommend Gold to a friend?
This sort of 'L'Oreal' question - you know, the banal survey lines on hair colouring ads that say "72% of 56 people felt their hair had more bounce and sheen" - is really important to me. We work very hard to ensure you are happy with what we offer but, more than that, with the way we offer it and go about our business. It is quite hard for me to put in to words how much pride I derive from the below response, which needs no further embellishment. All I will say is that we'll continue to do our very best to over-deliver for you.
How often do you use...
It was no surprise that the most popular elements of Gold continue to be our cards, Instant Expert and pace features, as well as Stat of the Day.
But I was a little surprised that Full Form is not more popular - it should be in my opinion - and I'll have a think on how to make that powerful tab more accessible. Clearly, right now, it's not as easy to use as I thought!
Features like Query Tool are a little more niche, so I am quite pleasantly surprised at the amount of interest that one gets. We will be upgrading it towards the end of the year with some long promised - and long delayed - additional features.
Do you think Gold offers value for money?
Again, this is a very important yes/no question for me. I want to provide the best service I possibly can at the most accessible price point. There is a ridiculous amount of expense associated with Gold these days which means the subscription cost has to cover those outgoings. The quid pro quo is that we continue to develop what we offer, much of which is inspired by your suggestions, and we will always continue to do that while I'm in charge.
Anyway, you think we do a solid job of offering value for money. This figure is another home run as far as I'm concerned and, while some marketing men would immediately conclude "he's not charging enough", that's not the way I see the world. Never will be.
What new stuff would you like?
This bit was interesting, as it is always is, and drives our development agenda, as it always does.
I expected the Bet Finder keenness: after all, that's a fairly simple tool with a good amount of power to sift through a day's runners (a big job for even the most dedicated and professional punter).
I was less prepared for the appetite for sectional timing data. That one is much trickier for us to integrate - for reasons of licensing and then figuring out how best to present the information in the most consumable, usable format - but be assured that I hear you!
A somewhat distant third is data visualisation, with between a quarter and a third of you interested in each of Betfair odds data, some form of inbuilt betting automation and percentage of rivals beaten metrics.
All of these are feasible, though some are more difficult/expensive than others. Again, be assured that I hear you and that our priorities have been set by you.
If you had a magic wand, which single thing would you like to introduce to Geegeez Gold?
This was the first free format question, so aggregating the replies is tricky. But there's a thing called a word cloud, which emphasises that text which appears most frequently. Here's a word cloud for the answers to this question.
Do you read geegeez.co.uk tipster reviews?
One of the things which is not quite so congruent with where geegeez is now compared to where it was when the site started in 2008 is the review content. Originally this was a review site, with a few of my own products, but more recently we've gone down a different path focusing on 'manufacturing' data into something of value.
I was toying with the idea of shelving the tipster review side of things. Until I read your responses to this question, which were a genuine eye opener.
I still feel we're not quite right in terms of the co-habitation of the Gold side and the review side, and that needs more thought from me. But we'll certainly continue to provide content that many of you look to.
How often do you read the following?
The editorial shape of the site has changed considerably in the past 12-18 months. We've done away with daily news content, recognising that we simply cannot compete with the dedicated news desks of many online publications. Frankly, if you want to read about a failed dope test or a jockey injury or whatever, you are far more likely to head to Racing Post or ATR or wherever. We are not resourced for that.
Where we can - and do - compete is with data-driven incisive deployable research: so called 'longer reads'. The likes of Dave Renham's pace pieces and Jon Shenton's number crunchers are well received by a majority of respondents.
On the editorial side of things, we're probably not quite hitting your mark currently. This was another thing which came as a mild surprise: I read everything on the site and I love things like Social Discourse, which give me a quick digest of the biggest races around the world in the past week as well as some of the major talking points.
But we've some work to do to draw you in, dear reader (as I used to begin every post when I first started online on another little site 14 years ago!).
This is the biggest head scratcher of the whole survey for me. I'm really not sure what to do. We could squirrel the blog away behind a link and have some other daily racing related content on the home page, and perhaps some of the editorial needs a rethink. I won't be in a rush to change things, but I am aware that we're not consistently where we want to be in terms of satisfying you.
Overall, what do you like *most* about geegeez.co.uk?
Another free format question. Word cloud inbound!
It's not always easy to see things in these type of displays but, believe me, they're a lot more readable than 335 individual responses to the question!
The big words on here are 'Instant Expert', 'racecards', 'ease' [of use], 'honest', 'everything', 'depth', 'angles', 'pace', 'reports', and so on.
This is very awesome. Thank you!
But, of course, as sure as night follows day...
Overall, what do you like *least* about geegeez.co.uk?
Over to the lexic0-cumulostratus...
This was a harder one to answer in one or two words if there is something not liked. So, while many people gratifyingly replied 'nothing', there is plenty to take from the slightly longer form answers - usually specific irritations, many of which we can address. Minor irritations start wars eventually!
I'll work through them and add the ones I think we can deal with to our 'small changes' workstack.
On which social media do you follow geegeez.co.uk?
We're not massive on facebook. Or on twitter for that matter. But I/we do a bit more on the tweetie than the book of bipolar faces (no offence intended, but it does tend to show humanity at one extreme or the other: I've found it increasingly hard work in the last year and rarely go there now. Just a personal view! Twitter also can be a cesspit of rage, where keyboard warriors go to 'out-dickhead' each other, but it has more intrinsic news value for me).
Anyway, a third of you follow us on twitter and only an eighth or so on facebook. Most of you can't be doing with that social stuff, which is probably related to demographics, a serendipitous segue if ever there was one...
In which decade were you born?
One of my favourite questions, as it enables me to see the changing face of geegeez visitors over the years. We've always attracted a more experienced reader, something which the sport as a whole aligns with. The challenge for everyone in racing, then, is not to ignore those who are our current lifeblood but to simultaneously pivot to a younger audience who will be the experienced players a generation from now. That is a difficult challenge for many reasons, but essentially because the two groups are almost different breeds of human in how they consume information, spend their time, and spend their money.
I'll stop short of saying it's not my problem, because it actually is, in the microcosm of this site; and items such as Social Discourse are an attempt to draw a new audience to the game.
Now I'm off on one, indulge me a moment more: racing's insatiable infatuation with short-termism could be its undoing. The funding of the sport via operators whose only priority is mug punters with disposable income - themselves disposable customers - is patently unsustainable. The marketing team behind getting people on to racecourses are fixated with the horse and the big day. Nothing wrong with either of those per se, but there's a denial of the betting element in the conversation. And it is that element which funds the sport.
The regulator's persecution complex, allied to its ability to self-harm, frequently puts it in a position of defence, when the strongest form of defence has always been attack - or at least holding one's ground with confidence.
There is so much work to be done to encourage future generations into our brilliant sport, but the crushing levels of self-interest across the major stakeholder groups are facilitating what may soon be irreparable damage to racing.
*puts soapbox away*
Right, where was I? Ah yes, in which decade were you born?
More than 48% of respondents were born in the 1950's or earlier. That is, around half of readers are 60+. About a third of you are in your fifties, which means just less than a quarter are younger than 50.
Or, put another way, more than three-quarters of geegeez.co.uk site visitors are 50+.
This is true of racing as a whole. A recent HBF survey reported similar findings.
It is a genuine concern, which is not being addressing anything like fully enough in the wider context.
All that said, we actually have a few more younger subscribers than has historically been the case; and, of course, everyone is welcome here, regardless of age, gender or anything else. Which leads nicely on to...
Again, racing has a big problem here. Its core demographic is almost its only demographic: male, 50+
I'm not picking on you, by the way. I'll be 50 in a couple of years and should still be male then.
I'm also white European, and I really don't want to go there - hence no ethnicity question, but look at the human mix in other sports and look at the uniform crowds at race meetings in UK.
It. Really. Needs. To. Change. Soon. Or else.
How long have you been betting on horses?
This is an important question for me, because I know that, generally speaking, newcomers to betting on racing don't pay for information. They will use the free provisions elsewhere until they either fall out of love with the game or realise there is more to know than is being provided by what might legitimately be termed thin content hubs for bookmaker affiliates. Oops, another soapbox moment.
So it's appropriate that most geegeez visitors are more experienced bettors. All are equally welcome but we do tend to cater to those who want to dig a little more deeply, and to ask a few more pointed questions of the form book.
As always, I have been enlightened and informed, as well as instructed regarding who you are and what you want. This is not an exercise in academia but, rather, a targeted attempt to establish the immediate future direction of the site.
We are already working on your feedback and I hope to have a big announcement to make in the coming weeks about some exciting new content.
So, thank you for your contributions to the survey, and watch this space!