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Gaming Guru

David Newstead
 

Casino blogs: Does anyone listen?

21 May 2010

Social media is without doubt the fastest growing medium on the Web. Some would argue it's also the fast growing waste of time too, on par with a trip to an emergency waiting room in a NHS hospital. After all, tweeting/twittering/chirping – take you pick - on Twitter, blog sponsored diatribes and someone declaring they're eating a ham sandwich on Facebook...it's not exactly the stuff that changes the world...is it?

Love it or loathe it, it appears social sites are here to stay, or at least coalesce on Facebook it seems. Casino affiliates and operators alike, naturally, want to be part of the "revolution". But is it effective? Do people go from contentedly reading about their friend's latest snack to wanting to play casino games after a barrage of friend requests? Do people wanting to play poker or bingo really go on to Facebook first, or do they go straight to their favourite site or search in Google? Also, Facebook is built upon communities of friends, and I've got a horrible feeling we're actually trying to sell the same things to
each other, from one operator to another and affiliate to affiliate.

Where are the new players? From what I can tell there are very few to be found there. Social media is therefore much more about retaining existing players and, logically, building a community around your product or brand.

When it comes to communities, context and retention then blogs make sense to me. Blogs are informative and useful; the visitor has a choice whether to read or subscribe, rather than some random "friend" forcing their in-growing toenail story on you. So which casino's and affiliate have the best blogs? And what do players and readers get out of them?

Blogs, from a content point of view, are tarnished by two things. 1. The sheer number of them. 2. SEO. SEO means every good SEO guy/gal is busily pushing out and regurgitating news from the industry, despite being horribly illiterate. They have no understanding of context (don't tell players about that Barney Frank article you're lifting off eGaming Review!) but only have in mind the number of cached pages and PageRank. The result is that most people know the average blog is as much use as a chocolate teapot. Thankfully, there are exceptions.

In regard to operator blogs, the one's I like are those that engage their player base with relevant information about the casino, strategies and exclusive bonuses for the readership. One I like in particular, and is quite new, is Despite those facts, Jackpot Game's blog. It looks great and they're doing all of the above, with articles on new games and free spins bonuses. 32Red's is okay, but you do get the sense it's being pushed out for SEO reasons, albeit with some thought.

As for Twitter, I just don't get it in a casino context. I can understand why a very big, dynamic business that needs to get information out quickly, like a sportsbook, would use it – almost like a ticker system. But not that much changes in casinos. The rules to roulette have been fairly consistent over the last 300 or so years, blackjack is still, and always will be, blackjack.

Having said all this, I have plans for a Facebook page, I have a blog (see the "We Say" section on my online slots review website) and I'm signing up to Twitter now. Everyone is, and do I want to be the only one left (behind?), refusing to adapt. No, no matter how pointless it seems now, it's all just too big and important not to have at least a foot in the door and be ready for when it truly becomes profitable.
Casino blogs: Does anyone listen? is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.