Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A thought-provoking comment was left under Friday's post:

Interested to see you're following Form Lab Lite as I have also been using it for one year on and off. I've noticed that results have tailed off with the last year seeing minimal profit and whilst, if it was a single transparent tipster I could forgive such a run, I can't help but wonder whether the analyst who built up the profits in the first year may have left Form Labs hence the fall in profits. The thing is that there is no transparency around who is actually making each selection so it's not possible to track this. Just wondering what your thoughts were really and interested to know if you are planning to stick with them.

OK. First things first. I'm always a little wary of writing about a service that is going through a spell that perhaps isn't it's best, particularly when relatively new to it. Having said that, I will write a post tomorrow on my general thoughts on Form Lab Lite (which are positive), keeping things deliberately objective and in the context of long-term performance and not just that of the last couple of months.

The issue of the transparency (or otherwise) of a service is a very interesting one though, and can be examined outside the confines of an analysis limited to one specific service. To my mind, the transparency is directly related to the interaction you have with the tipster. The better you get to know the tipster, the more transparent a service becomes.

I'm pleased to say that I have (to my mind anyway!) good relationships with the majority of the tipsters I follow. In the current portfolio, that includes (in no particular order) the operators of The Football Analyst, Skeeve, Football Elite/On The Oche, The Sportsman/The Sportsman Racing, Northern Monkey, On The Nose, and The Market Examiner. We have exchanged emails, during both good and bad times, and several have been a huge help to me in terms of my whole gambling operation (a rather fancy word for it, I know), taking time out to offer advice and guidance. A relationship based on trust is established, and you get to know how each tipster operates. And this has one big knock-on effect...when things take a turn for the worse, as a subscriber, you tend to have more faith that things will turn around. A good relationship with the tipster means that losing runs become slightly easier to bear, improving your chances of not giving in at the wrong time and chucking in the towel just prior to the start of the recovery.

Of course this philosophy can backfire. If you take what I have just written at face value, it must surely mean that if you have a good relationship with a tipster, you are more likely to follow him over a cliff should he lose his edge (or marbles!). You are at risk of not pulling the plug on a service when really you should. This is precisely why I have imposed the rule about dropping a service as soon as the drawdown equals the size of bank set aside for it. That way, the relationship with the tipster becomes irrelevant if this point be reached; it is simply a business decision to stop following. A stop loss, if you like.

The thing is, it takes time for this relationship to be established. Maybe a year, or a season at the very least. Often longer. This means that when you're first using a service, before sufficient time and communication has passed between yourself and the tipster, poor runs are harder to deal with. Even now, and even with knowing this, I found getting through July with Sportyy a challenge. It was my second month with the tennis tipster and it was having a 'mare. Psychologically, I found it a lot harder to deal with than it should have been, simply because I was new to the service.

And it is similar now with Form Lab Lite. Results are a long, long way from being disastrous. In fact, the official figures, which are all I can use as I've been a member only from the early summertime, show a strong performance over the last 12 months. And yet, the current, quite natural lull in profit-making, registers on the psyche more than it should simply because Form Lab is still relatively new to me. But, and here's the thing, the Commentor is right in that there is little by way of transparency when it comes to Form Lab. That's not a deliberate thing I'm sure. The couple of queries I have sent their way have each been replied to promptly, professionally and helpfully. But there is no daily email. No regular exchange of views. No real relationship being built outside the actual tipping environment, yet. That is not a criticism. It's just the nature of the service.

This lack of relationship does not make Form Lab a lesser service. It is perfectly possible of course, to produce top results without having any regular exchange between the service and the subscriber. And for all I know, the operators of Form Lab may well communicate regularly and frequently with other members of their subscriber base. Perhaps it's just me being a miserable sod!

Trouble is, when you don't know the brains behind a service too well, and results do take a turn for the worse, then it is inevitable that the demons that exist inside the head start to stir things up and cause trouble. They force you to ask questions like, "Has the original tipster/analyst moved on?".

You know, I couldn't help thinking that I should ask. So I did. And Form Lab answered.

I'll tell you all tomorrow.

Monday's Betting

A grand profit of £4.25 today! That there was a profit at all was really down to the excellent performance of Sportyy, who called three right from three. Add this to the one bet (a winner) from Service X and it amounted to £4.25 in profit more than the losses made by Form Lab Lite (0/2), Northern Monkey (0/1) and The Market Examiner (0/1).

Month to date figures...


Northern Monkey: Staked 32.25pts, -7.118pts, roi -22.07%
On The Nose: Staked 32.75pts, +8.3pts, roi 25.34%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 3pts, +0.526pts, roi 17.53%
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 6.6pts, -1.483pts, roi -22.48%
The Market Examiner: Staked 23pts, -16.8pts, roi -73.04%
Total roi -1.33%

Football Elite: Staked 1pt, +/- (+/-£), roi 0%, ROC 0%
Summer Of Football: Staked 21pts, +10.573pts, roi 50.34%, ROC 52.86%
Skeeve (Asians): Staked 7pts, +1.6pts, roi 22.85%
Skeeve (Doubles): Staked 5pts, -5pts, roi -100%
Skeeve (Shortlist): Staked 2pts, -0.2pts, roi -10%
Skeeve Total: Staked 14pts, -3.6pts, roi -25.71%, ROC -4.5%
The Sportsman: Staked 0.5pts, +0.133pts, roi 26.73%, ROC 2.21%
Form Lab Lite: Staked 20pts, -4.675pts, roi -23.37%, ROC -9.35%
Sportyy: Staked 27pts, +14.61pts, roi 54.11%, ROC 18.26%
Service X: Staked 184.2pts, +38.698pts, roi 21%, ROC 38.69%
Total roi 20.38%

Grand Total roi 14.03%

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