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  1. #1
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    Default Pikum Poleaxed

    Social networking-inspired Internet gambling site is no more

    From the CAP News page:

    February 13, 2009 (InfoPowa News) -- Pikum, an online social gambling startup that had £3.98 million ($5.92 million) in investment from Virgin USA and First Round Capital has closed its virtual doors, apparently as a result of financial woes.

    The brainchild of a 28-year-old South African born entrepreneur from America, Sean Glass, who previously co-founded higher education-focused online financial services company Higher One, Pikum was a new kind of betting game created and played between friends online.

    By riding the social networking wave, Glass hoped to gain an advantage over major online gambling companies whom he saw as potential competitors such as Party Gaming, 888, Betfair, and Tradesports, reports Tech Crunch this week.

    The Pikum website featured an all too relevant graphic -- a padlock and chain -- this week.

    Backed by Virgin USA and the San Francisco venture capital firm First Round Capital, the company started out on the right track, seeking credible licensing from Alderney and commencing operations in the U.K. with technical facilities in South Africa. There was also a significant spend on marketing with appropriately clad models, websites, newsletters and a regular YouTube video program.

    Despite this, Pikum failed to gain traction with punters, and was reportedly seeking a second round of financing after Virgin USA changed focus.

    Tech Crunch quotes one source who disclosed that despite spending £5,000 on an AdWords campaign the yield, literally, was zero.

    The company also splashed out on a weekly 10 minute-long video webcast "Mega Football TV" on YouTube featuring Setanta Sports presenter Charlotte Jackson. The studio-shot show ran for 14 videos until ending two weeks ago, but never garnered more than 1,000 views an episode.

    "Pikum Girls" had their own dedicated website -- young women who were clearly targeting the younger male demographic of the betting marketplace.

    Other initiatives involved Twitter initiatives that were not updated

    Glass is reportedly on his way back to the States, having posted a comment at Tech Crunch that read in part: “I definitely have learned a lot from the experience with Pikum that differed from our success in building Higher One (and it’s continued success).

    “It is very disappointing, however I believe that the right thing to do when something doesn’t work is to examine it closely, learn what one can, and focus on building from there. I can’t comment directly on Pikum here ... but I do want to share that I really have enjoyed being part of the London tech scene.”

    Glass is down but not out, seemingly having a true entrepreneurial spirit. He is an active angel investor through Top Floor Capital, and in September 1999, he helped co-found the Yale Entrepreneurial Society, starting a culture shift at the prestigious college that has had far-reaching implications.

    He has also safeguarded his players, who must now withdraw any remaining balance and any bonuses due. Any remaining balance not withdrawn by February 13th will be sent by cheque to each player’s registered address.
    Nathan - CasinoAffiliatePrograms.com Staff
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  2. #2
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    Default

    They didn't last too long, did they. The interesting thing with Pikum is that, for what was essentially a betting picks competition site, it was hardly user friendly.

    Also, I joined their in-house affiliate program and was intending to promote them on Premiership Today.co.uk - we have a lot of football traffic and they looked like they had good tools that would make them easy to promote.

    However, no one ever got back to me with how to add their content and picks to the website - the signup process for the affiliate program seemed to require me to have an account with the main site as well. All in all, an utter shambles.

    And, considering that OLBG and a bunch of other betting sites have better - and FREE - betting picks competitions, it's no wonder this failed.
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  3. The Following User Says Thank You to tryme1 For This Useful Post:

    Richard (OLBG) (02-17-2009)

  4. #3
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    Sounds like some operational issues, then. That's strange. Given how much investment money was behind this, you'd think it would have been a top-notch site.
    Nathan - CasinoAffiliatePrograms.com Staff
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  5. #4
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    Yeah, I would have thought so too. But once I signed up with the affiliate program, I got an email saying an affiliate manager would be in touch with instructions on how to add their content to PremiershipToday.

    Logging into the affiliate section, there was no way to do that. So I waited and...nothing.

    The thing is...nearly £4m in VC money doesn't stop the fact that there's bunches of better and FREE betting picks competition sites.
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  6. #5
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    Default

    Interesting comments. I know some of the people that worked there and they certainly worked themselves to the bone trying to keep the company going. Its a huge pity because as of March they are all unemployed and with the state of the economy the prospects aren't looking good.
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  7. #6
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    Wow 4 million! Yes its sad that this has failed but astonishing that so much money was invested in it. Its so easy to spend money marketing isnt it.
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  8. #7
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    That zero-return investment with Google AdWords is pretty amazing. I'm curious now, did any of you guys have a good experience with Pikum? Why do you think people rejected it?
    Nathan - CasinoAffiliatePrograms.com Staff
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  9. #8
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    I never saw or heard of Pikum. Which is a bit surprising when I heard the best part of 4 million was spent marketing it. But ive seen some sites based on the mate v mate betting idea and for me the concept doesnt work.

    Sure its fun having a little bet with your mates when you are watching a sporting event together but for me the fun part is watching your mates face when they know they are beaten, and even more so when they hand over the cash to you! You then get the chance to rub their noses in it, whilst you drink the pint you have bought them with the winnings.

    Just taking money off good friends isnt much fun in my opinion.

    So to try and replicate that online when you cant actually see your mates, its harder to get any banter going, its more about the money and you dont get the chance to buy them a pint afterwards, doesnt work for me.

    Most my mates dont understand betting and gambling as well as me and whilst Im sure I would win some money from them it wouldnt be a lot of fun and could well ruin friendships rather than strengthen them.
    Last edited by Richard (OLBG); 02-18-2009 at 04:17 AM.
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  10. #9
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    Default

    I first heard of Pikum when they were scheduled to appear at the EiG launch pad panel with me and a couple of other guys. Checked out their then-beta site which said something to the equivalent of (no kidding here):"you bet using pikies (you can't bet for real money online dummy!)." It was the paranthesised appositive (if that's the right grammar) that got me... can't bet for real money online? Are you feckin kidding? Geez, what planet are these guys from... OBVIOUSLY not part of OUR industry.

    So of course they went nowhere.

    BUT I also think there'sa deeper psychological "truth about gamblers" here that I'll be exploring on my blog (fukluk.com) in greater depth once I sober up.... the basic thought is UNLIKE the poker itch which can be largely satiated by playing for free (or in freerolls) by many many many people (hence something like 90% of people playing onlne poker right NOW are playing free, not for cash--PLEASE correct me if this stat is wrong/changed since my playeronly/cake/paradise days), and maybe CASINO play, certainly "fantasy" sports betting does nothing to scratch a sports betting itch. Nothing on the line, nothing at sake, no point.

    You HAVE to bet real value for a sports betting buzz. Pikum didn't have that.

    Alex
    affiliates now welcome at the still beta buzzluck.com. 50% commission offer on, see affiliates.buzzluck.com. Cheers!
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  11. #10
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    Default

    The market is always right.

    I think Pikum run too fast.

    We are in web2.5 and Pikum is working on web3.0

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