Why the BetFair model is partially obsolete

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I like BetFair and the BetFair people very much. I was the only blogger to talk up the BetFair starting price system and the BetFair brand-new bet-matching logic. But the other face of the coin is that 2 aspects of their model are rotten to the core.

BetFair was created in 1999 and started off in 2000. Since that time, 2 major things arrived on the world scene. Number one, we have seen the emergence of the prediction market approach. Number two, the Web has taken our lives, and Google has become the dominant Internet search engine. Here are how these 2 major trends are affecting BetFair negatively.

  1. Decimal Odds (a.k.a. Digital Odds). – The prediction market approach means that we attack the public with the news and their associated probabilistic predictions, expressed in percentages, where high prices mean high probabilities of happening. BetFair, at the contrary, approach the public with a betting universe and an arcane vocabulary (&#8221-backing&#8221- and &#8220-laying&#8221-) where low prices mean high probabilities of happening. That is totally counter intuitive.
  2. Non-Indexable Prediction Market Webpages. – Like it or not, Google is now the world&#8217-s #1 media. We &#8220-google&#8221- anything, first thing in the morning. None of the BetFair prediction market webpages can be indexed by Google and the other Internet search engines. That means that BetFair is missing out, in my estimation, on hundreds of thousands of Google visitors each year. Those Google visitors will favor other prediction exchanges (e.g., HubDub) whose prediction market webpages are indexed naturally by the Internet search engines.

The British, who drive on the wrong side of the road, don&#8217-t have the 2 most important keys of the future.

40 thoughts on “Why the BetFair model is partially obsolete

  1. medemi said:


    what is it you like about betfair and the betfair people ? Why don’t you try and convince me. Talk a little about your conversations with them. All I can see, from my perspective, is arrogant behaviour, a tendency to manipulate in stead of being open, underhandedness.

    It seems to me they can’t get anything right, and the competitors are copying everything they do. There’s no innovation from them. We may end up with inferior products/industry standards. It’s happenened many times before, some of the signals are even the same.

  2. Matt said:

    I think it helps to seperate the people from the company Medemi, some Betfair people are actually genuinely helpful.  Then again I have met some who went out of their way to be less than helpful…  this said, the company profile is decidedly messy at the moment (there’s little to debate on this one).  They act like an arrogant monopoly and they are getting greedy – in my opinion.

    As far as your points Chris, I disagree about the Decimal odds discussion and how they aren’t making an effort to fit in with the MidasOracle prediction ideal.  Betfair is not about making predictions, it was the last thing they formed for and still the last thing they would ever want to be about surely.  They exist to provide a platform to gamble, at odds of your choice..  there’s nothing mildly scientifically exciting about this, no underlying research principles… it about money, it’s about having a bet with other people.. 

    Most of these people don’t care for ‘the marketplace’, the alledged wisdom of it’s crowd, supply and demand’s ability to accurately predict (alledgedly) anything…  they are there to bet and the language they understand is Backing, Laying, Odds, Fractional Odds and only just – Decimal Odds (yes these were initially a stretch for some, and still are).  They don’t want to bet on %’s, they don’t want to buy and sell stuff… – since when did a bookies do this?!  – how the hell do I have a bet on a % ?!  (these would be typical problems for your average Betfair user, personally I love the % model..)

    My point I guess is, Betfair don’t care about prediction markets (really doesn’t sound like a money spinner like running a bookies does)… and maybe more importantly, they know their customers don’t care for it either (doesn’t much sound like a good punt does it??)…any of these customers accidentally finding themselves on a hubdub market would immediately close window and head somewhere to have a good bet where they could understand and look at some odds!

    Your point about optimising for google is definitely one I agree with.. they could do so much more with direct links to their markets and their charting is very poor by todays standard surely.  I could do much more as a blogger if there were much more readily available links.

    All slightly tongue in cheek…(but only slightly),


  3. medemi said:


    I think you’re underestimating the potential of prediction markets. It’s more a case of the public being unaware of it. I had never heard of the term “prediction market” until I subscribed here, even though I have been a customer with betfair for 3 years now. I’ve thought about it’s potential in the past (and even met 2 or 3 people who had the same ideas) but the penny never really dropped. Maybe because betfair charge customers with a commission at the end of the event. What’s needed with prediction markets is a transaction based charging method. I’ve proposed this, or a mix, many times. The way things are now, betfair are only interested in offering one day events, or even faster than that like horse racing where you have a race every 10 minutes or so.

    When you are going to offer markets that run for 3 years, you’re going to have to charge people everytime they trade, there’s no way around that. Betfair are stuck in the past, where they want to have traders trading free of charge to boost liquidity. Sure, there are a lot og gamblers, but there are a lot of people who are interested in other things as well.

    I met this one project manager at work who was having a real hard time estimating the costs etc. of all these contracts/orders. It is very hard in IT, almost like an art form. He designed a method where all the members of his team would come together regularly and every person would give an estimate. He would then collect these and calculate the average. I said I agreed with his method, although it was all a bit inefficient – too costly to have a meeting for this so often. HE probably wasn’t aware of the term “prediction market” either.

    That’s where Chris comes in. I don’t know where he got if from. But we need a lot more. We need to make the public aware of it and educate them. It’s the government’s and the media responsibility. Also, you need to have a product you can sell. So, I guess horse-racing is out of the question.

    The bottom line, don’t be fooled by betfair.

  4. Matt said:

    You are probably right Med, I am underestimating prediction markets, but if I’m honest, do I really see a need for Betfair to go in that direction, I’m not sure I do and I’m very sure Betfair don’t. 

    I’ll admit I need to learn more about prediction markets in general.  As a professional user of betting markets, (where I make money from inefficiency) I have a little bit of a hard time seeing prediction markets as, well, predictive.  Accuracy is what I’m talking about here, it’s obvious they will be accurate to some degree (and that the accuracy will vary from market ot market), but I have firm belief that nobody knows anywhere near as much as they think, and most are far too willing to listen to some people who’s job it is to make it sound like they know something when they really don’t know anything.

    Asking people to tie up money for long periods of time is a hurdle, I know I don’t enjoy doing it…  the edge has to be quite a way bigger than the interest I could get…

  5. medemi said:

    but I have firm belief that nobody knows anywhere near as much as they think, and most are far too willing to listen to some people who’s job it is to make it sound like they know something when they really don’t know anything.

    Exactly why we need prediction markets.

    Asking people to tie up money for long periods of time is a hurdle, I know I don’t enjoy doing it…  the edge has to be quite a way bigger than the interest I could get…

    That is a problem. Betfair, being a monopolist, they don’t have to give us interest.

  6. Matt said:

    I don’t think what I posted makes prediction markets any better a proposition.  My points were negative as far as their predictive abilities are concerned..   there will be some prediction markets that are highly accurate, but very many (the majority I would think) would have wildly varying degrees of accuracy… this would not neccessarily be improved by the number of people involved in them either, the world is not a very predictable place.  

    more learning required from me on prediction markets and their proposed uses, as far as reporting them as accurate though, i would certainly prefer to report them ahead of any payed expert (i think this was your point, i agree), but would hesitate to say they were ever spot on…

    I’m getting away from the topic though, why would betfair be interested in taking a prediction market direction?

  7. medemi said:

    i would certainly prefer to report them ahead of any payed expert (i think this was your point, i agree)


    I’m getting away from the topic though, why would betfair be interested in taking a prediction market direction?

    Because they already have a platform in place, a huge customer base etc. Seems like an obvious next step for a company looking to grow and do something about all the negative publicity they are getting. I don’t think they will pull it off though. Chris does, or maybe it’s hope.

    I’m not suggesting prediction market are very accurate. The truth is a concept very hard to grasp. I’m interested in the collective mind aka wisdom of the crowds. Others, who think they can quantify the truth, are willing to go as far as allowing the insiders to trade on these markets. I disagree.

  8. medemi said:

    I have a lot of US dollars.  :-D

  9. Adonis said:

    I see a couple of things:

    1. Undue preoccupation here with the term “prediction markets“, as if it is some Holy Grail that will enable the US Goverment to let GAMBLING in through it’s Back Door, via alternative nomenclature. Wagering on predictions of the outcome of an as-yet undecided Event is GAMBLING, pure and simple. It makes little difference if it’s the name of the next US President, the destination of a little ball in the groove of a roulette wheel, or the closing value of the Dow Jones Index. Sure, there’s “skill” in some aspects of some gambles, but there’s also a necessary element of “chance” too. As Time runs out ( in the case of “In Running” wagering, the odds “matchable” shorten exponentially towards the likely outcome – another reason why Time itself is the single most influential factor in terms of Betting Integrity), the only crucial prerequisite is that no-one betting can be allowed to take advantage of anyone else betting in terms of knowing the result beforehand (or of circumstances which can substantially affect the eventual result). Otherwise known as Timeliness Deception. Under those circumstances, depending upon degree, the practice tends towards FRAUD.

    2. Where a company may hold a virtual monoploy on “person-to-person betting” but is actually bookmaking (taking money from the process of its Clientele attempting to match up their wagers and not merely taking a commission in return for purseholding and being an umpire), that bookmaker tends to be very possessive of every aspect of his business; wary of anyone and everyone who take steps to protect themselves from swelling his revenue stream, and wary of anyone and everyone who asks awkward questions about his business practice and heighten public awareness of things he’d prefer kept quiet. …… and, some will feel, take ACTIVE STEPS to silence such dissent at every available opportunity! Relaxing it’s copyright-holder’s grip on it’s data and inviting close scrutiny of various routine aspects of it’s business process and practices (on Google, for example) might be considered lemming-esque!

    It’s not rocket science, IMHO.

    Likely as not, if any of us had the opportunity to protect our gains made in a simialr way, we’d probably be similarly determined! Or would we?……….

    Incidentally and quite separately, I believe that betfair is an Australian-owned company.

    (My lack of capitalisation in naming it is entirely deliberate, and a measure of the esteem I hold for it and its practices, as experienced by me.)


    Formerly a betfair Customer, and formerly a regular poster on betfair’s “forum”.

  10. Matt said:

    Good points well made Adonis.  btw I miss you on their forum as do many other I’m sure, it seems slowly every ‘voice’ has been silenced..

    The more I think about *prediction* markets the more I wonder what they actually are for.  I can’t help but feel they mascarade around pretending to be a sort of useful tool…  they don’t actually predict much though, just the chance of something happening according to a group of people who know varying amounts about the subject, varying from nothing to almost nothing (insiders)..   i can see a useful application in making decisions within companies perhaps, predicting news however is fairly ridiculous..  news predictions markets leave me with the feeling that these were invented purely for a journalistic sound bite.  Set me straight Chris, where is this whole thing going, if it isn’t to become a backdoor method to legalise gambling in the US ? 


    I may have given the impression with my jibe at insiders that i am i favour of them.. i’m definitely not in any form.

  11. medemi said:

    Well, betfair fucked it up Adonis. We can now make a clear distinction between a “Betting Exchange” and a “Prediction market”.

    Betting exchange = the rotten business of having punters bet against each other on so-called markets, where anything goes.

    Prediction market = a place where decent citizens gather and information is aggregated via market mechanisms for the primary purpose of forecasting events.

    Of course you are right, it’s all about integrity. It’s so simple that people tend to forget. All the time.

  12. Chris F. Masse said:

    “why would betfair be interested in taking a prediction market direction?”

    It would not take much for them to take this “direction”.

    Why? Because it would be useful to society and because it would bring good publicity to BetFair.

    “Set me straight Chris, where is this whole thing going, if it isn’t to become a backdoor method to legalise gambling in the US?”

    You can see it that way, if you will.

    “Betting exchange = the rotten business of having punters bet against each other on so-called markets, where anything goes.

    Prediction market = a place where decent citizens gather and information is aggregated via market mechanisms for the primary purpose of forecasting events.”

    I don’t agree with the term “primary purpose”. I think (play-money or real-money) prediction markets are here to satisfy the traders’ needs… but we think the market-generated probabilistic predictions are of high value. Both things are important, but the fact is that the predictions are generated only if you have trading activity. Both things are important. If you say that the predictions are more important than the trading, you end up with markets that nobody trade, and hence, no predictions are generated.

  13. medemi said:

    I don’t agree with the term “primary purpose”.

    I took that definition off the net. Those words got my attention as well. All I added was “where decent citizens” to fuel some “insult” to our intelligence. Sometimes I can’t resist. :-)

    … but we think the market-generated probabilistic predictions are of high value.

    I agree.

    My government is trying to keep betfair out. They say they have to in order to control gambling addiction. Which is a BULL argument, and very disappointing from a country which has showed over and over again that you can solve a problem by accommodating the people, you simply need to regulate it properly. Well, we haven’t had the debate on this one, yet.

    Betfair is saying betting does not lead to more gambling addicts. Which is BULL. The only reason why it is under control (for now!) is because it has been given the proper attention.

    Then you have the people who think gambling is bad. BULL. But who can blame them ? Betfair are doing a great job of feeding their prejudices by showing a lack of concern over betting integrity.

    Times have changed. It’s not just Adonis, me, Ed, and some of the other regulars still posting on betfair’s forum. We have thread after thread now on their own forum, begging betfair to address the remaining issues concerned with betting integrity and a level playing field. There have been suggestions that betfair are starting to pick up those signals. I really hope so, but it takes a lot from them to convince me. So maybe, some time from now, we can all cut the BULL.

  14. Adonis said:

    Medemi, we should believe betfair when they stated (on their own forum) that they are a bookmaker, and feel entitled, whenever they like, to extract money from betting activities through them at zero risk to themselves.

    [ To be truly zero-risk, the Time reference between Clients, which underpins Betiing Integrity, MUST be frozen by the entity holding zero risk! ……..QED.]

    They nominate themselves a zero-risk bookmaker in press interviews, when that definition suits their purpose.

    One has to wonder what their terminology might be when it no longer suits their purpose?

    A Person-to-Person betting exchange, perhaps???????


  15. Adonis said:

    By the way, for all those who may have an axe to grind with companies which say one thing, but do another…

    .. if you have had their software loaded onto your computer, and then quite properly un-installed it when you closed your account (or perhaps they closed it for you?), take a dated snapshot of your entire system disk contents, for posterity.

    Then warn said company that you levy a charge of (say) ?100 per Byte per day, per computer, of memory that they occupy on your system, without your written permission.

    Much later, should a Class Action suit be initiated on behalf of all such aggrieved parties, a simple check for the presence of their software “signature” on a dated archive will quickly and in damning fashion confirm their trespass AND the amount of Time over which they trespassed.

    This precaution costs NOTHING!

    I have issued such a warning to at least one company which I felt likely to have left its detritis inside my computer. They have a duty to ensure that they leave my system as they found it.

    Clear of their software!

    PARTICULARLY if the parting of our ways was at THEIR instigation!

    I would not be surprised if, in due course, such a simple precaution will provide handsome compensation for the diligent……


  16. Adonis said:


    it seems to me to be a question of civil liberties and the real (vs believed) quality of Democracy ……

    If you live in a Democracy, and the majority feel that gambling must be prohibited, it doesn’t matter much whether the minority like the edict or not: that’s the decision.

    On the other hand……. in a Democracy, such Prohibitions usually survive only if they genuinely protect the Citizenry to such a degree that a majority of them, over Time, continue to believe in the value of that Prohibition.

    Thus, it is accepted in the long term that murder, robbery, and arson should be prohibitted – and the need for their Prohibition is self-evident amongst the Citizenry.

    But if an Administration attempts to Prohibit where such self-evident benefit to its Citizenry does not exist, problems arise and the Prohibition usually founders.

    For example, alcohol in the USA was once Prohibitted and that Prohibition had to be repealed, for lack of sufficient benefits to all of the Citizenry.

    There is no doubt that alcohol can cause a great deal of damage to Citizens… but a democracy permits its Citizens to mostly decide for themselves if they want to partake of risky behaviour.

    I do find it quite surprising that successive USA Administrations prohibit gambling (in most forms) because “it’s bad for you”, yet allows imbibing alcohol, and gun ownership (”because they’re GOOD for you”???)

    The vagaries of Legislation and perceived Democracy!

    …. that is NOT to say that anywhere else does a better job at shepherding its Citizenry!!!!

    But is can be FUN to highlight the paradoxes and dilemmas of these legislators who like nothing better than to tell us what is good for us!

    George Orwell’s legacy retains a great deal of value……..

    Big Brother knows best……


  17. medemi said:

    Medemi, we should believe betfair when they stated (on their own forum) that they are a bookmaker, and feel entitled, whenever they like, to extract money from betting activities through them at zero risk to themselves.

    True. The Gambling Commission might just as well revoke their betting intermediary license, and stick with the bookmaker license only. What’s the purpose of creating a vague and uncertain environment for punters, from the regulator itself ??? Like I said before, you simply can’t be both.

  18. medemi said:


    I don’t believe in democracies. I believe in freedom of speech, openness, commitment and debate.

    Only these factors will result in making progress. Democracies are, to some extent, fake.

  19. Adonis said:


    Like the “Emperor’s Clothes” fable, we must retain deep supicions for anything which engenders an “of course, it’s so obvious, it must be true, it must be good for you” perception. Such things are usually exceedingly “bad for you!”

    I believe very strongly that person-to-person betting (an Idealised Betting Exchange or IBE for short), under the stewardship of a Regulated, impartial Referee/Purseholder (who is paid a commission ONLY) represents a substantial leap forward in the level of Betting Integrity, which can easily be made available to all who wish to wager.

    In essence, it pre-defines the overheads which all Players can expect to pay, in return for that enhanced Betting Integrity.

    But not, repeat NOT, if IBE’s are run by BOOKMAKERS. Particularly that new breed of bookmaker who feels entitled to shave an indeterminate slice of Clients wagers (over and above his commission) off and shove it into his own coffers. …. Because “he has a licence to do that“!!!!!!!

    And not, repeat NOT, when he declares – quite brazenly – that he will do that at NO RISK to himself!

    For the moment, the UK’s Gambling Commission are having difficulty understanding such simple tenets.

    They will learn, or perish via their ignorance.


  20. medemi said:


    you know, I have been following the debate on prostitution and soft drugs in the past, here in holland. So internet gambling should be nothing new, apart from its international character (which is a problem in itself).

    What it usually boils down to, is making choices. You have to, in order to contain the problems, which in this case is gambling addiction. I see two options.

    1) Allow sports markets, anything the public wants, but then you have to compensate that by restricting advertising for instance.

    2) Only allow socially valuable markets and advertise the living daylights out of them.

    I don’t know which one we should go for. It’s a tough one. I think I would go for number 2 because you can always allow for option 1 later. It also fits better with our current policies, which seem to be working. Prostitution is a respectable business here. :-D

  21. medemi said:

    Also, your current policy in the UK with regard to gambling is an accident waiting to happen. A bookmaker on every corner of the street, unrestricted advertising. Well, you name it. It’s not even regulated properly!

    We’ve been much too lenient. Any criticism on our drugs policy perhaps like we get from the French ? Right !

    You should walk into one of these coffee shops one day and only have a look. You’ll feel relaxed for the rest of the day.

  22. medemi said:

    A present, for you Adonis.

    David Yu, Chief Executive of Betfair, said: “Upon winning our first award in 2003, our chairman and co-founder Edward Wray said that the company was looking forward to taking this great British innovation onto the global stage. Five years on, this award for International Trade is recognition of the strides we’ve made towards achieving that aim.”

    “Betfair continues to pride itself on its innovation, integrity, fairness to customers and a determination to work in partnership with international governments and regulators. Those qualities are being recognised throughout the world and we now have operational bases in Australia and Malta to support over one million registered customers.”



  23. Adonis said:


    I’ve visited Amsterdam (on business) several times, pre-2000. I think the Dutch model on cannabis works much better than prohibition. Life must be really difficult for illegitimate cannabis dealers there! I do not need or use any drugs myself, BTW, though in my earlier Chemistry days, I did R&D work on several prescription drugs…….



    Perhaps, rather than prohibiting cheating (in gambling) and then failing dismally to enforce the anti-cheating Law, our Governement should launch a guaranteed High Integrity Betting Exchange. One where no-one – not even the operator! – is allowed to freeze Time.

    Appoint a trusted, big UK name (Virgin for example) to operate the entire company on a commission-only basis, and under close Regulatory scrutiny.


    (Now wouldn’t THAT upset the spivs and cash abstractors????? Maybe the Maltese government too???)

    The GC might be forced to adopt “Punter Director” representatives too.

    You might be surprised to hear that the UK Gambling Commission contains NO elected Punter representation. No GC website forum for Punters to “have their say”.

    Just government appointees (aka meal-tickets)….. Maybe, THAT is the biggest problem we have?


  24. Medemi said:

    Perhaps, rather than prohibiting cheating (in gambling) and then failing dismally to enforce the anti-cheating Law, our Governement should launch a guaranteed High Integrity Betting Exchange.

    It’s all about chosing a workable solution. Give the public what they want, and at the same time be very wary of the negative consequences. In order to get there, you’ve got to have the debate, in public. What we see too much these days, is that people are shouting at each other from a distance, especially in the UK. In an environment like that I suppose telling porkies and being manipulative does help to get what you want.  But it isn’t helpful and takes us further away from reaching our objective – shiny happy people. :-)

  25. Chris Masse (Not Logged In) said:


    I have updated the “theme” (that is the layout of the blog).

    I am testing the comment system to see whether some changes have been made here.





    No need anymore to add a hyphen “-” in a new line, after a paragraph.

  26. Medemi said:


    I also believe you should loosen up on your law of libel. Rest assured, I can see where it is applicable.

    But the reality is, that it’s being used to oppress, in stead of protect. For those who are wondering what I am talking about, you haven’t been paying attention!

    So, I get a sense that this modern oppressive tool, this abuse of power, is the answer to your question.

    That’s why I don’t give a shit about your law of libel. But then I’m not trying to silence anyone. Because if I did, I probably would care a great deal about it.

  27. Adonis said:

    There’s not a lot wrong with Libel Law here: very strong evidence of real defamation is needed to win a case. Problem is, expensive lawyers (as in the USA too) use the threat of a libel suit to suppress publication of what they want kept away from the Public gaze. It tends to boil down to “my pockets are deeper than yours, and I’ll get you locked into massive legal fees if you don’t do what I want”.

    So…… those of pliable moral fibre simply “bend with the wind” and  Freedom takes a giant leap backwards.

    But we can’t repeal Libel Law just to fix the problem of Lack of Moral Fibre!

    Until those threatened have the guts to stop being wimps and STAND UP against such bullies, things will remain dire – whether we have Libel Law or not!

    If the wimps weren’t threatened with a Libel suit (because there was no Libel Law, for example) they’d STILL wimp into submission on whatever other Law the Lawyers chose to threaten them with, INSTEAD.

    Once a wimp, always a wimp.

    Lawyers simply provide an acceptable REASON for wimps to wimp!


  28. Medemi said:

    Great Britain’s Position:

    The British libel laws differs from American libel laws in approach: British libel laws are considered pro-plaintiff, meaning that the defendant must prove that she or he did not commit libel. This is the opposite of American libel law, which places the burden of proof upon the plaintiff to show that the alleged libelous statement contained malice and caused damage.


    What do you think of that ? Seems to me people have a reason to be scared.

  29. Medemi said:

    Isn’t it true Adonis, that the only thing which – let’s take Ed for example – offers him protection, is media attention, despite having good intentions himself and being constructive all the time. Certainly didn’t cause any damage. So when that fails, or is not available, should we conclude, as you say, YOYO ?

    It just seems to me betfair should have picked up the signals of someone supposedly leaking account info in pubs, and thanked him for it. That would be the constructive approach. I still believe he was honest about everything he said. And what happened to the benefit of the doubt ? Not that there’s any doubt in my mind.

  30. medemi said:

    Did anyone read this story ? Looks like betfair are finally coming down hard on corruption.

    Attached is a mail from BF this morning:

    Dear Cathal

    In accordance with paragraph 9.2.1 of our Terms and Conditions, placing bets less than the minimum stake (A?2/a‚¬4/$AUD6) is forbidden.

    In line with our policy on these matters, we have frozen and seized the profits which accrued to your account from this activity and your account has been permanently closed.

    Kind regards

    Betfair Veirification Team


  31. Adonis said:


    Don’t believe everything you read. In newspapers or on the Web…..

    In the UK, the burden of proof rests always with the plaintiff.

    Of course, if the plaintiff can “show” himself truthful beyond (any obvious, at the time,) reasonable doubt, it may be that the defendant is best and most expediently served by DESTROYING whatever such “proof” the plaintiff has represented as Truthful with their evidence to the contrary.

    That is a relatively trivial thing to do PROVIDED that the plaintiff’s case rests on an untruthful foundation. And it is true that if such contrary evidence is posessed by the defendant, the Court expects the defendant to show it and save a lot of time and expense…..

    THAT is what worries any lawyer advising his principal to intiate a Libel case!

    The penalty for “getting it wrong” can be HUGE….. an apparently cast-iron case is easily destroyed if it is untruthful.

    I have huge faith that British Law protects me from spurious threats and bullying attempts, and that provided I make proper and reasonable effort to state Truths, and only express opinions which are based on reasonable deductions and observations I HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR AT ALL!

    And I’m NOT afraid!

    To the point of routinely providing unsolicited copies of supportive evidence to the Legal Department of companies which may otherwise be tempted to threaten me….. just in case they are tempted to “convince themselves” that bullying might just “do the trick”…..


  32. Adonis said:


    yes, I read the thread, and no, very little surprises me anymore with regard to the unilateral actions apparently taken!

    In my book, if it’s brown, smells bad and has flies on it, it’s not nice at all: It’s what you think it is!


  33. medemi said:

    Adonis, I did some more research, just now. These are the first two articles I came across, so I’m not being selective.

    What makes the UK’s libel laws so vicious is, in part, that it places the burden of proof entirely on the defendant. The law assumes that any statement that is alleged to be defamatory is deemed to be false unless the defendant can prove otherwise, operating under strict liability. Moreover, in the case of ‘public figures’ the question of whether a statement was made with ‘actual malice’ (knowing falsity or reckless disregard for the truth) is relevant only to the question of obtaining compensatory and, particularly, punitive damages.

    By way of contrast, in the US, a public figure must show actual malice in order to win the case.


    The libel laws are an abomination. They favour rich, litigious bullies at the expense of free expression. Even a website for mothers to chatter on is fair game to this draconian law.

    As a result we now have a culture where the default position is not free speech but censorship. After the 2001 case Godfrey v. Demon Internet Ltd, all internet service providers became vulnerable to libel lawsuits if they failed to immediately censor comments that a person claimed were defamatory. Whether or not the words are true is irrelevant.

    England’s libel laws have never been about protecting individuals – at least not poor or helpless individuals. They are about protecting the rich and the powerful.


  34. medemi said:

    As a result we now have a culture where the default position is not free speech but censorship

  35. Adonis said:


    I know it seems to paint a poor picture, but do remember that it is simply THAT: a picture!

    That is what propaganda is all about. Do it well, and pretty much all of the people will BELIEVE what you want them to believe! Pretty much all of the Time…. until someone takes a peek and sees that the Emperor is NAKED.

    You’re right in one aspect: most observeres DO believe that they can be successfully sued for libel by any deep-pocketed behmoth which sets out “to get them”.

    Well, in reality, our Courts simply aren’t that dumb;

    “no proof of guilt = no conviction”.

    That (unfortunately for the propagandists) is not the logical equivalent of “no proof of innocence = conviction”!

    Try searching for a successful UK libel suit brought against a website that wasn’t complicit in a libel which it happened to deliver(classically, publish). UK Law is NOT littered with such examples…..in fact it isn’t littered with FAILED such libel suits either. Those wishing us to believe that we’re in danger of imminent litigation aren’t so reckless as to risk ther cash by following through with the threats they so eagerly assure us are real!

    Incidentally, in the UK especially, it pays NOT to believe everything that you can read in the papers…… they have a track record of following their own motives. Which aren’t always necessarily down the Centreline of the Path of Righteousness…….oh dear no!


  36. medemi said:


    personally I believe it is very hard to be convicted of libel in any western european country. To put this debate in the proper context, I was looking for an alternative explanation why you’re not having the debate. Thatcherism could be it, but I was looking a bit further and stumbled on your law of libel. I did, by myself, then did some research and found confirmation, even though my search was objective – I googled something like “UK law of libel burden of proof” the second time.

    First of all, I don’t agree with your explanation – that people from the UK are wimps. People from different countries are not that different at all. Environmental factors are. So what environmental factor are we looking for ? Simply stating that people are wimps doesn’t cut it for me. If you’re right, then why have they become wimps ?

    Secondly, what are you saying (or maybe I should ask you of your opinion in stead), is the UK law of libel that hard to interpret so that all these people get the wrong impression ? Or are these articles deliberately trying to mislead us ? In both cases I would say that something is NOT right.

    I know there are some hard questions in here, but I think it is very important for us to try and answer them. LOL.

    I’ll give you my hunch. I think by the way it is handled in practice, it is giving people the wrong impression. Should that be true, then that (a false impression) is almost just as bad as a UK law of libel which doesn’t provide sufficient protection in reality. When we get back to the context of the debate.

  37. Adonis said:

    Why (IMHO) are people ( worldwide, not just in the uk; I didn’t restrict the characteristic to the UK only…) tending to believe that they can’t defy edicts made NOT BY LAW, but by large and powerful corporations?

    ……..because over Time, there is a growing tendency for people to regard everything as “not my problem“.

    Thus, when someone drops litter in the street, virtually no-one will accost the litterbug and ask them to “pick it up” – let alone make a Citizen’s Arrest and do the job properly.

    When people walk through a shopping centre and hear a group of youngsters swearing loudly and generally making a public nuisance of themselves, rarely will they even contemplate doing anything themselves!

    OK. maybe they’re afraid that in arresting someone, they’ll be prosecuted for assault themselves – another product of the “politically correct” wave that is destroying long-established community spirit and communal responsibility. Interestingly, a facet of this progression which such miscreants DEPEND  upon!!!! They will even threaten you with proceedings if you DARE to begin castigating them!


    As the saying goes…. “as ye sow, so shall ye reap“.


    If (in general) people tend not to give a damn, then their environment will consist of a majority who “don’t give a damn” too.

    There again,. what would I know?

    Not my problem.

    Why should I fix it?

    ….. if you sort of get the idea.


    when it becomes obvious that a large virtual monopoly is flexing its muscle to suppress open discussion about important aspects of the way it is running its business, and at almost every turn, people flock to ignore the danger signs on a “it ain’t my problem” basis, all I remark, nowadays is “YET“.

    Nothing is likely to generate a real, worthwhile backlash from the general public until the fallout of allowing such autocracy (maybe even tyranny?) settles in their own “back yards”.

    Unfortunately, there will be (IMHO)  LOTS of casualties before that happens. The moral fibre of our respective countries being not the least of those casualties.

    There again…. who am I to scaremonger on such unimportant topics?

    Not a lot I can do about it, is there?

    Not MY problem!


    (with tongue FIRMLY in cheek!)

  38. medemi said:


    caring more is not the answer. We should care less, in fact we should stop caring all together, especially about ourselves. Caring has a distinct nasty smell about it, because it is always selective.

    People care about their children and the people closest to them. It will be at the expense of that stranger who happened to walk by in need of help.

    Some people care so much about betfair, that they completely forget about the importance of betting integrity.

    The political leaders in the US care so much about their country, that they are willing to wage war on other human beings. ‘Nough said!

    You’re implying that people should care more, but you’re not going to change anything for the better. Quite the contrary IMO. Once again, the real answer is carefully kept from us.

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