February 2002: Site Launched
As a general betting guide. Main focus was on betting information, bookmaker guides and also the familiar calendar of betting events. The site was pretty awful - actually it was truly abysmal
August 2003: Launch of Tipster Competition
I did this just for a bit of fun - didn't think many people would be particularly interested. I wasn't much good at programming and it took me a long time to do it despite it being pretty useless. When Id finished I remember telling everyone"well that was a waste of time"
You had to manually enter you own odds and selections.
If you got the name of the horse/team wrong your bet lost!
If your odds were way out from everyone else then your bet lost!
The original prizes were just for overall monthly profit and were 10 for 1st, 5 for 2nd and 5 for best tip comments.
In the first month there was just two of us - me and xxSophiexx (who is still an active member)
January 2004: Expansion of Tipster Competition
At xxsophie's suggestion we add lay tipping functionality for horses and some other leagues
January 2004: The Shark Joins OLBG as a Tipster
I think he made a profit that month too!
February 2004: OLBG recruits first Employee
We took on Emma to help improve the graphical appearance of the site and boy did we need it. That multicoloured boxy design was achieving cult status but it was time for a change
June 2004: PhilB begs me to setup a forum
We have long debates and he finally convinces me to start building one. Ironically he never actually uses it!
August 2004: Site Redesign
OLBG re-launches with broadly the current design and forum and lots of today's functionality like tip alerts, tips by sport pages. The tipster comp is still manual though & all tips are being processed by hand by Antony every day on a tip by tip basis.
We also break the 50 members barrier and its a pretty sweet list of people even then. Bobby, Aye66, Discs & The Shark were all pretty active then.
August 2004: OLBG recruits Amanda
Amanda took over all the tip processing from me. I built a few tools to make the tip processing easier but it was still very manual and what a relief it was to have her taking care of all that for me.
September 2004: Discs Reveals major losses on the forum
classic thread "Need help recovering from my loss" was born where many of the community got together to help Discs who'd been a a bit of a bad run at rather large stakes :0
September 2004: Team Competition Added
Spoon wants to be able to setup a league to play against others in his office so we build the current teams system. There aren't many teams to start with so his team does quite well :)
September 2004: Daily Top-up introduced & Prizes Increased
We realise that quite a lot of people are going broke quite early in the month after a bad run & then cant really use the site for the rest of the month. So we decide to give everyone a 100 top up to their bank
We also introduce prizes for racing, laying, us sports, forum contribution and more
October 2004: Strong Tips Fever
People are starting to get really excited about the "Strong Tip Alerts" (again based on an idea by PhilB) even though we still don't have 100 active tipsters (there were some pretty good ones though!)
December 2004: Tip Editing abolished in Money Laundering Scandal
TBone discovers that some people are changing their tips at the last minute to confuse people who are copying their tips in the competition. Also some people are placing max stakes bets at the end of the month only to edit them at the start of the next month to min stakes bets & releasing the cash. This is playing havoc with the tipster alerts so we remove the tip editing feature.
January 2005: New Tipster Competition
Major upgrade to tipster competition. The manual tipping is scrapped and replaced with something a lot more similar to what we have today. Drop-downs with lists of selections, automatic odds - luxury :)
February 2005: Football Idol Starts
Aye66 sets a challenge to see if anyone can turn 200 into 10,000 in a month
March 2005: Site Hacked
Some nasty buggers starting messing around with our data. 2 Sleepless nights later and things were back to normal though
May 2005: Poker Nights Start
JWoody gets together a crowd on the forum to play a bit of poker over at Ladbrokes. The first tournament was won by AJP69 (yeah that's me ha!)
June 2005: Valuechecker Launches
Finally we have our own odds comparison site + some stats thrown in there too!
August 2005: The Shark becomes an OLBG Employee
After months of negotiation we both take the plunge. He's taking a risk on that the site will do well and we're paying him more than we can really afford. He's worried he wont have anything to do (lol - how wrong was he on that!)
September 2005: 1000 Users
A big milestone for us
February 2006: Blogs Launched
To give some of our more prolific writers a platform we created a blogs section where people could collate their tips, comments and general musings
April 2006: Popular Tipsters League Started
Many people are troubled that the prizes and the glory are going to people who got lucky with one desperate all or nothing bet at the end of the month. We decide to launch a league just for the more consistent tipsters and use alert subscriptions as an independent measure of that.
May 2006: World Cup Stats Project
Several members of the OLBG community got together to create a really comprehensive stats tool for the world cup betting. All coordinated via the forum - no email, messenger or phone
June 2006: 500 World Cup giveaway
Our biggest prize yet = 500 for the most profit over the world cup period
November 2006: Tables Upgrade
We add prizes for about 20 football leagues and lots of new sports + detailed tables by sport too so people can now see performance by sport by months, for 6 & twelve months, strike rates, ROI & more.
Prize money doubled from about 800 to about 1600 per month
January 2007: Server Upgrade
We spend a few quid on getting faster servers to cope with all the extra data & users the site now has. As performance improves we add Level Stakes profit into the tipster tables
February 2007: Best Odds Tipping
Finally people can make their tips at the best odds rather than Bet365 only. Horse racing tipsters can now "Take a price" too.
March 2007: 1,000 Cheltenham Giveaway
We boost the prize money once again with some extra cash to celebrate the cheltenham festival
April 2007: Hot Tips
We launch the hot tips page where people can see and filter the most popular tips for the days sporting events
August 2007: More Competitions
Football Market competitions (1x2, Goals, AH) launched so people can see their expertise in particular areas
August 2007: OLBG v Bookies
We launch a challenge to try to get members to work together to pick one single bet each week of the premiership season and invest £100 of real money + any accumulated winnings on this. We have some spectacular weeks (Fulham Corners!) and some very depressing odds on losers but its great fun and a great learning experience for all. People are still playing it as personal challenges to this day
September 2007: Betting School
We launch a collection of betting guides and exams to help people improve their betting. There are lots of arguments about some of the exam results but we were right!
October 2007: Freeroll
First Freeroll from Paradise Poker. Loads of new "members" turned up to play and then were never seen again - a good learning experience though :)
October 2007: OLBG Sponsors Matt Edgar
OLBG Forum regular Mattman gets sponsorship to help launch his career as a Darts player
February 2008: Dammo Gets 12 Ps
Dammo Qwirky becomes the 1st OLBG tipster to record 12 consecutive profitable months (and without Laying). He then prompty stops tipping!
March 2008: Tommos Tips!
Another Cheltenham Giveaway but with a spread of prizes this time rather than it all going to one "lucky" person
Tommo joins OLBG and starts sharing his tips and info for free
We also hit 40,0000 users this month!
May 2008: Villa v Wigan Get Together
We have our first football get-together at Villa Park. The game is a bit diappointing and Villa lose 2-0 but its a fun day and we finish off with some Poker which Woody (who had organised it all for us) wins!
June 2008: Tip Alerts
New alerts system added allowing targeting by tipster, sport and market, plus a more comprehensive subscribe/unsubscribe system for other mailings, some new profiling info, MyBookies tools and more
July 2008: Pro Tipsters
To give more rewards to the people who consistently add quality information or who have outstanding tipping records we introduce lots of new Blogger and Pro Tipster competitions.
July 2008: OLBG in Racing Post
NetProphet has a go on OLBG and likes it so much he writes all about it
August 2008: Poker & Casino Sections
Launch of OLBG Poker, OLBG Casino and new drop down menu system replacing the tabs.
September 2008: 50,000 Members
We hit 50,000 members on 1st of the month
Tommo audio previews released
July 2009: Fun Tables
Nothing to do with lap dancing as one member thought, but a list of tipster profitability by demographic so we can see which countries or which football teams supporters are the best.
October 2009: 100,000 Prize Money
After about 5 years of prizes that roughly £20,000 per year we give away. Not bad!
February 2010: Valuechecker Affiliates
We launch our own odds solution for affiliates to get our odds comparisons on their site
August 2010: Paddys LMS
We team up with paddy power to offer members a free Last Man Standing competition which proves to be one of the most popular competitions we have run
November 2010: Valuechecker Wins Best Innovations
A great achievement - we win the prestigeous Best Innovation in iGaming award
February 2011: New Members Area
We have a bit of a reorganisation of the members area to make it easier to get round and add a few new bits like some social sharing and community involvement elements.
Also we finally integrate the forum and members area logins OMG!
June 2011: Rebrand as OLBG.com
Finally we abandon that catchy 20 letter double hyphenated domain in favour of a nice 4 letter .com. Everyone was calling us OLBG anyway so was about time we actually were called that
June 2011: 10,000 to Charity
An incredible effort by OLBG members and much appreciated by the sporting charities we work with
June 2011: International Sites
We translate some of our main menus and help areas into other languages like Spanish, German, Swedish, Danish, Romanian and Australian!
November 2011: OLBG Sponsor Kelly Sibley
One of our members hears about a top UK table tennis player that is unable to get any funding in the run up to the 2012 Olympic so we step in to help out
January 2012: OLBG Wins Best Sports Affiliate
The growing OLBG team remain sober enough at the awards ceremony to climb up on the stage to receive the awards from a Childrens TV presenter and a girl dressed like the Notting Hill Carnival. A great achievement!
February 2012: 100,000 Members
We officially hit 100,000 members. In fact if we hadnt deleted all the spammers, duplicates and inactives we would have been there years ago and would be at 250,000 now!
March 2012: OLBG Sponsors at Cheltenham
We sponsor the mares race at Cheltenham on the Tuesday. Quevega wins and we all celebrate!
March 2012: Toilet Tips
We get some tips from our members and put them up as posters in the toilets at Cheltenham and they just cant stop winning. The first 8 (out of 10) all win and we get featured on ATR and interviewed on RUK
May 2012: New OLBG Merchandise
We start giving away shiny new OLBG branded car stickers, playing cards, bags, pens and more
May 2012: 10,000 Likes on Facebook
We're now able to update 10,000 facebook fans at a time with the latest OLBG news and offers after getting to 10,000 likes on the OLBG Facebook Page - next target 20,000!
July 2012: 200,000 in Prize Money Paid!
And some of our members are getting quite rich!
September 2012: OLBG Park Stakes St Legers Sponsorship
We're pleased to confirm our new 3 year deal to sponsor the OLBG Park Stakes at St Leger Festival Sept 15th 2012, the second biggest race of the Festival. OLBG Sponsorship Details & News Release
October 2012: iPhone App Launched
Now you can access OLBG tips really fast and efficiently on your iPhone. Yipee!