Monday, July 24, 2006

Absolute Tries the Niche Marketing Thing with APLady Poker

Niche marketing. It's a sure sign of market maturation, when product-development gurus realize that, "Hey, we've got to offer something different from everyone else!" Ultimate Bet tried it a few months back, with the introduction of Benefit Poker, a site dedicated to charity-only events. Now it's Absolute Poker's turn, with AP Lady, the first women's-only online poker site.

Here's what Lacey Jones, the newly signed paid professional endorser for the site, supposedly has to say on the site's introduction:

"Poker is popular with women because it can be very social and it's also a thinking game," said Lacey Jones, one of Absolute Poker's professionals and an active participant in this year's World Series of Poker. "AP Lady is a very safe way for women to take the first few steps into poker from the comfort of their home and it also gives more experienced female poker players a great way to refine and improve their skills by practicing between live events."

Problem is, there's nothing here but smoke and mirrors --- and that's not much smoke and very few mirrors, either. APLady is a simple skin of the main Absolute Poker engine, and its purported special features boil down to an main page that included links to three --- count 'em, three --- total other pages, one of which is a simply copying of the basic poker-terms glossary found elsewhere on the main AP site. The other two pages are just rehashed AP "getting started" and "refer a friend" pages in fright wig and heels.

As for the color scheme, well, too much lavender and violet and mauve and puce makes me wanna... puce.

So what's in it for the women? Well, besides the right to sign up at a skin and receive the same hard-to-clear sign-up bonus that's already available through the regular site, not much. There aren't even any special-access, women's-only tables, should that be a new player's desire, and the press release convenient glosses over that point. So a kaffee klatsch this ain't; players are directly to the same both-genders tables, whether they come to them through the APLady interface or not.

Now, I'm not crazy about the "women's only" concept, since it violates my beliefs that poker is about the survival of the fittest. Despite that, this is just a cheap marketing sham. There's nothing special here, nothing at all.

Another mindless quote from Jones illustrates that this is nothing, nothing at all:

"The market is at an interesting point," explains Jones. "There are a lot of women who want to try their hand at poker and AP Lady is a perfect way for them to get started. Its also a really great way for experienced players to fine-tune their game by playing against players from all over the world."

Why, I couldn't have written a better set of meaningless words for a token mouthpiece myself.

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