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Subject:  Re: Different from Investopedia? Date:  9/23/2008  2:15 PM
Author:  Har1en Number:  396 of 597

Yeah, their search engine sucks. Also, not to display my ignorance too much, but frankly, I had never heard of Investopedia. I occasionally go to Wikipedia for some financial terms I want to research, but I don't trust what is written on either site to be... how should I say this?

Biased? Pragmatic? Reduced to the point of common sense? (Not a typo, these are things I want.)

I feel that the strength of the Fool community is that we respect readers' intelligent inexperience. We explain concepts in simple ways so someone who has the desire to learn but never took finance or accounting in school can quickly apply the information. I think that the drawback to those other sites is that they don't have an editorial slant that is serious about teaching normal people annoyingly esoteric concepts.

That's what it really comes down to for me. We're researching terms for our practical advantage -- we need to apply it in our daily investment decisions, we want to know how important it is and what we can earn from each item.

Also, Investopedia has a junky search engine. Reading through their description of the balance sheet, I thought to run a search for "capital expenditure" and got nothing. Going to Google and running "capital expenditure investopedia," I instantly got their CAPEX page, which has several words highlighted as links. Those links are not links to more information, but are rather links for paid ads.

In short, if I'm on the CAPEX page, there's no way to find the Financial Statements page from there, even though it probably should be linked, or at least grouped together in a category. It's not even a "related term." Makes sense, right? I had to click through four pages to get to it, but I knew what I was looking for and how to get there. A newbie would not.

These are all things that could be easily corrected in a Wiki (and frankly, those text ads have no place in a reference document. Ads are OK, but they should not be misleading. Clicking on Asset should take you to something defining Asset, not to a 3rd party vendor looking to help you buy/sell Assets. Who pays for these terms anyhow?

So, I think our pages will be better because they're... well, they're ours.

We're not economists or accountants, so we write for ourselves, and we're a pretty important audience.

Let me give you an example of an Investopedia discussion of sales that I heartily disagree with:

For investors, all sales increases are good and can occur as a result of sales growth through more unit volume from existing products/services, the introduction of new products/services, price increases, acquisitions and, for international sales, the impact of favorable exchange rates. However, some increases should be viewed more favorably than others. There's no question that greater unit volume is the best growth factor, followed by product-line expansion and new services. Price increases, especially those above the inflation rate, have their limits, as does sales growth through acquisitions. As applied to companies with foreign operations, the currency translation effect into U.S. dollars, either positive or negative, will even out over time.
http://www.investopedia.com/articles/stocks/06/advincome.asp...

So, all sales are good, except some are better than others, huh? How about the sales of low priced, no-money-down, income-unverified ARMs? How about those? Those are sales of services so they must be good, right?

How about sales for rental of 3 movies at a time, with the option to get 3 movies free on return of those movies at a Blockbuster video store, and to charge less than our competitor does for half as many discs? Failed-business-idea-number-2 only seemed like a good idea for a few months and then the CEO in charge of that brilliant plan was sent flying with a boot to the rear. His successor is still trying to clean up the mess.

Still think all sales increases are good? I'm sure we could all come up with several examples in a few minutes from our own practical experience.

Fact is, nothing exists in isolation. Sales are good if lending is kept under control, if current and future costs are kept reasonable in comparison. The Fool community would be able to correct an article like that -- and I think quickly -- so that others who come in later will not be misled by Mr. Richard Loth (the author) and his 38 years of investment banking experience. I've got no years of investment banking experience and I can tell another side to that story.

Our diversity and pugnacious nature make us different, and IMO, better.

<Rant off.>

Har1en
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