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Author: ElricSeven Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 24974  
Subject: Re: Selling Message Boards Bad Idea Date: 2/20/2000 4:32 PM
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Recommendations: 30
I have taken some time to address many issues that have come up concerning the new community member research reports. This is the last time I will chime in on this argument because I think that the issues have been thoroughly canvassed. Hopefully this presents a point of view that is moderately lucid.

Thanks ahead of time.
ElricSeven


There is a chill created when suddenly one person in the choir of voices is elevated to a professional distinction from within the collective enterprise. The psychology of cooperative contribution where the high and the low contribute to a positive outcome is undermined.

Isn't this what happens with recommendations? One voice is raised above others as perhaps making a good contribution that day. I hope I don't come across as a “know it all” and if that is a problem, then I am sure that you will let me know.

I agree with your argument that the Fool has taken a Wise turn by selling materials created on the message boards.

I am not sure where this idea has started, but no one is selling materials created on the message boards. My report, at least, was created from what I learned from reading textbooks, the message boards, 10-Ks, websites, newsarticles, etc. If this was the case then no one would bother buying the stuff because you could get it on the message boards.

Note, though, that if I were to arrive on this message board and see that 2676 messages had been posted, I may not want to read them all. It might be nice to drop $5 or $10 on a clearly written synopsis of the board itself. Especially from someone with the expertise.

I appreciate everyone's concern here though. I truly believe that if I were to sell stuff that was recycled crap, I would hear it quick. Your post itself is evidence that I will be policed VERY closely.

Addressing those who questioned the health of the boards once community members started to sell reasearch:

Before the report issued I had posted 103 times over a 4 month period, including the initial Celera FAQ. I had 377 recommendations during that period also.

While drafting the report my posting went wayyy down - for about three weeks I posted 13 messages. One of those, however was the HGSI FAQ.

After the report I have posted 127 messages in just over two weeks. On those messages I have received a total of 247 recommendations. This includes a massive overhaul of the CRA FAQ (which had added 3,000 posts in the meantime).

In essence, doing the report does make a difference on contribution - but similar to Amazon, the upfront investment pays off later. Now I have been posting more and, I think, better content. However, I have been helping more individuals and my recommendation ratio is down. Tit for tat.

Addressing concern for pricing and me “holding out” by not posting information so that people will pay for it:

I believe that people will buy my research for two reasons:

One is to support my efforts on the boards.

You will note that I have been putting a lot more data and research into every post now that I can springboard off of my research for the report. If you like this data and these posts, then you will “subsidize” my efforts by throwing me a bone. The money helps defray the costs of the research including things like lost work time (yes I could be billing hours instead of working on this stuff – but I like working on this stuff and will do it for much less) and the costs of materials such as paper, software, database subscriptions, etc.

The second is to save yourself time, energy and to get a nice reference document.

If you are someone who would rather have the info in a nice document that is easy to read without having to wade for posts, then you are willing to pay a few bucks.

A further explanation of my plans/motivations are detailed in the following posts:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?id=1380646000046003&sort=postdate

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?id=1380646000042011&sort=postdate

The most important point:
Without sufficient funding to support the Motley Fool it will not survive for long. I personally don't know how profitable TMF is, but look at how profitable other internet companies are.

Would you invest in TMF stock? Truly, I am not sure how they manage to supply such a wonderful service without charging a subscription fee.

We, I am guessing, would be staring a subscription fee in the face if it were not for the sale of merchandise, reports and other stuff. TheStreetDotCom is struggling right now with this very issue. And they are spiraling downwards out of control.

I would much rather the community be subsidized by willing purchasers.

If you guys have any better ideas of how to keep this great website TMF running, I am sure the would be VERY willing to listen. I am not being sarcastic. This is YOUR chance to do more than just wail and moan. Give them some honest, realistic feedback.

thanks,
Greg
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