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Larry, I honestly think that's a little cynical. I read the article and found a tremendous amount of useful information. I honestly can't remember reading an article focused on value investing for free that meets the quality standard in Philip's piece. Admittedly, as the founder of the company, I'm biased. But I have a feeling that people like David Dreman and Martin Whitman would not be giving us interviews at The Motley Fool if they didn't think our services were matching a standard of high quality.

The economic reality is that free Internet content doesn't work. Therefore, we had one of two choices. We could've made the entire site fee-only. We struggled over this and concluded that not only was it too risky but it also didn't meet our mission of reaching out to the general public with sound personal finance and investment thinking. The only other alternative was to maintain the free sharing of great ideas with membership services packaged as a non-required add-on. In other words, you can continue to read that an accomplished value investor like Philip believes that pharmaceuticals are becoming interesting, for free, without ever paying us a dime. For a small annual fee, you can read Philip's work in our general community -- and those who have enjoyed his analysis of companies like Altria in the mid-$20s (cited in the article) and plenty of others, know that his work is of the highest quality. Finally, if you want to join Inside Value, a full-blown 24/7 services that teaches value investing and provides compelling prospects, great. We'd love to have you. And I assure you, Philip and our other advisors are committed to providing the very best service, anywhere.

In the end, you are getting top-quality writing, with investment ideas, for free -- with no obligation to ever becoming a paying member. (Most membership companies offer nothing continually for free, giving you a free sample for a few weeks or months before slamming the door.) All of that is available in exchange for a few mentions of the service he is pouring his heart and soul into. I would urge you individually to take a trial to Philip's service, completely ready to cancel within 30 days so that you pay us nothing. While there, just observe the CEO interviews, the David Dreman interview, the active boards, and the two recommendations per month. . and decide if you think Philip is dedicating himself wholly to this. I think you'll conclude that he is, and that a few links to the service in a completely free article is quite trivial.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. And you are free to disagree, even fiercely, with me. But the momentum of our readership and membership suggests to me that more than 3.5 million people are happy with how we're conducting our free and member services. Foolish best,

Tom Gardner
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