Skip to main content
No. of Recommendations: 10
Last week, I wrote a post asking why the Motley Fool was advertising penny stocks to their readers. In the post, I took a closer look at one of the recent pump and dumps that the the Fool introduced to their readers and questioned the appropriateness of the ad. I also asked the Fool to clarify their advertising policy, so that I would have a better idea of what was and wasn't allowed.

In the Fool's defense, they did take the time to respond to part of my inquiry, by pointing out that the fool has a no penny stock and no adult content advertising policy for the Fool.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=25724883

They also asked me (and other readers) to be vigilant in watching their ads for them, so that we can report when abuse occurs.

In response to their post, I've asked the Fool (in several private emails) to clarify the response and to provide me with an email address for where I can report abuse.

In my emails, I've asked them to specifically address what the policy was towards penny stock newsletters.

So far, the Motley Fool hasn't provided me an email with what is and isn't appropriate, nor an answer on whether pennystock newsletter were allowed. Since the Fool doesn't seem to want to comment on the newsletters, I decided to be proactive and take a closer look at some of the ads that are still running on the site.

This morning they are running an ad for ChinaInvestorReport.com. The "report" is issued by the same company that owns SmallCapInvestor.com and GrowthReport.com (two other newsletters that I've seen advertised on the Fool)

In order to analyze how successful their report has been, I went back and took a look at some of China IR's June newsletters.

In the last month, the company has advertised three penny stocks in the subject lines of their emails. After their PLKT recommendation ran, the stock surged to as high as $1.60. Currently it's $0.89. After they ran their analysis on UVSE, the stock ran to $2.00 (today it's at $1.57). After they ran a breakdown on UPBS, it finished at $1.10, today it's at 0.71.

Now I didn't take the time to dig through the SEC filings on these companies, but I'd be willing to bet dollars for doughnuts that all three companies have either a going concern letter on file or an accountant who has complaints filed with them at the PCAOB.

In just looking at the returns on these three stocks, I have to question the wisdom of the advice that is being given out by the newsletter. Since the Motley Fool has always emphasized their unbiased research, something seems inappropriate about directing readers to a less than stellar financial publication.

In my emails, asking for clarification on the Fool's advertising policies, I've proposed that they don't run newsletters where companies or individuals are allowed to pay, in order for coverage. If the Fool wants to link to a legitimate stock newsletter that is fine, but when a company accepts shares of stock, in exchange for writing about a company, it raises some serious questions about how unbiased the recommendation is. Since the Fool places so much emphasis on full disclosure and unbiased research, it only seems fair that they'd have the same requirements for their business partners.

I'm still waiting for an email back from the Fool, that outlines which newsletters are OK and which ones are inappropriate, but so far I have yet to see a copy of the Fool's ad policy. I understand the difficulty of researching third party ads, but considering that I was able to get this information in less than ten minutes, it seems pretty foolish for the site to run these.

It's easy to say, it's not our problem it's an affiliate that is accepting these ads, but when I can figure out that something is bogus with minimal Google searching, it makes me wonder why the Fool isn't at least doing some haphazard due diligence on their ad partners.

If the Fool wants to have a no DD policy and leave it to their readers to report the bad ads, than they at least owe us an explanation of what ads are acceptable and what violates their policy, as well as an easy way to report offensive ads.

It's one thing to say that you don't know that this is going on, but it's another thing to not provide clarification on what is and isn't allowed.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 6
You know, I manage to avoid buying every stock that's touted on the Internet.

You might try to learn how to do that, rather than censoring everything.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 10
You know, I manage to avoid buying every stock that's touted on the Internet. You might try to learn how to do that, rather than censoring everything.

It's not a question of censorship, it's a question of the type of community the Fool wants to cultivate. You and I may know that these stocks are bogus, but people are obviously clicking on the ads or else they wouldn't be there. There are a lot of people who come to the Fool because they are trying to learn about the markets, if the Fool is accepting sponsorships from companies that could financially harm their readers, than I'm sorry, but I have a problem with that.

The Fool can set whatever ground rules they want, but if it's caveat emptor, than I'd like to know that. We may live in a dog eat dog world, but that doesn't mean that communities shouldn't look after each other. Every one can have their own opinion, but I don't believe that it's appropriate for "analysts" to accept stock for remuneration of services. This leads to conflicts and questionable analysis and isn't an unreasonable restriction given the Fool's own policies.

If others feel that this type of research is ok to put in front of our community, than so be it, but after spending two years in an ad free environment, it pains me to see these vultures picking off Fool readers.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 11
The Fool can set whatever ground rules they want, but if it's caveat emptor, than I'd like to know that. We may live in a dog eat dog world, but that doesn't mean that communities shouldn't look after each other. Every one can have their own opinion, but I don't believe that it's appropriate for "analysts" to accept stock for remuneration of services. This leads to conflicts and questionable analysis and isn't an unreasonable restriction given the Fool's own policies.

If others feel that this type of research is ok to put in front of our community, than so be it, but after spending two years in an ad free environment, it pains me to see these vultures picking off Fool readers.


Did you read Bogey's response? He did explain how it happened, and why the penny stocks shouldn't have been listed.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=25724883

Nancy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I'm still waiting for an email back from the Fool, that outlines which newsletters are OK and which ones are inappropriate, but so far I have yet to see a copy of the Fool's ad policy.

Don't feel bad, I haven't gotten an answer either.

I'm glad you're willing to follow-through on this complaint. I feel strongly about using the proper advertising on a web site I rec to others.

ßillƒ

P.S. Hey TMF, I'm still waiting on an answer too.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
Don't feel bad, I haven't gotten an answer either.

I'm glad you're willing to follow-through on this complaint. I feel strongly about using the proper advertising on a web site I rec to others.

ßillƒ

P.S. Hey TMF, I'm still waiting on an answer too.


Like the Fool in the post prior to yours said:

Check here:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=25724883

Churchy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 2
Did you read Bogey's response? He did explain how it happened, and why the penny stocks shouldn't have been listed.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=25724883


I did actually see Bogey's response and while his post addresses the direct penny stock ads, it skirts the penny stock newsletter issue. I've sent several emails asking for clarification, but still haven't heard back . . .

In the post, Bogey asks us to report bad ads to the Fool, but doesn't provide a way for me to do that. It's been a day and a half since I complained about the China Investor report and yet Fools are still being directed to the site. If this ad isn't against the rules, than why won't the Fool just speak up and say newsletters aren't our problem, it's up to the buyer to beware? If they aren't OK, than give me someplace where I can officially report newsletters/stocks/bogus private investments, etc and I'll be happy to file my complaints privately.

They may be relying on third parties to screen the ads, but when they won't tell their readers what the criteria is for inclusion into their ad program, it makes it hard for our millions of eyeballs to be on the lookout. I'm not asking the Motley Fool to do extensive research on every ad, but when a newsletter consistently recommends thinly traded stocks that they are compensated for writing about, it raises real questions about the legitimacy of the investment advice. If there is a question of impropriety, than I think the Fool owes it to their readers to err on the side of caution.

In the case of China Investor, not only is the newsletter's offer a bit misleading, but their past recommendations appear to be speculative and driven by hype. If there is a single journalist at the Fool, who would even consider purchasing UPBS in their own account, I'll drop my protest, but I think when you look at Steve Bajic's connecion to Pan American Gold Corp, it's pretty clear that the people involved in the creation of the company, don't have the best track record. It may be up to each investor to do their own due diligence, but that still doesn't mean that the Motley Fool should be handing them a loaded gun.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
In the post, Bogey asks us to report bad ads to the Fool, but doesn't provide a way for me to do that.

Click "Reply to this Post" on Bogey's post. Then unclick "Post this Reply to the Boards" and click on "E-Mail this Reply to the Author" and give Bogey the link you object to.

And if you can't find a TMFBogey post to respond to, then use a TMFTwitty post. Or TMF2Aruba. Or one of the Gardner brothers.

I'm not asking the Motley Fool to do extensive research on every ad

Really? It certainly sounds to me as though this is exactly what you're asking for. You want every factoid on every ad. You want to know the names of the final owners of every newsletter, and whether or not they are to be relied on. You want the past picks to be looked at, and matched up against what the Fool stockwriters recommend. Obviously, this will take time and money. Which puts us back to paid boards, which eliminates the advertising you object to, which eliminates the reason for the paid boards, which brings back the advertising you object to.

Just exactly what are you asking for? Should every single ad be prefaced with a "Caution" note? Aren't we already supposed to know that? The ad content changes regularly. (And one of the ads supplied by the advertising group is from the Fool. I hope you appreciate the humor behind that: the Fool is paying to be on the Fool).

If you want a small disclaimer on the advertising section, explaining that these are paid advertisements and not under the TMF editorial policy, that sounds reasonable. Magazines do this regularly. But to have someone check every single ad, and look at each past stock recommendation, and look for final control of each newsletter, is going to run into money.

Nancy
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Not speaking for the OP but I would prefer that TMF get rid of all the crappy newsletter ads. I spent today looking at some of the ads. Many of them asked for your email address so they can send a free newsletter. The newsletters were a waste of pixels. All of them promised some wonder little secret yet in reality I've seen better stuff written by a grade schooler. It is apparent to me that the main purpose of those ads are to gather email addresses so they can bombard you with solicitations. Fortunately, I have plenty of junk email addresses to give them.

IF
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Not speaking for the OP but I would prefer that TMF get rid of all the crappy newsletter ads. I spent today looking at some of the ads. Many of them asked for your email address so they can send a free newsletter. The newsletters were a waste of pixels. All of them promised some wonder little secret yet in reality I've seen better stuff written by a grade schooler. It is apparent to me that the main purpose of those ads are to gather email addresses so they can bombard you with solicitations. Fortunately, I have plenty of junk email addresses to give them.

We can have crappy newsletter ads (and I'll admit that they're crappy ads and probably crappy newsletters) or we can have paid boards. I was content with the paid boards, but it sounds as though most of the Fools are happy with free boards.

You win some, you lose some.

Nancy
ignoring the advertising.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
We can have crappy newsletter ads (and I'll admit that they're crappy ads and probably crappy newsletters) or we can have paid boards. I was content with the paid boards, but it sounds as though most of the Fools are happy with free boards.

You win some, you lose some.

Nancy
ignoring the advertising.



yup
(though *i* seem to recall crappy ads for crappy newsletters before the boards returned to Free)


seems somehow odd to expect a business to only run good ads about good products.


=x
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
I've sent several emails asking for clarification, but still haven't heard back

Davis,

I replied twice to you in email. Posting here in case the emails are getting filtered. The second response came on Friday.

Best,

Bogey
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
We can have crappy newsletter ads (and I'll admit that they're crappy ads and probably crappy newsletters) or we can have paid boards. I was content with the paid boards, but it sounds as though most of the Fools are happy with free boards.

I'm unsure right now which system I prefer. Under the free boards, some of the doppels that are appearing all over the place are funny and original but most of them are lame. It may be better to pay to get rid of them.

IF
Print the post Back To Top