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Wax, thanks for your note. I don't think we're pioneers, here. When I flip on a reality program, I used to see blurred out t-shirts and baseball caps that bore corporate logos. The network -- whether it be ABC, NBC, MTV, FOX, etc -- did not allow the participants on the show to advertise. This, however, did not stop the network from running 30-second ad spots during the half hour, nor did it preclude a product placement orchestrated by the network. Those blur shots have vanished because the networks are simply signing into contracts that its participants may not advertise. And yet, of course, the network does.

Taken all in all, I hardly think linking to a free article -- 98% of which is free analytics and commentary, 2% of which is a link to a non-necessary membership -- is a no-good-very-bad thing. Yet that is not to say we don't pay very close attention to the trends of use on our site. There is something quite different between a million people doing one thing, and a handful of others posting a contrary complaint. That's particularly true if the contrary complaint comes from someone who introduces his opinion by saying, "I never have nor will I ever be a member of your putrid services" (paraphrased just for fun). I have no doubt that we would be fast friends, wax, but when you dismiss outright, without even reviewing them for free, those services which we spend long hours of the day and a long journey into the night striving to make different, better, special, vibrant, and rewarding. . . then I have to reduce our exchange to a friendship rather than business consulting. Finally, while there is no question that tracking returns can be difficult, given that members get in at different stages, you should know that Mark Hulbert -- the independent watchdog of the industry -- scores our two largest letters (Hidden Gems and Stock Advisor) as profound market outperfomers (to my knowledge he does not yet track our other letters -- though when he does, he will show more outperformance). But the day is still young. They are only 2- and 3-years-old respectively. My target is what Walter Schloss has achieved since 1957. We can look back together in 2050.

Foolish best wishes, thanks for your encouragement,

Tom Gardner
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