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No. of Recommendations: 48
Ever since the message boards were opened up to the public, I've had mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I liked that people had to pay some nominal amount to post, because it kept out the multiple accounts and made people stick to a reputation. On the other hand, the public should be able to see Fool commentary and it helps to bring in more opinions.

When the boards went public, I expected that the culture would become more like Yahoo!s, but never expected to see the Fool sell out in the transition. While I don't mind seeing ads for Fischer investments or Charles Schwab on the boards, I do take issue with the Motley Fool advertising pink sheet penny stock companies to their readers.

On Friday, when I logged into my account, I couldn't help but notice the new ads, including the one telling me to buy GFET.pk right now.

The .pk alone was enough for me to know better, but I assume that at least a few fools fell victim because on the day the ad ran, the stock did over a $1 million worth of transactions.

I took a closer look at the filings and even if the .pk didn't scare you off, the few facts would. The company has a market value of over $25 million, yet the book value on the company looks like a 19 year old college student. They basic owe $5,000, but are issuing shares to pay salaries and get deals done.

The CEO uses his initials on all the "filings", but a quick Google search of his name reveals that he's previously been indicted for 27 different bank and wire fraud charges. In all fairness to the CEO, his case was dismissed over prosecutrial misconduct, but it still raises questions about how much of a hot alternative energy play this really is.

If this is just a one time deal, that they somehow missed then that's fine, I understand that these things happen. If it's an on going thing, than I have some real problems with the content from my postings being used to pimp the stock prices of companies, when I'm not even allowed to open up a board to warn investors.

I've tried to contact, the Fool for comment, but all my emails have been coming back undeliverable. Somehow their spam system doesn't like me. Hopefully, someone here will get in touch with the right people, because I'd like to see the Fool comment on what their policy is towards penny stock advertisements, as well as the penny stock newsletters that also run. Is their any background checks or rules involved in getting an ad listed or is it every fool for themselves?

http://www.siteadvisor.com/sites/anotherwinningtrade.com

Is this really the price I have to pay for access to the message boards, because I'd rather the Fool raise the price and make me pay more, than to see fellow fool investors, lose big time money on these worthless pieces of paper.

After 2 years on the Fool, I've gotten to know this community pretty well and there are a lot of novice investors on these boards, that can't tell you what .pk or .ob mean. They don't know where to find a filing on a pink sheet stock or even how to research these types of companies. They are just looking for ideas, even if they don't understand all the reasons why.

I like the Fool because they help to educate novices on how to better understand the markets, but to take that trust and use it to sell their readers this garbage is absolutely terrible.

It may be legal for these companies to advertise their symbols, but it's unethical for the Fool to accept these ads. More importantly, they are hurting their readers who need them the most. I understand that this is a widespread practice in the financial media, but I had always expected more, from a publication that has always stood against penny stock manipulation.
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