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David Jackson
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I'm founder and CEO of Seeking Alpha. I started Seeking Alpha after working for five years as a technology research analyst for Morgan Stanley in New York. Seeking Alpha is now the dominant crowdsourced equity research platform, with thousands of contributors and millions of monthly visitors,... More
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  • Short Sellers And Seeking Alpha

    One of the most frequent criticisms of Seeking Alpha is that we encourage articles by short sellers. The "enhanced version" of this criticism is that short sellers are always unscrupulous (they stand to profit if the stock goes down), and that we have sacrificed our ethics for page views.

    This is an excerpt from my reply to a reader who recently sent me that criticism:

    Robert,

    Our entire company is dedicated to building a crowdsourced platform for equity research because we believe that's better for investors than what's out there now: media organizations that care about page views, not genuine insight, and a small group of highly paid analysts in investment banks whose employment is funded by investment banking fees paid by the companies they cover. Both masquerade as "objective", and neither of those produce sufficient insight. Did they warn investors about Enron, Worldcom, the bursting of the tech bubble or the mortgage disaster? How well have your really been served as an investor by media companies and sell side analysts?

    At Seeking Alpha, we belive that real investors have the best insights, because they are the ones who are most motivated to get stocks right. And yes, real investors have interests, including financial interests on both the long and the short side. We think our readers are best served by being exposed to a debate about stocks between people who really care, so they can make up their own minds.

    Note: That's exactly the framework our society uses where the truth matters most -- in our legal system, where people's lives and freedom are on the line. There's a prosecutor and a defense attorney, both entirely biased to present one side of the argument, for which they are paid. The jury listens and makes up its own mind.

    Yes, we view our readers with respect, just as our legal system views juries. We think our readers want to be presented with all available information and opinion, so they can make up their own minds. In contrast, mainstream media companies present themselves as objective experts who know more than their readers, and whom their readers should defer to.

    And guess what? Vigorous debate between longs and shorts works. Seeking Alpha articles have uncovered frauds, and have correctly predicted huge upward moves in stocks which the media and sell-side analysts never caught. Seeking Alpha commenters constantly challenge the article authors, and in many cases are right. In fact, in aggregate Seeking Alpha articles and comments have higher predictive value than both newswires and sell-side research.

    That's what we've created on Seeking Alpha. Next time you want to buy or sell a stock, check the articles and discussion on Seeking Alpha -- including the articles and comments by the bears -- and I'm confident that you'll get a better grasp of the issues around the stock than you'll ever get reading the news headlines.

    Best Regards,

    David

    Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Aug 01 7:27 AM | Link | 1 Comment
  • Notes On Yahoo's Strategy

    -- Yahoo just missed earnings estimates and guided below consensus.

    -- Particularly worrying for Yahoo shareholders: Yahoo's ad sales slumped. "After growing 2% Y/Y in Q1 (its first quarter of positive growth in some time), Yahoo's display ad revenue (ex-TAC) fell 7% in Q2 to $394M. A 24% drop in ad prices (hurt by mobile?) more than offset a 24% increase in ads sold. The display weakness comes as eMarketer forecasts Yahoo's share of global digital ad spend will fall to 2.52% in 2014 from 2.86% in 2013 and 3.36% in 2012."

    -- Eli Hoffmann recently announced that Yahoo severed its relationship with Seeking Alpha. The reason wasn't that Yahoo disliked Seeking Alpha content, but that it decided to launch its own financial contributor network.

    -- ValueWalk argues that Yahoo "is getting aggressive, driven perhaps by a desire to emerge from the financial shadow of its holding in Alibaba, which Wall Street prognosticators have credited with delivering most if not all of Yahoo's stock price value". Yahoo, he claims, is under pressure to generate ad revenue and reduce its content costs, burdened by its $500,000 per month contract with Katie Couric.

    -- The problem isn't Yahoo's contract with Katie Couric. It's Yahoo's $1 billion acquisition of Tumblr. Yahoo's ad revenue fell despite spending a billion dollars on Tumblr, a massive bet on user generated content. Yahoo is under intense pressure to justify the Tumblr acquisition.

    -- Yahoo needs to demonstrate that it can monetize Tumblr, and that it has a viable new media strategy. Yahoo is widely viewed as a "previous generation" internet company which has been overtaken by Google, Facebook and Twitter.

    -- This explains why Yahoo hurriedly launched a finance contributor network based on Tumblr's platform after it missed estimates. Yahoo is trying to leverage Tumblr's platform and content in areas like finance where ad rates are higher.

    -- Yahoo is a media company. Yahoo, like many other online media companies, views contributor content as a source of cheap pageviews. In the old model you had to pay journalists; with the new model you get content for free, and you can sell ads against it. That's the Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter model.

    -- This is where Seeking Alpha fundamentally diverges from Yahoo. At SA, we don't view our contributors as a source of cheap page views or a cut-price alternative to full time journalists. We believe in crowdsourcing because it's better, not cheaper. We believe that crowdsourcing will revolutionize equity research, and that our contributors deserve to be compensated for their insights.

    -- We believe that investors will pay for valuable equity research, and crowdsourcing will produce better equity research than anything currently available. Our contributors should be rewarded for that value.

    -- This is why Seeking Alpha pays contributors amounts that cannot be justified by ad revenue alone. For example: we just introduced two $2,500 awards per week for outstanding stock picks; we pay $500 immediately for top ideas; and we pay more for almost every article than can be justified by page views.

    -- The key question for Yahoo investors is whether Yahoo has a viable growth strategy once the Alibaba IPO effect is removed from its stock price.

    Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Tags: YHOO
    Jul 31 7:03 PM | Link | 6 Comments
  • How Do The Most Successful IR And PR People Use Seeking Alpha?

    About 3,000 IR and 2,000 PR people are registered on Seeking Alpha. We've been watching how they use the site. Here are five tips, based on what we see the most successful IR and PR people doing:

    1. Know what's being said about your stock

    Sign up for real time alerts on your stock at http://seekingalpha.com/real-time-alerts

    2. Tell us if an article about your stock contains errors
    If there's a material error in an article about your stock, we'll act fast to correct it. You'll find a link to contact our editors (Problems with this article? Please tell us.) in the "About this article" unit below every article.

    3. Send information to authors who write about your stock
    Seeking Alpha enables you to direct message authors who write on your stock or sector. You'll find a "Send Message" button under the author's photo on every article page. You can use that to send press releases, or even offer an interview with management.

    4. Ensure your conference call transcripts are being published
    Seeking Alpha publishes thousands of conference call transcripts every quarter. Make sure yours is included by going to the quote page for your stock on SeekingAlpha.com to check if the transcript is there. If we're not publishing it, email racheltova [at] seekingalpha.com

    5. Get your news in front of the influencers who matter
    As well as broad coverage of individual stocks, Seeking Alpha has outstanding coverage of macro, sector and theme issues. If you have news that's relevant, search for articles on your topic and send a direct message to the authors.

    If you're an IR or PR person, in what ways do you use Seeking Alpha?

    Nov 05 1:22 AM | Link | 12 Comments
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