Seeking Alpha

Eli Hoffmann

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  • How Much Does Seeking Alpha Pay Its Contributors? [View article]
    <<it is my opinion since SA has been paying authors the quantity has increased and the quality has decreased>>

    I respectfully disagree. Every system has its faults, and when dealing with a fairly large and diverse contributor base it takes time to work out kinks in the system - which to some extent we're still doing.

    When we launched contributor payments in Feb. 2011, people said we'd be overwhelmed with Business-Insider-esque articles with bombastic titles and little substance. I said I wasn't worried, since no contributor can publish any article without prior editorial review. We're the gatekeepers - we just have to do our jobs well.

    I was right, and wrong. I was right that we weren't overwhelmed with bombast and slideshows. But it took us a while to see just how powerfully incentivizing pageviews changed (some) contributors' behavior. List articles that touched on the maximum number of tickers ("7 Stocks That...") became the rage, because they got the broadest distribution. And suddenly everyone was an Apple maven.

    So we reacted. We raised the bar on list articles, dampened their syndication, and explicitly limited over-publication on tickers with huge followings. This worked; there aren't many list articles on SA today and those we do publish I think are helpful. Our Apple content (and Google, Cisco, Facebook, Tesla, etc.) is by and large very good.

    But it still wasn't enough, because there was no incentive to cover small stocks where the greatest alpha opportunities are usually found. So we pivoted again, by introducing article-quality payments.

    This was a big deal for us. As you can read in the article, a lot of our monthly payments are now directed to high-quality single-stock research. We massively increased the number of small- and mid-caps we cover, and I think the quality is generally outstanding - many times on stocks that have NO other coverage anywhere.

    There have definitely been painful pitfalls along the way, and there are still many areas that our content would benefit from a facelift. But I'm very happy with the decision to pay contributors, and feel that on balance it has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on our ecosystem. Besides which, ethically it was something we were committed to doing from day one: unlike some other contributor networks who view "contributed content" as a ticket to free or near-free content, for us the benefit of a contributor network is the breadth and depth that it allows us to achieve. A executive from a large publicly-traded company asked us recently: So when do you guys reach the point where a really smart analyst can earn more money on SA than he can on Wall Street? Great question. We're nowhere near there yet, but I'd love to reach that point.
    Apr 16 02:47 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How Much Does Seeking Alpha Pay Its Contributors? [View article]
    Physical gold is not traded in the pits - gold futures are. While everything potentially is a viable investment vehicle (e.g. art, cars, etc.), our focus is on stocks, ETFs, and other pedestrian securities traded on U.S. exchanges. This is not a statement about the value of all other assets and asset classes, it's simply a matter of trying to stay focused on a specific area.

    Articles about gold and silver may have been rejected if they're about buying gold and silver bars for the reasons I explain above, but this is not about being "actionable" - it's about which vehicles we cover.
    Apr 14 05:23 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How Much Does Seeking Alpha Pay Its Contributors? [View article]
    Wow - you wrote that on mobile?!?! I need to re-read it a few times. Super helpful. I have made it an author's pick and plan to return to it to review when my mind is a bit fresher than it is now.
    Apr 13 05:08 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How Much Does Seeking Alpha Pay Its Contributors? [View article]
    <<Adding a monetary incentive if the author actually moves the stock is the worst idea yet.>>

    Agree. Larmo411, you paint using fairly broad strokes. I re-read your comments because you clearly feel that what we're doing is valuable, but that we're not maintaining a sufficiently high editorial bar - but aside from saying that many PRO authors "lack any qualification" it's unclear to me what you suggest changing. Do you think the key factor is to have a clear definition of qualification, and to limit PRO articles to qualified authors? If so, what qualifications would satisfy you as a reader?
    Apr 13 06:27 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How Much Does Seeking Alpha Pay Its Contributors? [View article]
    We neither like nor dislike options. But options trading focuses on specific (often short-term) strategies rather than the value of the underlying. That's just not our specialty and there are other websites that have a far better set of tools for creating content and discussing and measuring options plays.
    Apr 13 06:19 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How Much Does Seeking Alpha Pay Its Contributors? [View article]
    You're right about this. We're considering changes to incentivize coverage of "under-the-radar" mid-cap stocks as well.
    Apr 13 06:15 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • What Seeking Alpha Is Doing To Prevent Paid Stock Promotion [View article]
    Ford Prefect,

    To address your question: We care equally about paid negative research as we do about paid positive research. In practice, the latter has been a problem while the former has not. This isn't altogether surprising giving the reasons one might be willing to pay someone to publish an article. But if we do become aware of paid negativity, we will deal with it the same way we do paid promotion.

    But I do think it's a stretch to assume that people who are passionately long or short a stock must be paid since it's simply not possible one would invest that amount of time/effort in discussing one's position. That said, we do need to better define the point at which passionate expression degrades into trolling, which becomes increasingly less helpful to readers.
    Apr 13 06:12 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How Much Does Seeking Alpha Pay Its Contributors? [View article]
    And thank you for your time in sharing your detailed thoughts. Fantastic comment!
    Apr 11 11:47 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How Much Does Seeking Alpha Pay Its Contributors? [View article]
    Actionable means it needs to be relevant to investors in a material way. For example:

    Actionable: Here's Why Google Ad-Words Will Lose Ground To Facebook
    Not actionable: Google Needs To Fix The Gmail Reply Feature

    The first is obviously relevant to investors and the stock price. The second, probably not.
    Apr 11 11:46 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How Much Does Seeking Alpha Pay Its Contributors? [View article]
    Super suggestions! Thanks.
    Apr 11 11:44 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How Much Does Seeking Alpha Pay Its Contributors? [View article]
    The system is that as people write about those stocks, more people learn about them and they develop a larger following.
    Apr 11 11:43 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How Much Does Seeking Alpha Pay Its Contributors? [View article]
    I don't think it was removed. At any rate, it's a great suggestion and as I wrote above, one I predict you'll see in the coming months.
    Apr 11 11:42 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How Much Does Seeking Alpha Pay Its Contributors? [View article]
    We don't spam with obnoxious ads, but because our audience (you folks) are so valuable to advertisers, and because people come to SA to make real investment decisions, targeted advertisers like ETF providers are very fond of SA and pay a premium to advertise.
    Apr 11 11:41 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How Much Does Seeking Alpha Pay Its Contributors? [View article]
    Very thought-provoking ideas. Thanks SW.
    Apr 11 11:39 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How Much Does Seeking Alpha Pay Its Contributors? [View article]
    <<They don't want people using mobile apps. They earn no ad revenue that way.>>

    Not even close to the truth. Of course we want people reading SA on their mobile devices. There's time to figure out monetization.
    Apr 11 11:36 AM | 7 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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