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Spencer Osborne
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Spencer Osborne is founder of Satellite Standard Group [SSG], and a partner of Sirius Buzz (http://siriusbuzz.com/). Sirius Buzz covers the satellite radio industry as well as companies that do business in this sector. Sirius Buzz provides information and opinion to readers with an interest in... More
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  • Understanding Seeking Alpha For The Passionate Sirius XM And Pandora Investor 1 comment
    Mar 15, 2012 5:13 PM | about stocks: P, SIRI

    I sometimes am amazed at the amount of time people will spend devouring information about an equity, but in reality are learning very little. I have seen time and time again a nugget of information or a well written opinion portrayed as fact and instantaneously believed or disbelieved by investor after investor without an ounce of real research themselves.

    The only qualification that many investors seem to have this:

    1. If I own the equity and the information is positive it must be true.


    2. If I own an equity and the information is negative it must be not only false, but an evil plot by manipulating hedge funds and shorts to control the price

    If you want to see this in action, take a minute to visit the Yahoo message boards and look up the Sirius XM board (NASDAQ:SIRI or the Pandora board (NYSE:P. Type "seeking alpha" into the search bar and look at the number of people that can not even figure out what Seeking Alpha really is. Poster after poster will arrive at the opinion that Seeking Alpha has some sort of axe to grind or pom-pom to wave either for against Sirius XM or Pandora. I am sure the same holds true for other popular equities.

    What I find amazing is that it would appear that reader after reader does not even comprehend what Seeking Alpha is! Seeking Alpha is a website dedicated to the markets. The articles published there do not reflect the opinions of Seeking Alpha, but rather the individual writers themselves, and to be clear, I DO NOT SPEAK FOR SEEKING ALPHA.

    When you see 5 bearish articles about an equity on Seeking Alpha, it is not because Seeking Alpha wants to tank a stock. It is that 5 separate authors saw something with that equity that presented a concern. Just that simple fact alone has value. If 5 separate authors all arrive at a similar conclusion regarding an equity, then certainly there might be something there that represents a clue as to the perception of the company. The same holds true when you see a bunch of positive articles.

    In my mind Seeking Alpha is simply one tool in the belt of an investor. It is a place where you can get opinions of seasoned investors as well as the small budget day trader that simply loves to follow the market or a particular equity.

    Not long ago I submitted two articles to seeking Alpha on the same day. They were published within hours of each other. One could be considered a critical piece leaning toward bearishness, and the other was a longer term outlook that was more bullish. One would think that if Seeking Alpha had some sort of agenda, they would have nixed one of the articles. However, they did nothing of the sort, and published both.

    The opportunity investors have with seeking Alpha is the ability to see various opinions on an equity from people of different backgrounds. You do not get that with an analyst report or a press release. You can get it here.

    The opinions that writers have can be good, bad, ugly, or indifferent. A less seasoned writer can carry an opinion and learn from the comment dialogue to view the issue from a different angle. Fellow contributor Crunching Numbers and I frequently have discussion right in the comment section of an article. I show him a viewpoint from one angle and he another. I does not make either of is right or wrong, but does make us both better investors.

    Certainly Sirius XM and Pandora are popular. They are heavily traded, and both companies have passionate fans and investors. In the fever of defending an equity sometimes readers can get lost in detail that does not matter. I am invested in Sirius XM. I have never owned a share of Pandora. That does not mean that i have to hate Pandora. It does not mean that I have to love Sirius XM. Somehow though, In an article about the auto sector and Sirius XM there will always be a comment such as, "Bet You Are Upset About Pandora's Results". What on earth does an article about Sirius XM and the auto sector have to do with Pandora and their results? The answer is NOTHING. However, it does demonstrate that some people can not separate the equity from their life, and thus are perhaps too invested. In other words they have tied their emotions to an equity.

    A savvy investor understands that information is valuable. Ignore Seeking Alpha because a few authors are now bullish? That is not very prudent. Instead, value a service like Seeking Alpha for what it represents. Varied thought and opinion on a company.

    Before you comment (on any article), take a moment and ask yourself whether your comment will add value to the discussion, or whether it is representing an axe to grind. Sounds simple, but it isn't. Most who are too emotionally invested are not even aware that this is the case.
    Sirius XM and Pandora can both do very well and thrive. There is no reason for one to fear the other, and no reason that investors should have to hate the other company. Instead, investors in either should keep tabs on both companies because the news for either can be important for the other.

    Again, my words do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Seeking Alpha.

    Disclosure: I am long SIRI.

    Stocks: P, SIRI
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