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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 1 comment
    Aug 1, 2014 7:27 AM

    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.

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  • Lord Baltimore
    , contributor
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    David, well said. If I am long I REALLY want to know the short story on a stock and if I am short I REALLY want to know the long story and I have found the best place to get that point/counterpoint is on Seeking Alpha, especially the comments section which often leads to new avenues of inquiry and research to test my investment thesis. A market needs buyers and sellers and shorts are no different than any other seller except they require even more conviction since their upside is capped and their downside unlimited. Keep up the great work on the site.
    1 Aug 2014, 01:08 PM Reply Like
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