What moves micro-cap Internet stocks? Lots of news, as Quepasa shows (QPSA)

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Quepasa Corporation (ticker: QPSA.ob), which operates an Internet portal and online community  aimed at the U.S. Hispanic market, has a market cap of about $18 million according to Yahoo Finance. That's about 25% higher than it was four days ago. Here's what's been going on; it's a great study in what moves micro-cap 'Net stocks:


QPSA's stock price has leapt (probably) in reaction to a string of bullish sounding press releases issued over the last couple of weeks. Here are excerpts from the six press releases issued since June 20th - read them carefully - with a brief question after each one:

Quepasa Chairman Jeffrey Peterson Comments on Meeting with Mexico Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez
Monday June 20, 2:02 pm ET

Quepasa Chairman Jeffrey Peterson met privately with several Mexican government officials Thursday and Friday, including Mexico Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez, as part of the bi-annual plenary meeting of the Arizona-Mexico Commission in Tucson, Arizona. At the meeting, the parties discussed important issues related to Hispanics and technology...

Full press release here.

Question: Is there anything about Quepasa itself in this press release?

Quepasa Chairman Takes Over as CEO
Thursday June 30, 9:25 am ET

Quepasa Corporation announced today that its Board of Directors had unanimously appointed company founder and Chairman Jeffrey Peterson as Chief Executive Officer. Quepasa President Fernando Ascencio had assumed the CEO role early this year, while Peterson attended to other business interests.

Peterson, an aggressive, hands-on manager, is known for stimulating rapid growth. Quepasa's market capitalization increased in value to over $300 million under his leadership in 1999, and $40 million in 2004.

Full press release here.

Question: Why is Peterson's only qualification mentioned that he increased the market cap of the company? (This couldn't be hype, could it???) And what does "Quepasa's market cap increased to... $40 million in 2004" mean if it was "over $300 million in 1999"?

Quepasa Corporation Names New CTO
Tuesday July 5, 9:30 am ET

Quepasa Corporation announced Tuesday that it had named Aaron Hiniker as Chief Technology Officer.

Hiniker will lead Quepasa's technology group and play a key role on its executive team. In addition, Hiniker will lead Quepasa's cutting edge near-shore development capabilities, provided via wholly owned subsidiary Quepasa.com de Mexico, SA de CV.

Full press release here.

Question: Nothing about Hiniker's background or qualifications?

Quepasa Gets Major Traffic Upgrade
Wednesday July 6, 9:25 am ET

Quepasa Corporation announced on Wednesday that it made upgrades to all available vertical traffic categories and related online traffic inventory. These upgrades were made with a focus on increasing value and delivering above average client ROI.

"We expect these upgrades will have an immediate, positive effect on virtually all of our clientele," said Jeffrey Peterson, Quepasa CEO. "This day marks a major improvement in the way we do business," he added.

Full press release here.

Question: What's a "major traffic upgrade" or an "upgrade to all available vertical traffic categories and related online inventory"? I don't have a clue.

Quepasa CEO to Focus on Quality
Wednesday July 6, 9:30 am ET

Quepasa Corporation Chief Executive Jeffrey Peterson said Wednesday that he is placing a renewed emphasis on Quality at the core of all company product offerings.

"Sophisticated online marketers expect to see the highest class of conversion metrics in an increasingly competitive environment", said Peterson, Quepasa's CEO. He added that marketing trends increasingly favor niche targeting practices online, such as those used by Quepasa, while discount "run-of-network" traffic resellers continue to suffer.

"At Quepasa, we hold a competitive advantage in our ability to directly reach the Hispanic market, in an environment where online marketers are constantly looking for new audiences", said Peterson. "Direct access means we can be held accountable to our clients for higher quality results at every stage of the analysis process associated with today's competitive marketing strategies. Quality and focus, backed by detailed metrics and testing, drive the modern engines of online commerce."

Peterson added, "Nobody has more experience than Quepasa in marketing to Hispanics on the Internet."

Full press release here.

Question: Was Quepasa acquiring low quality traffic before this change of focus? And what does this focus on quality mean in practice?

Quepasa Corporation Names Matusak as National Sales Manager
Thursday July 7, 9:30 am ET

Quepasa Corporation (OTC Bulletin Board: QPSA - News) announced Thursday that it had named Joe Matusak as National Sales Manager. Prior to joining Quepasa, Matusak was with Tempe, Ariz. based Insight Enterprises Inc.

Full press release here.

Question: What role did Matusak have at Insight, and has he ever sold Internet advertising before?

So there you have it. Lots of news to drive a stock. You just have to figure out what it all means. Hopefully before you buy the stock...

QPSA chart below.
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