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:
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 you really been served as an investor by media companies and sell side analysts?
At Seeking Alpha, we believe 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.
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