The Battle for the Message

Feedback in from a reader:

Hi Michael,

I just wanted to congratulate you on your approach to interactions with readers and contributors to No matter what the writer’s opinion, you give them a hearing, even if you disagree with them. Of course, you then demolish them with logic and give them every opportunity to respond, and the exchanges are entertaining and enlightening.

That’s the attitude that makes the Internet great and allows all opinions to be heard. Plus it makes for more interesting reading than the bland wallpaper paste of most sites.

I bring this up because I was visiting a site run by a fund manager (read, fund salesperson) who relies on fundamental and traditional technical analysis. The site is all hoity-toity with quotations from leading economic thinkers and, of course, this money manager’s unassailable opinion on what is causing the bear market, and every up-tick and down-tick along the way. All of the comments to the opinions and articles on the site — and there are only about two comments per week — are glowing endorsements of this fund manager and how intelligent she sounded when interviewed on this show and that show. Based on the flattery and endorsements in the comments, you’d think this was a site dedicated to Mother Teresa.

As you can guess, I disagreed with almost everything she said, so I registered on the site and sent in my comment in support of trend following and slamming fundamentalism. My comments didn’t appear right away. Instead I saw the good old “Your comments are being assessed by the moderator” message.

To make a long story short, my comments never made it to the site and all my subsequent attempts to comment have been blocked with a message that says I am “spam.” Interestingly, the “spam prevention service” says “over 900 spam messages” have been prevented. Hmmm, that’s a lot of negative feedback she’s kept from her site.

I hope those readers, bloggers, and Internet users who visit these money manager sites are able to tell when they’re getting smoke blown up their keesters. This lady’s entire site is a giant edited advertisement for her services, not a forum for discussion. She sells her services to a lot of wealthy individuals (her site says over 200 clients with a minimum net worth of $1 million), but I doubt they realize that a more down-home, good-old-boy, banjo player like Ed Seykota could have given them ten times the returns with half the risk — and no fluff. If the spam prevention service was REALLY working, it’d take down her entire site.

Keep up the good work, Michael. We need someone to educate people on methods that will actually help them keep and grow their capital while taking on all dissenting opinions with logic and evidence…not by shutting them out lest they point out weaknesses in an argument. Intelligent people are swayed by evidence, not by fluff.