Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

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Y.A.Tittle
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Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by Y.A.Tittle » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:28 pm

Seeking Alpha was always a selective read- you had to parse the content carefully.

Now, though, most of the contributors can be accessed only by buying up to "Premium" service. I guess this is good for those who did nothing but pen opinion pieces, but only a minority were worth reading in the first place.

I guess I will have to find another forum for discussion.

TravelGeek
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by TravelGeek » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:33 pm

Perhaps I have not found the good contributors. But whenever I came across a story that covered my industry or more specifically my employer, I found the articles to be somewhere between useless and misleading. So it actually has never been a useful source of insights for me.

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Pajamas
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by Pajamas » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:43 pm

Only a very few of the articles on S.A. have ever been of any real value, anyway. Even many of those that are of some value are just information regurgitated from the company's last investor presentation, including graphics, so there is no added value to what is available elsewhere.

There are a few authors there who have original insights from analysis of a company's financial reports and especially some of the non-U.S. authors with a specialty focus are interesting to read because they write about things that otherwise wouldn't come to my attention.

The value of the articles tends to erode over time, so requiring subscribers to pay to access articles over ten days old is probably more of a way of limiting payments to authors rather than actually increasing subscription revenue, at least in effect if not in intention. They seem to be slowly trying to monetize the site but it seems to have new urgency recently.

It is still a good place to find transcripts of conference calls although they seem to be more available elsewhere than they used to be.

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jhfenton
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by jhfenton » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:01 pm

I just use it as a clearing house for news on companies in my industry (telecom) or that I want to follow out of curiosity. There are lots of other places to do the same thing, but it works for me.

In particular, I'm following the Windstream v. Aurelius legal battle closely (because, um, telecom attorney), and I can count on a few different analysts and several commenters to always post the latest legal updates under WIN (Windstream) or UNIT (Uniti).

Uniti is the network REIT that Windstream spun off in 2014, leading to the vulture hedge fund Aurelius buying up a majority of one WIN 2023 bond issue after the fact and alleging that the spin off constituted a default. Aurelius also allegedly bought credit default swaps on the bond holdings that they proceeded to try to push into default. Windstream fought back with a bond swap to dilute Aurelius and a consent payment to consenting bond holders to waive the alleged default. (They received the consent of a majority of each outstanding bond.) It is likely going to trial in May.

The whole saga would actually make a decent movie.

Tanelorn
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by Tanelorn » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:06 pm

They have been trying to monetize the site more, and their efforts have made it "worth less" in any event, if not worthless. While certainly most articles aren't very good, there are a some good ones but they keep trying to lock them away and get you to pay for them, which is something I really don't see most people doing, especially not at the $25-75/month price points they've been floating. A lot of market news is very transient by its nature, so historical articles only have interest to a small set of more determined long term investors.

They have turned their site into a good platform for running a paid stock newsletter, where they handle everything for 1/3 or whatever and you provide the content and hopefully make good picks to keep your subscribers happy. This is profitable and successful, and there are now many newsletters charging $100s or even $1000s for annual subscriptions.

https://seekingalpha.com/marketplace

The new policy about hiding the old articles seems counterproductive to generating interest in new authors though, since you would want to read a number of their articles and see how their predictions played out (or not) to decide if you might be interested in the author's current or future paid services.

jocdoc
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by jocdoc » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:42 pm

David Kotok"s commentaries on bonds have been helpful to me especially in regards to muni bond opportunities. Tipswatch is also a valuable read for timing I bond purchases.

Scooter57
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by Scooter57 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:04 pm

Their business model hasn't been able to adapt to the switch from desktop to mobile among their readership. They were paying too much for their content in view of the ad revenue they were getting. Much of their traffic is people who treat them as a forum and hang out in comment sections. If you've ever tried to monetize a forum you will have learned it is almost impossible. Regulars are focussed on discussion and don't click on ads.

So they have been forced to move to other ways of raising a lot of money to pay for their expensive site. I don't think they've found it. Hiding content behind a paywall will hurt their newsletter business. But except for the top newsletters, I suspect most aren't moneymakers. They would have done much better to monetize the regular daily visitor base, charging them a low annual fee and appealing to their love for the site.

I find them useful for market news, but will be surprised if they can keep going in their current form. They cut the payment terms to their contributors this year. They weren't anything a professional writer would write for before, but now even those writing for the fun of it are reconsidering.

I wrote some articles for them on a specialized topic some years ago, when they were linked to Yahoo Finance in its glory days, and made several thousand dollars, but by last year even with "Editor's Choice"articles you might come away with $50 for something that took many hours to write.

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Pajamas
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by Pajamas » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:21 pm

Tanelorn wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:06 pm
, especially not at the $25-75/month price points they've been floating.
I have never been interested enough in paying for their content to even check to see how much it costs and would not even consider paying $25 a month/$300 a year.

skylar
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by skylar » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:26 pm

I used to read them occasionally but found that Bogleheads does a better job in communicating what things I really should care about (really, not much besides expense ratios and asset allocation). :)

mortfree
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by mortfree » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:32 pm

I like their app for pre- and post-market stock/ETF prices.

Some of the articles are entertaining but I really just like to read the comments.

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CardinalRule
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by CardinalRule » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:47 pm

I am a fan of Tipswatch for I-bonds too. :thumbsup
jocdoc wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:42 pm
David Kotok"s commentaries on bonds have been helpful to me especially in regards to muni bond opportunities. Tipswatch is also a valuable read for timing I bond purchases.

aspirit
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by aspirit » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:00 pm

Artificial intelligence trading w/artificial intelligence, what could go wrong? :P
Time & Tides wait for no one.

parhur
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by parhur » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:06 pm

I like seeking alpha but i still consider myself a novice. It might be that your knowledge over the years has out grown Seeking Alpha. This is a good thing,

JBTX
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by JBTX » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:07 pm

I'm not a regular user. Seems like most time I've been directed over there is to read something from "Tyler Durden" about how some particular phenomenon is a sure signal of our pending doom.

bhsince87
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by bhsince87 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:30 pm

IMO, it's always been worthless. Except for entertainment, maybe. I did read it from from to time, but not much recently.

I've always wanted to start a counter website called "Accepting Beta".

But that website already exists. It's called "Bogleheads.org"!
BH87

investorpeter
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by investorpeter » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:45 pm

Yes. Seeking Alpha is the arch nemesis of Bogleheads.

2015
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by 2015 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:15 am

bhsince87 wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:30 pm
IMO, it's always been worthless. Except for entertainment, maybe. I did read it from from to time, but not much recently.

I've always wanted to start a counter website called "Accepting Beta".

But that website already exists. It's called "Bogleheads.org"!
+1
I was going to post "was it ever worthwhile?", but this post brilliantly captures my thinking (Disclaimer: I never read seeking alpha (lower case due to lack of respect); then again, I don't read financial claptrap as a rule anyway).

Seriously. Save yourself years of effort, years of time, lots of blunders, and most probably money from being a victim of your own mistakes. Simply read Taylor Larimore's Gems to be followed up by his posts. The overconfident, smartest people in the room won't thank you (because you won't be wasting your time following their arguments), but you will.

Remember the boastful never post their mistakes (i.e., money lost while and due to "perfecting" their "system"). Simplicity eats complexity for lunch.

Scooter57
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by Scooter57 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:18 am

To be fair, Seeking Alpha is a crowd-sourced platform. There is no one message.

I made quite a bit of money using the value strategy promoted by one of their more visible authors. I only stopped using it because a) I'm getting to the age where my judgement might begin to deteriorate without my knowing it, so I have to keep things simple so my family who aren't interested in investing can take over, and b) Investing in taxable makes selling to take profits less attractive. I did hit more than my share of doubles buying under valued stocks of companies with robust business models starting back in 2013. I'm a nerd, so I tracked every buy and sell and figured out my real profits after my experiment was over. My net ended up very close to what my Total Stock Market Index fund did, but it was good to validate that, and had I been investing in a tax-advantaged fund I would have done a lot better.

The problem for most people would be that you have to do quite a bit of work on your own (which I did) to determine which writers are giving useful advice and which aren't.

The years I spent tracking individual stocks, learning to read balance sheets carefully, etc, have greatly enhanced my ability to understand the index funds I am mainly invested in. Instead of just saying, "Value should outperform over time" as so many here do, I can look at the 20 top holdings of of a Value fund or Index and apply the valuation metrics I have found useful to see how well valued that fund actually is.

What I have found over the past few years is that most of the "value" funds are not holding stocks I would consider well valued. Too many are "value traps" which are stocks which might look value-y until you examine their business model and the headwinds they are facing. Plus the cap weighted structure means that when you buy in, you are buying the "value stocks" that have already surged in price rather than the smaller ones that are more likely to outperform. I would NEVER but a value index unless its major holdings were much better valued than those of the S&P 500.

The real lesson I'd like to pass on is that there is nothing wrong with studying investing, learning what the different approaches investors use really involve, and testing ideas with small investments you can afford to lose. I'm really glad I did this, though my personal circumstances make it a better choice to stick with the large Total index funds.

WhyNotUs
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by WhyNotUs » Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:47 am

I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

spitty
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by spitty » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:44 pm

I use the "news360" app for iphone and it provides tons of S.A. articles, with many new ones daily--and free! Not sure how many more could be found on the website, pay or no-pay, but lots of good stuff via the app.
@HelpingRhinos...1 rhino poached every 8 hours last year...501(c)(3)

jdb
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Re: Has Seeking Alpha Become Worthless?

Post by jdb » Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:04 pm

Seeking Alpha along with Motley Fool and Yahoo Finance and Market Watch and many others of their ilk in my opinion are the definition of market noise. Scattershot articles from a range of authors including very smart ones to average intelligence down to idiots. How do you know which one is the author of any article. And the near idiots predominate. Also replete with conflicts of interest, too many authors have other motives including shorting stocks they are discussing. Better to stick with low cost index funds and ignore the noise. My two cents. Worth every penny. Good luck.

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