No Criticism Allowed!

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ANY CRITICISM of this form of investing, or of a hyped stock in particular,makes the critic less than popular. On Prodigy, where so many of these penny-stock investors have commingled, the skeptic is liable to get universally and savagely attacked. The fury of these attacks is a primary reason that dissension is so unusual on Prodigy's Money Talk board.

The case of ILS once again provides an apt example. The criticism comes from "James H.," who was certainly the least popular participant in Money Talk when we frequented the area because of posts like the one below:

"This is a classic scam. A low- priced stock on a foreign exchange, with a 'product' that they are going to sell to a foreign country. But no financial figures, no nothing. I doubt this stock [normally] trades over 5000 shares a day. What a scam. Get out now before you lose all your money!!"

--James H.

That sort of note occasions numerous responses, much like these:

"Gee James, if this is such a dead stock why do you waste your time here? On second thought, why am I wasting my time answering a moron? I am only sitting with an average 300% gain on it. . . ."


"Ahh Jamie. . . better to remain silent, and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. You obviously have a deep rooted anger/hostility complex: Have you still to sever those entangling emotional ties to Mother? I hope you get some counseling soon; these borderline conditions have a way of degenerating. . . ."

--Bryan H.

"I knew a person like Jimmy at one time. Always playing games like Jimmy. Until he ran into the wrong people and tried to play his games on them. They can't find him anymore, not even his body. They did find his car at the airport. Do you think he took a trip?"


Money Talk members often claim that online hype couldn't possibly account for the million shares of trading volume and radical price swings attending these nickel-and-dimers during Hype Week. But consider what happens to those daring few who talk down the charms of the latest darling. The anger and hostility that result strongly suggest that at least in the public consciousness, what is said on these boards has a great DEAL of effect on the shares of thinly-traded penny stocks.

David Gardner and Tom Gardner, The Motley Fool, Copyright © 1994