The Next Great Place to Invest

There I was, eating breakfast, looking out over downtown Hohhot, sipping Mongolian milk tea, and flipping through the China Daily. I was wondering whether it was worth it -- worth it to travel more than 7,000 miles from Washington, D.C., to Inner Mongolia in search of the next big stock idea -- when I came across an article that made me believe it was.

But before I get to the contents of that article, I want to address something from The Wall Street Journal this past weekend that I've received a number of emails about. I'm referring to the revelation by Professor Elroy Dimson of the London Business School that "the economies with the highest growth produce the lowest stock returns -- by an immense margin."

This makes no sense
According to Dimson's study, stocks in the countries that have produced the most dramatic economic growth over the past decade -- think China, India, Brazil, and the like -- have on average delivered just 6% returns to investors. That's compared to 12% returns in the world's slower-growing, developed nations.

The reason for this, of course, is valuation. Tech giants such as Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) , Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) , and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) have produced negative returns since 1999, despite growing their revenues at more than 10% annually over that time, because investors bid their stock prices up too high. Same goes for stocks in emerging markets.

Investors see the eye-popping development taking place in China and Brazil -- and, yes, that development is real -- but they end up paying far too much to get a piece of it in their portfolios.

In other words, there's a valuation trap when it comes to investing in high-growth emerging markets. In order to capture their growth, you need to be willing to buy into them when their valuations plummet, which is usually when some kind of economic crisis strikes.

Did you say "economic crisis?"
In fact, we just experienced one of those times. Chinese stock valuations were absolutely crushed in the period from October 2008 through as recently as May 2009, as freaked-out investors pulled their money out of any and all stocks they perceived as "risky."

We at Motley Fool Global Gains, an investment research service I co-advise, took advantage of that opportunity to pounce, recommending China Green Agriculture (AMEX: CGA  ) , American Oriental Bioengineering (NYSE: AOB  ) , and China Marine Food Group in rapid succession. As you can see, the returns thus far have been worth the temporary discomfort of acting contrary to the conventional wisdom:


Recommended in...

Return since

China Green Agriculture

October 2008


American Oriental Bioengineering

February 2009


China Marine Food Group

May 2009


Of course, returns of that magnitude mean that money is flocking back to emerging markets, causing valuations to rise. That, in turn, means the window to earn outsized returns in emerging markets is closing.

But there are still windows of opportunity
This brings me back to that article I read in the China Daily newspaper over milk tea in Inner Mongolia on my recent research trip to China.

According to that article, there are two economic realities in China. The first is the reality of coastal China, the part of China everybody knows about. This is the China of Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen -- the massive cities that have led China's rapid economic growth for the past 25 years.

The other China, however, is western China; the China of relatively unknown provinces such as Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, and Xinjiang. These are the poorest parts of China -- regions that have been largely left behind by China's economic development.

The headline for prospective investors in China, however, is that this is starting to change.

Thanks to massive government spending to raise rural incomes and even out infrastructure development across China, western China is now the country's fastest-growing area. In fact, that part of the country is growing at more than 11% annually, versus just less than 9% for the rest of the country. And Inner Mongolia, the province I was sitting in wondering whether the trip was worth it, has been the fastest-growing province of all, posting incredible 16% annual GDP growth from 1998 to 2008.

Why this matters
I bring this up because unlike high-profile Beijing- or Shanghai-based companies such as (Nasdaq: BIDU  ) , companies in western China remain relatively unknown to outside investors. What's more, this relative anonymity is reflected in their valuations.

According to my research, companies in the developed parts of China currently trade for more than 25 times earnings. Companies in rural China, however, trade for just 13 times earnings.

Put another way, the companies in the fastest-growing parts of China are today also the cheapest -- exactly the opposite of what we would expect, given the Dimson research I mentioned above.

This is why we see enormous opportunity in investing in rural China today, and why I now consider my trip to Inner Mongolia to have been more than worth it. In fact, Inner Mongolia is home to my top stock pick from the recent trip.

Want to know more?
To learn all about that top company, and read our entire special report on the five stocks to buy today to play China's rural boom, simply click here to join Motley Fool Global Gains free for 30 days. The sooner, the better, too. As I said before, the emerging-market investment window is closing, and the market will eventually catch on to the opportunities it's missing in rural China.

Of course, you want to buy in before that happens.

Already subscribe to Global Gains? Log in at the top of this page.

Tim Hanson is co-advisor of Motley Fool Global Gains, and only just this week finally got over his jetlag. He owns shares of American Oriental Bioengineering. AOB is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection. China Green, AOB, and China Marine are all Global Gains recommendations. Microsoft and Dell are Inside Value picks. is a Rule Breakers selection. The Motley Fool owns shares of AOB. We tell you this because of the Fool's disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (51) | Recommend This Article (146)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2009, at 5:14 PM, britpick wrote:


    Whilst I have seen growth in AOB since Feb 2009 fuller disclosure would have also stated that AOB is down 26% since the first Foolish recommendation in March 2008 by Bill Mann. Admittedly this is in line with the S&P so no great disaster (or no greater I should say). Cunning use of statistics to sell your Global Gains product.

    As for Mongolia - keep an eye on Ivanhoe, a Canadian junior miner, they and partner Rio Tinto have a massive undeveloped Copper/Gold deposit in Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia, near the Chinese border and hungry market and progress with the government is being to emerge.

    My disclosure: I bought AOB on Bills first recommendation and my second tranche a couple of months later - so underwater at the moment I'm afraid. But still thinking when to go for my final third. Also own RIO.L (ADR is RTP)

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2009, at 5:15 PM, drdan4n6xprt wrote:

    Be direct and to the point. If one wants to read a lot of extraneous stuff they can go to the library!

    Readers want worthwhile information in a direct and concise manner of delivery - NOT wandering along a path and weaving to and fro to look at a flower or insect!

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2009, at 5:18 PM, TMFMmbop wrote:

    @britpick AOB is both a Hidden Gems and Global Gains rec. GG got a better price. :-) Also, we visited IVN in Mongolia in 2007. Interesting opportunity, but too much politics involved for me at present.

    @drdan4n6xprt the journey is the destination. :-)

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2009, at 7:35 PM, xetn wrote:

    For me, I wasted my time on, what turned out to be a sales pitch for another Fool subscription.

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2009, at 7:41 PM, TMFMmbop wrote:

    @ xetn Man, sorry you don't find the valuation discrepancy between rural and tier 1 Chinese stocks -- something that took a significant amount of time to research and that has not been reported anywhere else so far as I know -- interesting.

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2009, at 8:47 PM, CAPEJOE wrote:

    Hello Fools

    I am a subscriber to the fool stock adviser. I would not renew my membership because 95% of the advise I get is related to asking me to sign up for "another" of your many offerings for the "hot tip"

    of the day ... Really, when you sign up for a advice you should not be constantly urged to sign up for advice which you expected to receive when paying for "stock adviser".... thanks but no thanks ...

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2009, at 9:49 PM, wma1012 wrote:

    I agree with with the previous subscriber see below.

    I don't need to spend the time reading the "TEASER" and then find out it is a subscription. Knock it off guys or I am canceling also. Give us break!!! WMA Lake Tahoe.

    I am a subscriber to the fool stock adviser. I would not renew my membership because 95% of the advise I get is related to asking me to sign up for "another" of your many offerings for the "hot tip" of the day ... Really, when you sign up for a advice you should not be constantly urged to sign up for advice which you expected to receive when paying for "stock adviser".... thanks but no thanks

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2009, at 9:53 PM, hedgehopper62 wrote:

    CAPE JOE I agree with you not sure about renewing tks.hedge

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2009, at 10:35 PM, aeneas2009 wrote:

    same here! it is like a carnival barker.

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2009, at 11:04 PM, TMFMmbop wrote:

    @wma1012 I think you may be confused about what you actually get with Stock Advisor. That site is here:

    This article is from our free site. These articles are free to anyone -- including, of course, subscribers to our premium services. (If you aren't sure what you're subscribed to, go here:

    Let me provide some context, which I hope explains where we're coming from.

    Again, this column is from our free site. We know a couple of things about delivering free content. First, online advertising does not come close to covering the cost of articles. The experience of getting inundated by pop-up ads seems suboptimal (and it is also unlikely to cover our editorial costs), as is the idea of charging for access to what is currently free content. Instead, we publish 50-60 free articles per day, with a minority of them containing plugs for our premium newsletter services (including this one).

    These free articles are economical because of the two to three sentences at the end -- a plug for services that offer a free month with no obligation to subscribe.

    This is our approach to writing as many free articles as possible -- which takes investment talent, research, financial editing, and copyediting. The product plugs -- which appear in only a few articles -- allow us to pay our writers, editors, utilities, etc.

    Our goal as writers is to deliver on what we promise in the headline whether or not anyone actually wants to take a free trial. In this case, that rural China continues to present a good value proposition to the internationally oriented investor. Again, the facts in this piece are quite thoroughly researched and not widely reported.

    One of our core values is honesty, and so I've tried to be as transparent as possible, so that you will see this not as some sort of dishonest technique but as a necessity driven by the marketplace. If you are a subscriber already, or have no interest in becoming a subscriber, the core argument should still stand.

    Tim Hanson

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2009, at 11:06 PM, TMFMmbop wrote:

    Further, I'll say that I stand behind my Global Gains service. I've been leading the service for 10 months now. All 10 of my picks in that timeframe are in the green and beating the market and the average return is 70%. I'm proud of that record, and I think many individual investors could benefit from learning about the stocks we follow.


  • Report this Comment On July 31, 2009, at 1:56 AM, avgreg wrote:

    Good article but I find it offensive that instead of naming one or two companies you are talking about, you use this article, as you do for all articles, as a pitch to buy one of your expensive publications.

  • Report this Comment On July 31, 2009, at 1:59 AM, avgreg wrote:

    By the way, it is not free, since you have to pay in advance for those 30 days. I don't about anyone else, and it might be different with Fool, but my experience in trying to get a refund, as Fools say we can, thru a prescription thru the internet is not what I call an enlighten experience.

  • Report this Comment On July 31, 2009, at 3:51 AM, max12345 wrote:

    I certainly can understand that Motley Fools -like any other company - needs to make some money. But I agree with some of the folks commenting above that asking us (the customers) to spend ten minutes reading through something just to at the end try to get us to buy into one additional subscription or another is wearing thin. (really thin)

    I realize that you have a whole lot of possible different subscriptions and services available (a differentiated product and marketing strategy?) but I already subscribe to one...(stock advisor) and I am not going to subscribe to ten different other ones too.

    Maybe you should raise the price of your basic subscription but then allow your customers to access all (or at least some) of the other services and products?

    I can't really suggest to you how to run your business. But I am afraid that if you keep on this same tack you are just going to turn off more and more people (a word to the wise) Personally, I am already reading Motley Fools a lot less than I was six months ago.

    And now on the substance of the piece, regarding investing in companies in the Western and poorer provinces of China, what you say is definitely true.

    They have been overlooked and there are great opportunities there.

    However it's also true that local governments in some of those rural areas are among the most corrupt in the whole of China. (and that's saying something)

    Some of this ends up tainting and some does not the local (so-called) "private sector" enterprises.

    (which in China are invariably affected by -or in cahoots with- either national, provincial or local government)....So one needs to tread carefully on that particular ground.

    In fact national, provincial and local governments in China generally follow a "reverse hierarchy of corruption"....with the bottom levels being the most corrupt in a monetary and financial and property sense and the top levels being the least corrupt in those respects.... but the most corrupt in a political and international affairs sense.

    (e.g. the arrest of those Rio Tinto executives whose main crime was bargaining too hard with their Chinese counterparts over iron ore supply contracts)

  • Report this Comment On July 31, 2009, at 5:03 AM, mk96804 wrote:

    It is dissapointing to keep having to buy new subscriptions. I am not a big dollar investor. Like most people I am trying my best to invest what money I have wisely. Motley Fool appear to be another big business scheme to slowly eck away at my bank account. Why not full acess to all information? You over playing your hand. Most of us don't make the big bucks, we are just trying to survive.

  • Report this Comment On July 31, 2009, at 6:33 AM, hurricaneivan wrote:

    Amen, I agree that multiple additional requests to join more advisories are to time consuming and not concise enough to invest. A dart board will give equal results.

  • Report this Comment On July 31, 2009, at 10:30 AM, milasolene wrote:

    I have been a subscriber for some time and I can only confirm what has been said over and over: you are constantly offering new product with one teaser after another.

    Can't you make a difference between advertising and communication with your subscribers?

    I am cancelling

  • Report this Comment On July 31, 2009, at 10:42 AM, TMFMmbop wrote:

    FYI we make it very easy to manage communications from us. If don't wish to receive any promotional emails, simply click on the "My Fool" tab on the top right of the page, click on "My Settings," then click on "Email and Other Communications." There you can check/uncheck anything you like. If you don't want to receive any of our content, simply unselect Foolwatch Daily and Foolwatch Weekly. If you don't want to get promotional emails, uncheck special offers.

    Again, this is very easy to do, and you will get an email confirming your changes.

  • Report this Comment On July 31, 2009, at 11:46 AM, fnc33 wrote:

    I'm a former subscriber of Fool's premium services and got highly frustrated with what I got for my money. Endless teasers to upgrade or buy other services combined with strong losses on Markel ("the next Berskshire...") way before the crisis hit on the rest of the market.

    On the other hand I recognize that many of your free notes are interesting and move to further research on investing opportunities.

    I believe that you have a huge opportunity to differentiate from the many other "investment services" populating inboxes. I confess that I delete many of those e-mails and also confess that I read almost all the Fool's free articles.

    What to do? and how? that's your call, if you can substantially improve the experience of your premium customers you can be very successfull.

    Hint: keep communications short and to the point

  • Report this Comment On July 31, 2009, at 12:26 PM, Jumbolino wrote:

    Excellent article - as always, leads to an advertisement, but is food for thought and there is no obligation to subscribe. I value such content.

    As a SA subscriber though I must agree that it doesn't make sense that I get articles selling me a new service (in particular those selling me the SA service).

    There are powerful and relatively cheap solutions available to segment customers based on member and non member. With a content management solution you can even automate the process of pruning articles to cut away the sell message to subscribers.

    My disclaimer: I work in direct marketing and we make sure we segment our customers to meet their individual needs. One size doesn't always fit all

  • Report this Comment On August 01, 2009, at 1:31 PM, RTDfireman wrote:

    I think as a subscriber You should provide more advice and less sales tactics to buy more subsciptions. Give your subscribers more for the money you are collecting from them. Most of us are small investors give us our moneys worth! Don't do like the polititions have done.

  • Report this Comment On August 01, 2009, at 1:43 PM, MCDaily wrote:

    Ditto!! Will not subscribe again to Motley Fool as most info from them is to purchase something else.

  • Report this Comment On August 01, 2009, at 7:38 PM, mrosson wrote:

    What is the problem with Markel?? I also took your advice after repeated recommendations. I am wondering if I should just give up on this one.

  • Report this Comment On August 01, 2009, at 8:17 PM, Barracksinuae wrote:

    I don't understand why the promotion in articles is such an issue - there's usually useful information in the article and these are indeed important marketing tools. The articles are demonstrations of style, knowledge and approach - and yes, they are an enticement for the paid subscription. As a subscriber to several of the MF services, that enticement has proven very valuable - my subscriptions have more than paid for themselves. The valuable information is in the subscription service and there's plenty there - if the free stuff is too annoying, turn it off or just don't read it. Geez.

  • Report this Comment On August 02, 2009, at 8:31 AM, harini17 wrote:

    I became a member one year ago. I started investing less than a year ago and I value the articles and research. I cannot always understand the specifics of the financial sheets so I appreciate the Fool's tested research to break it down for me. I am getting a good education and the Fool fee is my course fee. The whole site is educational from my perspective. I like the story presentation. It is light and fun. When it comes to my investment picks I follow my common sense. I now have become an investor and rewarded myself many many many times the fee.

  • Report this Comment On August 02, 2009, at 1:38 PM, panidatec wrote:

    As an SA subscriber I agree with max12345. Carnival Barkers is an excellent example of MF to me. All I want is good quality investment information, at a reasonable price. I don't want to be constantly reminded that the subscription I have is good, but It would be better if I subscribe to something else. Of course once I have bought the something else, there will always be something even better for me to buy. Very frustrating.

  • Report this Comment On August 03, 2009, at 9:10 PM, jhbig wrote:

    All that being said, what is this mystery stock in Western China that I should invest in? Pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

  • Report this Comment On August 04, 2009, at 8:43 PM, vb123 wrote:

    I subscribed to Hiden Gems for a while. Did well on a ouple and not so on others. They did seem to have a good track record, but by 2006 they had gotten to less than 50% gainers (maybe that will turn around in better times). But they did post all recommendations and current performance. I wonder if most services do that honestly?

    My question, is, is ther a list of the performance of all the MF service results? That would be inetresting to see.

  • Report this Comment On August 07, 2009, at 1:00 PM, XMFNJDevil wrote:

    I think a few of the posters above are missing the point of the article, and want a hot a pick (jhbig).

    The Fool's mission statement: Our mission: To educate, amuse, and enrich

    This does not say we are going to build a portfolio for you. If you want someone to hand you stocks, without your own research go listen to the lightening round. Even the expert's picks do not always do so great (if it CAPS you trust:

    I really doubt it would be so hard to figure out any company they ever hint at... how many westeren China companies are listed on a US exchange? Or you might try looking at discussion boards, you could probably ask someone what their hot pick is in China? Try a creative Google or Bing search like "western china stocks", or be a little more creative.

    If you want somone to build out your portfolio for you, stick with mutual funds or take your broker's advice. The point of this article is echoed in almost every article, buy low, sell high...sound familiar? The article is saying there are opportunities here, but you should of course evaluate the stocks yourself based on your own portfolio objectives. And remember, you need to look long term. These articles are never designed for traders.

    Even if you use one of the pay products, you are a Fool (not in the good way) if you just blindly buy their recommendations. Even Jim-boy says "do your homework". Keep up on your stocks and make informed decesions.

    Full Disclosure: I am a former TMF employee, I do not subscribe to or recieve any of the paid subscriptions. I did not get paid anything for the above commentary. You can read the same user comments on almost any website. And you are not even a Fool if you are going to use recent stats in a depression to determine long term value, becuase that means you are selling low, wait it out a little.

    And on the upsell and cross-sell: It not like every other business on earth doesn't do this. You should know what the last paragraph is going to say by now, just don't read it if upset you that much. As most Fools are beginners, they may beneift from trying different personal strategies or products; that does not imply they are Pokemon, and you need them all, but make an informed decesion on what to buy. I mean its not like you pay for cable right. Wasn't that supposed to be commercial free? Oh no, that is HBO/Showtime, which is another fee ontop of the premium TV that you pay to watch, which still is funded by ads. It rediculous to look at TMF any different than any other company, at least the ads and plugs are somewhat relevant to my interests (investing).

  • Report this Comment On August 07, 2009, at 4:07 PM, ellenhb wrote:

    i'm pretty new at this, but i think TMF is just what i need to get me started. i learn a lot from the daily information they send, and when i'm inspired to dig deeper by their teaser adds, i learn even more. check out the reputation of their pay services. if it's good enough, and it suits you, it'll be worth reading through the hype. caveat a little work on your own(with stocks and these pay services)! i intend to figure out what this stock is, or maybe stumble on one i like better, and i'll get an education in the process.

  • Report this Comment On August 07, 2009, at 4:25 PM, samiam212 wrote:

    Let's distinguish two things here:

    1. The meandering, teasing, time-wasting writing style is an annoyance -- to me, at least, and to others, it appears. It makes me think that the Fool will also waste my time if I were to subscribe. THAT is the main reason I haven't subscribed yet. That, along with the idea that we get nickeled and dimed for each type of security we're interested in. Shouldn't there be an affordable total package for the healthy well-rounded investor who invests across a variety of securities?

    2. The amount of specific information in the free articles is minimal, which is understandable. TMF can't make money by giving away the product of its research.

    To all TMF people reading this: Please don't waste our time. Please offer better options. Show us how great it is to be a subscriber, and more of us will do it. Your research and ideas are good; THAT'S the only reason why we're here complaining. We want the product. Just please show us some better value for our time, and more will likely jump into a subscription.

    Still watching and waiting,



  • Report this Comment On August 07, 2009, at 7:05 PM, XMFNJDevil wrote:

    Sam, I agree. Maybe the guys should create a forum and let the community give some more input onto how they want adds, what kind of prodcuts they want. Maybe people would rather pay $5 a month and have the same articles without teasers?

    Then again, its hard to figure out prices that are acceptable across the board and based on what people are expecting. A "newsletter" in the Internet age at $99 probably sound expensive to most, but then again how much do you pay for a broker assisted trade or "professional" advice from a brokerage?

    I think realistic to the audience, the teasers work. If you offer a lower cost product that list stocks, it will lead to more people buying stocks without doing their own homework and then saying the advice is bad - the stock advice business is hard, the investing technique business is a little easier and is defly TMF strong suite.

  • Report this Comment On August 07, 2009, at 7:30 PM, WatcherAl wrote:

    The next great place to invest had better be near where you live, because last time I checked the US economy was still deflating, your neighbors were getting laid off, the national debt was exploding and your state probably has a huge revenue shortfall. Of course, if you don't mind carrying a gun with you to the ATM machine, to the mall, and to the supermarket, then you can continue to ship dollars by the boatload to China and watch them loan it back to your government until Uncle Sam has to raise your taxes and seize some of your overseas profits just to prevent national insolvency. Keep financing the dismantling of our domestic industrial base and you'll soon need to live in a fortified gated community to be somewhat safe from the resulting social unrest. Of course, you could always follow your money to China, but it doesn't sound like you'd enjoy dealing with the government over there. So why put your money into the control of a corrupt totalitarian communist/capitalist government in the first place, when your own country is in such deteriorating condition and your grandchildren's future is slipping into foreign hands?

  • Report this Comment On August 07, 2009, at 7:47 PM, TMFMmbop wrote:

    @samiam212 We try to guard our premium ideas pretty closely, but you -- and anyone else -- is more than welcome to take a free 30 day tour of any of our services to see how great they are. Further, if you do pay, your memebership fee is fully refundable -- and we have great customer service people who will make that happen.

    Finally, I stand by an article that points out the valuation discrepancy between tier 1 and tier 2 China. That's a huge gap that just hasn't been reported on elsewhere. So if you're looking for your own stock ideas, start with some companies in those provinces.

    Tim Hanson

  • Report this Comment On August 07, 2009, at 9:30 PM, justacomment wrote:

    I couldn't tell the difference between my subscription and the ads and spent way too much time with the ads. So I just gave up and stopped my subscription.

  • Report this Comment On August 07, 2009, at 10:33 PM, ozzfan1317 wrote:

    I understand the frustration of some but thanks to the fools help I am beating the market by 43% I'm sure not

  • Report this Comment On August 07, 2009, at 10:34 PM, jimlkirkpatrick wrote:

    I have spent too much time trying to sift through the propaganda and what may be information i could use. Sorry guys, but i must say good bye to you, and get on to bigger and better things.....

  • Report this Comment On August 07, 2009, at 10:38 PM, ozzfan1317 wrote:

    Also the article has some good info its your job to b uild your own portfolio not theirs

  • Report this Comment On August 07, 2009, at 10:54 PM, PrestonCheek wrote:

    I hope the ones of you that are complaining understand that to get the advice that you want you need to hire someone to manage your money.

    It takes hours upon hours to do the research and verify over and over to make sure it's correct. Give the writer a little credit for what he has done here and next time do your own research if you want to.

    I would much rather see someone calling him out on something he might have wrong or starting a debate on the information at hand, thats where the true learning will start.

    I think it's great that he can say that he is up 70%, thats quite a record, I wish I would've been in on that.

    Fool on Tim.


  • Report this Comment On August 07, 2009, at 11:25 PM, XYZABChina wrote:

    I agree with some of the comments above. The Motly Fool of years ago is very different than the MF today. Today seems to be much more about touting paid services. Even when you join one - the "advertising to get you into others is relentless. Does not seem consisent with the Fool Objective. If MF were publicly traded I would probably invest in that stock as they probably make scads of money on all of this.

    I like some of the services and have been a member on and off over the years. On item though that seems worng is the claims on some of the returns. Like one comment above states if you were in AOB from the time of the original recommendation you are definitely under water but the claims are very large returns. Very questionable. The other HUGE loss was CGA. This was when it was an OTC listing. From an original write up I bought it and very shortly watched it drop from $26 per share to next to nothing. To claim it as a new find and quote spectacular returns is like the victor in war rewriting history. In this case it is the publisher selectively rewriting the start of the clock from where to calculate the returns to lure in new fee-paying members. I am beginning to think that all the greed is not on wall street but that there is quite a bit in Maryland too. MF - please go IPO - I would like to invest and participate in some of your successful marketing.

  • Report this Comment On August 08, 2009, at 2:52 PM, marynidaho wrote:

    I’ve been with MF just a few months and was lured in with your commitment to educate, amuse and enrich. Yes, you provide education with related article links and limited stock choices with your newsletter; however, I can get similar information from Kiplinger’s, Mad Money, and Ameritrade and it cost me less than your subscription. As far as amusement, it is turning to annoyance. There is far too much text luring me on that is actually a bait tactic for another subscription. As for my enrichment, you’re on the fence. I’d like more stock suggestions in your newsletter and I'd like to stop being targeted with long drawn out articles trying to get me to subscribe to another newsletter. I’d give you a “Needs Improvement” or your fired review. I hope will listen to all the previous posts stating similar views. It seems I am not the only frustrated customer.

  • Report this Comment On August 08, 2009, at 11:50 PM, kawasaki1100 wrote:

    Ditto to most of the complaints stated above. I haven't joined Cramer's site but he bombards you with offers like 48hrs only and save $100 and get a free copy of whatever book. It's funny because I get the exact same offers more or less every week. They just rotate them around.

    When you watch Cramer or read some of the Fool's stuff they give you the impression they are out to help you just because not for the money yet the hard sell tactics are constant. have they bo shame?

  • Report this Comment On August 09, 2009, at 3:58 AM, SnorteySnoots wrote:

    Stop these sales pitches - they are ruining the Fool!

  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2009, at 11:26 AM, LotAhype wrote:

    I got a free subscription to a Fool service years ago after opening an online Ameritrade account and as I remember it was helpful though the strategies touted then were based on your having a nice salary with regular discretionary income for monthly investing. [not me!]

    My question is do any of the Fool services tell you when to sell? As mentioned above for stocks recommended on several occasions but returns calculated from an advantageous date, were there any sell signals sent out at appropriate times?


  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2009, at 3:27 PM, mattr71 wrote:

    Whatever. I subscribed to one of TMF's newsletters and found it wasn't my style at all. So I asked (twice) to be switched to a different newsletter and got no response whatsoever. A couple hundred bucks wasted.

    It's a shame too, because I was a Champion Funds subscriber before and really liked it.

  • Report this Comment On August 13, 2009, at 9:54 PM, Georgie45 wrote:

    >>>>> TMFMmbop wrote:

    ".... we publish 50-60 free articles per day .... This is our approach to writing as many free articles as possible -- which takes investment talent, research, financial editing, and copyediting. The product plugs -- which appear in only a few articles -- allow us to pay our writers, editors, utilities, etc."

    If fewer articles were published perhaps Motley Fool would not need to pay so many writers and editors. I believe the comments here and in response to many other recent articles are valid. Way too many teaser articles which are way too long. I believe I hear a resounding "We are not amused" from these MF members. I understand MF is a business and, as such, entitled to advertise. The problem is the sheer volume and length of the articles. The worst offenders are the promo articles attributed to Tom and David which meander so painfully and slowly to the final pitch for the service being hawked. Have they (and seemingly the rest of the MF crew) have never heard the maxim "Brevity is the soul of wit."

    Before sending out the painfully long articles and pitches please, please, please consider that time is a valuable commodity (ours and yours). If less time was spent writing these articles perhaps more time could be devoted to stock research and analysis. With the savings on editors, writers, additional stock analysts, and TIME, you'd not need to send out so may ads andrisk annoying the heck out of potential subscribers.

  • Report this Comment On August 15, 2009, at 5:46 PM, janis1023 wrote:

    Not trying to be sarcastic, but seems I read about TMF investing quite a bit of their money in their own portfolio, and if ya'll are that good you wouldn't need to pich selling subscriptions so much.

    So maybe if you trimmed down your long sales pitches and appeared to be more successful instead of desparate and/or greedy, it would work better for you.

    Just sayin......

  • Report this Comment On August 20, 2009, at 5:48 PM, FUDweiser wrote:

    I agree about all this subscription nonsense articles on Fools are becoming idiots now. My frustration level is also getting high. I canceled 2 out of 3 services I had. Too much pompous junk and very poor performance.

    TMFs -- get your act together or become extinct. Present simple and clear thinking. Respect your customers.

  • Report this Comment On August 27, 2009, at 3:24 PM, pauleberth wrote:

    I am in complete agreement with those who have commented about the never ending pitches to buy more subscriptions - it has to end somewhere! Surely The Fool could come up with a montly payment plan that would permit anyone to access anything The Fool offers for a set price, paid over time. That way, if a subscriber became disillusioned, he/she could opt out without feeling as if they had been picked clean by vultures.

    Give us a break guys, are you out to help only the wealthy or are you interested in seeing that the little guy also gets a piece of the action. It's your choice, sell it for a lot to a few or sell it for less to a lot more.

    Seem like a no-brainer, to me.

    Paul Eberth

  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2009, at 11:48 PM, hgaca wrote:

    I agree that the teasers are annoying, but primarily because i would love to subscribe to all the MF services am not in a position to do so. If i could just click on that "subscribe now" box at the end of every article, i would be a happy camper.

    The newsletters I do subscribe to (three of them), give great content and value. MF also provides valuable free services to the general public through CAPS.

    On the refund issue, raised by someone, I can only say that MF has the best customer service around. I have tried a newsletter and canceled it. I had a friend who switched from one newsletter to another. When I canceled my subscription, I was a day or two late. They didn't charge me. The Motley Fool is full of really great people.

    So, annoying teaser articles aside, I think that the paid services are great. It is important to find the one/s that fits your needs. Customer service couldn't be better.

    Wishing I could click on "subscribe now" to GG,

    Sarah G.

  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2009, at 12:08 PM, tkell31 wrote:

    Not trying to be sarcastic, but seems I read about TMF investing quite a bit of their money in their own portfolio, and if ya'll are that good you wouldn't need to pich selling subscriptions so much.

    So maybe if you trimmed down your long sales pitches and appeared to be more successful instead of desparate and/or greedy, it would work better for you.

    Just sayin......

    Thats what I've been thinking. Well said Janis. I do find the pitches amusing, much like any other get rich quick infommercial you see on TV or the $99 value FREE!!!!! with subscription pitches. Nothing is free so if it is included for free it is either a) garbage or b) worth a lot less then what is being charged for the package.

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