On August 6, I reported on a series of 27 penny stocks, including a mining company called GoldSpring (OTC: GSPR). The concept of the article was simple. Over the course of 2002, whenever I received an e-mail hyping a penny stock, I entered its ticker into a portfolio on Yahoo. As I stated in the article, the average return of these stocks was -80%.

In that column, I reported that GoldSpring had returned a loss of 96%. This statement requires some clarification. GoldSpring merged into the company that had actually been promoted to me via email -- a Florida-registered, New York-based "real time interaction technology company" called StartCall. This company, at the time of the promotion, had $11,067 in property and equipment, zero cash, and $511 in revenues. It was dying.

But in the penny stock world, companies in this condition still have value, as StartCall's carcass did to GoldSpring. In December 2002, a Danish company bought the StartCall shell, renaming it Visator. In March, the Danish company terminated this deal, while an Arizona-based mining company called Ecovery bought the shell, changing its name to GoldSpring.

Instantly, without filing any disclosure statements to the SEC other than a change of ownership 8-K, GoldSpring was a public company. To see the relationship, go to the SEC EDGAR page and type in "GoldSpring." You get no matches. Type in "StartCall," and you'll find the filings for StartCall, Visator, and now GoldSpring.

So no company called GoldSpring existed 2002 and this was not the name listed on the original email I received. Anyone unfortunate enough to have held the equity that was to become GoldSpring has lost 96% of his or her money. GoldSpring's management has asked that I clarify the relationship between it and StartCall, in order to fend off the appearance of a "trading scandal." This I am only too happy to do.

GoldSpring has acquired mineral claims in an area just east of Carson City, Nevada. It has no operations or revenues as of its most recent filing, current as of June 30, 2003. The company's most recent 10-QSB includes a "going concern" clause, necessary because its ability to commence operations is dependent upon external financing. The Motley Fool's opposition to investing in any company at such a point in its history is well known.