Thursday, December 11, 2008

Update on Website

A few words on the website - as longer term readers know my original hope based on how quickly we were getting investor pledges through mid 2008 was to be up and running with an actual mutual fund sometime by spring 2009. That dream all seemed to be working well, with reader pledges up to $4 Million through this past summer. Then the bottom in the market fell out, pledges of course dropped off, and I assume many investors (readers) portfolios were smacked quite heartily. Just like capital is flying out of hedge funds, there is a total lack of stock IPOs in the market, and we are seeing major outflows of mutual fund - the idea of raising capital for any venture is difficult. So while we continue down that path, I expect it to be a longer road now.

That said, we do continue to grow as a website - traffic is maintaining on the website, and the email subscription list has jumped from the 600s a few months ago to just under 1000 today. (how many of these people actually make it to the website on any given day I don't know) I'm also somehow the 4th most followed author on Seeking Alpha, with 500+ readers "bookmarking" me there. (David Fry, your days are numbered!) ;)
Most popular authors
(tracked in watchlists)
Quite fantastic considering this was a grass roots endeavor started in August 2007 with zero publicity, and I don't come from the financial professional field so I had no built in audience base before I began.

That said, I have spent all my time on CONTENT on this site, and nothing on the actual look/design of the website since about a year ago. The reason for that is, as mentioned above, I thought we'd be moved within a few months from now to a shiny brand new (web) location with a professional look, under the banner of the actual mutual fund so why waste the time making this site "pretty". But as they say... the greatest plans....

So for now it looks like we are going to be "here" for a lengthier amount of time unless a few multi millionaires decide to pledge some boffo dollars in short order based on my scintillating content and prescient calls. (not counting on it) Up through now we've had zero advertising, and since we won't be morphing to a new "mutual fund" site any time soon, I am going to be looking to introduce some ads while also trying to make the site look more streamlined and easier to navigate. The main focus of this site has been to draw traffic so I can find investors - and through summer 2008 that was working very well. Now, I think it's a site many people who are investing for themselves along with some professionals are reading for insight to the market/stocks (New York City, London, and Singapore are 3 of my 10 reader locations almost every week). So it's a bit of a catch 22. Quite a few people have asked why don't you switch to a subscription site, offer some content for free and then for a decent yearly fee the rest. Quite a few sites do that but again, when I began this the idea was to find investors, show my thinking, my thesis on sectors, my economic calls, and build credibility - and that's it. When I see all these "professional investors" that have lost untold billions, or 40-50% of their investors money, and missed this entire cause of this downward spiral it does get frustrating when you cannot even raise $10 million which is a rounding error for most institutions, but that's part of the inefficiency of life I suppose.

So with that said, as one can see there is a ton of work put into the site and for a year and a half it has been essentially all just as a "hobby". It's a lot of work for zero revenue - I would like to continue the "work" (since I enjoy it) but find a way to actually make it beneficial financially as well. And begin to be able to find more than 4 hours a night to sleep. So we'll see how things go here in the next quarter or two, and what opportunities might avail themselves. But specific to the website - don't be alarmed by changes in look that might be coming over the next few days/weeks as we try different things. Anyhow, that's an update on that angle and as always, with all the choices on the internet, I appreciate the continued and growing readership.

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