On the Internet: Web Sites for Message Boards
by CI Staff
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Web Sites for Message Boards
Today more and more investors are turning to message boards for investing tips, insight, and commentaries. Message boards provide a unique source for gathering information from fellow investors, although they can be a dangerous environment: It is important to remember that many things you read are sheer speculation. The vast majority of message boards are free, though many require registration.
A new trend in message boards is peer reviewing, where posters can judge how accurate and important other members posts are. Peer-to-peer interaction is also moving beyond simply reading each others opinions, to reviewing posts and, in some cases, competing for the sites attention.
Although message boards have historically been a realm of gossip and speculation, more and more message boards are moving toward shared advice and also uniting individual investors into one voice that might be heard by a large company.
The Motley Fool
Motley Fool is generally known for its lighthearted take on the stock market and investing, but the site also has a well-developed message board section. The message boards at Motley Fool contain a broad range of subjects in addition to the traditional individual stock message boards. Other boards include: photography, organic gardening and aviation. The message boards are generally well monitored so that profanity and personal attacks are kept to a minimum. You can also block users to further filter out unwanted noise when browsing through the message boards.
The homepage provides a link to hot topics, which shows popular discussion threads grouped by message board category. You can also see the post of the day, which is chosen by other Fool posters recommendations. Each post includes a link to make recommending posts simple. Each post also includes a link that allows readers to bring inappropriate posts to the attention of Web site monitors.
The Community Tools section of the homepage provides an Ask a Foolish Question service. You can also see the most active and most recommended messages and boards as well as get help and tips on using the boards. The most active and recommended boards can be sorted by the latest post and by broad topic (stock or non-stock). You can access these lists by choosing best of from the top menu bar on the homepage as well. You can also start a new board. A small amount of individual security data is available by clicking a ticker symbol. Data includes a price and volume chart, the days quote data and links to related news stories.
The system allows anyone to read posts but in order to add your own post, you must become a member. Recently Motley Fool dropped its $29.95 per year fee, making access to its message boards free.
BoardCentral.com allows users to bypass individual on-line message boards. This service lets users read from and post to many of the top message boards, all from the BoardCentral Web site. Among the message boards covered are Yahoo! Finance, RagingBull, The Motley Fool, SiliconInvestor, and ClearStation. At the BoardCentral Web site, visitors can type in individual ticker symbols and BoardCentral will scan the postings of 13 different on-line message boards and list the most recent posts from each board. You can then read the separate messages and post responses (most message board sites require some type of registration before being able to post). The site also tracks tickers that have been searched the most on BoardCentral and its affiliated sites. In addition, BoardCentral provides the latest analyst actions from NewRatings.com and a listing of upcoming conference calls from BestCalls.com.
The BoardCentral Web site is free.
ClearStation is the message board database created by on-line broker E*Trade. To find the discussion boards, choose Discuss from the homepage. ClearStation contains the usual range of non-investment related message boards in addition to individual stock boards. Members have the ability to make recommendations on a stock as well as note a position (long or short). ClearStation also allows you to ignore specific users, which, in todays board environment can be a very useful tool.
Individual security data includes technical analysis charts, daily price and volume data, and a small amount of fundamental stock data.
ClearStation recently added some new features: Recommend 2.0, Help 2.0, and Z-List!. Recommend 2.0 allows members to create transaction accounts for their holdings and rate other posters based on their accounts performance. You can view other members gains and losses, graphs, sector holdings and automatic stops. Help 2.0 is an updated version of the help area with new content and navigation tools. The Z-List! contains a list of stocks that are likely to fall in price based on the sites tag & bag analysis, which takes into account 34 fundamental and technical indicators. The site also has the A-List!, which provides a list of the most promising stocks based on the same tag & bag system. ClearStation is free with registration.
Raging Bull, provided by eSignal, offers the typical range of industry and stock message boards, in addition to a few non-financial boards like vacation and NFL boards. The site is linked to Quote.com where you can get data on individual securities and set up portfolios.
The homepage lists the most active boards measured by current traffic relative to activity over the past 30 days. This list is usually dominated by boards for the likes of Microsoft and General Electric or smaller companies with high trading volume.
Raging Bull gives you the option to ignore specified users. The site does not allow you to rate other posters, however you can membermark your favorite posters and boardmark your favorite message boards. Any membermarked and boardmarked posts will appear in bold and show up on your homepage.
While the site offers plenty of message boards and discussions, it lacks any kind of niche applications to set it apart from other message boards.
Raging Bulls message boards are free with registration.
Silicon Investor consists of more than 450,000 registered members and has a litany of message boards on a wide range of subjects. The sites homepage contains a list of the top 10 hot investment boards. By choosing forums you can see lists of newly introduced boards, active subjects (investment and other) and the most popular subjects and posters.
Silicon Investor allows members to mark favorite users and message boards and will send notification when recent activity by those marked has been posted. Individual stock data is provided by Quotemedia. You can also create WatchLists.
The more posts you write, the higher your daily posting limit will become: The number of messages you can post increases as your activity on the site increases. As a regular (and free) member, you are limited to five posts a day as a first-time poster. After 50 total posts you are allowed 10 posts per day, and after 1,000 total posts you are allowed 100 posts per day. If you wish to have an unlimited number of posts, you can sign up for various memberships ranging in price based on the number of posts.
Yahoo! Finance boasts message boards for more than 6,000 stocks. If a message board for a company you are interested in does not exist, you can create one. It also contains message boards for almost any other subject imaginable ranging from cyberculture to board games to astrology. Yahoo! Finance has close to 30,000 investing-related message boards. With so many boards to choose from, Yahoo! offers a great search tool that gives you the ability to search by subject, message text or author. Even though the site has such a large database of message boards, there is usually daily activity on most boards. Yahoo! Finance has easily the most active message boards on the Web.
The wide selection and consistent activity does come at a cost, however. Profanity and personal attacks abound in posts. Yahoo! does offer the option to block users. There is also a profanity filter, but even this sometimes cant keep it at bay. If you are willing to deal with some foul language and advertisements here and there, Yahoo! Finance can be a good source to meet fellow shareholders and discuss the future of your holdings.