Yahoo! Message Boards

To you folks wondering whether that was really me who posted on a certain small cap, streaming media company at Yahoo’s stock message boards: There is a both a long and short answer.

The short answer is yes.

The longer answer is a bit more complicated:

A very good friend of mine from grad school ("J") was a fairly big wig at Yahoo! When his stock vested in 1999 (25% up front, 3% per month for the next 3 years), he asked me for advice. The stock was near $200, and I told him to sell it — every share he possibly could, as soon as it vested. For the most part, he followed that advice. He did pretty well for himself. J is now the President/COO of another dot com that is privately held, whose service is used by many branded consumer product companies. I suspect they will eventually be bought by another firm much larger than them.

The 2nd factor about the Yahoo message boards has to do with Iomega (IOM). That board was a huge lesson in just how bad Wall Street Research actually can be. It showed how individuals working together via the internet were able to outfox the pros. That, and its one of the few stocks I ever top ticked when liquidating a large position (that’s another war story best saved for another time). 

Because of J, and IOM, I have always had a special place in my heart for Yahoo!, and the way those message boards were way back in the innocent mid-1990s. 

Then the touts, shorts, and spammers took over — and that was all she wrote . . .


Back to my post: it was a sincere expression of my disappointment on how they have allowed what was a big asset of theirs to fall into disrepair.

Don’t worry: I have no plans on posting anything else anytime soon . . .

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  1. Pool Shark commented on Aug 31

    OT, but it appears President Bush is extending the scope of his subprime bailout program:

    President Bush announced this morning that he would be renegotiating the mortgage on Manhattan Island. He claimed that predatory lending practices in 1625 by then Dutch Governor William Verhulst, were unfairly used to secure purchase of the island for 60 guilders worth of glass beads.
    President Bush stated that the Canarsee Delaware Indians should not have been evicted from their land, and announced a plan whereby tribe members could obtain low-interest rate refinancing and mortgage ‘work-outs’ to regain possession of their homes.
    Canarsee Chief Seyseys was quoted as saying he was gratified to hear of the plan, and looked forward to re-establishing a homestead on Wall Street.

  2. Howard Veit commented on Aug 31

    It seems like the bad guys are destroying many of the things the web used to mean. Wikapedia is now worthless, Yahoo boards (or any boards for that matter) joins them and many others. Even now, the TV slugs are praising the guy who stole the Apple Iphone codes and are propagating them on their news casts. We are destroying a golden goose of invention and reward.

  3. wally commented on Aug 31

    Like you I remember when those boards were useful and informative and it has always been a mystery to me why Yahoo let them become what they are today. They seem to have deliberately allowed it and they make no effort even today to change them or to provide an alternative that is managed.

  4. wnsrfr commented on Aug 31

    Yahoo’s biggest mistake with their forums was the redesign last year that hopelessly broke familiar patterns of use.

    In many forums a critical mass of posters fled to alternatives that allowed a simple, view most recent, wade through each post interface. Yahoo had switched to a threaded UI that just plain sucked…they lost a lot of posters.

    I do have a funny history with message boards. My curiosity was piqued by some pumping messages on one of my Yahoo boards regarding a penny stock only discussed on Raging Bull.

    So I registered on RB with the ID DbbdIsFunny so I could post about the Malaysian company ticker=DBBD (ticker since changed).

    The DBBD press releases and regulatory filings were a joy to parse and “discuss”…long story short, my homeowners paid for the legal fees on the resulting defamation suit by the company against my ID and a number of others! Those were the days…no, I don’t post anymore on any message boards…

  5. Andrew Schmitt commented on Aug 31

    The Yahoo boards are a sewer that have no authority mechanism. I’m interested in ‘taking private’ Yahoo boards where there are a core constituency of contributors who seek refuge from the ass-clowns and idiots that pollute the commons.

    I have already done this for one small cap chip company and plan to do so for several more.

  6. fiat lux commented on Aug 31

    Back in the late 90s, the company I worked for was acquired by another company, and staff was POed by the poor handling of the integration. That Yahoo board on our stock became, for a while, one of the few places where employees could freely vent without fear of repercussion.

    By 2000, all the Yahoo boards were a cesspool. The same thing would never happen on Yahoo today.

  7. Tim Bourquin commented on Aug 31

    The Idea Lab was born out of the lack of good message boards that actively weeded out off-topic posts.

    By the way, Barry, we need to get you interviewed for the site!

    Tim Bourquin

  8. Lee commented on Aug 31

    Few companies with public posting areas seem to want to seriously deal with Spam. I maintain a page on Myspace, and I get 5 ‘friend’ requests a day and they are almost always spam with links to the same pages.

    Are you telling me that Myspace and Yahoo and Craigslist can’t filter out this stuff? I could see if it took huge amounts of man-power to keep up with it, but spam filtering has come a long way.. I just don’t get it.


  9. John commented on Sep 1

    Why do Yahoo message boards suck? Because Yahoo gets paid for PAGE VIEWS, people. And a spammer, tout or basher racks up many more page views than do the legit users. Yahoo’s TOS explicitly forbids such activity, but try getting those gasholes to actually enforce the damn thing.

    Yahoo is a shit company any more, and I hope they go bust.

  10. Phil commented on Sep 1

    I agree re. Yahoo message boards. They took what, from a financial reader’s point of view, was a tremendous asset and just let it become a junk-mail folder.

    My frustration with Yahoo was one of the things that led me to post my own blog, as I simply felt that even a joker like me could do a better job. Turned into a nice business…

  11. Teraflop commented on Sep 1

    When I want to know what the weather is like, I listen to the experts on TV, read the forecast online, and as a final step actually step outside for a feel as to the weather – may even wet my finger to get some wind direction. Being a regular jogger, I have a necessary sensitivity to weather.

    As far as the Yahoo Message Boards (YMB), I have long treated them more as a Wave of Data than discrete Particles of Information. I have exchanged email with some research folks about the predictive or at least explanatory use of YMB but these were tackling the Wave aspect of its value and were dependent on fairly accurate detections of sentiment (Imagine deciphering a sarcastic statement to actually represent the poster’s own feeling).

    So for my own SWAG of sentiment, I developed in 2002 a tool to graphically chart YMB sentiment according to the posters’ own vote. However, thanks to the degradation of the value of this vote plus the switch from time-series to hierarchically-theme-ordered I had to make large programming adjustments but at least YMB posts an RSS document that facilitates parsing.

    All I watch now is volatility & linkages between boards – for now, that’s the main value I can derive.

  12. The Big Picture commented on Sep 9

    Yahoo! Finance introduces Community Sentiment

    Fascinating concept I came across on Yahoo Finance — Community Sentiment. The site wants to look at increases in message board content to identify when sentiment has shifted. This has the potential to be a very interesting tool — albeit with a lot of…

  13. albrt commented on Sep 9

    I agree with Wally – I think there were still a few useful Yahoo boards right up until the redesign. The HealthSouth board was a marvel when the company got delisted. Of course, any board that got too useful was eventually disrupted, presumably by the folks who have an interest in maintaining information asymmetry.

    I can only assume that the redesign was aimed at the same pre-teen demographic that controls all popular media, so the ability to have discrete exchanges with “friends” won out over the ability to scan quickly for new information.

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