The Motley Fool isn’t Fooling Me

Posted: June 20, 2007 in Finance

A couple of years ago I read the Motley fool regularly. I liked the philosophy, the articles were informative, the discussion forums were lively and interesting.

Somewhere along the way I lost interest. I don’t even remember what it was exactly that turned me off. I vaguely remember it having something to do with the amount of advertising. It may have been the shift to paid subscriptions in 2001. There wasn’t a specific incident as far as I can recall, I just lost interest.

Even though I don’t visit the site I’ve always held the view that they were a high quality operation. I assumed that when it came to financial hogwash they’d be on the side of debunking it and protecting consumers, rather than propogating it.

That’s why when I received what I assumed was a spam email promoting a get rich quick scheme, I was surprised to see that it came from The Motley Fool.

See the Original Email Here

Now, I know that spammers aren’t above spoofing someone else’s identity to hide their own. Spammers have in the past sent spam claiming to come from some of my own domains, so I looked into this, thinking perhaps the Motley Fool might like a heads up that this financial nonsense was claming to come from them.

I was floored to find this wasn’t a spammer spoofing an address. The product being peddled actually was from The Motley Fool. So ended any chance that I would ever return to the site.

First a little history. When the dot com bubble popped in 2001 The Motley Fool realised that they weren’t going to be able to collect the kinds of revenues from advertising that they had previously. They switched to a model of selling (subscriptions, reports, newsletters etc) to it’s members.

Nothing wrong with that, it’s worked out very well for them, and I’m sure many of the products they sell are fine. The one they advertised to me through my mailbox was not fine however. It had all the hallmarks of a scam.

Here are some of the characteristics you expect to find in junk email promoting get rich quick schemes.

1. They tend to be very long. These emails don’t stop at telling you about the great idea. They tell you about it over and over and over. Very repetitive, numerous quotes endorsing the scheme etc.

The Motley Fool email is long. Very Long. It takes 25 seconds just to scroll down through it without pausing to read any of it.

2. They emphasis what you could have won. The biggest sign of a get rich quick scheme that you should run from is that it dwells a lot on past successes, and tries to convince you that they could have been predicted in advance.

The Motley Fool email has numerous examples of people who turned thousands of dollars into millions of dollars. The message is clear, we could have predicted the success of these people and we can do it again.

The mail also hammers home the idea that it is giving you the insider scoop on the next Starbucks. It talks at length about the phenomenal growth of Starbucks, how it could have been predicted, and how much you could have made if you had invested.

This is the oldest trick in the financial charletain’s arsenal, don’t fall for it.

3. They emphasise they this isn’t a get rich quick scam. I’ve never read about a get rich quick scam that didn’t point out that it was not a get rich quick scam. In fact I’ve gotten to the point now that when someone explains that their system isn’t a scam I assume that it is.

The following comes from The Motley Fool email:

I’m not a starry-eyed novice pitching some bogus money-making “system.” I’ve done my homework, and I know a rat when I smell one. Like you, I have a reputation to protect, and I’m not easily duped.

“The Motley Fool stands out as an ethical oasis in an area that is fast becoming a home to charlatans.”
— The Economist

4. They stress what you’ll be getting for free, and gloss over the fact that you have to pay for it.

Throughout the Motley Fool Email there is much talk of the free report that you can receive that will reveal the next Starbucks. There are 17 mentions of this famous “Free” report.

Do you know how many mentions there are of the $199 subscription that you have to take out? None. Not one. Despite the incredible length of this email, they couldn’t find anywhere to squeeze in the fact that the report is “Free” with a $199 per year subscription to a Newsletter.

Towards the end of the email they do tell you that you need to subscribe, but you have to visit their site to find out the “Low Price”.

5. The Money Back Guarentee.
The trial period scam has been around for years. Sign up for a subscription and receive a free gift. The honest version of this scam assumes that some of the people who don’t want the subscription will be too lazy or will will simply forget to cancel within the trial period.

The dishonest version makes it as difficult as possible to cancel, or in some cases continues to “accidently” charge the customer even after they’ve cancelled.

I’m going to assume that The Fool are taking the honest approach and hoping for customer inertia to deliver them subscriptions.

I’m being generaous by giving them the benefit of the doubt here, the rest of the mail has all the signs of dishonesty that I’d expect from the worst scam artists. If it was a lesser known website I’d be 100% convinced that they’d take the money and run.

Yes, you’re not imagining it, there’s the unmistakable stench of a scam eminating from this scheme.

I have to say I was completely taken aback by this email. I’m still baffled that a brand with a reputation for straight talking and honesty would get involved in this kind of thing. I guess when you go down the road of selling financial information it takes a certain amount of character to avoid falling into the trap of peddling crap at high prices.

Needless to say my respect for The Fool is gone.

Related Documents:
See the Original Email Here

Comments
  1. mulrah says:

    I just started getting these “scam” messages from them a month or so ago, and I felt the same way. Thanks for the post.

  2. Shiri says:

    I’m a TMF subscriber and have done the “free trial” several times. Without commenting on your view of these mails as “get-rich-quick”, I will just point out that TMF are 100% good about returning your money from the free trial. The subscription is canceled and the money paid back (to my credit card) within one business day of mailing them about it. Some months I didn’t even pay the money since it was back in my cc account before the monthly bill was due.

  3. dennis says:

    love the irony of the fact that google ads places the motley fool ad prominently right under your blog breaking them down.

  4. Flying Tortoise says:

    You know what’s even more hilarious is that they have a good article on there sight about 10 signs of an investment scam and I think there spam mail contains just about all of them.

    I started reading their articles recently and was impressed with what seemed like honest straight forward talk. However after giving them my email address and now receiving those spam scam mails almost daily, they have totally ruined their credibility in my eyes.

  5. Steve says:

    And the phone calls ! Motley Foll sells your personal information. Made the mistake of giving them my home number. “Investor’s Business Daily” called like 50 times

    Stay away

  6. Paul says:

    Over 1 year ago, I was stupid enough to pay $100 for a year of Motley Fool subscriptions. Silly me. After about 6 months I concluded it was worthless, and stopped reading anything from them.

    Well, this morning, I checked my credit card account, and say a $149.00 charge from Motley. Interesting. My only guess is that they automatically rolled me over from my prevrious account, without my permission or authorization.

    The worst part is, my credit card # has changed within the past year. So somehow they went out and found my new credit card.

    Very shady company. I echo the previous poster…

    STAY AWAY!!!!!!!!

  7. Mike B says:

    Yeah I have observerd this same thing for a few years with them. Even after requesting being removed from their lists in early 2006 I continue to get 4-5 emails a week. 4×52 = 208 per year. x 4 years = aprox. 832 emails since i requested to be removed. Reminds me of Calrton Sheets or Dean Graziosi. I think they make there millions from selling worthless subscriptions to suckers rather than good investments. If they were so rich from good investments why not give the info for free? How much money do you need if your shrewd investments have already made you a multi-multi millionaire? Far from a Buffet are these Brothers Scam… If it were that easy everyone would be rich from the Motley Fools advice. The only “Fools” are those that pay ridiculous amounts of money for non informative reports and lists. Try putting that money into some stocks instead. Pay your dues. Go to Borders and get “The intelligent investor”, an “Idiots Guide” or “For Dummies” … start reading and investing – in short educate yourself, quit hoping for someone else to do the work for you, and pay your dues. So typical of predatory practice appealing to lazy people that only fantasize about wealth. By the way the stock market is only one of many ways to create wealth. Find your passion and pursue that…. Expect it to take 10 years plus and some heartache along the way. If it comes faster adn easier (truly) then consider yourself fortunate and be thankful…

    • Alex says:

      ” By the way the stock market is only one of many ways to create wealth. Find your passion and pursue that…. Expect it to take 10 years plus and some heartache along the way. If it comes faster adn easier (truly) then consider yourself fortunate and be thankful…”

      I agree with this. Great piece of advice.

  8. Mike B says:

    One last comment. The positive “references” and “endorsements” are anecdotal at best. If you sell enough subscriptions you are bound to have some people succeed with the vast amount of “possible” good investments they recommend. They dont post the emails with “I lost all my money thanks to your advice.”

  9. Mike B says:

    Last comment. I havent thought about or looked at the Motley Fool for a few years (except to delete their spam) until coming across this blog. Just went to the site to see how their realtime performance is compared to the S&P. They used to post it REALLY big for all to see on their home page. Mysteriously there is now no trace. Couldnt find it anywhere on the site. Except a claim of 51% outperforming above their subscriptions page. How can we confirm that????? Could it be they have fallen behind the S&P? I would bet so… Disgusting those two scam artists make me want to puke. Hiding under the guise of righteous investors looking to help the average Joe… they should be in prison with Madoff…

  10. Marcus says:

    Ya i used to be a big fool fan but some of thier new emails are just rediculous.

  11. Sidi says:

    Thanks guys. I am a novice and was almost hooked by these crooks. There was something in me that just couldn’t allow me to give them my credit card information. I smell a rat because they kept saying that they knew a rat when they saw one. Usually it’s the rat that is calling the other a rat. So, I found my way to this page and verified my supicion with the testimony of other like minds. Thanks

  12. Klok says:

    I am a member of the Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor (SA) and Million Dollar Portfolio (MDP). I can tell you that these are both legitimate services that I have gotten great value out of. My stocks based off of the SA picks have beaten the S&P by 30%, but the MDP was created just before the huge market downturn. The MDP portfolio was down about 40% or so at one point as was the market in general, but it’s risen back up -21.1% which is 3.9% higher than the S&P at -25%.

    They run a legitimate value added service, with good customer service (I’ve been happy), with super annoying marketing.

    It’s a far stretch to call them a scam just because their marketing is aggravating. But guess what? It works on most and aggravates some. Seems like good ROI.

  13. Vesta says:

    I’m happy with their service, except the spamming of my inbox with so many articles. But that can be avoided by changing the info on your profile page, or calling their customer service and asking to remove your profile. When you signed in for the first time, you probably don’t remember that you answered many questions and checked boxes agreeing to receive free information. By following their advice in MF Pro service, Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers, my portfolio has increased by 50% since October 2008 (after broker commissions had been payed). I understand that the articles are written for the purpose of selling more services to me. But by the same token, I got all my subscriptions below the going price, thanks to promotions contained at the end of those articles. If you cancel the newsletter subscription, they promptly refund your money. The customer service is very good and prompt. The discussion boards are informative and people responsible for specific newsletter chime in regularly to resolve or clarify issues.

    • Justin says:

      I’m up 70% without TMF. I took some risks but overall the market has moved up rapidly. Vesta, I don’t think I’d give TMF too much credit.

      Oh, and two of my top performers were stocks that TMF said would tank in early 2008 (PSEC & HTE).

      TMF indeed appear Foolish.

  14. daltonr says:

    > It’s a far stretch to call them a scam just because their
    > marketing is aggravating. But guess what? It works on most > and aggravates some. Seems like good ROI.

    Hi Klok,
    Thanks for the comment.

    I won’t speak about every Motley Fool product. As I say at the outset I held them in high regard. I’m sure they have some good products and services. It would be quite a fall from grace if they had none.

    However, for all the reasons I’ve outlined in detail above, I maintain that the email I received was a scam. The product it advertises is a scam.

    If it isn’t a scam then the Motley Fool are free to advertise it in a more honest way. Until then I call scam.

    -Richard

    • Chris says:

      Richard,

      One thing I noted about your “rant” is that you FAILED to mention which service they were advertising. As a one time member of their Hidden Gems subscription and a current member of Income Investor & Options, I would say that their advice is definitely not a scam. They do post their returns vs the S&P, but they do so with each individual service, as it seems like it would be very difficult to measure all of their services combined into one. I will say that it is a service that provides research, but any investor that doesn’t do their own independent follow up research deserves whatever they happen to get. My experience with their services has been very good and I have made the cost of my subscription back several times over. Are all of their “picks” winners? Of course not, nobody is THAT good, not even Buffet. Is it a scam, I would say not in my experience. I would encourage anybody that is thinking about subscribing to one of their services to do their research and make sure that what they are signing up for is in line w/their investment goals otherwise you are not going to be happy with the service. This is one thing that is often overlooked in investing, there are quite a few investment strategies & you have to pair your personal investment style and goals with that of the service you are subscribing too.

      • daltonr says:

        Hi Chris,

        > One thing I noted about your “rant” is that you FAILED to mention which service
        > they were advertising.

        No. I included their original email IN FULL. If you can’t tell what they are advertising
        based on that email then that’s further evidence of what I’m talking about.

        The rest of what you say is Mom and Apple pie. Of course an investor shouldn’t rely on stock tips without doing their own research etc. My post has nothing at all to do with that.

        I’m pointing out that The Motley Fool are either going down the route of the most basic scam emails that litter the internet, OR they have gone to extraordinary lenghts to disguise a legitimate product as a scam.

        If it’s the latter then they are clearly insane and not the kind of people anyone should be taking seriously.

        Also, even the worst internet scam will by the law of probability produce gains for some people. The more widely adopted the scam the more individuals you can find who have seen it work.

        That in itself is no evidence that the scheme works.

        Unless it can be demonstrated that a stock picking scheme consistantly beats throwing darts at the market pages then individual success stories are little more than statistical outliers.

        If the Motley Fool have legitimate products, there is nothing to stop them advertising them in a legitimate way and backing up their claims with evidence.

        That they CHOOSE to go the route of the snakeoil salesman speaks volumes.

      • Mike says:

        I have been a regular Fool reader since about 1998, and I must say that there is probably no other institution that has a financial interest in catching your interest, that I would trust more. Sure, they send advertising mail, but you can spot it by its length withing a couple of seconds and decide niot to read it. I usually do a quick search for “£” or “$” to see what they’re selling. Alternatively, you can massage your profile to opt out of a lot of the advertising mail. And sure, they don’t predict stocks with 100% accuracy – sometimes they will do better than others, and sometimes, other advisories, individuals, dice or flipped coins will do better, but they are concientious in their stock-picking, and always give their reasons, disclosing what they know about the company and its directorship; they are reasonable in their advisory charges, immediate in repaying unused parts of a subscription if you decide to leave, and utterly transparent in their dealings with their followers.

        This is an organisation that has dedicated itself to an interest in stocks, so naturally, over the last 20 years or so, they have built up a certain expertise in it. Isn’t it reasonable that they seek to sell their expertise?

        I bought their last advisory – not just information they were selling, but a full disclosure of a £50,000 investment that they, themselves had made, giving reasons for each stock purchase, and showing the growth of the investment over time, with all accountancy shown. In fact, though I paid for the subscription, I never bought any stock, and for a lot of the year, it was in negative profit, though it has recently come up to a bit more than 3% profit. About half of the original fund is invested, and the profit stated is on the entire fund.

        Just my 2p. I don’t think they’re all things to all men, but I certainly think they are above-board, and trustworthy to a degree that few financial institutions are.

  15. Tom Hegarty says:

    I read this article some time ago, it’s about “Cloud Computing” if it wasn’t contained in the text.
    Anyone worked out exactly which one of the computing companies is ahead of Microsoft and Google on this one?
    Tom Hegarty

  16. Phil Anastasia says:

    The Motley Fool Site provides quite a bit of useful information, One just has to bear in mind that it is a business. Sites are expensive to run- something has to pay the bills – So as we yankees say Just sit on your wallet

  17. daltonr says:

    >The Motley Fool Site provides quite a bit of useful information,
    >One just has to bear in mind that it is a business. Sites are
    >expensive to run- something has to pay the bills – So as we
    >yankees say Just sit on your wallet

    Hi Phil,

    Thanks for the comment, and yes, voting with your feet is always an option. But I don’t think we should be so quick to let this go and hope everyone else votes with their feet too.

    TMF set it self up as some sort of honest no nonsense website. Then it takes this approach. It just isn’t good enough.

    Think of it this way. If a well known site like TMF sends out these types of emails then it encourages people to think that other similar scam emails might be legit.

    “Hmmm, this email about getting rich quick sounds too good to be true, but It’s just like that mail from TMF, so maybe it’s ok.”

    It would be the equivalent of your bank sending out emails that look like phishing mails. We spend so long helping people to figure out what might be a scam on the internet, then legitimate companies muddy the water by impersonating the scams. It’s not good enough.

    The Motley Fool would be the first to warn users about financial charletains and mumbo jumbo. That’s all I’m doing too.

    -Rd

  18. Dave Kunes says:

    I use to be a Fool Subscriber but dropped the service several years ago. Recently, I decided to look at the Brother’s original portfolio that they supposedly funded with $50K of their own money (1994) and eventually the original portfolio name was changed to The Rule Breaker portfolio. I have tried finding the current value and what sort of return this portfolio has brought over the last 16 years in it’s existence. Does anyone know?

  19. ashutosh says:

    I registered their 1 month free advise subscription yesterday. And they seem to be pretty detailed and open ended as all their bets are listed from 2002, and you can see even loss making positions.

    Their advertisements are scary and I used to delete without reading for many years.

    But for a invester like me who has no proper access to information and wants to make better than share market or say take a chance this is the cheapest proposition.

    I suggest you should give it a try before branding them frauds.

  20. ColinT says:

    Must admit having followed the Fool for a couple of years at least I have noticed this shift to endlessly long emails selling stuff. They do seem suspiciously like scams I have received else where. Must admit did email one of their people who was helpful but he basically confirmed my concerns that in order to make a real profit you either have to invest an awful lot or have big returns to cover the initial joining fees, share deal costs etc.

  21. MeinKiev says:

    I am a subscriber to TMF Stock Adviser and Global Gains. I think what you get with the Fool is a mixture of legitimate advice in a more or less “Value” service, but then they try to market you into a lot of high priced “extras” which certainly look pretty suspect. The trick is to avoid all the hype and “extras.” But I agree with many here that you should not have to wade through a heap of rubbish in a service that is purporting to be a legitimate “value” investor service. So if you can select only the emails for the service you want, and avoid all the hyped up marketing, you will have a good service. You can check their actual performance on the Hulbert Financial Digest list which ranks most newsletters. Does anyone know what that ranking might be?

  22. Felix Feng says:

    If one is naive enough to believe that someone in this world will share with others information or insights that will make millions and millions, on average, for him or her, he should take advice from these stock pickets.

  23. Charles W. Wilson says:

    Yes, there is advertising and marketing by the Motley Fool. But, you’re getting legitimate information and useful advice. I’m sure The Motley Fool would love to give all the information regarding Stock Advisor, Value Investor, and other newsletter publications free. But, that information is coming from dedicated, knowledgeable professionals, from a bricks and mortar headquarters and quite simply there is signficant overhead to provide such products and services. The Motley Fool is not going to mislead anyone. There is risk in investing in equities and you can lose money. They have no crystal ball and maintain disclaimers the same as any other stock advice service. What The Motley Fool does is provide an extremely informative and invaluable website that is easy and fun to read. Yeah, a buy-and-hold philosophy may seem boring. I thought so too, until I saw my small investment 10 years ago, return 70X. Sometimes, simplicity sounds so skeptical, when we may believe that making a pile of money must be based on derivatives or some other complicated scheme. How, about buying into plain old solid companies with respectable dividends, then reinvesting those dividends, which Motley Fool mentions over and over again. Motley Fools is probably one on the most legitimate investing websites in the world. We are lucky that the Gardners created such a useful website on the world oif equities investing, with a wonderful injection of humor to make it fun to read.

  24. Shipbuilder says:

    Had credit card in had and was going to purchase th online rule breakers for $149(initial year offer) with all the extra free books(3kings…), then thought I should check out the web reviews. You guys have really got me confused. Have a friend who has subscribed the TMF for years, and swears by it, but the above certainly has given me reason to be sceptical. Companies do change over the years and loose their focus, and perhaps that has happened here too? That being said, if one were to subscribe to one of their services, as a realtively caucious investor, which one would you choose?

  25. Jean Samson says:

    I used to like the Motley Fool concept (crowd-sourcing for stock tips) and even bought their book in 2009. But I got totally turned off by all the spam ad mail because they never deliver what they promise. They tell you to click this or send for that and this will answer whatever question they set up.

    At first, because I trusted them, I was sure they were going to (eventually) answer the question. (Tell me what trend they spotted or what company they mean, or whatever – like they promised.) But they just weaseled away and left me knowing nothing except that I wasted my time – and that I need to pay them money to find out what they said they’d tell me.

    So then I stopped opening most of their ads, but for awhile I occasionally took a chance and – just to be fair – I would hang on til the very end in case they might actually deliver what they promised. But they never, ever did!! So then when I couldn’t unsubscribe I just tagged Motley Fool as Junk Mail. I won’t go near this company again. If they’re so dishonest in their ads, why would they be honest once they get my money?

  26. anonymous says:

    Here is my question, excuse me if I sound stupid:

    What lead me to believe that they are a scam is that they are offering sure-fire ways to get rich, as rich as the people who invested in Microsoft, Google, and Apple; but here they are sending me email reports with subscriptions for a nominal fee. Why would one have to do this if their picks can easily make them multi-billionaires, as they are promising? Why is it necessary to go for the pocket change pandering to the humble middle-class demographic with stock reports?

    Again, these are just questions, probably stupid questions; but I prefer to look stupid for five minutes asking a question rather than being stupid forever.

  27. ninetynine says:

    I’ve also come to the conclusion that the Motley Fool is full of shit. I recently signed up for a paid subscription because I figured that it would be worth $5.00 per month to take a look behind the curtain. What I found was absolutely nothing that you can’t find by doing a bit of your own research for free.

    Their list of stock picks are all fairly obvious and there is very little useful info to be found. As you explore the site, it becomes obvious that you were lured into the $5 subscription so that they can try to sell you their “Premium Advice”. When you click on one of the many “Premium Advice” options to try and see what it’s about, you’ll be greeted with a bogus message such as: “Due to the high level of interest, we are no longer accepting new members. If you would like to hear about future opportunities, please enter your email address in the box below.” I’m guessing that if you are foolish enough to enter your email address, then a new spot will magically open up and your card will start being charged immediately for this “Premium Advice”.

    The barrage of emails is annoying, but made even worse by the ridiculously poor content and vague information. Yesterday and today I was subjected to their email campaign begging me to sign up for “Supernova”. If you don’t sign up, then the emails just keep coming, each warning you that it’s your “last chance”, or that there is “only 6 hours left”. They absolutely reek with desperation.

    If you decide to watch one of their videos, then grab a beer and prepare for an unbearably long-winded show lacking absolutely any info of importance or interest for what feels like an eternity of complete bullshit.

    I’m sure these guys are good at investing. Much better than I’ll ever be. I’m just saying that I thought their service just seemed misleading and has a feel of very low quality.

    Furthermore, I now find it impossible to find anywhere on their site where I can cancel my subscription. Yet another scummy web technique when your service doesn’t stand on it’s own.

  28. Self Investor says:

    I would like to say you can believe what you want about the Motley Fool, all I know is I started following their investment advice several years ago rolled my money into an IRA account that I control invested my retirement myself into stocks they recommended like for example…..netflix when it was at a little over seven dollars a share and it skyrocketed to almost three hundred dollars a share.
    That investment alone not to mention their other recommendations have made me several millions.
    So keep believing what you want and I will keep profiting.

    Thanx a million Motley Fool

  29. Ray says:

    I want to pay the subscription out of the money i make from their advice.
    If they do that I would subscribe forever.
    Sorry just another scam.
    Probably some good advice somewhere in there,but whatever.

  30. Motley Fool is now interfering with my ability to browse articles on my ISP home page. All i get when I try to get to certain features is a Motley Fool ad that will not allow me to get to what I clicked on.

  31. koi strasser says:

    I tried to unsubscribe from MFs spam at least 5 times – they keep spamming. An unethical outfit!

  32. Thank you for the good writeup. It in reality was a amusement account it.
    Glance complex to far brought agreeable from you!
    However, how could we communicate?

  33. Howard says:

    I have been a subscriber to Motley fool since the late 1990’s. I have tried a few of their pay for investment letters. Hidden Gems, Global Gains, Motley Fool Pro, Million Dollar Portfolio and Stock Advisor. Some I have tried for a many years some for a few months. Now I am down to only Stock Advisor. For my money it is the best one they offer with the best returns. I like it, they offer good advice and I have profited from it. I don’t want to take the time to dig into financials of many different companies and try to figure out what the best stocks appear to be for the long term so I pay them to do that for me. I also don’t want to crawl under my car and change the oil and filter every 5,000 miles so I pay someone to do that for me. I have other things I would rather do. If you think you can do better with your own research picking companies to invest in and you like to do it then you should.

    When I wanted to quit the other services I tried and decided were not for me I called them and told them I wanted to quit and they refunded me any amount I did not use. If I signed up for a year and called up 6 months later and said I wanted out they would refund me 6 months worth. If I signed up for a free trial and after 30 days decided I wasn’t interested they would refund me the full amount as promised. No haggling, no hard sell, no delay. Sure the marketing can be annoying and they should work on it to make it sound more professional. The cost should be in the advertisement as well.

    But the advise I have received from them is sound. I have winners and losers but the winners have increased my portfolio far more than the losers have decreased it and I am beating the S&P 500. The stocks they recommend are companies they believe in staying invested in for at least 3 to 5 years unless something dramatic happens to make them change their mind. That’s their mindset and they tell you that over and over. Overall I have had a good experience. If you decide to try it just sign up for Stock Advisor and ignore the advertisements for the other services. And I just buy David’s recommendations because he has a much better track record than Tom and I prefer his philosophy.

    • NovaJim says:

      I’ve been very impressed with the Motley Fool. By choosing stocks based on their advice, I have managed an average annual return of 18.4% since 2009 which has nicely beat the market. I rely on their research & advice. Sure, they send you marketing emails to try to get you to subscribe to some of the other newsletters that they offer – and some it is hokey. However, like any other successful company, it continues to grow its revenues by introducing new products and attempting to grow its sales. It’s what they do. However, you can update your account online to opt out of emails other than what you subscribe to and cut out all the marketing emails.

      Bottom line, the newsletters are worth every penny. It’s no scam.

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  35. Crowley says:

    I worked for them. They are the biggest ass clowns you can imagine.

  36. James says:

    Motley Fool is a rag and a SCAM !

    Remember Pay Dirt the newsletter?

    They lost on every pick ! At one point they were so down they stop publishing !

    What a joke !

    Anyone who buys this rag gets what they deserve.. Nothing !

    TMF – Those Mutha F**kers!

  37. rob says:

    14.3% annualized for 8 years with strictly Foolish advice. There is no scam and to go out and call it as such without actually researching is reprehensible. 8 years, money nearly quadrupled in that time. Sometimes they are very wrong, but they never advertise and claim otherwise. Without their service, I’d know Jack Squat. I don’t cheer for everyone to trust what I know to be a service that gives me a huge advantage for incredibly little cost, but I am amused how the naive can truly believe they can ‘smell trouble’.

  38. I believe what you said made a bunch of sense.

    But, what about this? what if you added a little
    content? I am not saying your content is not solid, however suppose you
    added a title that grabbed people’s attention? I mean The Motley Fool isnt Fooling Me | daltonr is a little plain. You could look at Yahoo’s home page and note how they create news titles to
    get viewers to open the links. You might add a video or a
    picture or two to grab readers interested about everything’ve written. Just my opinion, it would bring your website a little livelier.

  39. Brian. says:

    You don’t need to know anything other than to view this video:

    http://www.fool.com/fool/free-report/15/jeremyspeaksaudioext-296140.aspx?source=erbzactxt0860023

    This is all the proof that one needs to realise that they are scam artists. Too bad, because I used to love listening to their program on NPR.

  40. Mike says:

    The Motley Fool is a MAJOR SCAM! Without success I’ve attempted to “unscribe” from the junk emails I continue to receive from them. Ever since I did the “unscribe” thing I’ve been getting a supercharge of junk emails. Mostly porn and asian dating sites! I never subscribed to Motley Fool and I will report this disgraceful behavior to the FCC and my internet provider for investigation. I’ve been spammed big time by Motley Fool and anyone who gets emails from them should never to the “unscribe” thing. Just chuck the crap in your spam folder and report it to the FCC and your internet provider.

  41. Evan Foreman says:

    What all of us readers should ask ourselves before sending a dime to any “get rich easy scheme” is this question: If they REALLY know how to invest and make big money, why do they need your FEW dollars?

  42. ted says:

    Amen on the scam. Just like stanberry these guys are everywhere.Use trading sofeware to find the next big idea. If the fool found it why can’t you? People are getting more like sheep in this country being walked off a cliff.

  43. frank says:

    Maybe TMF should sell stock in their own company, if they’re so good.

  44. RK says:

    Motley Fool is a dishonest criminal misleading organization. these guys should be put behind bars along with Jim Crammer and their likes. They have been pumping and dumping and all their recommendations in past 2 months (from may 8, 2014) are losing money. I regret the day I believed in them. if you look closely on their website, the S & P have done better then their recommendation. Criminals! Beware, don’t listen to them or you WILL LOSE MONEY!

  45. nlcatter says:

    motley fool is a mike wide and inch deep, a company was almost into bankruptcy and they recommended them – investors lost everything. F U MOTLEY fools

  46. Tim from CMH says:

    The latest Motley Fool scam:

    http://www.fool.com/video-alert/stock-advisor/sa-nightmare-ext/?source=esadinads0860001

    I don’t know how in the world these ever work. I tried to slog through this one to get to the punchline just to see what it was they wanted me to do. But 5 minutes in they still hadn’t revealed this great company they wanted me to invest in, or what I needed to pay them to tell me. Very odd marketing all around.

  47. JPAPA says:

    Bottom line, I have averaged 26% annual returns since 2009 and so far in 2014 I am up 11%. By comparison, the market is up 12% annually since 2009 and flat in 2014 so far. Are the emails annoying? Certainly. But I opt out of the ones I do not want. So what if I have to spend maybe 30 seconds a day deleting the annoying emails. Seems to me to be a small price to pay for doubling my money every 3 years. (26% compounded over 3 years doubles your money).

    Back when the market tanked in 2008, my stock broker called me one day to sell me this, that and the other thing. At that time, I really wanted to manage my own portfolio, and his phone call became the catalyst for that. I took my portfolio and split it in half. He gets to manage half and I focused on managing the other half for one year. With the help of MF advice, I tripled the returns that he was able to achieve in that year. I fired him and never looked back.

  48. Tom says:

    I totally agree with the author. TMF is no longer an informative unbiased site. Almost every ‘article’ on there has some disgusting pitch at the end of it, and many of the stock analysis articles follow the exact same content and any investor with half a brain can tell that there has been no proper fundamental due diligence performed, apart from some basic P/E or Rev growth ratios.

    The way in which some of the more positive feedback comments read in this thread are also dubious. I made XX% gain with TMF, TMF are is the site I trust the most etc, red flag IMO.

    For ideas I prefer to use proper fundamental data feed like FT’s 5yr financials, or Morning star (although they don’t cover enough non-US stocks for me), and one of the smaller data providers like Robur Investment Resources.

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