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Who Reads Yahoo! Message Boards?

Posted in Investing Expertise

We get a varying flow of traffic from Yahoo! message boards, usually from boards of “Cramerized” stocks to either our review of Jim Cramer’s market timing record or our evaluation of his stock picking ability. Who reads these stock boards? Using a sample of 212 unique Internet Protocol (IP) addresses for readers recently visiting from five different Yahoo! message boards, we find that:

  • 77% arrive via geographically dispersed Internet Service Providers (ISPs, such as America Online, Comcast, Cox, Road Runner, SBC, Verizon…).
  • 17% come from non-ISP companies (such as CBS, Credit Suisse, Dun & Bradstreet, General Electric, Medimmune, NBC, NCR, New York Life, Pfizer, Schering-Plough, Sun Microsystems, Tesoro Petroleum, USAA, Wyeth…).
  • 3% come from universities.
  • 3% come from government agencies (federal, state and local).
  • In a separate cross-section, about 95% come from the United States,with international visitors from Austria, Canada, China, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland.

The mix likely depends on the specific stocks involved and the time of day of the visit.

In summary, geographical and corporate spans suggest that at least some message boards suggest both  independence and diversity. There is not enough information in IP sourcing to infer the presence of valuable private information.

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