Like many users of the internet, David Jackson suddenly has an awful epiphany: most of the Web's content is garbage.
The former Morgan Stanley telecom analyst blames bloggers. "Blog software basically makes Web publishing free, and that means you have millions of people who are now publishing stuff, 99.9% of which is crap, 0.1% of which is really good," he says. Fortunately for investors, most of the tens of millions of blogs deal with relative trivialities, including the daily bloviations of the e-hoi polloi, inside-the-Beltway petty politics and various sporting disasters. Of course, many other blogs – and other forms of e-communication – deal in opinion, rumor and speculation regarding that most important of things to the investor: publicly-traded companies.
Of course, blogs offer a tremendous opportunity, as well; one that Jackson hopes to exploit with Seeking Alpha.
A network of 23 blogs, at last count, covering anything from exchange-traded funds, to hot sectors including biotech and energy, to hot countries such as India and China, Seeking Alpha (www.seekingalpha.com), according to Jackson, it's founder, seeks to "recreate a research department online," using the work of such blogosphere denizens as financial advisers, newsletter editors, hedge fund managers and analysts, whose pedigrees include stints with names including Charles Schwab, Merrill Lynch and Daiwa Securities.
These e-analysts are vetted by Jackson, a London native who five months ago quit New York to settle in Raanana, Israel, with his wife and three children. "I only publish stuff that I think is good," he says, "people don't have time to sift through all the stuff; I'm doing that in finance. And stock market stuff."
If the commentary's not for you, this almost certainly will be: free conference call transcripts. Jackson promises to publish 400 of them this earnings season, within six hours of the end of the call, which could finally challenge Thompson Financial's fee-based service. "There are a lot of institutional investors who don't have access to this who would like it," Jackson posits.
And now they will. For free.