PayDirt is getting desperate?
I hardly expected them to use bait-and-switch marketing, because they were supposed to be an ethical oasis, that is, up till recently. A couple of days ago I clicked on a link to a premium content page and taken to their subscription homepage. So clicked the back button, and the next moment a window popped up and showed the following message:
"Hidden Gems PayDirt. Wait! This special $100 membership offer is exclusively for Hidden Gems members. If you are ready to join us at PayDirt, please don't delay. Click here to lock in this exclusive member discount".
Well, it was never my intention to pay 500-700 bucks a year for their supposedly premium research, but $100 could be worth consideration, especially now when their blood is flowing down the streets so their selections can be bought at bargain prices. The only thing is, the price certainly looked too good to be true, so I wondered, "where is the catch?" So I clicked here to lock in this exclusive member discount, and sure enough, was taken to the next screen that said:
"Error! That offer is no longer available, here is the most current offer", followed by the list of newsletters.
All right, a special limited-scale promotion offer is fine by me, but then I'd expect our ethical oasis to pull the ad once the promotion is over. So I waited another two days to see if they are going to remove the ad that was no longer accurate. Then I checked again and, lo and behold, the pop-up window was still there, touting a $100 subscription price for HG members. Now, this is where a legitimate promotion campaign ends and a bait-and-switch marketing scheme begins. That day, the market cap of Fool, Inc. took a very serious haircut, in my book at least, and I will now have to think twice before subscribing to any Fool newsletter. Even if I keep my HG subscription, I will have to seriously discount the value of the advice contained therein, to account for the management risk. Ironically, this will be fully in the spirit of the Fool's religion which they've preached to us so successfully: when you see the first cockroach, expect that there will be more.
And then I noticed another thing. Anecdotal evidence suggests that PayDirt hasn't been a smashing success story lately. In a curious coincidence, the Fool homepage is displaying the performance of every single newsletter except, you guessed it, PayDirt. I remember that similar reservations were expressed by members after the launch of Global Gains (which, as subscribers remember, had a lackluster start), but we were told then that the lack of disclosure was due to the 6-month waiting period because a smaller sample of data points would be meaningless. The Fool would not hesitate to provide full disclosure after the fist 6 months, we were assured, regardless of whether they beat S&P or lag behind. As it happened, after 6 months GG began to show some good numbers, so we never got the chance to check if that promise was made in good faith. Well, it has now been 15 months since PayDirt was launched, and they make more recs per month, so the scorecard should contain plenty of data points. So I'm wondering what's preventing the Fool from disclosing their newsletter performance this time.