Grindernote#3 Should Stockopedia and SharePad educational articles hide behind a paywall?

always find it difficult to start writing a blog post, and this one is particularly difficult in that last night I carried out a bit of a twitter storm. The target was Phil Oakley @PhilJOakley. He is a highly respected author, writer and educator to the private investor. In my opinion, he is one of the best and someone I highly admire. Phil used to write educational articles for the owners of Sharescope and SharePad. They were free for everyone to read, learn and enjoy. Phil has now moved to Investor’s Chronicles, as an associate editor of the popular subscription-based stock tipping service. Last night though I saddened Phil with my tweets. Having read back at them this morning, I regret the way I put my point across. He didn’t deserve that.

Phil if you read this I would like to say that you are a complete gentleman in your response and while I want to express my view; I am sorry to you in the way that I carried this out. I do wish you well at Investor’s Chronicles, and it is warming to know that subscribers will benefit from the quality of your educational articles.

What the tweets storm did do however is open up a reasonable debate about whether the educational content provided by Stockopedia and SharePad should be free to everyone or should go behind the subscriber based paywall. One Twitter user even went as far as asking Tim Clarke, @T1mClarke to put this content behind the paywall, believing the subscribers are subsidising this free content. I note that Phil’s view appears to be the same.
I don’t share this view.

In amongst all the subscription-based services from stock picking tipping magazines (Investor’s Chronicles) to personal blogs (JohnsInvestmentChronicle.com), I believe there are two services which are the most useful to the private investor; SharePad and Stockopedia. Taking out a subscription to one of these tools is all a private investor needs to reduce the noise and focus on what works. However, I accept that both these tools to start with seem a little daunting to use until you get used to them. Both websites are full of educational articles that promote successful rules-based criteria in stock picking. They not only train the subscriber on how to use the tools provided to them but also focus on the psychology behind investing in the stock market. These tools teach us to become disciplined, productive and successful investors. They do not tip or blindly encourage us to buy or sell anything. What these tools do is guide us through the process of identifying a list of shares that may do well as a whole. We learn to Stockpick without the help of tipping services. We learn how and why a particular stock may be worth investing. We learn it is our choice, that our decision may go wrong, but we understand our strategy will benefit in the long term. Subscription based stock tipping websites do not do this; some give an example of an investors strategy, but their attempt doesn’t come as close to what Stockopedia or SharePad can provide.

Stockopedia is the most vibrant and has a community of some of the best private investors willing to share their knowledge for free. They all have one thing in common. The promotion of rules based criteria on helping navigate the stock market.

Stockopedia have a few authors who write educational articles on its behalf. SharePad has two prominent writers. These authors articles are free to the general public, and i strongly believe that this should remain the case. It is part of the marketing campaign to promote the services and tools of SharePad and Stockopedia. The writers often show and encourage the non-subscribers of the benefits of using these tools. Anything that navigates private investors away from stock picking services and bulletin boards where they may blindly follow tips without really understanding what they are doing towards SharePad or Stockopedia can only be a good thing.

What I have also come to realise that many of these writers want to share their knowledge with the vast public. They are still being paid to do this. As I subscriber I do not feel disadvantaged at all that the experience shared by these writers benefit everyone who reads their articles.

Let’s encourage everyone to find a strategy that they understand, can use tools to help achieve these goals and promote the sharing of all our experiences and knowledge.

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