“I think you’re a paid basher looking for some cheap shares!”
— InvestorsHub Message Board
Post anything mildly critical on a stock message board, and chances are someone will eventually call you a paid basher. No matter how cogent your argument, you will soon find yourself on the defensive, with your credibility on the run.
I am NOT a paid basher, I am not paid for posting anything on this or any other board. If marilynt claims I am a paid basher, I request that the proof be put on this board…I know if I accused a poster here of being paid to pump this stock, my post would be immediately removed. Posted by LoanStew on InvestorsHub
“Confessions of a Paid Basher”
To prove “paid bashers” exist, message board regulars will post this Confessions of a Paid Basher, allegedly written by a guilt-ridden employee of Global Calumny Funds in Stamford, CT. This confessed “paid basher” outlines how he is paid to manipulate stock message boards, and cites specific message board aliases such as Janice Shell. This article is held up as final proof of the paid basher conspiracy. But there’s just one problem…
It’s a Fake
The first version of the “Paid Basher Confession” was posted as a joke in November, 2000 to the Raging Bull message board by Steve Tracy, aka Firebird_1965. Tracy claimed to work for a boiler room operation in Stamford, Connecticut called Franklin Andrews Kramer & Edelstein. The ensuing frenzy prompted RagingBull to remove the post. However, it quickly migrated to other stock message boards and continues to wreak havoc to this day.
The original hoax is so specific, that its details now appear as referenced facts throughout message board culture. Notice how the pay structure details are noted in this “Bashers Handbook” on Stockhouse.ca. Or notice this poster’s reference to Mendacious Capital Partners. “Mendacious” is alleged to be hiring paid bashers, and is also located in Stamford, Connecticut. Look at the care that went into creating this website. But tell me, what sort of investment company would name themselves, “Mendacious”?
Why Paid Bashing Doesn’t Exist
There are only two possible profit motives of “paid bashing”: to short a stock or buy it at a cheaper price. But either explanation falls flat. Only microcap stocks are small enough to conceivably be manipulated by an online message board. But it is virtually impossible to find a broker who will allow anyone to short a stock under $5. Not only is shorting penny stocks closely regulated, but it seems obvious that brokerages would quickly go bankrupt if they allowed the practice.
As for the idea that an investment company would need to manipulate message boards to buy penny stock shares at a cheaper price, well, I find it deeply unlikely. I’ve followed these accusations on stock message boards for more than a decade, and not one ounce of proof has ever been produced. It is clear that the burden of proof is to provide evidence that such operations do exist, since there is only evidence that they do not.
ValueWiki welcomes your investigative journalism. If you can prove the existence of a paid basher/pumper company, please email me at jonathan (at) valuewiki (dot) com. I will preserve your anonymity and publish any verifiable information you can produce.