I think one of the most neglected tools in investing is newsgroup. Why? Some people may believe that there are more gossips than useful news. However, this is not always the case. Newsgroup is an online group of people who intend to share their common interest and opinions on the internet. You can post all sorts of questions, crazy ideas, rebuttals, theories, rumours, and others that are related to a particular topic and let the others to respond to your posting or questions. Let’s say if you have a question about a recent stock movement of Apple’s shares, you may find dozens of second opinions on whether this is a good time to get into the market or throw off what you have in hands.
I know that many people love to join big established investment databases or to subscribe to investment newsletters such as the Wall Street Journal and the Investor’s Business Daily. However, those services are paid (ranging from $20 to $30 per month). Given the fact that most newsgroups are free to join, I think newsgroup can be a valuable supplement to the main dish. Investors in newsgroup may come from all over the world. Indeed, this is a huge community containing a rich amount of info and opinions. I do not deny that the quality of information can range from zero to ten. This is because some of them are investor geeks, whereas some of them are just average Joes. Please bear in mind that most of the newsgroups are free to join. You don’t need to pay a single dime!
I think the most significant factor why an investor should join an investment newsgroup is to get some info that you may have overlooked. For example, you may get a piece of info about insider trading from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but you may not know how to interpret what the implication is upon a particular stock, not to mention how much data you have to sort through the SEC database. At times, you may just throw a question or a comment to a newsgroup about what you have found from the SEC, and you may get a lot of surprises from what other investors say.
Next, where to you find some of the best newsgroups for your investment info? I will give a brief review of some of the most common newsgroups as below:-
Google Groups (Beta)
This is another good place you can pop in to hear some good voices. Since this is a beta program of Google product, the numbers of newsgroups are much lesser than those of Yahoo. There are about 970 newsgroups about investing at the time of this writing. However, I find that the way Google categorizes the investing groups are unsatisfactory. This is because at times you may find some unrelated groups within the broad topic, investment. Again, this is a free service. No fees. No cost. Nada.
At the time of this writing, there are 17,400 groups specifically about investment ranging from currency, futures, options, short selling, retirement planning, day trading, mutual fund, IPO, online investing, stock pick to value investing. You can create your own group as well. The best thing is that the registration is free!. After signing in, you may locate a specific group to join. On the front page of Yahoo! Groups, you can browse the Groups directory or search for a group by topic. Then click on the “Join This Group” button on front page of any group. That’s simple!
This is one of the top paid services that provides a number of cool features in newsgroup service. They claim themselves as having the world’s longest newsgroup binary retention of 70 days and text retention of 1020 days. Of course, for a paid service they provide 24/7 email support on all accounts. At times good retention does not mean that you will not lose an article or message. However, in terms of speed and completion, they claim that they can offer more than 99% completion in terms of avoiding missing articles. You have to bear in mind that uploads are unlimited but downloads are limited to the package you choose. In terms of pricing, they offer different options ranging from $7.99 for 2GB downloads per month to $24.99 for unlimited downloads.