Yahoo Finance Message Boards: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Yahoo Finance Message Boards: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Do you read Yahoo Finance Message Boards? There are a number of websites I visit every few days as part of my pre-work routine. I grab my cup of coffee and peruse Weather.com, Linked In, Boston.com and Yahoo Finance. In particular I enjoy reading the Yahoo Finance Message Boards for the company I currently work for and the company that I used to work for.
The Yahoo Finance Message boards often have some very interesting, funny, sometimes fascinating and occasionally disturbing messages posted. Read on for more info...
What is Yahoo Finance?
Yahoo Finance is a web portal within the Yahoo main site that provides visitors with free, up to the minute, international and local Financial and Market information. Yahoo Finance also provides access to Company specific information, including both public and private businesses.At the company level, Yahoo Finance is most commonly used to check stock prices, financial statistics and to read analyst opinions. It also provides competitive & industry analysis, access to company news and press releases and a view into insider transactions. AND the very popular Yahoo company message boards.Anyone with a Yahoo account, who is logged into the website with their user name and password, can post messages to a Yahoo Finance Message board. Investors and financial analysts post many of these messages while company employees post others. The only information you can see about the individual poster is their user name. Most Yahoo Finance posters don’t use their real name, instead opting for something anonymous and fun like “BizInBuffalo” or “LeftStaples”. You can also see the time and date the message was posted.
Why Read the Yahoo Finance Message Boards?
The Yahoo Finance Message boards often have very interesting, funny, sometimes fascinating and occasionally disturbing messages posted. For example, there are some messages that make hints or statements about the company being bought out or taken over by a competitor. Other Yahoo messages share supposed insider information about what other businesses that company plans to acquire and the timing. There are many comments about the stock price going up or down and why. And, often there are comments (usually negative) about specific company executives or company events.
Also, if you are considering changing jobs, visit Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Message Boards to learn more about your company first, before you make a change.
Controlling What’s On Yahoo Finance Message Boards
When you work for a publicly traded company, the public relations team and the legal team closely monitor and attempt to control what information is published about the company they support. Makes sense.. part of their roles.
There are several areas that they can’t control which include social networking, blogs and message board commentary. Since Yahoo.com is one of the most visited websites in the entire world, many disgruntled investors and unhappy employees like to use the Yahoo Finance Message Boards. Specifically, they use the boards to vent, share their opinions and at times, reveal confidential insider information.
I have observed that sometimes the information posted on the Yahoo site can actually boost the stock price, for example- rumors or statements about company acquisitions or buy outs. There are other Message Board postings, usually negative commentary about executives, which likely drive the stock price downwards.
There are several companies who have attempted to control the Yahoo boards by removing messages, posting rebuttals and even suing the Yahoo users who made the defamatory comments. This brings up a host of issues to consider: free speech, manipulating stock market results and consumer privacy.
Wholefoods CEO Blasts Competitor over Posts Made on Yahoo Finance Message Boards
The Bad and The Ugly- Lawsuits Over Yahoo Message Board Posts
Over the past several years, there have been many lawsuits in the news that involve Yahoo or posters on the Yahoo Message Boards. Here is a small sampling of these news stories:
ITEX & Yahoo: In 1998, a U.S. based, publicly traded Internet company, ITEX, sued a number of users of the Yahoo Finance message board for allegedly posting “inaccurate and defamatory statements” about them. Per Courtney Macavinta, a Staff Writer for CNET news, one Yahoo visitor called the company's management "blind, stupid, and incompetent." Another post questioned ITEX's financial backing, and one floated the rumor that "senior executives may be party to a wrongful termination lawsuit."
Dollar General & Yahoo: In 2004, Dollar General Corp. was involved in a seven-month lawsuit against an individual who called himself “dolgeniv”. This Yahoo message board user, whose true identity is still unknown, posted comments on seven different dates. He shared insider and confidential information that Dollar General’s sales were falling below company estimates and that the retailer planned to invoke some deep discounting to rebound.
After the suit was filed, there were no new Yahoo messages posted by “dolgeniv” and ultimately Dollar General decided to drop the case. Dollar General has not had good luck with Yahoo Message Boards, as back in 2002, they experienced similar challenges with a different Yahoo user, “mslefxr”. Read more here.
Attorney & Yahoo: In 2004, Stephen Galton, a corporate lawyer based in LA, sued Yahoo, stating that the online portal did not help him stop personal attacks against him on its Yahoo Message Boards. The issues began after Galton created his own message board post, in defense of one of his clients. This resulted in a slew of reply postings that called Galton an "overly robust geezer that makes a living walking behind the elephant with a shovel” and a “shyster”.
2006, Consumer Case: The issues over free speech and message board issues extend beyond the business community. USA Today reported in October 2006, that a Florida women, Sue Scheff, was awarded $11.3 million in a defamation lawsuit against a Louisiana women, Carey Bock, who posted negative messages on the Internet. This disagreement stemmed from online message board commentary tied to their children, boarding schools and how to handle some behavioral problems. Scheff stated that Bock accused her of being a "crook," a "con artist" and a "fraud." Read more here.
What Does Yahoo Have to Say?
When you visit one of the Yahoo Finance Message Boards, the following note from Yahoo is posted: “Do not assume you are anonymous when posting to Yahoo! Message Boards…..Messages that harass, abuse or threaten other members; have obscene or otherwise objectionable content; have spam, commercial or advertising content or links; are off-topic or otherwise are posted to disrupt the use of the message boards may be removed and may result in the loss of your Yahoo! ID.”
Yahoo takes a passive, pre-warn approach and expects its users to follow their terms of service.