Anybody can write for Seeking Alpha, and I really mean anyone. You don’t have to use your real name or give any background. Heck, you don’t even have to have any financial background. You can be a ditch digger by day and an expert stock analyst writer by night. Seeking Alpha is a free for all of investing advice. opinion, and “knowledge” that you should view with extreme caution.
Many of the authors on the financial blogging site are college students trying to make an extra buck. What do they know that you should listen to when researching a stock? Probably not much. And yet given the platform the Internet provides, they are able to come across as authorities – unless you are aware that they aren’t and that is why I am writing this warning.
Seeking Alpha pays writers 1 cent per click and sometimes more which provides the incentive for articles to be written with catchy and sometimes controversial titles. Never mind whether they are accurate (most are heavy on opinions anyway), the idea is to get people clicking and reading so that the authors can get paid more.
Every author is supposed to give a short blurb about their investing style and the stocks they are long or short. This would supposedly give the reader some useful background but the problem is, none of it is checked or verified. Anything and everything you read on Seeking Alpha can be made up!
The more time you spend on the site, the clearer it is that some authors have an agenda. In other words, they want to bad mouth a stock every chance they get or pump one up. Every article by this type of writer is for or against a certain stock, over and over again. That is easily evident to someone who reads the site regularly but for an investor who doesn’t, they might be fooled into thinking the author is objective. That is the problem.
To keep track of your stocks (or prospective stock picks) you should be reading up on each companies news. You need know about new developments when they happen and you should be aware of anything that might change your opinion of a stock. In other words, you need to be informed and stay informed as much as possible.
There are lots of reputable sources out there (Forbes, CNBC, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg) but I would not classify Seeking Alpha as one of them. While the site can provide some useful information and analysis, you really must be aware that the source it is coming from may not be the best.