Doubling Stocks — Marl the Magical Robot

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, November 30, 2007

OK, so this is not something in which I am an expert — and it’s not the kind of stock teaser I usually like to look at, because the service has nothing to do with company fundamentals or interesting stories or profits or price/sales ratios or new products or FDA approvals or fast-growing economies or any of that stuff that actually makes sense to me.

No, this is an ad for technical analysis software — and I can almost guarantee that you’ve seen the ads, they have been marketing their system very aggressively lately, and the ads have certainly been showing up on the Google ads on this site along with nearly every other finance site I’ve visited in recent weeks. They’re also really pushing their campaign to webmasters, so I’ve been sent lots of teasers to join their affiliate program and push their service myself (I have not done so, though the ads are often on my site thanks to Google).

They even have a cutesy little robot adorning their website, and a nice backstory about a computer programmer who worked for Goldman Sachs and then later had a brilliant idea for technical analysis software.

And frankly, I’m not sure if there’s anything of value that I can share with you about this service — but I will share my opinion. I would not be writing about this at all, but I have had huge numbers of readers send me notes asking whether I like the service, or understand it, or think it’s legit or a scam, and I thought it would be easier to talk to everyone at once here. My off the cuff answers, by the way, are, “no”, “no”, and “maybe, I dunno.”

So what do I think? Keeping in mind that I have not tried the service, even the free trial.

Well, I have a fundamental distrust of all quantitative and automatic stock picking systems — even though I’m quite certain that some of them probably work, and many big investors have quant systems that clearly work well for them (though not always, especially when too many of them try to run the same system at the same time). But I am not a technical analysis guy or a quant, or a short term trader or chart watcher of any kind, and I find it very hard to take the claims of stock picking software systems like this seriously.

Quantitative stock picking runs the gamut, there are many more theories and systems than any of us could possibly understand. You get folks like Navellier, who has a system that clearly works fairly well in many markets as long as you are disciplined and stay diversified, but his relies on quantitative analysis of fundamental factors to pick growth companies for relatively long holding periods, for the most part. Much different than the stock picking robot here.

And you have hedge funds that ply inefficiencies and temporary mispricings in the market — also more or less math based, and sometimes successful — as with some famous examples like James Simon’s Renaissance Technologies, which itself has also had some bad patches when quant funds got snookered by the unpredictability of the market.

Essentially, I think anyone who invests in a black box investing formula is probably asking for trouble, but that’s just me. Not necessarily the consensus view.

But my concern about Doubling Stocks runs a little bit deeper than just a general distrust of quantitative systems like this. My main concern is that we’re talking about a system that tracks only pink sheet and OTC stocks, which are almost by definition extremely small cap stocks that often have light volume, and that can be dramatically moved by a single newsletter recommendation or any other kind of similar impulse.

If you have a few thousand investors waiting to hear your recommendations, saying that you can predict a short term move in an extremely illiquid stock like these is like walking around the dog park with a sealed bag of meat and saying you can predict when the dogs are going to jump on you … all you do is say “now”, open the bag, and you’re right.

The example they give in the video on their website is Healthsonix, HSXI.PK — it was at around 13 cents on October 30 and jumped to a bit over 26 cents on the open on October 31, if I remember the video correctly. They jump through several hoops on the video to make it clear that they’re not cheating on the dates, which is just silly — if they want to cheat, they’re dealing with a historical example so it’s abundantly easy to do so. For what it’s worth, I expect this is a genuine example of their “system” at work.

So I worry that for stocks like this, it is extremely hard to tell when a recommender is really finding chart patterns that predict a huge pop the next morning — something I really am hesitant to believe — and when it is the recommender himself who is causing the pop.

Think about it: If a recommendation service has 3,000 subscribers, and the stock is a very light trader (HSXI traded just 3,000 shares today at 13 cents, according to Yahoo Finance, though that’s way below average), it is not at all unlikely that if they recommend the stock in the evening, it’s going to at least double the next morning. There will be enough readers who want to buy and place their market orders at the open that it wouldn’t be at all surprising for the stock to shoot from 13 cents to 26 cents almost immediately on the market opening, as this one did.

But … it strikes me that you’d better be nimble and get out before the Doubling Stocks enthusiasts move on, because there’s not a big natural market of folks who are otherwise interested in taking shares of these stocks of your hands. Even if today’s 3,000 share trade is an anomaly, the 3 month average of HSXI is 188,000 shares, which means only about $24,000 worth of the shares change hands on an average day. Any service with any number of subscribers could scare up a lot more than that amount of money flow any day of the week if they wanted to.

I imagine that these Doubling Stocks guys must also tell you when to get out, and fairly quickly — the shares held a gain for a week or two, but HSXI.PK today is right back where it was before “Marl” got on the case on October 30, just about 13 cents. The party has moved on.

I know nothing about how they pick stocks, and I haven’t scoured their list of past recommendations and successes that they claim in their ads. I simply know that this kind of thing — using technical analysis techniques for very short term trades on microcap, easily manipulated stocks — is absolutely something I’m not interested in. I’m not saying they manipulate these stocks, or that they intend to use their subscribers to manipulate them, I’m just saying these kinds of low volume, unlisted investments are extremely vulnerable to price movements that have nothing to do with either technical or fundamental analysis as most investors understand those terms. If I’m going to bet on something I don’t understand, I’ll go to Vegas — at least they’ll ply me with free drinks.

And not to put too fine a point on it, but if the system was this good and accurate a predictor of stock movements, why $50? Why the guaranteed money-back trial? Could it be that the system works best when lots and lots of people cycle through the program and buy these stocks on Marl’s recommendation? Or is that too cynical? I’m just wondering …

So there you have it — I’m not a math expert and I haven’t seen the program behind their special stock picking robot, “Marl” … I can’t tell you if their quantitative system holds water, or whether or not they have your best interests at heart. I can just tell you I don’t trust it, personally, and their claims and the market they choose to operate in make me suspicious. And if you read the disclaimer and note that they are paid by many of the companies they “choose,” I hope you’ll be even more suspicious.

Oh, and the “there are only 14 slots left for this service before we have to close it down” bit? That may well be a bald-faced lie, but it’s one that almost all newsletter providers trot out from time to time, and I have yet to hear about someone trying to sign up for an advisory service or a newsletter who was told, “Sorry, we’re full, your money’s no good here.” If you have had this experience, please let me know — I’d love to hear that someone is honest about this little trick that they appear to use to spur you to sign up, quick, before you let your logical brain have a moment with what you’re being sold.

And if anyone has tried this “doubling stocks” service, I’d be very interested to hear what you think. It’s quite possible that I’m way off base.

So … sorry for the side trip down an odd alley. Back to sleuthing out interesting (or not) teaser stocks next time. Have a great weekend, everyone!

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43 Comments on "Doubling Stocks — Marl the Magical Robot"

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OReally
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OReally
November 30, 2007 4:00 am
Some how I ended up on their mailing list without paying. I think they neglected to remove me from the free trial. Every week or so they send a recommendation which “will go through the roof tomorrow”. As you note it usually does, however, it often gaps open and then falls like a stone. Of the 16 recommendations that I have tracked it would have been possible to make money on two, but only if you also got out fairly quickly, say within an hour or so. They do not specify entry or exit points, just “buy right away, it… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
November 30, 2007 3:40 pm

Sounds like you could short into the strength a bit after the open and cover later in the day or the following day. How quickly do the recommendations pull back?

Bilboa
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Bilboa
November 30, 2007 4:31 pm

To Anonymous, I am not sure you can short the pinks; check with your broker. I used the free trial and track the recommends. One of them made just enough to cover about a third of the losses from the others. It doesn’t jive with their 80% accuracy claim IMHO.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
November 30, 2007 5:13 pm

The ad for the robot system has been appearing on the Gumshoe page for several days now. Marl seems to be one of the most popular affiliate marketing sites on Clickbank just now …

Jesef
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Jesef
November 30, 2007 5:16 pm
I think it is a pump and dump scam. I subscribed and watched “Michael’s” (if that is his real name) picks using “MARL” (aka the stock robot) for several weeks. I noticed several fishy things. One was that there always seemed to be an outlier large volume purchase of shares within about 1-2 week’s time before his announcements, which he always published after market close. He must have a pretty hefty subscriber base because the opening price the next day always jumped significantly higher than the previous close (like $0.10 on a $0.50 stock). I think he picks up a… Read more »
--ryan
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--ryan
November 30, 2007 5:26 pm

I actually, just out of curiosity and boredom, plan to sign up for their free service and paper trade it for a few weeks. I will post my findings as soon as I have some.

StockGumShoe, thanks for posting your thoughts on this. This is one of the most entertaining sites on the web.
–ryan

Anonymous
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Anonymous
November 30, 2007 6:25 pm

Since we are on this subject, has anyone tried any “stock picking” service that are worth the fees (Like Vector Vest)?

race
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race
November 30, 2007 6:51 pm

doubling stocks is a scam. I joined and they sent me two recs and then stopped sending. they have not responded to my email to get my $$ back, and there was a guarantee.

madmo
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madmo
November 30, 2007 9:34 pm

this site is excellent. i love it.
this helps to eliminate so much “noise” from the investing system.
in my opinion DOUBLINGSTOCKS is a
classic PUMP and DUMP. they release the newsletters 1 hour after market hours when “someone” has bought huge and then advise everyone to buy the next morning. then “someone” sells/shorts and robs every newsletter investor.
this is usually an excellent stock to short 1-2 hours the next morning
after the newsletter release. BUSTED! currently being investigated by the SEC.

Stan
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Stan
December 1, 2007 12:47 am

re: Vector Vest–
I signed up about a year ago.. I think this is a great service, BUT there is simply way too much info there (ie.. how many ways are there to pick a stock). They had way to much info for me. I simply don’t have the time… so I ended up cancelling… However, I feel it is a great site for those who have the time to use it properly.. and you can get a 5 wk trial for $9.95… One year is about $500.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
December 1, 2007 12:59 am
I had to join. The reason is I too believe in fundamental and technical analysis. I have traded this way for some time and I am convinced. I dont have the ability yet to scan enough stocks to select the right targets unless I can find software. On last sundays pick, the stock had excellent fundamentals and traded technically that confirmed the trend(an observable pattern,three points of contact on a straight line}. Trend confirmation on a high volume stock typically results in a pop.Yes, that many people trade technically,and I am one.The selloff that occured after the pop was profit… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
December 1, 2007 5:04 pm
Let me give an example of technical analysis.Two parameters i use are bollanger bands and macd{moving average convergence divergence}.Look at the charts on wwat and wgpwf.Notice on a one year chart,the stocks are trading on an uptrend at about a 45 degree angle. Both stocks are increasing in value in an orderly fashion.The chart tells you that buyers are willing to pay more for the stock because of perceived fair market value. With bollanger bands, they measure the traded price in realtion to the moving averages.When the stock price touches the top band or exceeds it, the price is at… Read more »
One Guy
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One Guy
December 1, 2007 10:32 pm
Thanks for the comments, everyone — I don’t believe that technical analysis or quantitative systems are all BS, I’m just more skeptical of them, especially “black box” systems in which people claim to have a miraculous system. And personally, I’d much rather invest in compamies than trade ticker symbols — doesn’t mean that things I don’t like are wrong or BS. That’s completely aside from the main concern with the Doubling Stocks system in particular, which is that they’re dealing with low volume penny stocks that I believe will almost always react much more to the sudden buys from a… Read more »
petehanse
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petehanse
December 2, 2007 12:29 am
MARL and Doubling Stocks is bascially a pump and dump stock scam run buy a slick promoter. I tried to recover my my subscription fee , but I was forced to file a comlaint with my credit card company to recover my money. Hopefully I am successful. I would not recommend anyone waste money on this Hoax. The best service I have used and one which I am currently a subscriber of is http://www.intelligentvalue.com run by an HONEST man …..Mr Christopher Michaels. Fee is $295 / yr and worth every penny . I AM making money with his Fibonacci-Value Portfolio.… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
December 2, 2007 1:04 am
While I understand your concerns about doubling stocks,Iwont speculate on the predicted price movemnt unless I had evidence. This depends upon whether you have a long term investor mentality or try to understand day trade techniques. The big boys{including arbitragers and hedge funds}use technical analysis in similiar fashion to my description. Successful traders cannot operate on long term concepts. Forex{banks}and commodity traders swear by technical analysis and would lose their shirts without it. My understanding of marl is it uses a variety of technical factors including volume,trend. channel,and fundamental analysis to scan and predict future price movement. SOFTWARE OF SIMILIAR… Read more »
Joe
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Joe
December 3, 2007 4:50 am

This program is online marketer’s scam. Any time you have a penny stock that is alerted to a large subscriber base, you will have a “pump and dump” situation. Only the quick trigger finger can make any money, while most lose money buying at the top during the hyped runup. Check out this article:
http://www.oneworldincome.com/2007/12/02/stock-trading-%E2%80%9Crobot%E2%80%9D-an-online-marketer%E2%80%99s-scam-exposed/

Anonymous
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Anonymous
December 4, 2007 7:36 pm
I tried it. Guess what? “MARL” scans the stock database and comes up with a magic stock that will double. Scrolling back up the list of stocks he scans, the selected stock is NOT in the scanned list! Where does this stock come from? Approximately 25 megabytes of download and you get NOTHING – just a simple scrolling list of “scanning stocks” when a search is initiated, and then the magic stock is pulled out of thin air. This is the biggest load of BS I’ve ever been duped into believing. I want my money back! Oh, and the newsletter?… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
December 18, 2007 3:14 pm

I downloaded marl (which can be done free at: http://www.doublingstocks.com/downloadmarl.zip ), and decompiled it. It does *absolutely* NO analysis whatsoever. None. Nada. Zero. It looks up one stock in there database, which is predetermined.

Make no mistake — it’s a pump & dump game. However, someone mentioned shorting the pick — interesting idea.

/Olias Sunhillow

StockGumshoe
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StockGumshoe
December 18, 2007 3:25 pm
Very interesting — thanks for that. And just FYI, though I do not make any effort to screen all Google advertisers whose ads end up on this site for product quality or anything else, I had enough complaints about this company that I finally did figure out how to block DoublingStocks.com from advertising here through Google, and I’ve done so. I think the block works, but you may well still see similar ads because this “service” is also resold through hundreds of affiliates that I can’t track. (Just FYI for those who do not run websites, the individual Google ads… Read more »
François
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François
January 9, 2008 10:44 pm
I have not tried their “service” and I’m not going to, because it’s obviously a scam. First of all, stylistically speaking, the text itself has all the characteristics of a bait. Second, the technical mumbo-jumbo makes no sense at all. For example: “Marl can process 1,986,832 mathematical calculations per second”. Marl is (or would be if it really existed) software. Software cannot have a fixed speed of execution, because this depends on the hardware it’s running on. A real computer scientist or programmer would NEVER write something like that. The picture of the laptops running 24/7 tells me the same… Read more »
Renauld
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Renauld
February 12, 2008 1:02 am
Thanks Gumshoe…where have you been all my days?? Just joined recently and have nothing but praise for your expose’ All that you wrote here about Marl is true and as a skeptic felt it was worth the $47, money back guarantee to find out! and it is a scam…to date I have received but 1 of their picks, from the pink sheets with a specific time and date to put in an order… It climbed from .0005 to .0045 the same day..next day at 9:30 AM it tanked to .0006..Been there ever sense…how do you like them Apples? I did… Read more »
Stalt
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Stalt
February 18, 2008 1:52 pm

Doubling Stocks is a “pump & dump” scheme.
I subscribed to see what “Marl” had to say. I haven’t bought any of the recommended stocks.
It appears that if you buy within minutes of the recommendation and sell in an hour or so after the stock is pumped and before everyone else dumps, it may be possible to make a few bucks.
The guarantee does not work either.. Kiss your $47.00 goodbye!

Thanks Gumshoe for a great website!

Richard E. Lowman
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Richard E. Lowman
April 4, 2008 1:04 pm

Thanks Gunshoe for these referances which answers my questions about this scam. I will try if posible to get my 47.00 back thru ClickBank.
Thanks again.
Richard

sleaterj
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sleaterj
April 8, 2008 6:21 pm
Well, I did a bit of exploring within the Marl application. I used a .NET decompiler to generate the original source code and started looking through that. Not promising. To be fair, I’m not a .NET programmer (I’m a Java developer), so I may be missing something — not likely, though. However, I could find no place in the code that actually did any analysis of the stocks. Secondly, I used a database query tool to inspect their on-line MySQL database. It contained two tables. One was just a long list of stock symbols — nothing more. The contents of… Read more »
jon
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jon
April 10, 2008 12:56 pm
I’ve had some mixed experience with the usually unreachable folks that front the marl program. It does seem like you can make some quick money in the first 45 minutes of the trading day if things happen in your favor, but I have seen just as many trade flat or turn south shortly after leaving the gate, so I have pretty much given up on it. Then I start getting the e-mails 1 or even 2 day’s late. Do you think a genius programer would think to print the date of submission somewhere inside the text, even just once? Zero… Read more »
jon
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jon
April 10, 2008 7:24 pm
O.K., so I’m a fool Gumshoe. I don’t read the fine print on anything. Doubling Stocks states that it should not be construed as an independant party and that they except compensation in the amount of $125,000 from a third party or from the company itself to promote said company for the time span of one week. So I don’t think Michael is a genius programer but he is definately playing with a full deck,one that he has stacked for himself. I’ve lost a lot more than I have made on his game so I think I am finally done.… Read more »
GRgirl
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GRgirl
May 7, 2008 10:38 am
I too got sucked into the allure of lots of quick cash and went to the Better Business Bureau site to check them out. It looks like they just recently listed with the BBB (April 25, 2008 I think?), but there was no record of any complaints there listed under “Doubling Stocks” out of Miami. However, the email I got from “Michael” listed the company as “Global Marketing Corporation” out of Seattle, and this company DOES have a list of unresolved complaints. Anyone know which it is? Maybe if all of us who have failed at getting a refund (I… Read more »
BalletNinja
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BalletNinja
August 10, 2008 9:19 pm

It is impossible for a stock newsletter to give accurate daytrading advice on pink sheets.
It is just not possible. They will almost always gap and then correct just as fast. I would like to find a newsletter that is focused more on company research that is not a “pump and dump.”

Jonny Ray
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October 29, 2008 9:37 pm

THANK YOU, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you StockGumShoe and everyone for this information! I had my finger on the buy button for this product and decided to read one more review. Thank god I found this honest review by real people. It makes sense now how this scam works.

arg
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arg
December 17, 2008 1:00 pm

Wow I almost fell for this. These hard times makes us more likely to fall for scams like these. Just like the guy above I searched on google for one last review of “marl” and boy am I glad I came here.

Thanks Gumshoe

Rocker
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Rocker
December 26, 2008 11:48 am

Thanks for posting this. Reading about Marl, I knew it was a scam. But, I’m greedy enough to want to try it just in case. You explained two simple things that shut the book on this thing. One: very low volume stocks can be moved by newsletter subscribers. Two: the low price of the newsletter (compared to any legit stock newsletter) helps to perpetuate the price jumps.

RecordOnlineGuide
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RecordOnlineGuide
December 28, 2008 12:25 am
SnoopyJC
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January 1, 2009 3:53 am

Looks like our friends at Marl have done it again! Not sure how this one works, but I bet it’s similar!

Can somebody please check it out?

http://www.stockassault.com/

Thanks!

–joe

anthony hutchings
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February 19, 2009 2:51 am

im happy i stumbled upon this website as i was ready to give my hard earned money to doubling stocks or daytrading robot,which i feel are one and the same.Can anyone email me how to squeeze more juice out of the lemon.i only have $1000 at the most to work with.i want short term investing techniques.Thanks to all.

kbl
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kbl
March 13, 2009 4:30 pm
Folks, this is a total scam. Buried in each announcement, as *words inside a detailed image* (rather than numbers that might stand out or be searchable) is a careful statement of how much they are being PAID BY THE COMPANY to feature the stock. It usually ranges from $25K to more than $200K. The “picks” have nothing to do with a stock-picking “robot.” And if you track the price changes and volumes you’ll find out that the most *TOTAL* folks could make in profit after the open is usually a few hundred dollars, and then only if they sold in… Read more »
shawn
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shawn
May 9, 2009 1:22 pm

just stick to real companies and wait it out with the market this upside down buy and hold is not dead it is resurecting and like warren buffet stick to your guns and you will make money and sleep a lot better to

John
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John
May 15, 2009 3:37 pm

Does anyone happen to know what stock Michael is going to announce on Monday May 18th? He said if it doesn’t triple in price, he would retire as a stock picker, blah, blah. I would greatly appreciate it if someone would disclose it here so we can beat him at his own game perhaps. Thanks!

Carl
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Carl
May 18, 2009 4:37 pm

The stock that they pumped up today was UOMO. Its a penny stock. Here is the interesting thing, this is the 3rd time they have recommended this stock in the past 12 months. Over the last 12 months, they have recommended only 4 stocks. So obviously the ability to manipulate the market to their benefit is working with UOMO. This is stock manipulation of very small, thinly traded stocks. This has nothing to do with fundamental stock analysis. I wonder how the SEC views this type of activity?

John Klem
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John Klem
May 19, 2009 1:32 pm
Michael Cohen does not have a “robot”! He is a pump and dump scam. For six months or so, there was no pick. I kept getting e-mails saying the big one was coming. Why does a “robot” require six months to find a pick? Anyone out there who has an extra $47 to $200 to spend, send it to me and I will send you a pick every month or week or day depending on how much $$$$ you send me. I can guaruntee two things: 1. I will spend any money you send my way, 2. I will enjoy… Read more »
Peaceful Warrior
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Peaceful Warrior
October 21, 2009 8:37 pm
Hi guys, I was wondering if anybody knows what will Michael’s next move on October 29th will be. Feel free to guess if you like. Here’s his last message: It’s been almost 5 months now since my last stock pick, and… Subscribers are starting to get itchy. (I’m receiving roughly 300 emails every day… about the new pick!) Remember before my last pick (back in May) the hype was HUGE… Traders on message boards, blog posts, twitter posts, youtube video’s… Hundreds of thousands of investors were waiting in suspense of the new pick. And this time… The hype is even… Read more »
Gravity Switch
Admin
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March 13, 2009 4:35 pm
Love it! The same folks have a new “day trading robot” campaign going now, by the way, pretty much the same deal — “faux” testimonials and “apocryphal” people behind it. I wasn’t as strong in my wording with this piece that was written a couple years ago (back when I first saw a DoublingStocks ad, don’t know if they existed before that) as I would have been in writing it today, but these things — whether “doubling stocks” or “promo stock picks” or “day trading robot” are all the same, taking advantage of a bit of greed to play both… Read more »
caren pereira
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caren pereira
May 9, 2009 4:16 pm

17 mos. after this post, are you still happy with, and experiencing the same, results using Christopher Michaels’ Intelligent Value picks?
By what % was his portfolio down during the ’08 market plunge? Have you created/compared a second portfolio to accurately judge Michaels’ ongoing success?
I’m looking for a new service and would appreciate your feedback!

Gravity Switch
Admin
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May 19, 2009 1:41 pm
Well put, John — don’t know for sure if Michael Cohen (which is a made up name) runs a “pump and dump” operation, but definitely a paid “pump.” I expect the long wait between “picks” is in part from waiting to get a company that will pay for his services to promote a new stock. Then again, as Carl points out, they recycle the picks too — don’t know if that’s because they’re too lazy to find new stocks to manipulate, or if it’s that the same companies keep hiring “Michael Cohen.” I would have worded my criticisms of Doubling… Read more »
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