What’s up with PromoStockPicks.com?

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, April 14, 2008

I’ve had a few folks ask me about a service called PromoStockPicks.com, probably because folks have recently noticed their ads appearing on this site. For what it’s worth, I don’t have a lot of control over the advertisers who end up being sent to my site by Google, but I do have the ability to block individual advertisers to some degree.

The only ads I’ve blocked in the past have been from DoublingStocks and their ridiculous Marl the robot “computer stock picker”, because it became clear that this was just a promo scheme. But after taking a further look at PromoStockPicks, I might have to go ahead and block them, too.

So … what does Promo Stock Picks promise?

To give them credit, they are more upfront about their sleaziness than most of these kinds of services are. They essentially tell you that they are stock promoters, and that for a subscription fee they will give you access to the names they’re going to promote before the promotion begins, giving you a chance to ride on any returns that their promotional barrage generates.

Even if you thought that would work, I’d really hope that you wouldn’t be interested. There are plenty of ways to make money trading stocks or investing that aren’t that ethically questionable. Even if it did work, which I can’t imagine it does.

So essentially, this at its heart is very similar to the DoublingStocks scheme. DoublingStocks tells you that if you subscribe, they’ll use their special formulas to find the best microcap penny stocks for you, and you can profit off those stocks in quick trades. Clearly, any movement in those stocks is almost always a result of the fact that DoublingStocks is sending the names out to hundreds of thousands of people, some of whom will fall for it and buy the shares.

PromoStockPicks does the same thing, more or less, but it tells you that’s what it’s doing … and they tell you that you’re the first to know about these stocks. One might hesitate to believe that, if one were me.

But even if I did believe it, I’m not interested in profiting from someone else’s stock promo or pump and dump scheme.

And just to raise some more questions for you, here are a few things from the disclaimers (always, always read the disclaimers on these services — the vast majority of newsletters and trading services are legit (not necessarily worth your money, but not intentionally cheating you), but it’s worth seeing what they disclose. If they want to be large and advertise heavily, as many scammers must to make money, they will disclose all their conflicts of interest to avoid lawsuits and SEC attention). We noted that with Purple Beverage and their paid ads that look like newsletter recommendations, and Doubling Stocks also discloses that they get a fee from many, if not all, of the companies they cover.

PromoStockPicks is no different. And where DoublingStocks made up a robot, PromoStockPicks made up a person. They disclose in the disclaimer that Jason Fuller is “apocryphal” — I assume they intended this to be the common usage as a synonym of “fictitious,” but I prefer to think that they were using the more direct definition of apocryphal to mean “spurious.” Which “he” certainly seems to be.

The testimonials might also capture your attention in the PromoStockPicks ads — as they do in most newsletter ads, we all want to hear about other people who have already gotten rich following these ideas. Unfortunately for us, they also disclose in the disclaimer that these are “faux testimonials.” Certainly they could have come up with a more obfuscating term for “fake,” but perhaps they were just lazy.

So … a business that, even if it worked as described, would be ethically very questionable, headlined by a spurious and fictitious person, promoted using fake testimonials. You can make your own decisions on that one, but I’ll try to block their ads from appearing in this space. Please don’t take this to mean that I review every advertiser — I don’t and I cannot. But I can, at least, occasionally try to pick out the ones that are clearly shams when they come to my attention.

(Just as an aside — the only blocking I can do is by URL, so they will probably be back under a different name and URL, just as DoublingStocks pops up on occasion. Both of these services pay affiliate marketers very well to push their message, so lots of people are trying to simultaneously market these to you from different sites.)

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April 14, 2008 11:41 am

Even more amusing to me is that I once visited their site and they captured my e-mail address. Soon I received an e-mail thanking me for signing up (under a fictitious credit card number). Since then I have received their e-mails. Not acting on them, but tracking them is pretty enlightening. Last pick, NOVO, saw a volume jump from 37K to 1.3M, corresponding price jump, then declined to normal. Then the next “I’m disappointed” e-mail from “Jason”, and “just wait ’til next time”. Humorous to watch, although likely tragic to those drawn into their scheme.

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April 14, 2008 12:17 pm