Help Stock Gumshoe, Help a Good Cause

By Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe, December 6, 2011

As we do around the holidays every year, we’re running a combination membership drive/charity campaign for the next few days.

If you’ve been considering joining up with the Stock Gumshoe Irregulars, our paid membership, now is the time! If you join (or upgrade — such as from monthly to annual membership) anytime between now and December 12, we will donate at least half of your payment to charity.

Sign up for the Irregulars by clicking here… or read on for more info on what this means.

And if you’re already a member of the Irregulars (sorry, I can’t see your face from here), please accept our sincere thanks and feel free to stop reading now — we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

First, I should explain what membership in the Irregulars means. Stock Gumshoe’s two main sources of revenue are membership payments and advertising, with memberships being the single biggest revenue source, but it didn’t start out that way …

… back when I first began to share the output of the Mighty Thinkolator, before there was even a, readers spontaneously started sending in donations to keep the Thinkolator chugging along … and after the first year of publishing, I felt bad that these people were helping to support the site but they didn’t get anything special in return … other than the warm, fuzzy feeling of a kindness done.

So the Irregulars were born — and along with that warm, fuzzy feeling (which I hope remains strong to this day), the Irregulars now get a little extra: more of my blather each week, and sometimes more opinionated blather at that; access to the stock buys and sells I choose for my personal portfolio; and the ability (this is a new feature, we’re still working out the kinks) to post your own guest articles or submit questions or discussion topics.

Basically, each week you get an additional piece of commentary — Fridays are reserved for the Irregulars, so most weeks you’ll get the Friday File article, which is usually either an analysis of an investment I find interesting, updated thoughts on one of our favorite stocks, or a teaser solution that hasn’t been shared with the free site subscribers.

Once a month, instead of that regular article you get the “Idea of the Month” — my in-depth look at a stock I think is a compelling investment. (Sometimes I own these, sometimes I don’t, and often I buy them later on — these are obviously not personalized investment recommendations since I have no idea what your priorities or needs are, and I am not allowed to give personal advice, but this is how I share somewhat deeper thoughts on some of my favorite investments.)

And then whenever I buy or sell a stock, I’ll post a note in the protected Irregulars-only section of the site — usually with a fairly brief explanation of why I made that choice. I don’t post mutual fund or derivatives transactions like options trades (though of course I disclose them when they relate to stocks I write about), but I do occasionally write about my fund investments and option and warrant trading when I have something I think might be interesting to share. These aren’t the core of my portfolio by any means, just want to be clear.

I write much the same way for the Irregulars as I do in this space, but it’s for a smaller group so I’m usually a little bit freer with my opinions, and sometimes I take advantage of the smaller size of the Irregulars membership to write about smaller stocks, particularly when I’m afraid that mentioning those ideas in a larger forum would move the stock price.

And as a small bonus, you do get the full Friday articles in your email without having to click through to the site. And no, the Irregulars articles don’t have ads in them.

So what’s this special deal for charitable contributions? What do we mean by “at least half?”

Well, we have a few membership options … so it depends on you.

If you join at the Annual ($49) or Lifetime ($200) level, or upgrade to one of those levels, we will contribute half of that payment to charity.

If you join at the Monthly ($4.50) or Quarterly ($13) level, we will donate your entire first payment to charity. Heck, you can even join up and cancel right away so you never make another payment, and you’ll at least have forced us to increase our annual donation to the causes we care about — believe me, we’d like nothing better.

Well, OK, we’d like it better if you also choose to stay on as a member after your first payment … but it’s fine if you don’t want to, and it’s easy to cancel (just contact us, or cancel yourself through your PayPal or Amazon Payments account if you use one of those payment methods).

What are the charities this time around? Well, I run Stock Gumshoe as a benevolent dictatorship, so I get to decide — our local charity is the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, which is just what it sounds like, and our second charity is Hope for the Warriors, which helps disabled veterans and their families. And yes, I know there are probably charities that you would choose over those, and I hope you’ll do so when you make your own decisions about who most needs or deserves your help this year.

And of course, if you’re choosing between your favorite charity and joining the Stock Gumshoe Irregulars, please send the money to your favorite charity — nonprofits and charities around the world are struggling right now, and Stock Gumshoe is in decent shape going into the new year. But if you’ve been thinking about joining the Irregulars, now would be a great time to do so. Thanks for considering!

You can sign up for the Irregulars by clicking here.

Or if you already have a free account on the site and want to keep your same username and password, just log in and you’ll see a little “upgrade” link next to your name at the top of the page.

As soon as your payment goes through, you’ll be a member of the mighty Stock Gumshoe Irregulars, and you’ll receive the thanks of a grateful nation (or at least, the thanks of a grateful me) — and you’ll immediately see a little link that says “Irregulars” in the green bar above (the free members don’t even see the link — that’s how super-cool and exclusive this club is), which is your point of entry to all our past Irregulars commentary and the way you can start a discussion on the site if you so choose.

Thanks for your patience as we refuel Stock Gumshoe for the long voyage through 2012 — and don’t worry, we’re happy to sign up new Irregulars any time, but we’re only this pushy about it once a year … tomorrow it’s back to your regularly scheduled teaser unveilings.

P.S. If you’re already an Irregular but want to bump up to the next level to be part of our charity campaign (ie, moving from monthly to annual membership), please order your new Irregulars membership here and then contact us and let us know you’re upgrading so we can make sure your old subscription is properly canceled.