The ad we’re looking at today came in from the Oxford Club, and at first it didn’t catch my eye because I assumed it was yet another re-marketing of their old “Hyper Fi” idea from last year… but, it turns out, today they’re hinting at something different.
Which is probably good, since that old Hyper-Fi stock agreed to be acquired last month — that stock was Ruckus Wireless (RKUS), and it is in the process of being acquired, pending all the usual approvals, etc., by Brocade (BRCD). That will mean a net gain for most RKUS shareholders who bought during the year or so that the Oxford Club was teasing the stock, but not a big one (the stock was around $10 when first teased, bounced around between $10 and $12 most of the year before dipping early this year in the market weakness, and the takeover is valuing the shares at about $12.50 now (it’s mostly a stock deal, and Brocade has been going down lately).
So what’s the new pitch? It’s not for making WiFi better, which was the spiel for RKUS… it’s for making wireless internet access free.
Here’s the intro:
“Starting July 17, 2016, a stunning technology breakthrough will change everything
“Wireless Internet access for Everyone… at No Cost….
“One small Silicon Valley company holds over 550 patents on the technology behind this $7 trillion “Free-Fi” revoution…
“We estimate its $45 stock could soar an extraordinary 846% starting just weeks from now…”
And, of course, we’re seasoned consumers of these kinds of marketing pitches — so we know that “soar an extraordinary 846% starting just weeks from now” is pretty much the same as saying “we think it will go up.” Don’t mistake the marketing driven deadline (July 17, 2016 in this case) for a real, guaranteed catalyst that will cause the stock to rise so dramatically. The reason to use a date in marketing messages like this is not to prove that they’re brilliant about predicting the future, but to get you to act now and subscribe now. The ad copywriters know that if you set the ad aside to think about it for a while, you’re much less likely to subscribe — they need a fairly near date that they can use, hopefully with at least a mostly straight face, as a key reason to buy the stock right this minute.
I don’t know if that date will end up being really important or not, but we can at least take away some of that urgency for you by reading the clues and identifying the stock… then you can take your time, think about it as deeply as you wish, and make your own decision (and, of course, you can decide to subscribe to the Oxford Club if you like — but you’ll probably have a better experience with any newsletter if you judge it on its merits and go in with an open mind instead of starting out with an ad-driven fire in your belly that gives you a blood lust for this presumably miraculous stock and the promise that 800% gains are coming your way).
So what else are we told about this stock?
First, we get the fairy tale:
“A stunning technical breakthrough is about to make wireless internet access available to every person in America…
“At ZERO cost.
“More than 150 million consumers can look forward to tearing up their hundred-dollar-a-month internet bills…
“And never paying them again.
“Thanks to this breakthrough, one small Silicon Valley company with over 550 key patents is going to become very, very rich…”
No, we’re not all going to be tearing up our broadband bills anytime soon. Sorry.
But yes, there is more and more free wi-fi available, and certainly the mobile internet and the “internet of things” are changing the way we access and gather data, so perhaps we’ll keep inching closer to that dream.
The urgency is created by the July 17, 2016 meeting of the IETF, which is the Internet Engineering Task Force — the Oxford Club folks indicate that this company’s “advanced technical details” will be reviewed at that meeting.
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So what is it that our secret little company has invented? Here’s more from the ad:
“Key technology needed to bring Free-Fi to everyone everywhere is controlled by one small Silicon Valley company with over 550 patents.
“You see, it’s perfected an entirely new class of microscopic devices.
“These amazing Free-Fi microchips can act as internet access points virtually anywhere on Earth…
“And could soon eliminate the need for cable lines, in-home routers and thousands of cellular towers.
“This company’s tiny Free-Fi devices can be placed on highway signs and side-street poles… in national parks, stadiums and big city buildings…
“And they’ll send and receive wireless signals for more than 10 years – with NO external wires and NO external power needed.”
And though they do push that “free high speed access everywhere” idea in the ad, they do also back-pedal a little bit:
“When we talk about Free-Fi, do we mean the whole planet will suddenly have no-cost wireless access tomorrow?
“Of course not.
“I don’t believe that, and I wouldn’t expect you to either.
“But here’s what you can be sure of…
“In 2016, the world is going mobile at lightning speed….
“We can’t say for sure that Free-Fi is coming overnight.
“But we know it’s coming fast…
“And its impact cannot be overstated.”
What else do we get by way of hints about the specific company they’re