Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Policy Change at Greenlightstocks.com

My current Barron’s column, Automated Forecasts (link requires a Barron’s Online account), features a site called Greenlightstocks.com, which I found interesting with a few caveats.  When I wrote the piece, the publisher offered a 30-day trial period. 

But between Tuesday, when we fact-checked, and Saturday, when the article hit print, Greenlightstocks.com changed their free trial policy, much to my dismay.

Several readers wrote me on Saturday with emails similar to this one:

“Theresa W. Carey’s article on Greenlight Stocks’ algorithm that uses statistical and mathematical methods to forecast prices for North American stocks has an error in it.  The trial period is not 30 days, as stated in the article, but rather for 7 days for 3 stocks.  This certainly made me change my mind quickly about trying this service, as I am sure others have decided to do also. “

I sent a note to the site publisher, Gideon Vigderhous, Ph.D, who responded with this explanation:

“Hello Theresa:
I do apologize for the complaints you are getting since we changed the 30 day free-trial to 1 week.  The reason we did that is because many people used the free-trial and then tried to get an additional free-trial period using a different e-mail address.  At the time we were giving the 30 day trial, we had a different fee schedule (we were charging as much as $29.95 per month).  Since we lowered our subscription to $9.95 per month, we also lowered the time for the free trial.  Nevertheless, we will gladly give anyone who complains the 30 day free-trial.  Please direct them to us and we will gladly extend their free trial time.

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and thank you for your efforts on our behalf.

Gideon Vigderhous, Ph.D”

One of the reasons I enjoy writing for Barron’s is the short lead time before a piece hits print.  Back when I primarily wrote for monthlies with long lead times, there were often many changes between the time an article was filed and when it was finally printed.  Fielding those complaints—“Your article is way off base!  The price is $49.95, not $34.95!” and so on was annoying.  I can’t think of any other instance in the 11-plus years I’ve been writing for Barron’s when there was a change of this magnitude between the time a story was filed and when it ran. 

Sure, a month from publication, there are often changes.  But in 5 days?  When the site publisher knew I would be covering his technology?  That’s just bad marketing on the part of Greenlightstocks. 

Grr.

Posted by twcarey on 05/07 at 03:54 PM
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