Is the "Bashing" of a stock an essential part of the online investment landscape?
Our Constitution guarantees us free speech and we have always valued the lessons gleaned from dissent. When does dissent cross over that imaginary line and become "Bashing"? To often we find well grounded dissent capriciously labeled as "Bashing" by over zealous investors bent on protecting a stocks reputation at any cost. The "Bashing" that is addressed on this site is quite different from dissent. The Anatomy of a Basher strives to look at the calculated erosion of confidence in a given stock. Erosion by means that are, in every sense, void of truth, hinged on deception and innuendo, and motivated by greed at the expense of others. This compendium is offered to aid in identifying the telltale signs of "Bashing", and hopefully provide a counter balance to this heretofore unchecked manipulation of investors fears for personal gain.
IS IT EASIER TO SCARE PEOPLE INTO SELLING THAN IT IS TO SCARE PEOPLE INTO BUYING A STOCK? I have asked some knowledgeable investors this question and the answer is always: "YES, OF COURSE YES!"
WHO BASHERS PREY UPON
Consider the elderly that are investing for retirement, they find their way to the message boards for validation only to see false posts about "SEC Violations" and "Class action suits"... or the head of a "typical growing family", with children to put through college, who is monitoring a message board only to read posts by a "pack of 15 to 20 Bashers" (probably 5 or 6 under various alias's) posting continuous disinformation... what do you think these new investors will do? It's safer to not buy or even sell the stock, put the money back in the bank than to deal with all this whirl wind of "unsupported" negative chaff.
The Internet has lured a whole new class of investor into the market. A new investor is just that - New! This new investor, while learning the basics, is particularly vulnerable to the tactics of professional Bashers. New investors tend to lurk in the background of message boards, content to form independent opinions based on what they read with their own eyes. Very often, honest, intelligent and cautious people can easily be overcome by a well orchestrated propaganda effort.
You must always remember that their is a lot of money to be made in just the motion of a stock UP or DOWN it doesn't matter! And Bashers have money at risk just as you do. But they have the edge of fear, lies, and falsehoods to post while preying on the un-initiated. The average investor dose not have the edge of organized deception.
Recent revelations have indicated that even Market Makers (those charged with keeping the playing field level) have been involved in stock manipulation by Bashing on a stock message board. HAVE NO DOUBT THAT THIS IS A REAL THREAT!
Lesson 1: Remember, BASHERS NEVER Bash A BAD STOCK. Check the boards for stocks with no potential. They never have any Bashers. Bashers only go after stocks that are moving up or have excellent potential to do so. Bashers work to bring the price down to either increase their position at the expense of others or help a Short make their bones.
Lesson 2: BASHERS ALWAYS BRING UP OLD NEWS THAT YOU HAVE HEARD MANY TIMES. New startup companies always have a few bits of bad news. The Basher will post this over and over again. Unsophisticated Bashers will try to freshen up old news with a new date or by-line in an attempt to fool you.
Lesson 3: BASHERS POST MANY TIMES A DAY. They try to wear you out. They comment on everything, every other post, and can answer every question. THEY KNOW IT ALL! There is no positive comment they won't Bash. They try to control the board. True longs may have to confront the Bashers or they will appear to the newbies as being the people with all the information. This is best accomplished by posting positive, well researched data on the company, repetitively, while trying hard not to engage the Bashers in direct repartee. REMEMBER - LONGS... RESIST USING THE BASHERS ALIAS!
Lesson 4: BASHERS WILL LIE TO YOUR FACE. Never trust a Basher. The truth on startup companies is that they make mistakes. What new company hasn't? The Basher will compare your issue to a another companies, financials - deals - management, etc., trying to lure you into making an Apples to Oranges comparison. Remember each company is unique and while it is prudent to seek out established indicators, do so with care and don't take someone else's word for it. Strive to come up with at least a "six-pack" of indicators so your vision of the state of a company is not tied to a single barometer. Not doing so is tantamount to going to a Race Track and betting on the "Pretty Brown Horsey". BASHERS WANT TO WHISPER IN YOUR EAR - PLANT A SEED OF DOUBT, AND HOPE THAT YOU ARE NOT SAVVY ENOUGH TO RESEARCH THE TRUTH ON YOUR OWN. This is how they achieve their greatest success.
DOUBT + FEAR + LAZINESS = BAIL OUT!
This is your investment... work for it, protect it and don't panic on the words of very shadowy figure that "has your best interest in their heart". Consider that one factor: Someone you have never met, is not a member of your family, is now, out of the goodness of their hearts - GIVING YOU FREE ADVICE (that you didn't ask for). It's a no brainer. They have motives $$$$$$$$$$$$.
Lesson 5: Bashers know YOU CAN'T VERIFY THEIR STATEMENTS. That's why they make the vague statements they do. They rely on you being to lazy to research their droppings other than to scan the board for others opinions. This is particularly dangerous when you consider that Bashers work in packs and often validate and back up each others nonsense with what appears to be "innocuous and unsolicited" verification by comrade Bashers. Let's face it, we are all conditioned to "believe" everything we see in writing. If others by virtue of their "posts" also confirm this belief, then we are subconsciously doomed to swallow the hook, line and sinker... Basher - 1 Honest Investor - 0
Lesson 6: The Bashers PLAY ON YOUR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE. They can lie about information and you won't know the difference (unless you have done your own DD on the company and know the truth and facts).
Lesson 7: Bashers play on your lack of patience. You have held a stock for a while. You knew it will be a big stock someday, but the BASHER CAN GET TO YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE TIRED OF WAITING FOR YOUR GAIN. That's when the Basher is best. You are tired. You have forgotten the goal for the stock was to hold it for one year. The Basher is bothersome, so you dump it on a bad day. Some others also dump. Then you get mad for your loss and return to let everyone know how mad you are. Then you turn into a semi-Basher as well. THE BASHER HAS WON, AND GAINED A NEW ALLY - YOU!
Lesson 8: BRING THE PRICE DOWN. That is the Basher's job. The truth is not important. Lies are the norm. Post continuously on the board every day. They are trying to scare the newbies that are just investigating a stock. They are trying to wear down the faithful longs on the board and gain free reign and control.
A BASHER HANDBOOK:
Do not underestimate a Bashers influence on a stock. The Pro's are good at what they do and what they do is profit from your losses. Below is their "hand-book". Learn from it or you will be donating your hard earned money to them!
Rules for Successful Bashing:
1. Be anonymous
2. Use 10% fact. 90% suggestion. The facts will lend credibility to your suggestions.
3. Let others help you learn about the stock. Build rapport and a
support base before initiating your Bashing routine.
4. Enter w/ humor and reply to all who reply to you.
5. Use multiple ISP's, handles and aliases.
6. Use two (2) or more aliases to simulate a discussion.
7. Do not start with an all out slam of the stock. Build softly.
8. Identify your foes (Longs) and the boards "guru" Use them to
your advantage. Lead them do not follow their lead.
9. Only Bash until the tide/momentum turns. Let doubt carry it the
rest of the way.
10. Give the appearance of being open minded.
11. Be bold in your statements. People follow strength.
12. Write headlines in caps with catchy statements.
13. Pour it on as your position gains momentum. Not your personality.
14. Don't worry about being labeled a "Basher". Newbies won't
know your history.
15. When identified put up a brief fight, then back off. Return in an hour unless your foe is a weak in reasoning powers.
16. Your goal is to limit the momentum of the run. Not to tank the
company or create a plunge in the stock; be subtle and consistent.
17. Kill the dreams of profits, not the company or the stock.
18. Use questions to create critical thinking. Statements to
19. DO NOT LIE, NAME CALL or USE PROFANITY.
20. Encourage people to call the company. 99% won't. They'll take your word for claims made. If they do call you can always find something that is inaccurate in how they report their findings.
21. Discourage people from believing Press Releases.
Encourage them to call the company. They won't out of laziness.
22. If the companies history/PR's are negative constantly point to that. Compile a list of this data prior to beginning your efforts.
23. If the price rises blame it on the hype or the PR, temporary
mass reaction, the market, etc. Anything but the stock itself.
24. If other posters share your concerns, play on that and share theirs too.
25. Always cite low volume, even when it's not.
26. Three or four aliases can dominate a board and wear down the longs.
27. Bait the Longs into personal debates putting their
focus/efforts on you and not the stock or facts. Divert their attention from facts.
28. Promote other stocks that would-be investors can turn to
instead of the one your Bashing.
30. Do not fall for challenges on the "values" of what you are doing, it's a game and you are playing it with your own rules.
Grade 'A' Basher:
If you post lots of old news, respond to all positive posts with a negative side. Never respond to being called a Basher, never post on another board with same alias. Can spend up to 80 hours a week Bashing a stock.
Grade 'B' Basher:
Very good way with words, always claims to be your "friend" taking the positive poster into confidence, never posts on another board, spends about 60 hours a week.
Grade 'C' Basher:
Spends less time than the others but is somewhat effective and gets a C grade due to getting excited when Bashers rules say not to get excited, spends about 40 hours a week.
Grade 'D' Basher:
Needs to learn the basics about being convincing when making a negative statement. Spends a good amount of time working the stock, maybe 20 hours a week.
Grade 'F' Basher:
A complete idiot, most readers are not convinced he knows anything about stocks in general. The type that says a stock "sucks", but gives no rationale, shows up every so often but no regular schedule.
LEARN ABOUT HOW BASHERS WORK: For instance: did you know that some Bashers are paid?
IGNORE THEM ...learn how professional Bashers are paid: When you REPLY to Bashers you give them an opportunity to earn appox. 5-7 dollars. The service agreement they enter into with their employer states their messages will be monitored for content, profanity, lies, etc. but Overseers and the like don't have the time to check all their Bashers messages. Only occasional spot checks are done. Those who manage the Basher will generally read the headlines to see if a Basher is replying to other posters by name. That tells them the Basher isn't just "posting blindly" or repeating the same message over and over since they won't pay for those.(True to form a Basher will put the bite on anyone, even their unscrupulous employer). A Basher will attempt to milk three to five replies per post at one to two dollars each. This way the Basher spreads negative influence to as many stockholders as possible. A Basher will create this discussion thread because it takes less time reading more messages than is necessary. This ultimately allows the Basher more time to post and make money. In general, NEVER ENGAGE A BASHER. Make them read all the posts and think up ways to enter the discussion. NEVER ENGAGE A BASHER; if you do so then YOU BECOME THE BASHER,S AID! If you feel compelled to challenge a Basher do so without mentioning his/her true alias in your response. This will make it hard for the Basher to use your post as a revenue stream. Read the news, do your own homework and make your own decisions. Get real time quotes and follow the stock for a couple of weeks. Due Diligence is key here. Know that there will be a time when the stock runs up which will be followed followed by the Bashers and those that missed the boat. The Bashers will trash the stock by saying such things as "it's a Pump and Dump" and "the company is lying" and deceiving. There goal is to scare off newbies and potential new investors by "shaking" you out of your shares. Take the time to confirm your DD ,trust your own judgement and believe in yourself, pick your point of return or loss and live with it. Don't listen to hype or Bashers trust your own judgement. Live by the rules you have created .
HOW TO IDENTIFY A BASHER
1. Check the "Born on Date" Bashers create identities on a regular basis. Rarely do you find a Basher with older "Created On" date. So click on the Identity icon for more details.
2. Take the time to look at the Basher's history of Posts. Go to other boards and see if their is a pattern to the theme of the posts. Bashers rarely waste time trying to blend in with "positive" posts, unless they are cultivating a new uninformed assistant.
3. When did the Basher show up. Bashers rarely show up when activity is in at a Lull. They show up when activity up/down..
4. Bashers never answer direct questions except with another question.
5. Bashers do work in teams (sometimes themselves as a team). So be suspicious of someone showing up and automatically having a Shadow to converse with who supports their argument.
6. Bashers always select "an argument" that can never be resolved by research.
The Basher 'Pack' Mentality
Bashers love to work in packs. It provides the quintessential cover to achieve supposedly "independent" validation of an argument. It is neither independent nor validating.
Pack Structure: Basher Packs can be comprised of any number of Bashers. They can be purposely formed within an organization or they can be "ad hoc" formed during a conclave on a particular board. In fact a pack mentality can be achieved by an ambitious "party of one" with a few select aliases.
Once a pack is formed, a leader emerges. This leader is usually acknowledged by other Bashers because of 1. Knowledge of the stock. or 2. Recognition by current board Longs (high visibility). Once established the Leader will usually work the Pack members up in to a posting frenzy. Constantly changing themes and even occasionally biting the ear of another pack member (this earns instant credibility), and it doesn't offend the bitten Basher because he/she knows it is all part of the effect. Quite sophisticated.
Packs will disband and slink away without notice. Usually this is the call of the Pack Leader who is adept at recognizing overplay. More often than not, Pack members must move on because they have other Bashing commitments to fulfill. They will return to the site of a good hunt over and over again, until hamstringing is achieved.
What calls a pack together. The Cry of the Leader. Certain Bashers love to work together. They know each others bite, how to feign in and out, it is a well choreographed Bash when pack members have worked together before. They constantly check their "Sites Du Jour" for signs of Pack activity. Occasionally they will throw out a "Nibbler" Bash to see if the pack responds or if not they can work the site themselves. It's all about effectiveness, time and earning money.