Timothy Sykes is one of the most entrepreneurial guys in the financial media space. I met Tim in 2007 when he released his first book An American Hedge Fund: How I Made $2 Million as a Stock Operator & Created a Hedge Fund.Since then, Tim has continued on his mission to help retail traders get an edge.
Tim’s new project, Investimonials, is what he calls TripAdvisor for financial products. The platform empowers the public to review many things including brokerage services, newsletters, financial websites, and more. One new feature allows users to review financial commentators. Interestingly, Wall St. Cheat Sheet is preparing to release a similar (yet different) tool in the spirit of our shared mission with Tim: increasing transparency on Wall Street.
Tim offered me a preview of Investimonials and the chance to ask questions. Here’s what we had to say …
Damien Hoffman: Tim, I had a chance to look around your new site. You are billing it as a TripAdvisor style site for financial products. Can you explain why you decided to launch this project and how you think it will benefit the investing public?
Tim: Thanks to the exploding blogosphere/Twitterverse and the recent bull market in equities, investors and traders are faced with unending promotion from brokers, websites and newsletters. Their recent, some say lucky, success, has led many people to believe they can succeed with tips from gurus and “investing communities”. Time and again, people fall for sales pages, email blasts, and a few text and video testimonials — many of which are fake. While my main job is teaching people to profit from cutting through the BS in penny stocks, I couldn’t just stand by and do nothing as I receive a dozen or so daily emails form people who have been ripped off by some scam or manipulative financial product.
Investimonials cuts through all the marketing manipulation by providing honest reviews of over 3,000 financial products. We have zero tolerance for fake reviews — just the other day one scammer using multiple aliases from one IP address posted over 30 glowing reviews on several newsletters owned by one financial publisher. All the fake aliases and reviews were deleted. No marketing BS here, we want honest reviews and in time, our members, not us, will choose the best and worst financial products for people to invest in.
Damien: How will you filter out people who are simply trying to either promote or degrade certain products?
Tim: Each product review and forum comment is looked at by at least 2 of our administrators and if there is any question as to its validity, we launch a full investigation just as I explained above. Very time consuming, but very necessary. The good news is that financial scammers have the IQ of Forrest Gump (like penny stock promoters), so it’s not very difficult to spot them. Even better news is that most people do want finance to become more transparent so our nearly 1,000 person strong member base have already left over 500 honest reviews on Investimonials during our first week!
We also have a virtual currency called “IVBucks” which rewards members for helpful reviews — whether the review is good or bad — because we cant to encourage members to post as accurately as possible while always thinking about helping others. IVBucks will later be able to be cashed in to purchase subscriptions, products and free trades from our sponsors and partners.
You can learn more here: http://www.investimonials.com/ivbucks/
Damien: Where would you like the site to be in 12 months?
Tim: 100,000+ products reviewed up from 3,000 with at least 50,000 honest and helpful reviews. We will also offer all sorts of crazy cool features we are currently working on to help our users identify and invest in the best financial products while exposing and weeding out the worst. If millions of IVBucks are awarded and a community develops around all these product reviews, forum postings, and Q&A, so be it.
To check out Investimonials, click here.
Readers who liked this also enjoyed these posts: