You know what it's like. Out there on the internet is a wicked world made concrete: a jumbo-sized statue of Satan, just waiting to snatch your money. "Here's an offer you shouldn't miss..." "Double your investment in 24 hours..." "We'll share with you our inside information..."
(Frank) Porter Stansberry is the crown prince of such entreaties. I've never seen a slicker stock pusher. What he can do with bond advice would make Warren Buffett gasp. Gold and silver, shale oil? He'll steal your breath.
Which is why I devised the independent Porter Poll: a unique survey of investors' opinion. It asks a single question, beginning "If you ask me, Porter Stansberry..." It then gives five choices for an answer.
Personal Stansberry reviews
In a moment I'll tell you what those choices are. But, first, what have people been telling me? In addition to the poll, I get a steady stream of mail (you can write to me here if you want) giving opinions on Mr Stansberry's performance. So before getting to the questions and results of the quantitative survey, here are some reviews of a more qualitative sort.
Some are quite moving, such as an emal from Bernie P, who was writing to me from Virginia:
It is late night here in Virginia, USA. I am unemployed, bankrupt, in foreclosure, injured, and solely responsible for a family of 6, including 4 young girls. Just a year or two ago, I was making very good money as an automotive technician and had a great credit rating. I tell you this because I responded to a TV ad, went to [a website] for Mr Stansberry and was ready to pay $50.00 to save my family!
Thank you for your information I found by a quick search. I can put away the $50 dollars I can't afford to spend, go to bed, and look for real work and a paycheck for my family in the morning, instead of a pipe dream solution promoted by scare tactics.
To be honest, reading that makes me feel kind of guilty. Like I've talked somebody out of buying a big-time lottery ticket, pointing out that it's a tax on misery. But then I think, what if tomorrow his number comes up? Supposing one of Mr Stansberry's tips makes it big?
I'm not sure what Bernie read, and certainly it's no goal of mine to trash Porter Stansberry, or give investment advice. I'm a journalist without an agenda. Perhaps he looked at my writings from back in 2003, when Mr Stansberry was promoting an Aids product. Or, possibly Bernie's review was referring to my analysis of the "Stansberry scam", and the famous SEC fraud prosecution.
But Bernie wasn't alone in taking a dark view of the sales techniques from Stansberry & Associates, part of the Baltimore-based Agora group. Here's another - John Scull - who said he was writing from the "southern United States", deploying the expression "poppy cock". Don't you love it?. In my mind I see him swaying on a front porch swing, reading a three-inch-thick novel by William Faulkner:
Perhaps you might know a way we could protect those of us who are impulsive, and are pushed by his twist of the facts, and the weaving of utter poppy cock to sound realistically credible. Keep up the good work and thank you for being one of the few honest journalists left.
The reviews I receive aren't all negative, of course, but to get them out of the way, here's some more. Michael Montague, for example, wrote from Downers Grove, Illinois, to give quite some status to Mr Stansberry as an investment advisor, and to tell me that the man is a "scalawag":
I read with fascination and admiration your concise critique of Porter Stansberry, self-proclaimed sage of the financial world. It warms my heart to know that people with your journalistic ability are still at work in these days of fast and loose reporting.
Your reports on this scalawag are fascinating, a bit like a pit bull on an intruder. I positively loved your comment about his lawyer not knowing the correct term, reckless. That gave me a belly laugh!
P.T. Barnum said there s a sucker born every minute. He could have added and a charlatan is born every day. Thanks for battling one fraud at a time. It helps.
And Victoria Murphy, somewhere out there in the states but who didn't say where, had words to offer about Mr Stansberry's presentation on what he forecast would be the "end of America":
I was sitting on the couch this morning watching Fox News's coverage of the earthquake in Japan and the possible tsunami waves hitting California, when Porter Stansberry's commercial about the "End of America" came up. I quickly typed it in a new browser and listened to his claim of the US basically falling apart and becoming a has-been in the financial world, leaving all its residents in a devastating state of financial ruin, threatening our lives.
Panic didn't set in. I had more questions than answers. At the end of his rambling speech was the icing on the cake: he was selling something; he was selling something that would ensure our financial safety as well as get me and my family through the crisis that was lurking over head. I questioned his credibility, facts, and his honesty, so I Googled his name. I found several websites that said he was sued by the SEC for fraud, I dug a little deeper and then I found your site. It's hard to find anything on this guy, and I would like to know more.