This blog gives you the latest topical news plus some informal comments on them from ShareSoc’s directors and other contributors. These are the personal comments of the authors and not necessarily the considered views of ShareSoc. The writers may hold shares in the companies mentioned. You can add your own comments on the blog posts, but note that ShareSoc reserves the right to remove or edit comments where they are inappropriate or defamatory.

MeetInvest – a Warning

ShareSoc was recently invited to promote a new web service named MeetInvest to our members. The email said that it provides a “tool for selecting stocks using the exact success formula of some of the world’s foremost investors including Warren Buffett, Benjamin Graham, Jim Slater or John Templeton”. Of course anyone who thinks that Warren Buffett was successful based on a simple stock screening system is surely misinformed, but I thought it was worth trying out and reviewing.

The promotional videos are quite impressive. It appears to provide a stock screening tool similar to what you can obtain from other vendors and packaged around various investment gurus’ ideas, plus an ability to discuss stocks or other topics with other investors. They claim to have 5000 registered users (worldwide) and they are based in Switzerland so cover markets in many countries.

But I was in the process of logging onto their “free service” when I read their “Privacy Policy”. It includes this provision under the heading How We Share Data : “We may also share your Personal Data with affiliates and third parties for them to help us provide, understand and improve the Services and our affiliates’ services, including the delivery of ads”. In other words they may supply your personal information including email addresses to any third party who could then send you advertisements.

I asked them whether they really expected people to sign up to this, but have so far not had a response. Now financing a service via advertisements on a web site may be acceptable, but passing your email and other personal information to third parties is definitely not. And there seems to be no limitations on what that third party might then do with the information. Surely the result will be large amounts of unwanted emails including potentially spam on unrelated products and services.

Unfortunately I was not able to review the service as I certainly would not accept those contract terms. But as most people don’t read the small print when signing up to web sites, you need to be made aware of this issue.

Roger Lawson

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