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Profits In Excesses of 1000% OVERNIGHT
October 16, 2005 11:19 AM   Subscribe

Spam Stock Tracker Haven't you ever been just a little curious if you could "D0UB1E Y0UR |M|0|N|E|Y| EVERY WEEK!!!" like the the email said? [via NPR's Marketplace]
posted by trinarian (35 comments total)

 
I really thought someone would have already posted it... but a search for "spam" and the URL turned up nothing. I'll cross my fingers that this isn't a double post.
posted by trinarian at 11:22 AM on October 16, 2005


Wait, stocks that are used in pump & dump schemes don't go on to produce long-term profits? Huh.

What would have been really interesting is if he'd done some charting for the next 2 or 3 weeks after he received the spam... see if there was a spike before the fall indicating that the pumping had worked.
posted by rkent at 11:26 AM on October 16, 2005


Wow... I was just starting to code up something to do this based on my pumpndump spam. I still might do it, I'd really like to see if there's still a positive effect from the pump.
posted by substrate at 11:36 AM on October 16, 2005


Looks like NPR is only 8 days behind MR.
posted by Kwantsar at 11:55 AM on October 16, 2005


So its bad that I invested my life savings and sold my third child to science based on a tip I got in a spam?
posted by fenriq at 12:04 PM on October 16, 2005


so... uh... is it possible to sell these little penny stocks short? Not that I would want to.
posted by sfenders at 12:42 PM on October 16, 2005


NPR != American Pubic Media
posted by found missing at 1:11 PM on October 16, 2005


so... uh... is it possible to sell these little penny stocks short? Not that I would want to.

It seems like it would be possible.
posted by delmoi at 1:23 PM on October 16, 2005


Hey, one of them is up 188%. SELL SELL SELL!
posted by Citizen Premier at 1:31 PM on October 16, 2005


Hey, one of them is up 188%. SELL SELL SELL!

Sniffex Inc. Actually I would be tempted to buy that one. The profits of an effective handheld explosive detection device could be huge.
posted by DirtyCreature at 1:50 PM on October 16, 2005


It seems like it would be possible.

The borrow on microcaps is a bitch.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:07 PM on October 16, 2005


I would recommend that stock.
posted by grouse at 2:09 PM on October 16, 2005


As far as I know, you can't short sell penny stocks.
posted by Eekacat at 5:03 PM on October 16, 2005


The profits of an effective handheld explosive detection device could be huge.

Oh, yeah. No home should be without one. I wonder how it works...

"In operation, the signal generator is activated to emit an energy signal of a target material's characteristic frequency. The power level of the energy source will begin to activate the electrons of nitro-based materials that have the characteristic frequency generated. Once the target material is activated, it too will begin to emit a signal having the characteristic frequency of the signal generator."

Well. It sounds (and looks) very much like it's a high-tech version of the classic dowsing rod. Their pdf of "excerpts" from the test report would seem to confirm that.

"The test conditions were not optimum for this device. Winds of approximately 3-5 mph or less did not appear to affect Sniffex, but above that speed the wind did affect the movement of the antenna. Later in the day, fatigue of the operators was also noted. [...] It is critical to hold the device steady and level"
posted by sfenders at 5:07 PM on October 16, 2005


Sfenders, you are exactly right.

Jesus Christ, it is way too easy to scam people. It's like they want to be fooled.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:44 PM on October 16, 2005


Sfenders:

I can't see why it wouldn't work. It's just like an MRI without the M. Or the R. Or the I, for that matter. Oh well.
posted by JohnnyB at 7:54 PM on October 16, 2005


http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=SNFX.PK

So I guess that makes UNICEF, the United Nations, the Saudi Arabian embassy in Beirut and Mercedes Benz complete fools too?

Have you ever noticed that those who claim to be experts at spotting scams aren't usually very wealthy? This may or may not turn out to be a scam but "shaky grammar", "so far as I can tell"s, "fuzzy letterhead" are as scammy a basis for identifying a scam as a real scam itself.
posted by DirtyCreature at 9:57 PM on October 16, 2005


Explosives Vapor Sensor, developed by Thomas Thundat, Lal Pinnaduwage, Tony Gehl, Vassil Boiadjiev and Eric Hawk of ORNL; David Hedden of the University of Tennessee; Eric Houser of the Naval Research Laboratory; Linda Deel of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and Richard Lareau of the Transportation Security Administration

The Explosives Vapor Sensor is a compact, low-cost sensor for detecting and locating a variety of explosives, including plastic-based explosives. A micromechanical transducer, no wider than a human hair and with a mass of only a few nanograms, allows only explosive molecules to chemically adsorb to a sensor that can identify the molecule.

SniffEx is an improvement over other explosive detection products (such as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and gas chromatography/surface acoustic wave devices) because of its sub-part-per-trillion sensitivity and high selectivity, direct vapor sensing, low power consumption (the instrument uses a 9-volt battery), less-than-one-second response time, stability, compact size, and low cost. SniffEx will have applications in counterterrorism, law enforcement, airport safety and humanitarian efforts such as landmine removal.


Oh dear. The expert Metafilter scam detecters are looking a little gullible now aren't they? Unless I suppose the US government's Oakridge National Laboratory, the Department of Energy and R&D Magazine who awarded the ORNL scientists who invented Sniffex one of their R&D 100 awards for best technological invention, are a bunch of scammers as well?

Sometimes the unbelievers are as scammy as the scammers.
posted by DirtyCreature at 10:18 PM on October 16, 2005


DirtyCreature: Take a look at this article (scroll down to "Sniffing out Terrorists' tools") in R&D Magazine. There is a photo of the SniffEx device as developed by Oakridge National Laboratory. This looks nothing like the device sold by Sniffex Inc., which seems to have been invented by a Bulgarian named Yuri Markov.

In the press releases about their sales to the UN, etc. they don't mention the number of shipped devices. Could be one device sold to a UN contractor for testing purposes. Could be a million. If you really care, just phone Sniffex Inc. and ask for specifics, like the quantity, who exactly bought it, etc.
posted by ltl at 2:15 AM on October 17, 2005


You're right. Might be a different Sniffex.

Even so. You're a Bulgarian engineer. You develop a new technology that appears to have promise. There's no venture capital market in your country. What do you do? Spend your life savings on a suit, a plane ticket to the US and a 20 minute interview with a Sand Hill Road VC? You're much more likely to find a boutique investment banker in Vancouver (or wherever) who doesn't know or care much about the technology but knows how to create a market clandestinely for the stock in an effort to raise money for further research and marketing. Just because youre a "soulless" pump and dumper doesn't mean from time to time one of your companies might actually be worth something. Plenty of microcap company success stories out there.

My point remains. The basis and underlying research by which the scam skeptics reach their conclusions and try to generate a market for their paranoia IS truly scammy.
posted by DirtyCreature at 2:46 AM on October 17, 2005


Oh, come on now. The ridiculous press releases, the lack of any financial statements, the total nonsense about technology and testing are enough for me to stay far away from the stock.

But I might still have some doubt that it wasn't a total scam if it weren't for the telescoping omnidirectional antenna in the picture. That's just stupid.
posted by sfenders at 5:24 AM on October 17, 2005


....from DirtyCreature's link to Radio Bulgaria:

“We succeeded in creating a tool which records human speech by means of the digits from decimal system regardless of the speaker’s mother tongue. The same 10 digits are used to record all articulate sounds uttered by Homo sapiens. ... It doesn’t matter what language is used – Bulgarian, Korean or Georgian. ... You can speak Bulgarian, while at the other end – in Norway you’ll be heard in Norwegian with your own voice.”

Those wacky Bulgarians! They can invent anything!
posted by sfenders at 5:35 AM on October 17, 2005


Could you elaborate in what way the scam skeptics profit from the "market for their paranoia" they allegedly generate?

The default position of skeptics is just "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof". Is it unfair to ask someone who claims that he can detect explosives by dowsing to perform a rigorous scientific experiment to show that his device in fact works? Would someone who has invented such a device not jump on the opportunity to get instant fame by being the first to win the $1 million challenge of the James Randi Foundation?

It is certainly possible and even to be expected that some of the companies used in these spam schemes might actually be gems. But why do you believe Sniffex is one, despite all the warning signs?

The article you link from Bulgarian radio is interesting. Koycho Mitev, another price winner, claims to have invented a "multilingual computer", which can translate from any language to any other. Machine translation is a really hard linguistic and computer science problem, and any such sensationalistic claim is immediately suspect. But present a working example, that can be evaluated and explain how you overcame the difficulties encountered by others, and you can convince the skeptics.
posted by ltl at 5:44 AM on October 17, 2005


Unless I suppose the US government's Oakridge National Laboratory, the Department of Energy and R&D Magazine who awarded the ORNL scientists who invented Sniffex one of their R&D 100 awards for best technological invention, are a bunch of scammers as well?

Just because the government spends money on it does not make it rooted in physical reality.

The basis and underlying research by which the scam skeptics reach their conclusions and try to generate a market for their paranoia IS truly scammy.

Are you out of your mind? I'm so sorry I don't want the Department of Homeland Security using explosive-sniffing machines that don't work in airports and seaports across the nation. Gosh, I sure am a jerk!

Look: if it worked at all, if it had a success rate higher than chance, Markov could get another million dollars of capital by winning the JREF Million Dollar Challenge. But he won't, because it doesn't work.

Fuck it. Fuck trying to make the world a better place, where we value results over scientific-sounding gobbledygook. Fuck trying to warn about scams and frauds, because if you do you are just as bad as the scammers and you are only doing it to line your own pockets! I am tired of wasting time and energy being vigilant about dumb shit like dowsing for water and oil, psychics who talk to dead family members for the low low fee of sixty bucks, magical contraptions that make your CDs sound better, thousand-dollar-per-foot speaker wire, special harmonics engines that cure cancer and AIDS, and free energy machines.

You win, DirtyCreature. Being a voice of reason is for suckers. You and your kind want to throw your money away; from now on I'll see if I can help you.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:53 AM on October 17, 2005 [1 favorite]


It's just like an MRI without the M. Or the R. Or the I, for that matter.

To put that into context: It's sort of like an MRI. That works by interacting with the earth's magnetic field, at a range of several metres, using a power source that can't be much larger than an AA battery. It uses a metallic rod (telescoping radio antenna) to point in the direction of the explosives. This pointing device is aligned by mysterious forces so slight that a 5mph wind can throw it off. The operator needs a steady hand. For some reason, they haven't thought of advising the operator to mount it on a tripod, and shield it from the wind. I'm guessing if someone suggested that, they'd say you need to wave it around by hand, feeling for the electromagnetic scent. It can detect all the most common types of high explosives about equally well, despite their different chemical structures. It can of course see through walls, including those made of metal.

Already 30000 shares have been traded today.
posted by sfenders at 6:43 AM on October 17, 2005


DirtyCreature: I have deveoped a revolutionary anti-terrorist taco*. Please wire funds for further R&D!
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:45 AM on October 17, 2005


Further searching turns up some more of the Sniffex - SNFX story.
posted by sfenders at 9:57 AM on October 17, 2005


No, sfenders, it's totally legit and I pray that DirtyCreature will invest all of his money in this risk-free stock.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:34 AM on October 17, 2005


As for the Sniffex technology … well, who knows? How can one judge any technology when they do not even have a picture of the product on the website? With $14k in the bank and an "artists rendition" of a product, something tells us that Sniffex is not about to change the world. It is the opinion of Stocklemon that the SEC cannot be far behind this one – you don’t need a bloodhound to "sniff" that something stinks at Sniffex.

Oh yeah reeaaaaaaaaaaaaal convincing. So if you are poor, don't speak English, and not a world class web designer, your technology is a total scam. Nice. Real nice.

You and your kind want to throw your money away; from now on I'll see if I can help you.

Doesn't look like anyone needs your help. As the spam stock trader website shows clearly, the shares of Sniffex have increased 180% if he had invested at the time of the spam. That's better than Ebay or Google in any period of the same length. Can't argue with real return.

If you want to identify a scam, test the product yourself. Don't rely on reputations, marketing, language skills and other ridiculously flimsy means to tear down the idea of someone else who might not have the same opportunities as you do.
posted by DirtyCreature at 4:52 PM on October 17, 2005


"I pray that DirtyCreature will invest all of his money in this risk-free stock."

Okay, I'm with you there. Doesn't seem likely. I think the creature is more likely to be in on this kind of scam than to fall for it.
posted by sfenders at 5:39 PM on October 17, 2005


If you want to identify a scam, test the product yourself.

There is no product, no prototype, only a shitty render of one on the website. You are either criminally stupid or a scam artist yourself.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:57 PM on October 17, 2005


/me aims my nifty new Sniffex detector given to me as a major shareholder of the company and Chief Spamming Officer, at the Metafilter page in front of me

Hmmm. Yep definitely looks like at least two of them have imploded here.
posted by DirtyCreature at 10:26 PM on October 17, 2005


You have no response to the fact that Sniffex's corporate officers have an established history of illegal and fraudulent business practices, is that correct?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:04 PM on October 17, 2005


Oh, there is most certainly a product. It's called SNFX. They already sold some large fraction of 67 million shares. Somebody made a whole lot of money.

I wouldn't doubt the literal accuracy of the press releases. For instance, selling one unit for $100 as a special promotional deal to some gullible staffer at the embassy would count as a "sale to the Saudi Embassy" worthy of a press release. When the "product" costs less than $5 for one guy to manufacture by hand they can afford to give a few away. Most likely some of their sales have been larger than that, but I would guess they aren't exactly going to justify their market cap.

I may yet decide to go short the stock. Seems a bit risky, when its current price has absolutely no relationship to the value of the company. Only a matter of time, though.
posted by sfenders at 5:58 AM on October 18, 2005


You have no response to the fact that Sniffex's corporate officers have an established history of illegal and fraudulent business practices, is that correct?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:04 PM PST on October 17


Guess he doesn't.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:28 PM on October 18, 2005


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