Upon first glance, you might think that ClayTrader is the name of an industry magazine targeted at pottery class instructors. This type of clay, however, is a person – a stock market trader who teaches beginners how to trade stocks using technical analysis and charts. ClayTrader is a day trading education site, founded by a guy named Clay who doesn’t reveal his full name (oh how mysterious). Clay seems like a genuine, down to earth kind of guy, that is the polar opposite to typical traders on Wall Street. He got interested in the stock market while studying for his engineering degree. He gained a strong following online, not through Twitter or Facebook but InvestorsHub. InvestorsHub is a well known stomping ground for penny stock pumpers. Once he built up a solid following the next logical step was to launch his own website purely to profit from his knowledge of financial markets.
Paid subscribers gain access to his video tutorials, podcasts and other resources all geared toward a general principle of trading without stress or emotion. ClayTrader.com boasts a pretty large community of like-minded traders, including chat rooms and forums. Clay sends subscribers a weekly newsletter, and holds free webinars – like “How to Kill Your Stress, Fear and Frustration as a Trader.” Similarly to Cameron Fous, his free webinars are used as a platform to up-sell people to various courses and memberships. Right now he has about ten different courses, all targeted towards new traders, teaching a wide range of topics including Forex, options trading and penny stocks. His educational business is booming at the moment and his net worth is estimated to be $2 million. Why bother day trading stocks while you can make a fortune through selling expensive courses online.
Clay doesn’t make mention of any credentials or education that qualifies him to be doling out day trading advice – but at least he is upfront and honest about that. He presents himself as a ‘normal’ type of guy who, after getting clobbered in the market during the dot.com bubble and claims to have developed a successful day trading system. His marketing strategy is quite clever, by portraying himself as just this normal, family guy, he appeals to a larger audience. This a strong contrast to the legendary marketing tactics of everyone’s favourite penny stock trader, Tim Sykes.
Clay doesn’t claim to be a successful trader and doesn’t provide any proof of his trading performance – or indicate whether or not he’s even trading these days. He interacts with users daily, but isn’t openly tracking his portfolio performance like some rival chat rooms sites do. He doesn’t do any live trading, which hurts his credibility. While his website can be a useful learning resource for beginners, more experienced traders will learn very little from his service.
Products & Services
Let’s start with the free stuff. Without needing to pay anything, you get access to his Youtube video tutorials (focusing on the basics) that are featured on his blog. You get a list of resources that Clay recommends, like stock chart providers, the best stock brokers, stock scanners, books – the usual list of resources that every “guru” offers to their subscribers. Users can also buy individual, structured courses with a series of videos that train you a wide range of topics. These one-time purchases run between $59 and $397.
The Inner Circle
The standard subscription service is the “Inner Circle,” and it costs $99 for a full year. By joining the Inner Circle, traders get access to a live trading chat room, Clay’s personal scans and watch lists through the private newsletter, and networking via the premium message board forums. He doesn’t send out any live alerts to subscribers but does actively moderate the chat room.
Users with a fat wallet can also opt to sign up for ClayTrader University – the site’s most expensive and comprehensive option. For either six monthly payments of $377 or a one-time payment of $1997, members get lifetime access to live chat-rooms and its weekly newsletter. University subscribers immediately get access to download all the training programs that Clay offers, which costs a staggering $2,600 if purchased individually. Lastly, those who shell out the cash for this option get to join Clay for live interactive webinars – which he describes as “learning sessions.”
Signing up for any of these packages is a significant investment, so it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into. ClayTrader is an attractive-looking educational resource, but it also has its drawbacks – especially compared to other guru’s who make their trading performance visible to their students.
Robotic trading is another premium course that will set you back $297. Robotic trading is all about learning how to use technical analysis and charts to eliminate your emotions so that you can trade like a robot. Maybe Clay is a robot; he’s just reading off powerpoint slides with a monotone voice that makes it tedious to follow, well I suppose he is talking about technical analysis which isn’t very sexy. Provides a solid basis for newbies but all the information could be found for free on the internet.
Mastering Level 2
A surprising amount of traders do not use level 2 to gain an advantage over their competition. Level 2 provides a great insight into a stock’s price action to help determine the best time to enter and exit a trade. Probably one of Clay’s better courses.
The Penny Stock Survival Guide
Even though Clay doesn’t even trade penny stocks, he decided to create this guide. One of his worst programs, very basic information provided as he has limited experience on this subject. If you really want to profit from penny stocks, it’s better to learn from experts such as Tim Sykes, Tim Grittani, and Nate Michaud.
Options Trading Simplified & Trading Forex for Beginners
As the titles suggest, both courses are marketed towards beginners. Once again very basic information provided, he has no business teaching others about the Forex or options trading.
Risk vs Reward Trading
Risk vs reward trading is mainly for those who have full-time day jobs and don’t have the time to follow the market. Risk management is a core concept thought in all of his courses, but this product goes into more detail.
Shorting for Profit
Discover how to make money when the price of stocks go down. Shorting for profit covers five short selling strategies with each one given their own fancy name, e.g. “Dream Crusher Short Strategy.” Short selling is a risky strategy that could result in you owing more money than you have in your brokerage account.
Trampoline Trading is a more advanced program for those who have a solid understanding of technical analysis. It focuses purely on bounce plays. You will learn how to find these setups, what signals to look for and how to manage your risk.
Is ClayTrader a Scam?
I think it’s harsh to call ClayTrader a scam artist as he does offer some value to beginner traders, he teaches the foundations of stock trading nothing more. It’s clear his main focus is to make as much money as possible by selling overpriced educational material, so his family can live a better life. I think Clay should reduce prices and get rid of the crappy courses that teach Forex, penny stocks and options.
ClayTrader vs Timothy Sykes
While both traders have earned millions from selling online subscriptions, their personalities differ significantly. Sykes is more brash and outspoken while Clay seems more humble and less attention seeking. Despite Tim Sykes douche-bag attitude, he isn’t afraid to publicly show his track record and openly shows his winning and losing trades. Sykes has banked nearly $4.7 million from short selling penny stocks while ClayTrader provides no track record or proof he’s a profitable trader. Sykes doesn’t even see him as competition and would never allow him to join Profitly as a guru unless he reveals his performance history.
— Timothy Sykes (@timothysykes) August 25, 2014
- Networking: By joining the Inner Circle, you suddenly join a community of like-minded day traders that have varying levels of experience – where you can trade knowledge and gain some insight. Apart from stock-specific chat rooms (like “Under $1” and “Over $1”), there is also a “Traders Lounge” where after-hours networking takes place. Clay actively participates in these chat rooms.
- The Fundamentals: ClayTrader.com is tailored to beginner and intermediate traders. Clay helps users explore the basics in an easy-to-understand way. There are countless hours of videos that can help a total newbie take the first step. The blog section is also useful if reading is your preferred way to learn.
- Clay: The guy behind the site is actually pretty accessible, and he’s a likeable guy. The way he explains things is very clear and easy to watch – and he presents a pretty clear vision.
- Transparency: ClayTrader is very clear about its offerings upfront, and the prices are front and center – there are no predatory selling happening here. You know what you get as a buyer, and Clay doesn’t do any constant upselling of additional services or features.
- Discounts: Coupon codes are given to people who sign up for any of the courses; you save 10% on other products you purchase. It’s a pity no free trials are offered to entice new members to test out the service.
- No Performance History: Not only is there no performance history of the alerts ClayTrader sends out, but he also doesn’t show his subscribers his personal trading performance. We are meant to believe that Clay – after taking a massive financial hit in the past – he was able to bounce back and create a winning, emotion-free trading strategy. He doesn’t, however, offer up any proof – or show us real-time trading. Case studies or analyzing charts in hindsight offers little value to subscribers. It’s not clear if he’s even trading currently, or just making his money by operating the site.
- Price: While the Inner Circle subscription is reasonable at $99 per year, the other options seem kind of inflated. It appears as though Clay expects a lot from beginner day traders when it comes to their purse strings. What rookie trader has an extra $2000 lying around?
- Refund Policy: ClayTrader.com has a very strict refund policy and in most cases, you won’t receive a refund if you’re unhappy with your purchase. The Inner Circle membership is set to auto-renew every year so members can easily forget to cancel and end up getting charged $99 to their credit card. Also to receive a refund on certain products, you will have to jump through hoops and show proof of your effort.
- Testimonials: The majority of testimonials are just screenshots of emails, anybody is able to send themselves an email from a fake account. It would be better if there were video testimonials or interviews from successful students who have benefited from his teachings.
- Negative reviews: It’s normal for stock market educational sites to receive bad reviews and complaints but this review in particular on Reddit is epic. That poster on Reddit goes on a massive rant that is hilarious and tries to expose his service, claiming he is a rip off.