Over the years scumbag stock promoters have given penny stocks a bad reputation, everyone knows somebody who has been burned badly in the past. Innocent people have lost thousands after investing a large chunk of their savings into a “hot stock tip” advertised as the next Microsoft. Although promoters are unethical, they provide educated traders with an opportunity to profit from these pump and dump scams. With that being said the vast majority are awful with a terrible track record. Fast forward to 2017, only a handful of them have the ability to attract enough volume and liquidity to make it worthwhile to buy or short sell a promotion.
The landscape has changed significantly with big-time promoters getting shut-down by the SEC; these included Awesome Penny Stocks, Best Damn Penny Stocks and Victory Mark Corp. Four or five years ago it wasn’t difficult to make money buying pre-promos by discovering details of upcoming promotions through stock screeners and researching via Google. APS and PennyPic had dozens of “sister websites” that released alerts early to subscribers before blasting it out to their main email list of around 100,000 people, e.g. Pennystockgains.com was a sister site to APS. John Babikian was the mastermind behind APS, it is reported he made close to $100 million from his scheme. His lavish lifestyle attracted a tonne of media attention, owning dozens of properties throughout the world and driving a Bugatti Veyron. John Babikian ended up owing $15 million in unpaid taxes, he fled Canada and is now believed to hiding out in either Russia or the UAE.
List of Penny Stock Promoters to follow in 2017
As of right now, pretty much all promoters suck! ElitePennyStock.com & Stocktips.com were previously the top two promoters but were shutdown by the SEC. Below is a list of the best of a bad bunch.
Use a yopmail as a disposable email address to sign up for their alerts so you can track them. It’s useful to be aware they separate their email lists and don’t email their subscribers all at once. If they have a list of 10,000 emails, they might divide it up into 4 lists of 2,500.
Useful Websites for Research
Stockpromoters.com – This is the a useful resource to track what promoters currently are the most effective and how many newsletters are touting a certain ticker symbol.
EquityFeed.com – Trading software that can be used to scan 1000’s of symbols to find OTC stocks with abnormal volume. (Look at the bottom of the page to see the filters I use).
Goodetrades.com – This is a great site run by Michael Goode and provides an abundance of research on the latest pump and dumps.
Promotionstocksecrets.com – Premium service to learn out about how promotion works, free articles on the site are educational.
I also use SEMrush.com to track how much websites are spending on advertising campaigns on Google. SEMrush is a paid SEO tool which estimates how much a site is spending on PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns on Google and Yahoo. They bid on search terms/keywords relevant to their website, like “stocks to buy”, this could keyword could cost $1-$4 a click, the higher you bid, the higher you appear in the ads section. E.g. PennyPicks.net for July has received an estimated 10,562 visitors at the cost of $45,036 and overall are bidding on 1,161 keywords. ($45,036 / 10,562 = $4.26) This means PennyPicks.net are paying over $4 per visitor, that is a significant amount to spend and results in high-quality website traffic which means more people are signing up for their alerts. Pennystockhub.com for July got 2,560 visitors at of cost of $13,702. ($13,702 / 2,560 = $5.35) In theory, PennyPicks.net should be the more effective promoter as they’re spending $30,000 on their overall campaign and receive an estimated 5 times more visitors.
Here’s a screenshot of an example.
Spotting Stocks Before They Get Promoted
The best method to find penny stocks before they’re pumped is using stock screener websites such as Equity Feed and StocksToTrade.com. Once you apply the correct filters, stock screeners can spot unusual trading activity on OTC and pink sheets, i.e. insiders slowly buying up blocks of shares months before the promotion begins.
My Equity Feed Filter
(1) Select markets: “OTCBB” & “Pinksheets”
(2) Stock Types: Regular Securities” and “New Issue”
(3) Price: From “$0.01” to “$1.50”;
(4) Volume: From “$5,000” to “$5,000,000”;
(5) Liquidity Movement Action: “Share volume” is “greater” than “2.5” times “20-day volume avg”
The above settings cast a wide net. For better search results, try minimum “$50,000” $volume and/or “10” times the 20-day volume avg.
With the rise of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter there’s more opportunity to reach a mass audience with minimal cost. Instagram, in particular, is becoming hugely popular to tout stocks. I’ve noticed Instagram models with millions of followers, getting paid to advertise marijuana companies. With all the hype around the legislation of marijuana, dozens of people lost money on that alert. On Twitter it’s relatively easy for promoters to find penny stock traders, e.g. they can just visit Timothy Sykes followers list, mass follows them and setup an automatic DM touting a shitty company. Promoters can also leverage paid ads on Facebook to setup highly targeted advertisements that follow you around everywhere. Sometimes to look more natural they create fake profiles claiming to be financial advisers or have worked for Goldman Sachs.
Another tactic utilized by promoters is developing a strong brand and portraying themselves as an authority figure. National Inflation Association was a clever scam run by Jonathan Lebed and Gerard Adams. To the average person, they appeared as a non-profit organisation trying to educate the masses on how to prepare for hyperinflation and profit from the next stock market collapse. Their short documentaries on Youtube were well-produced and amassed millions of views, allowing them to build massive email lists to pump and dump worthless companies. Hundred’s of vulnerable people lost money investing in their stock picks during tough economic times, their email alerts sounded compelling but in reality were bullshit and dropped 90% a few months after.
As of 2017 NIA is inactive, Gerard Adams left and co-founded Elite Daily that ended up being purchased by the Daily Mail for $50 million. More than likely Jonathan Lebed is still operating the website, but his picks receive very little attention. Lebed is the poster boy for pump and dumps, at 16 years old he was indicted by the SEC for pumping penny stocks on various message boards and had to pay back $285,000. He created about 80 different usernames on message boards and had conversations with himself to make it look like the stocks he was talking about were great investments. Back in early 2000’s this was an effective strategy but doesn’t work as well now.
With so many investing scams being advertised, the SEC will have to be more vigilant monitoring the internet for micro-cap fraud to protect the public from the latest scams.