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No Free Lunch in Spam

You could argue that the devil-in-the-details rule doesn't really apply to one of these companies. If you consider it wise to invest in managers who'd actually name their company My Pool Leaks you might want to limit yourself to index funds, starting right now. My Pool Leaks closed Wednesday trading at a half-cent a share.

It's the same thing with the sometimes tortuous wording of the spam itself. Martin Nutraceuticals, for example, was trumpeted in a spam headlined "Martin Nutraceuticals Commences Expansion in Global Nutraceutical Marketplace." You notice that it's only "commencing" its global expansion. It may fail miserably, but at least it commenced.

This kind of skepticism is all the more timely because the stock spamming seems to be picking up. Brian McWilliams, who writes a blog called Spam Kings for the forward-thinking O'Reilly Publishing, says he noticed a surge in stock spamming in the last week of September that hasn't yet abated.

While it's too early to tell if the spam trend is more than a temporary surge, McWilliams says, the anecdotal evidence suggests that not only is the recent spamming sophisticated -- that is, smart about covering its tracks -- but "these guys are pumping out major quantities of spam." In other words, the stock spammers are bullish.

I asked Cyr if his experiment had taught him any valuable lessons about the stock market. "Not about the stock market," he said. "But I learned about the power of blogs." McWilliams' blog picked up on Cyr's site over the weekend, and that post was spotted by uberblog BoingBoing.

As a result, the number of visitors to his site skyrocketed from a little more than 100 a day to 19,000 late Wednesday. Before that surge, Cyr had made a whopping $5.42 from Google ads on his site (with some of the Google links pointing to stock-touting sites.) The recent surge in traffic is sure to boost that figure way up into the double digits, a far better return than Cyr could have gotten following those canine stock tips.

And that can mean only one thing: Joshua, it's time you started thinking about an IPO.

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