This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

#DigitalSkeptic: The Year In Information Dumbness

Stocks in this article: AMZN FB GOOG

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Every year, it seems the Information Economy just can't get any dumber. Somehow it does.

Perhaps it's the crisp air, or the family magically getting along -- or that we've simply survived another 12 months. But there it is, this time of year: that tingle of hope that maybe, juuuuust maybe, this past spin around the sun will be the one where the Three Stooges Information Economy finally cuts out the investor pratfalls. Finally, legit business logic finally will grab a spot at the Digital Age musical chairs.

The actual dollar damage 2013 will inflict has yet to be totted up. Most major, pure-play information companies report their annual results in early 2014, so those critical, full-year performance figures are still a quarter or so away. But Warren Buffett-like vision will not be required to realize this past year was a year when, bull market or no bull market, investors paid more, got less and took on nearly absurd risk.

"I'm dubious about all the good news out there," said Cleveland, Ohio-based real estate investment exec Bruce Ratner, chairman of Forest City Ratner Cos.. He's the fellow who had the guts to bet on developing downtown Brooklyn all the way back in 1980s. "The markets are basically kind of like this," he said, wobbling his hand out in front him like a dinghy fighting through an ocean storm. "And that's on a good day."

"It's still pretty bad out there," he said.

In the spirit, therefore, of hoping that this year might truly be the stupidest the Information Economy ever gets, here's what took the gold, silver and bronze for Dumbest Trends in 2013.

1. Not keeping the bull market bull#@$% straight
This year showed investors exactly what goes south when investors gin tech stocks north without a clue for why they're paying the premiums they are. The only thing higher than the share prices for Google (GOOG), Amazon  (AMZN) and Facebook  (FB) was the pile of investor rationales for the crazy prices they paid.

Quick test: In four words or less, describe exactly how this year's top Information Age value stories -- say, the Google Glass immersive computer device, or Amazon's Prime Air flying drone delivery technology or streaming music services Pandora  (P) or Spotify -- actually make money? Is it:

A) Increasing advertising revenue
B) Increased customer fees
C) Decreased costs
D) All of the above

The answer of course, was "D) All of the above." This year, the Information Economy tried to be all things to all investors -- which really makes its worth nothing to anybody.

"It's amazing to me how poor a job the Web has done in explaining how the basics of the business actually work," Chas Edwards, a new media entrepreneur and co-founder of Federated Media, told me. "It's been a long time to still not know what drives this business."

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs