Are recent historical charts now useless for short-term prediction market analysis because of the non-informational trades made by that institutional investor hedging its political risks on InTrades election prediction markets?

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How can you assess the impact of Colin Powell&#8217-s endorsement of Barack Obama? You can&#8217-t.

BetFair Predicts = a new WordPress-powered website concocted out of San Francisco, California… -whose informational value is close to zero.

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BetFair Predicts

UPDATE: The guy in charge says in the comment area that this is just an early beta website, which is going to be much improved soon.


  1. BetFair Predicts is a (clumsy) response to some of the (harsh) criticism I directed at them. So, it shows that they listen up.
  2. They chose WordPress as the content management system (CMS) for this project &#8212-it’s the right choice. (DruPal would have been OK for a more sophisticated project.)
  3. They are web-hosted on an independent domain name (as opposed to a sub domain on the website.) It’s good because it gives them freedom to use whatever information technology they want. (For security reason, they get limitations on their main website. That’s why the BetFair blog had to be run on MovableType, and not on WordPress.) – [UPDATE: The website now redirects to]
  4. The architecture of this new website is well done. It’s standard. (Unlike the BetFair blog, which is a price of crap, technically.)
  5. They created a new compound chart on the 2008 US presidential elections. (I have hot-linked to it, just below.)


  1. It was an error to call this project BetFair Predicts“, singular. “BetFair Predict”, plural, would have been better, because the wisdom of crowds requires both a collective judgment mechanism (here, a predition exchange named BetFair) and the event derivative traders associated with that prediction exchange. By using the singular, BetFair appropriates a predictive power that should be credited to a community (lead by BetFair).
  2. Overall, it’s a very thin website. It does not bring much to the kitchen table. (That new compound chart above is really the novelty at this time. But it’s not Earth shattering, since the BetFair Politics Zone already displays compound charts, which are dynamic, and which can be hot-linked to.)
  3. That compound chart is probably not a dynamic one (that is, a chart that will update itself in the future). This compound chart is just an image that has been uploaded from the BetFair exchange to this new BetFair Predicts blog, I doubt that that image will be updated in the future.
  4. And they seem light-years behind when it comes to embeddable chart widgets. (They claim on the frontpage that you can “embed” their charts in your blog, but what they offer is just static charts. Those idiots don’t know what they are talking about.)
  5. Their explainer on prediction markets is&#8230- so-so.
  6. Their blog is written by a “Joe Seither”, whose background is not disclosed. The writings (well, only 2 posts, as of today) are typical of any copy-writer who would have been instructed about the mechanism of the prediction markets the day prior to undertaking this project. You won’t find any insights- just banalities. What I see is worthless.
  7. They can’t spell “RSS”. (See below. :-D )


  1. BetFair is still struggling with the web publishing technologies.
  2. BetFair is still struggling with the prediction market approach, embodied by InTrade.
  3. BetFair has a hiring problem: they pick up incompetents on the job market and put them in charge too quickly. The result is the disaster detailed above, and chronicled in the Midas Oracle archives since 2006.

2008 US Presidential and Congressional Elections Prediction: The Sarah Palin effect has partially evaporated, but its remains point to a close race, come Tuesday, November 4, 2008.

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#1. Explainer On Prediction Markets

Prediction markets produce dynamic, objective probabilistic predictions on the outcomes of future events by aggregating disparate pieces of information that traders bring when they agree on prices. Prediction markets are meta forecasting tools that feed on the advanced indicators (i.e., the primary sources of information). Garbage in, garbage out&#8230- Intelligence in, intelligence out&#8230-

A prediction market is a market for a contract that yields payments based on the outcome of a partially uncertain future event, such as an election. A contract pays $100 only if candidate X wins the election, and $0 otherwise. When the market price of an X contract is $60, the prediction market believes that candidate X has a 60% chance of winning the election. The price of this event derivative can be interpreted as the objective probability of the future outcome (i.e., its most statistically accurate forecast). A 60% probability means that, in a series of events each with a 60% probability, then 6 times out of 10, the favored outcome will occur- and 4 times out of 10, the unfavored outcome will occur.

Each prediction exchange organizes its own set of real-money and/or play-money markets, using either a CDA or a MSR mechanism.

More Info:

– The Best Resources On Prediction Markets = The Best External Web Links + The Best Midas Oracle Posts

– Prediction Market Science

– The Midas Oracle Explainers On Prediction Markets

– All The Midas Oracle Explainers On Prediction Markets

#2. Objective Probabilistic Predictions = Charts Of Prediction Markets

Put your mouse on your selected chart, right-click, and open the link in another browser tab to get directed to the prediction market page of your favorite exchange.

2008 US Elections


2008 US Electoral College

2008 Electoral Map Prediction = InTrade – Electoral College Prediction Markets = Probabilistic predictions for the 2008 US presidential elections based on market data from InTrade =

– This is a dynamic chart, which is up to date. Click on the image, and open the website in another browser tab to get the bigger version.

Questions to InTrade CEO John Delaney about InTrade .NET and InTrade .COM

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– InTrade .NET is a play-money prediction exchange while InTrade .COM is a real-money prediction exchange. Is there an automated market maker linking the InTrade .NET prices (or bids) with the InTrade .COM prices?

– Why is it that you ask the consumers of InTrade .NET to sign the terms of use of InTrade .COM, which mentions that: &#8220-2.2.4 You may lose money on Exchange trades.&#8221-? – [Thanks to Deep Throat for that remark.]

– InTrade .NET has a very good charting system. Will the same charting system be implemented at InTrade .COM whose charts are absolutely awful? (See this comparison between the InTrade .COM charts and the InTrade .COM v2 charts.) I insist to say that this should be a priority.

– Will InTrade .NET have chart widgets, just like InTrade .COM and InTrade .COM v2 both have?

– Will InTrade .NET have closed contracts (which are very useful in the accuracy discussions), just like InTrade .COM and InTrade .COM v2 both have?

– Finally, it is stated on the InTrade .COM frontpage (in a text promoting InTrade .NET) that:

When goes out of beta it will become the new default but the current version of will be retained indefinitely.

How should we understand that? Does this mean that you are going to merge your play-money and real-money prediction exchanges? (Might not be a bad idea provided that full information is given on each prediction market.)

UPDATE: Deep Throat tells me that their techies are testing their new user interface on InTrade .NET, which deals with with play money, and then if everything works out well, they may implement the same user interface on InTrade .COM, which deals with real money &#8212-while maintaining the legacy InTrade .COM on a dedicated server, for the nostalgic users.

The InTrade .NET charting system is a great improvement for prediction market journalism.

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One word: FANTASTIC.

Much improved.

  1. A prediction market blogger can hot-link to the advanced chart.
  2. The advanced chart is the by-default chart &#8212-both prices and volumes are chartered. [Thin volumes don’t appear, though.]
  3. The advanced chart is of the right width &#8212-not too small, not too big.

What remains to be improved:

  1. InTrade should publish chart widgets, so that the weblink to the prediction market webpage is automatically embedded in the chart.
  2. InTrade should publish expired charts of the closed prediction markets. Discussions about accuracy should be supported visually.
  3. InTrade should develop dynamic compound chart widgets with customizable news markers.

I hope we will get improvement on these fronts, soon.

WEB EXCLUSIVE: – The annoted, historical, compound chart that those triple morons at the BetFair blog are hiding from their readers view. – It is located in a secret cache, linked to behind a picture of Hillary Clinton. – Curious place to locate a prediction market chart. – I bet nobody downloaded t

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For comparison, InTrade:


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The image above is static &#8212-it&#8217-s a screen shot of the chart widget, not the chart widget itself. (I haven&#8217-t had access to their code, see, so I am not able to embed it here for you.) To view their updated widget, right-click on the image above, and open the link into a new browser tab.

  1. First time I see a big UK newspaper associates &#8220-BetFair&#8221- with the term &#8220-prediction markets&#8221-.
  2. Their explainer is quite acceptable.
  3. That is a great step for BetFair. Congrats.
  4. I&#8217-d explain things differently &#8212-and I dislike that they suggest that the prediction markets can greatly outperform the polls, described as not &#8220-accurate enough&#8221-. Pollsters do the best they can, it seems to me.
  5. The output that BetFair hands out and the journalists seek are probabilities (expressed in percentages) &#8212-not those damn decimal/digital odds.
  6. The chart widget they use is crappy. I already discussed it. It has usability problems with FireFox. It does not go into feeds. And it&#8217-s not readable enough. Look at the alternative, just below. (The only reason those idiots of journalists are using that crappy widget is that BetFair customized it for them, by putting their fucking newspaper trademark on top of the widget.)
  7. Anyway, the dead-tree, print newspapers are dying, and the future belongs to blog networks. :-D

The chart below is better&#8230- more readable&#8230- and it goes into feeds&#8230- – But those idiots at the Telegraph won&#8217-t show it to you because it is not pinned with the &#8220-Telegraph&#8221- trademark.

Please, BetFair, do give us the possibility to have a wider time period for the chart data.

Previous blog posts by Chris F. Masse:

  • A second look at HedgeStreet’s comment to the CFTC about “event markets”
  • Since YooPick opened their door, Midas Oracle has been getting, daily, 2 or 3 dozens referrals from FaceBook.
  • US presidential hopeful John McCain hates the Midas Oracle bloggers.
  • If you have tried to contact Chris Masse thru the Midas Oracle Contact Form, I’m terribly sorry to inform you that your message was not delivered to the recipient.
  • “Over a ten-year period commencing on January 1, 2008, and ending on December 31, 2017, the S & P 500 will outperform a portfolio of funds of hedge funds, when performance is measured on a basis net of fees, costs and expenses.”
  • Meet professor Thomas W. Malone (on the right), from the MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence.

Prediction Markets & Data Visualization

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Spot that that guy didn&#8217-t say, &#8220-I monitor a prediction market&#8220-. He said, &#8220-I monitor a chart&#8220-.

InTrade, TradeSports, BetFair, TradeFair, NewsFutures and HubDub have a huge work to do to improve their charts. In the future, they will output richer charts. Customizable, dynamic, compound charts, with news markers.