The Economist brings back its paywall… Perhaps it should hire an economist.

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The Economist brings back its paywall&#8230- Perhaps it should hire an economist. &#8211- by Michael Masnick:

A bunch of folks have sent in the news that the Economist appears to be putting up something of a paywall, locking up all archival content older than 90 days, while also locking up one version of the magazine (the one that is made to look just like the physical paper layout). I have to be honest: I don&#8217-t see how this makes any sense at all. In our experience, somewhere between 25% to 30% of our daily traffic is to archival content, usually in the form of search engine traffic &#8212- or occasionally other sites picking up on an older story. Archival content is perfect Google fodder, driving traffic (and ad views) to pages that otherwise would get no traffic at all. In many ways, that&#8217-s a big part of the value of having widespread archives &#8212- to bring in such traffic for those who care about it. The chances of such a &#8220-drive by&#8221- viewer paying up for a subscription to view that content seems incredibly slim &#8212- and it seems quite likely that the decline in traffic (and ad dollars) would almost certainly outweigh the number of new subscribers added. This doesn&#8217-t seem to make any sense at all. Does The Economist have any information economists on staff?

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What Panos Ipeirotis didnt tell you

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Panos Ipeirotis depicted my activism to blog about the tone of the news article on enterprise prediction markets published by The Economist &#8212-and its implications. The takeaway that his readers will get is that Chris Masse is on caffeine. :-D

The important information that our good doctor Panos did not tell is that Chris Masse is the publisher of 2 websites (CFM since 2003 and Midas Oracle since 2006) whose main purpose is to list and/or excerpt the news articles, opinion pieces and research papers that focus on prediction markets. Since 2003, I have seen them all &#8212-in all stripes and colors.

So, it is not like I am a gullible newbie just out of the egg. I have a certain expertise in assessing any media piece on prediction markets. And the same thing can be said about Niall O&#8217-Connor (regarding the betting industry, more generally).

Mechanical Turk grades The Economists news article on enterprise prediction markets

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Panos Ipeirotis:


Well, the average was a 5.8/10, meaning that the average detected sentiment was pretty much neutral with some hints on positivity.

I acknowledge this result, brought to us by research scientist and university professor Panos Ipeirotis&#8230- who, 5 minutes ago, was alerting us on the hard fact that Mechanical Turk is not so much of a reliable tool&#8230-

Previously: Enterprise prediction markets… the next big thing —not.

Enterprise prediction markets… the next big thing -not.

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Niall O&#8217-Connor:

A previous Economist article, that I have archived, spoke of how Napster was revolutionising the music industry. Another one, called Betfair a radical upstart. A recent article on Hulu discussed how it was “online videos new model.” By anybody&#8217-s standards, these technologies have unleashed the forces of disintermediation, and affected a paradigmatic shift in the industries in which they operate.

By way of contrast, the Economist article on Prediction Markets states that Koch, one of the biggest users of Prediction markets, asserted that they are a compliment to other forecasting techniques and not a substitute to them. The article aslo raises the issue of cultural barriers that are inhibiting the take up of said Prediction Markets – not least, inertia (etc..).

One can take from the article that Prediction markets are not ground break, not radical, not revolutionising- they are not unleashing the forces of disintermediation. Accordingly, on the evidence presented (”much remains to be done to convince sceptical managers of their value”) the battle is an uphill one. Moreover, one can ask, if the battle was not won during the good times, what is the real chance that it will be won during a recession, when company’s are always more resistent to change.

You guys are all speaking from a position of being laden down with prediction market baggage. Your views are not objective, and one can only hope that you are not collectively suffering from disaster myopia. […]

Niall O&#8217-Connor&#8217-s website

How vendors are scuttling the field of enterprise prediction markets -and the prediction market industry, as a whole

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The danger of vendor conferences without any editorial line: It backfires against the whole prediction markets industry &#8212-big time.


I warned my readers many times against the vendor conferences organized by the San Francisco man. He is so desperate that he invites anybody who will pronounce the word &#8220-prediction&#8221- and &#8220-markets&#8221- in the same paragraph. Many of the invited speakers haven&#8217-t the slightest knowledge of the field of prediction markets. As for the vendors, they are incapable of producing one single case study featuring a success in the use of enterprise prediction markets. Not a single one. (And I won&#8217-t mention the &#8220-flow of information&#8221- &#8212-the worst research ever published on prediction markets.) Their vendor websites publish lists of clients, which, at first glance, look impressive, but many of those so-called customers are in fact ancient clients who have ended pilot programs years ago. To add insult to injury, this fake conference is sold $400 to gullible attendees. It is not even worth 4 cents.

The Economist reporter who attended the San Francisco conference realized what I [*] realized long ago: The field of enterprise prediction markets is all smokes and mirrors. The more the prediction market vendors will participate in such crappy conferences, the more the media will realize that the prediction market vendors are all hat and no cattle, and the more they will publish news stories bursting the prediction market bubble. And in the end of 2009, we will end up with 10 news articles in major media telling the world that prediction markets were a fad. Live by the hype- die by the hype.

The only way to get out of this debacle is to come back to basics: Do the research right, do discover the real value of enterprise prediction markets (velocity), and, then, only when you have something to show for it, go out in postings and conferences.

[*] I follow the field of prediction markets since 2003. I saw it in all shapes and stripes. You can fool your mother, but you can&#8217-t fool me.


An uncertain future – A novel way of generating forecasts has yet to take off. – by The Economist – 2009-02-26

– But although they have spread beyond early-adopting companies in the technology industry, they have still not become mainstream management tools. Even fervent advocates admit much remains to be done to convince sceptical managers of their value.

– Koch says the results so far have been pretty accurate compared to actual outcomes, but stresses that markets are complementary to other forecasting techniques, not a substitute for them.

– A big hurdle facing managers using prediction markets is getting enough people to keep trading after the novelty has worn off.

– Another reason prediction markets flop is that employees cannot see how the results are used, so they lose interest.

Bosses may also be wary of relying on the judgments of non-experts.

Inkling Markets to The Economist: The trend is up, fellas.

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Inkling Markets:

&#8220-Yet to take off,&#8221- however, does not equate to &#8220-bad idea.&#8221- The facts are that uptake among companies has been increasing year over year, more business schools are covering prediction markets in their curriculum, industry analysts have begun to track progress in the space, and an increasing number of management consulting firms, market research firms, and system integrators are adding prediction markets to their repertoire of services.

Inkling Markets


– How vendors are scuttling the field of enterprise prediction markets —and the prediction market industry, as a whole

– The Economist: The enterprise prediction markets are flopping, big time.

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The Economist rebuts Paul Krugman.

No GravatarSee the title of that post: &#8220-The market sees all, knows all&#8221-. :-D

The Economist

Read the previous blog posts by Chris F. Masse:

  • Is Justin Wolfers a libertarian? Probably not.
  • The information technology that caught Eliot Spitzer
  • Eric Zitzewitz’s 10 minutes of fame
  • Fun with conditional probabilities
  • Wrongly Crafted Headlines Of The Day
  • an American, petite, very pretty brunette, 5 feet 5 inches, and 105 pounds
  • Mississippi: Is it a primary or a caucus?