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.

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