Is Chris Masse a spammer?

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In response to the remark posted by the charming Bo Cowgill, I am not the author of the spamming comment referred to by David Pennock. Being a smart and investigative researcher, David Pennock understood that already, and aimed at analyzing that strange spamming process. (Others prefer wasting their time analyzing the &#8220-flow of information&#8221-.)

UPDATE: David Pennock has just said in a comment on his blog that the spamming comment was made from an IP address from &#8220-New Dehli, India&#8221- &#8212-which is obviously not my location. So, I can now sue Bo Cowgill for defamation and collect a good bundle of $$$. :-D

PS: If the charming Bo Cowgill refers to my very occasional sending of mass e-mails to the registered members of my group blog, Midas Oracle .ORG, I don&#8217-t think it should be qualified as spamming, but I am ready to listen to contrarian opinions from veteran Internet users.

Coalition for Internal Markets (CIM)

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Bo Cowgill:

Google and Yahoo are working with a number of other companies to join us for a larger announcement. We already have some lined up, and are looking for more. Some Midas Oracle readers might have already been contacted or will be contacted shortly &#8212- we are still interested in working together.

Stay tuned! If your company would like to support our effort (or if you know someone at a company that might be interested), please be in touch.


1. Although our coalition is called &#8220-Coalition for Internal Markets,&#8221- our petition discusses public markets used for business as well.

2. The signatories from Google and Yahoo! were Hal Varian and Preston McAfee, two senior execs and Chief Economists at Google and Yahoo.

The vetting of the many potential Democratic vice president nominees was not as secretive as I thought. – Bo Cowgill was right, in hindsight.

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The New York Times has a recount on how Barack Obama reached his decision on Joe Biden. The final decision was probably made 10 days ago, while Barack Obama was vacationing in Hawaii.

[…] Mr. Obama’s decision had as much to do with Mr. Biden’s appeal among white working-class voters and compelling personal story, and his conclusion that the Delaware senator was &#8220-a worker.&#8221-

The important information in the NYT piece is that Barack Obama personally called governor Bill Richardson &#8220-late last week&#8221- to announce him that he was not considered anymore. That&#8217-s around the time the Joe Biden rumor began to have more weight in the media circles &#8212-see the InTrade chart below.

Bo Cowgill, back in May 2008 (when I started to act as a prophet of doom):

This is dumb. Cover them if something interesting happens. Maybe your theory will turn out to be wrong. Anyhow: Although the decision is made in secrecy, the Presidential nominees have a number incentives which we have plenty of information about. Specifically:
* They want someone who will balance their tickets in terms of geography, race and class.
* They want someone who will help with weak areas of their campaigns.
* They want someone who will be a good campaign surrogate — giving good speeches and attacking the opponents effectively.
* They want to avoid a VP who will de-motivate or offend the base.
* They want to avoid someone with a bunch of skeletons in the closet such as angry ex-wives, out-of-wedlock kids, etc.
* Etc etc.
Anyhow, I don’t see any reason to ignore these markets in case something interesting happens. I read Midas Oracle so that I don’t *have* to read a whole bunch of other websites!

Bo Cowgill was on the right track, now that I think of it &#8212-in a society where everything leaks out.

On the opposite of the spectrum, Tom Snee was too much extreme in his view:

According to Tom Snee of the Iowa Electronic Market, at Iowa University, futures markets need more hard information than they get in the veepstakes, to reliably predict a result.

Markets are very good at predicting elections, he says – but not choices being made inside Barack Obama&#8217-s or John McCain&#8217-s head.

Justin Wolfers was more measured.

So, Bo Cowgill and Justin Wolfers are the winners, on that one.

I was partially wrong. I am a bit too extreme, sometimes. (Did someone else notice that? :-D ) I need to learn more about&#8230- granularity.

PS: On the Republican side, now&#8230-

Price for 2008 Republican VP Nominee (others upon request)(expired at convention) at

Who will be the Republican Vice Presidential Nominee?

Subsidizing real-money prediction markets and real-money conditional prediction markets

Should Google subsidize the Lunar X Prize contract on InTrade?

John Salvatier,

Our good friend Bo Cowgill might have already re-created those prediction markets on Google&#8217-s internal prediction exchange at a marginal cost of zero US dollar. No need for him to &#8220-subsidize&#8221- external prediction markets.

[As an appendix, I precise that I am in favor of opening the enterprise prediction markets to external traders, for some questions.]

Subsidizing prediction markets is an old Robin Hanson idea that carries quite a heavy price tag.

Conditional prediction markets is a great idea on the paper. Many people (e.g., Mike Linksvayer) like the idea. However, here is what the uncritical Robin Hanson fanboys blogging on Overcoming Whatever won&#8217-t tell you:

  • The first problem is that nobody trades those things.
  • The second problem is that subsidizing those conditional prediction markets costs an arm and a leg.
  • The third problem is that no major news media outlet has ever quoted the prediction market prices / probabilities generated by those conditional prediction markets.

Peter McCluskey could have rent a French mistress (or a French gigolo) for a full year with all the money he is spending on Robin Hanson&#8217-s idea. Or vaccinated the whole African continent against Malaria. See Peter&#8217-s comment, at the middle of the webpage, here.

Philanthropy and prediction markets are not mixing well &#8212-yet.

The best presentations from the worlds best conference on enterprise prediction markets -ever

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Awesome slides in bold.

Brought to you by Koleman Strumpf (circa November 2007):

Henry Berg, Microsoft &lt-slides&gt-
Discussant: Robin Hanson (George Mason Department of Economics) &lt-slides&gt-

Christina Ann LaComb, GE (The Imagination Market- abstract is free, text is gated) &lt-slides&gt-
Discussant: Marco Ottaviani (Kellogg School of Management, Management and Strategy) &lt-slides&gt-

Dawn Keller, Best Buy (Best Buy’s TAGTRADE Market) &lt-slides&gt-

Bo Cowgill, Google (Putting Crowd Wisdom to Work) &lt-slides&gt-

Jim Lavoie, Co-Founder and CEO, Rite-Solutions &lt-slides&gt-

David Perry, Co-Founder and President, Consensus Point &lt-slides&gt-

Mat Fogarty, Founder and CEO, Xpree Inc &lt-slides&gt-

Tom W. Bell, Chapman University School of Law &lt-slides&gt-

Bo Cowgills boss = Hal Varian

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UPDATE: Bo tells us: &#8220-Actually, that’s my desk right behind him, in the top picture.&#8221-

Using Prediction Markets to Track Information Flows: Evidence from Google – (PDF file – PDF file) – by Bo Cowgill, Justin Wolfers, and Eric Zitwewitz – 2008-01-06


Previous blog posts by Chris F. Masse:

  • POLLS VERSUS PREDICTION MARKETS: Justin Wolfers retorts to Bob Erikson.
  • Based on market data from a tiny prediction exchange (IEM, which is much smaller than InTrade-TradeSports or BetFair), a couple of researchers claim that prediction markets do not have superior predictive power. — And, adding salt to injury, they call our prediction market luminaries (Robin Hanson, Justin Wolfers, etc.)… “naive”.
  • Do the media avoid reporting the bad omens that is sometimes reflected in the prediction markets?
  • BetFair’s brand-new bet matching logic
  • Quizz Of The Day — Monday Morning Edition
  • BEWARE THE BLOGGING ACADEMICS: They are not blogging to inform us —they are blogging to promote themselves.
  • Did Jason Ruspini and friends cash in on huge moves in prices of oil, natural gas, coal and other parts of the energy patch, this semester?

Google Reader now lets you jot down a note about any feed item that youve just read, before you share it with your acquaintances and friends (so they can sense how you feel about the news of the day). So, now, we know what Googles Bo Cowgill thinks of the CFTC announcement: ITS COOL.

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Bo Cowgill

Here&#8217-s the Google Reader announcement about this new functionality. (My thought: it&#8217-s &#8220-cool&#8221-. :-D )

Robert Scoble thinks it&#8217-s lame.

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To share items with me (Chris Masse) within Google Reader, go to GMail, and under &#8220-Chat&#8221- (on the left pane), click on &#8220-Add Contact&#8221-. Paste my e-mail address there (chrisfmasse +++at&#8212- gmail +dot&#8212- com). Once I receive your invite, I&#8217-ll accept it. You will then see my shared items and I&#8217-ll see yours within Google Reader.

– Advanced tips on how to share items with friends within Google Reader

– Chris Masse&#8217-s Starred Items at Google Reader &#8212- Many things there.

– Chris Masse&#8217-s Shared Items at Google Reader &#8212- Only the most important things.

More info about site feeds and feed readers.

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And, remember:

  1. Life is &#8220-cool&#8221-.
  2. Parachute jumping is &#8220-cool&#8221-.
  3. Prediction markets are &#8220-cool&#8221-.
  4. Google is &#8220-cool&#8221-.
  5. Google Reader is &#8220-cool&#8221-.
  6. Midas Oracle is &#8220-cool&#8221-.
  7. God is &#8220-cool&#8221-.
  8. Robin Hanson is &#8220-cool&#8221-, too. :-D
  9. Let&#8217-s all be &#8220-cool&#8221-.

The Promise Of Enterprise Prediction Markets – The McKinsey conference should have been rooted in the economic science and McKinsey should have invited economists.

No GravatarMcKinsey: The Promise Of Prediction Markets

James Surowiecki: The premise is that under the right circumstances, the collective judgment of a large group of people will generally provide a better picture of what the future might look like than anything one expert or even a small group of experts will come up with. [&#8230-]

James Surowiecki: The Wisdom of Crowds is not an argument against experts. It is saying that you shouldn’t rely wholly on the judgment of one person or even a very small group of people. But for a crowd to be smart, it needs to satisfy certain criteria. It needs to be diverse, so that people are bringing different pieces of information to the table. It needs to be decentralized, so that no one at the top is dictating the crowd’s answer. It needs to summarize people’s opinions into one collective verdict. And the people in the crowd need to be independent, so that they pay attention mostly to their own information and don’t worry about what everyone around them thinks.

James Surowiecki: [&#8230-] One shortcoming is that a lot of people inside organizations don’t find the market mechanism intuitive or easily understood. They find it very challenging to use, which limits the pool of people who participate.

On James Surowiecki&#8217-s last remark, I would say that Robin Hanson&#8217-s MSR technology (which powers most enterprise prediction exchanges but Google&#8217-s one) brought much needed simplification to trading.

Overall, a good roundup, but the conference speakers should have mentioned Robin Hanson&#8217-s pioneering work, and McKinsey should have invited him. He would have towered anybody and given great insights.

See Jed Christiansen for other remarks.

As an aside, I&#8217-d say I prefer the sketch that is supposed to represent Bo rather than the real photo. The sketch makes him look like he is subtitle, charming, smiling, humble, and modest &#8212-quite a quantum leap. :-D

Bo Cowgill

Bo Cowgill – Economics at Google

  • PhotoShop designers improve the look of models on glossy magazine covers.
  • Sketchy artists improve the look of testosteroned, ultra-serious, ambitious, young business managers. :-D

Previously: Do Google’s enterprise prediction markets work?

Previous blog posts by Chris F. Masse:

  • Collective Error = Average Individual Error – Prediction Diversity
  • When gambling meets Wall Street — Proposal for a brand-new kind of finance-based lottery
  • The definitive proof that it’s presently impossible to practice prediction market journalism with BetFair.
  • The Absence of Teams In Production of Blog Journalism
  • Publish a comment on the BetFair forum, get arrested.
  • If I had to guess, I would say about 50 percent of the “name pros” you see on television on a regular basis have a negative net worth. Frightening, I know.
  • You can’t measure the usefulness of a system by how many resources it consumes.

The New York Times article doesnt mention Googles enterprise prediction markets, alas. – Bo Cowgill says that the illustration published in the sidebar defines exclusively what is done at Google.

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Right-click on the New York Times graphic below, open Bo Cowgill&#8217-s post in another browser tab, and read his arguments.


Image Credit: Chris Gash for the New York Times

Adam Siegel of Inkling Markets is also out with a post on that NYT article, but it is of no intellectual interest. Maybe Adam should blog less quickly and eat more fish.

I forgot to tell you, the other day, that Best Buy is a Consensus Point client, but you knew that already.

Previously: The New York Times is telling the business world that enterprise prediction markets are an essential management tool.

[Via Xpree]

Previously: Do Google’s enterprise prediction markets work?

Previous blog posts by Chris F. Masse:

  • The Terror Finance Blog
  • Playing fantasy sports is not gambling. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act includes a specific exemption for fantasy sports, provided the prizes are determined in advance and the imaginary teams don’t correspond to any real teams.
  • Inkling Markets’ Advisory Board… which does not want to tell its name
  • BetFair created the world’s largest ad banner —as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records.
  • Why Emile Servan-Schreiber is on to something with Bet 2 Give —and why InTrade, TradeSports and BetFair should each have a philanthropy wallet.
  • The CFTC is going to close the comments in 14 days. We have 14 days left to convince the CFTC to accept FOR-PROFIT prediction exchanges, and counter the evil petition organized by the American Enterprise Institute (which has on its payroll Paul Wolfowitz, the bright masterminder of the Iraq war).
  • The purpose of X2 is to identify future disruptions, opportunities, and competitive landscapes related to the content and dynamics of global science and technology innovation- to develop a new platform for understanding global innovation trends- and to present this information to policy- and decision-makers, as well as the general public, in a useful form.