Felix Salmons hastily written NYT Op-Ed about the Cantor Exchange and MDEX

You will learn nothing.

Watch the US House video instead. You will have more facts and more arguments.

UPDATE: Mike Giberson has a remark on Felix&#8217-s piece.

Are good blogs driven by author personalities or by well drilled topics?

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Justin Wolfers has escaped the Overcoming Bias purge, it seems. Justin Wolfers&#8217-s 4 posts (published in 2007) remain archived on what is now Robin Hanson&#8217-s QUOTE personal blog UNQUOTE. By contrast, Eliezer Yudkowsky&#8217-s posts written for Overcoming Bias now redirect to locations at Less Wrong.

Justin Wolfers now blogs at Freakonomics (which is under the New York Times umbrella). By comparison to Overcoming His Bias, Freakonomics is a real group blog success. Years later after his creation, Freaknomics has a high degree of participation by his co-bloggers, and some brand-new guest bloggers were recently invited. Freakonomics is a sustainable group blog which develops one unique thematic &#8212-economics. Sorry to burst our Master Of All Universes&#8217-s bubble, but Freakonomics is the case-in-point that debunks the hypothesis that says that &#8220-blogs are best defined not by topic but by lead author personalities&#8221-.

As for Midas Oracle, who cares about Chris Masse&#8217-s personality, as long as one gets his/her prediction market dope on a daily basis?


Robin Hanson:

Chris, Eliezer was not “purged.” He requested to have his old posts moved to Less Wrong. No one else has made any similar request.

Eliezer was not “expelled”– he choose to move in order to build a community at Less Wrong using fancy comment karma software. The folks who wrote software for his new site also wrote the code at my new site.

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No GravatarThe richer people and countries become, the happier they get.

Wow, that&#8217-s what I call a discovery.

Freakonomics – #2 – #3

New York Times

CNBC video

Previous blog posts by Chris F. Masse:

  • Just like the armchair generals (presented on television as “military analysts”) carry the Pentagon’s propaganda, are our economics professors (who need the exchange data to pursue their academic career) in fact John Delaney’s unofficial P.R. agents, hidden behind an appearance of objectivity, and whose agenda is to generate favorable news coverage for InTrade? Is the symbiotic relationship between the prediction exchanges and the economics researchers dangerous for the truth?
  • Can we still trust Betfair? Should we trust Betfair? Or indeed, any betting exchange?
  • Prediction Markets at Google — by Peter A. Coles, Karim R. Lakhani, Andrew McAfee
  • Is that HubDub’s Nigel Eccles on the bottom left of that UK WebMission pic?
  • 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 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.

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

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Via forecasting expert Mat Fogarty of Xpree (cited but not linked to, alas, in that story), the New York Times (2 pages):

“The potential is that prediction markets may be the thing that enables a big company to act more like a small, nimble company again,” said Jeffrey Severts, a vice president who oversees prediction markets at Best Buy, the electronics retailer. The store chain has experimented with prediction markets on everything from demand for digital set-top boxes to store-opening dates. For example, Mr. Severts said that in the fall of 2006, the prices in a prediction market on whether a new store in Shanghai would open on time — in December 2006 — dropped sharply from $80 a share into the $40 to $50 range. Players made yes-no bets, and the virtual dollar drop reflected increasing doubt that the store would open on time. Indeed, Best Buy’s first store in China opened late, in January 2007, but the warning signs from the prediction market helped prevent further slippage. Mr. Severts noted that prices in a current prediction market — betting whether new offerings from its Geek Squad service will be introduced on time in June — are in the $90 range, an encouraging sign. Best Buy plans to move beyond pilot projects in prediction markets to involve more workers throughout the company, starting next month. “It helps on two fronts, the speed and accuracy of information, so that management can move faster to deal with problems or exploit opportunities,” Mr. Severts said.

Previously: Do Google’s enterprise prediction markets work?

Previous blog posts by Chris F. Masse:

  • 50% of our prediction market luminaries have a MacBook.
  • Ron Paul (R) and Barney Frank (D) ally together to attack “the practical hurdles of the federal law, known as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, rather than its legitimacy”.
  • Clicking on the “SPHERE: RELATED CONTENT” button, at the bottom of each Midas Oracle post, will bring you a list of external webspots.
  • FRIGHTENING: Jed Christiansen’s prediction market blog was briefly overtaken by web spammers, who inserted invisible links to their commercial sites so as to game the Google PageRank system.
  • InTrade ditch market-leader Bloomberg for low-cost, second-tier data provider eSignal.
  • Drawing a parallel between our reluctance to seek advice and the experts’ reluctance to take the market-generated probabilistic predictions in an un-discriminating, un-critical fashion

In a Google search of five keywords or phrases representing the top five news stories of 2007, weblogs will rank higher than the New York Times Web site.

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The blogs won the bet.

In a Google search of five keywords or phrases representing the top five news stories of 2007, weblogs will rank higher than the New York Times&#8217- Web site.

The bet has been expired on the &#8220-YES&#8221- side. Dave Winer (representing the bloggers) won &#8212-and Martin Nisenholtz (representing the New York Times &#8212-at the time, in 2002) lost.

Long Bet 2

We decided that a weblog had to be something that would have been recognized as a blog in [2002]. This includes ad supported blogs and commercial blogs like those of the NY Times. While the bettors argument in this case discusses why non-commercial content will beat out commercial content, Winer never provides a definition of a weblog. As it turns out, including major news source blogs like those of the NY Times or sources like Wikipedia do not affect the ultimate outcome in the case of this bet, but they certainly could have.

Hummm&#8230- How come Long Bets could have let people register a not-so-well-defined bet? Long Bets does not seem to be a serious organization to me.

As for what it all means: The blogging software packages are better content management systems than the other, older CMS packages. The blogging software and their specific usage (free access, content parcelisation, dates and keywords inserted in the URLs, peer linking, open comments, etc.) fit better in the Google super system.

Psstt&#8230- One idea for the prediction exchanges like NewsFutures or InTrade would be to open prediction markets on Long Bets topics just weeks before the expiration dates. The event derivative contracts would say that the expiry judge is Long Bets. Emile Servan-Schreiber and Michael Giberson, any thought? :-D

External Link: TechCrunch on what is a blog.

Amateur Journalists (Bloggers) Vs. Professional Journalists (Media) Vs. Wisdom Of Crowds & Collective Intelligence (Wikipedia)

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And the wisdom of crowds won, of course. That&#8217-s the conclusion I draw from reading Rogers Cadenhead at WorkBench, who assessed what would be the settlement of the LongBets wager on:

In a Google search of five keywords or phrases representing the top five news stories of 2007, weblogs will rank higher than the New York Times&#8217- Web site.

Dave Winer

($1,000 each)

Martin Nisenholtz

For Rogers Cadenhead, Dave Winer will win the bet. But he also says that the overall winner is&#8230- WIKIPEDIA.

[…] So Winer wins the bet 3-2, but his premise of blog triumphalism is challenged by the fact that on all five stories, a major U.S. media outlet ranks above the leading weblog in Google search. Also, the results for the top story of the year reflect poorly on both sides. In the five years since the bet was made, a clear winner did emerge, but it was neither blogs nor the Times. Wikipedia, which was only one year old in 2002, ranks higher today on four of the five news stories: 12th for Chinese exports, fifth for oil prices, first for the Iraq war, fourth for the mortgage crisis and first for the Virginia Tech killings. Winer predicted a news environment &#8220-changed so thoroughly that informed people will look to amateurs they trust for the information they want.&#8221- Nisenholtz expected the professional media to remain the authoritative source for &#8220-unbiased, accurate, and coherent&#8221- information. Instead, our most trusted source on the biggest news stories of 2007 is a horde of nameless, faceless amateurs who are not required to prove expertise in the subjects they cover.

So the real winner is Wikipedia &#8212-a news and knowledge aggregator&#8230- using anonymous volunteers. But Wikipedia is only an information aggregator&#8230- it feeds on both media and blogs to gather the facts. Wikipedia is the common denominator of knowledge &#8212-not the primary source of reporting. Just like prediction markets feed on polls and other advanced indicators.

External Link: See a previous assessment of the bet by Jason Kottke.

NEXT: Amateur Experts (Yahoo! Answers) Vs. Wisdom Of Crowds &amp- Collective Intelligence (Wikipedia)

UPDATE: An empty comment from Read &#038- Write Web.

Ouch! – Finding from a Web usability expert (Jakob Nielsen): 50% of Web readers dont scroll down the webpage.

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From today&#8217-s New York Times:

Studies by Mr. Nielsen’s company, the Nielsen Norman Group, an Internet design firm in Fremont, Calif., show that only 50 percent of Web visitors scroll down the screen to see what lies below the visible part on their PC monitor. “Users spend 30 seconds reviewing a home page,” Mr. Nielsen said. “A business must encapsulate what they do in very few words.”

Web Usability Links:

– Jakob Nielsen: UseIt.com – AlertBox –

– David Pennock and Robin Hanson, the wannabe bloggers, would probably pass the following Jakob Nielsen test: Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes – by Jakob Nielsen – 2005-10-17

– Alex Kirtland – Blog: Usable Markets – E-mail interview with Alex Kirtland.