How to set Reverse IP Lookup to anything that you like (or dislike, should I say, in this case)… including a NewsFutures server that does not exist in reality…!!!…

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Dear readers,

Now is time to give you some background information about last week&#8217-s incident. As you all know, somebody was irked by what I said about the EPM software vendors and set up, not one, but two websites denigrating moi.

#1. I don&#8217-t care if someone makes a fool of moi. I am fair game. Plus, it gives a laughing opportunity to the Chief Economist of Midas Oracle, because it is revenge for my making fool of him when he is so wrong about the article in The Economist or else (follow the HubDub link given by Mike Linksvayer).

#2. My big concern with that attack is that it might well come from somebody I know &#8212-and who has always had the kindest words for me (including last week). So, that person might well be a hypocrite, and my trust in him (and his prediction market company, if any) will be wiped out, if my suspicion is confirmed.

#3. My secondary concern is that that attacker (who might well be a prediction market software vendor or a disgruntled employee) tried to put the blame on NewsFutures (both a prediction market software vendor and a public prediction exchange) for the 2 websites (&#8221-Chris F. Masse is a Fraud&#8221-, and &#8220-Overcoming Midas&#8221-). Just after that the 2 websites were discovered (by one innocent reader, who simply followed the web link posted by a commenter, &#8220-The Colonel&#8221-), many people e-mailed me to tell that I should do a &#8220-reverse IP lookup&#8220- to find out who is behind&#8230- I did&#8230- The result was & I was very surprised to see NewsFutures involved in this attack, and I sent the link to Emile Servan-Schreiber, who, first, expressed astonishment, and then forwarded the link to his CTO (Maurice Balick, some of you know him very well), who is a computer whiz and a master of &#8220-The Internets&#8221- &#8212-as would say former president George W. Bush. :-D

It turned out that:

– NewsFutures sent a &#8220-cease and desist&#8221- letter to the webhost of these 2 websites. Here is a very short excerpt of the NewsFutures letter:

That IP address provides a Reverse-ARP record containing However, we own the domain and we have never authorized anyone to setup this fake RARP record.

– In the meantime, following the brouhaha made on Midas Oracle when the IP address of The Colonel was revealed, the attacker cleared the RARP record during the night so that it no longer pointed to NewsFutures (the non-existent address).

– There are other technical and legal developments to this case, but I am not at liberty to talk further.

– However, I would like to explain to you how it was possible to put the blame on NewsFutures&#8230- even though Emile and his team had nothing to do with this attack.

The Reverse IP Lookup is so easy to fudge that it&#8217-s totally meaningless. It&#8217-s something that prediction market people should know about, so that, in the future, they would not be fooled into drawing conclusions from this kind of &#8220-evidence&#8221-.

To understand how one could fraudulently make a reverse IP lookup point to a domain, Emile and Maurice bought a $20 slice on the webhost where the and websites were hosted. The hosting service then lets you set the &#8220-reverse DNS&#8221- to any URL that you like, and within a few seconds the Reverse IP Lookup tool on iWebTools will point to the URL that you chose. As an example (and as a blink-blink sign to Mike Giberson and Mike Linksvayer), Emile and Maurice made the IP point to &

Try it:


CONCLUSION: Someone tried to incriminate NewsFutures (and fuck with our readers&#8217- mind) by setting up these agressive websites and having the Reverse IP Lookup point to a fake NewsFutures URL.


Did the attacker try to pin it on, not just one, but *two* prediction market software vendors?

How that prediction market consultant in Holland attracts economic advisers on the cheap

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I am writing on behalf of [PREDICTION MARKET SOFTWARE VENDOR’S NAME], a Netherlands based consulting firm, because our research has identified you as a scholar with some expertise in Prediction Markets or a related field. [THEY JUST SCRAPPED MIDAS ORACLE’S LISTINGS] We would like to assess your suitability and interest to join the panel of scientific advisors with [PREDICTION MARKET SOFTWARE VENDOR’S NAME] (

In doing so, we propose to explore your area of experience and knowledge of Prediction Markets. Having established this, we would like to list you as our scientific advisor on your area of expertise on Prediction Markets. This will allow us to seek your services for a negotiated fee, once your particular expertise in developing or interpreting a Prediction Market issue is required.

I trust this message clarifies in short the mutual benefits in our cooperation. Please feel free to contact me to discuss further details.


Communications Manager

Google rewards those who take part in web conversations about (enterprise) prediction markets.

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Scanning the results for the query on &#8220-prediction markets&#8221-, I see that, focusing on the software vendors and prediction market consultants incorporated after the 2003&#8211-2004 starting point (hence, excluding pioneer NewsFutures), Inkling Markets is ranked much higher than Consensus Point.

  1. No need to wonder why. Adam Siegel (the Inkling Markets CEO) is an active participant in the discussion &#8212-thru his blog, thru comments on Midas Oracle, and thru private e-mails. (I told many times Dave to catch up. Pissing in a violin in order to compose a symphony would have been more fruitful.)
  2. Having a prestigious &#8220-Chief Scientist&#8221- is not such a determinant. It only impresses a few young, inexperienced and gullible spotty collegians. What makes the difference on the Web is your openness &#8212-more exactly, how much high-quality information you are willing to publish, free of charge, free of advertising, and free of copyright. Take a look at Inkling Markets. Adam Siegel has made the hell of an effort to make available many explainers and case studies on enterprise prediction markets. I don&#8217-t agree with everything he says, but I reckon that he is the only one to make the effort to reach out to web readers.

In the end, whether the judge is Google or Chris Masse, the passing of time is important. It allows us to see thru prediction market people. There are those who matter &#8212-and those who don&#8217-t.


Google PageRank:

Inkling Markets: 6 / 10
Consensus Point: 5 / 10

that growth rate just isn’t as high as I wish it would be.

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As soon as that un-informed comment hit Google Reader, I received, in my e-mail inbox, proof that some prediction market vendors are doing very well lately, as prestigious Fortune-500 companies have been joining the ranks of organizations trying out enterprise prediction markets as their internal forecasting tool. Some of these names will be made public later on, I hope.

All the prediction market vendors I know of are bullish.

Googles Bo Cowgill takes a swipe at the prediction market software vendors.

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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

Bo Cowgill:

[&#8230-] Trade-by-trade data can reveal characteristics of specific working groups: What they know, how they feel, how they process and share information and how all of that changes over time. I didn&#8217-t try to put any of this in the paper because the conclusions would be sensitive, and I thought this application was pretty obvious to anybody who understood our methodology. [&#8230-]

Bo Cowgill:

I&#8217-ve also heard that other companies would find it impossible to analyze the interaction between their market and the organization. Why? Lack of data. [&#8230-]

Bo Cowgill:

Some more remarks about applications that combine prediction markets and organizational data (org charts, social networks, seating locations). The obstacle to these applications is not a lack of data. Jed mentions privacy concerns &#8212- and if he thinks this is a big obstacle then I&#8217-d be interested in discussing his thoughts.

A bigger problem is that that current prediction market vendors and consultants cannot support these applications. At heart, these vendors are software engineers and salespeople at heart, not statisticians or data miners. They want to write one system that can support lots of clients. At conferences, one hears PM vendors complain about having to do &#8220-customization&#8221- work for clients.

This approach would not work for the applications I describe for two reasons:

  1. The inputs for different clients won&#8217-t be the same. Each client&#8217-s organizational data will likely take a different structure. This makes it difficult for prediction market vendors to architect a single system that can served many clients (yet another challenge with integrating markets with other corporate IT services).
  2. The outputs for different clients won&#8217-t be the same. The business relevance and statistical power of each analysis will differ with each client&#8217-s data.

Prediction market vendors may also need to familiarize themselves with the statistical learning methods necessary to fully utilize these rich datasets. So what&#8217-s the solution? First, move to a software-and-consulting model. By &#8216-consulting,&#8217- I don&#8217-t mean &#8216-consulting on how to implement the market.&#8217- I&#8217-m talking about helping the client solve its problem using a variety of data, including prediction market data.

Second, the vendors also need to pitch prediction markets as more than a forecasting tool. People in the business world commonly identify as data junkies &#8212- probably more so than they identify with the &#8216-wisdom of crowds&#8217- ethos. It is unclear how much companies really care about accurate forecasting anyway.

On a related note, there is something that only the prediction market software vendors could do, at this time, for those who are in capacity to do so: setting up inter-industry prediction markets &#8212-or at least, handing over (with everybody&#8217-s agreement) anonymized prediction market data on industry topics to anyone else in the industry who is a client of that PM firm. I don&#8217-t know about NewsFutures or Inkling Markets, but if you look at Consensus Point&#8217-s list of clients, you&#8217-ll see that David Perry&#8217-s firm is strong in the (consumer) electronic industry &#8212-Motorola, Qualcomm, Siemens, Nokia. Use your imagination, or ask David Perry directly, for more&#8230- (I can&#8217-t talk- otherwise, next thing, I&#8217-m a dead blogger.)&#8230-

Previous blog posts by Chris F. Masse:

  • Last year’s best April Fool’s Day Joke had something to do with the Wisdom Of Crowds.
  • Will HedgeStreet USA, the hypothetical InTrade USA, and the hypothetical TradeFair USA, be regulated in the future by a merged SEC+CFTC regulatory structure?
  • WORST THAN ELIOT SPITZER (if it were possible): Formula One boss, Max Mosley, had sado-masochist sex with 5 prostitutes, for 5 hours (!!), reenacting a concentration camp scene (!!) in which he played the role of both Nazi guard and inmate.
  • Is BetFair Poker a booby trap for the gullible novices? Does The Sporting Exchange (the operator of the BetFair brands) help gangs plucking down innocent recreational poker players?? To get an inkling, don’t read The Guardian, seeded by the BetFair spin doctor- read Midas Oracle.
  • The video that the technologically retarded BetFair spin doctor should watch.