The marketing blitz for Tom Gardner’s Motley Fool One service continues today. If you go to Fool.com today, there’s a new full screen ad that pops up and asks if you “are the type of investor Tom Gardner is looking for” and invites you to “apply” for the service by providing your email address. I don’t think this was there yesterday. A small banner ad sits at the top claiming that over 92,000 people have already applied.
How truthful is this idea that the Motley Fool One service is exclusive in any way? Are they really vetting applicants based on the small quiz they ask you to take? I highly doubt it. I have to believe if those 92,000+ applicants all plunked down the $9,500 subscription price, the Motley Fool would be happy to accept the nearly $1 billion in revenue that represents. This isn’t a hedge fund where you need to be an accredited investor after all, so it’s got to be just another marketing tactic.
If I’m right, then this is a little misleading, and another example of Motley Fool marketing shooting itself in the foot. And by Motley Fool marketing standards, this is tame. As I mentioned in my previous post I’m considering signing up for Motley Fool One because I respect the analysts and have had generally good experiences with many of their premium services (see any of my reviews in the pages above), but if I do subscribe, it will be despite their marketing, not because of it.
Make sure to check out all of my posts on Motley Fool One using the categories section.
UPDATE 3/13: I sent an email to Motley Fool member services asking them about their “selection” criteria” for Motley Fool One. They responded to my email and stated that there is no barrier to membership and that “anyone can join”. But they say that there are a limited number of membership spots available primarily because some of their investment recommendations are “fairly illiquid” and “thinly traded”. They also stated that Motley Fool One is not recommended for “day traders” and not for people who want to spend “less than one hour a month” on their investments.
The rationale that they want to limit membership because some recommendations are thinly traded insinuates that they are concerned about moving the market on those stocks. That seems like a stretch to me. You will often see a bump in the prices of the Stock Advisor monthly recommendations the second it gets released on Friday afternoons, so if they are structuring their services to try to avoid moving the market that would be a new approach, and an approach I see as unlikely.
Has anyone ever been turned away from a membership at Motley Fool?