By Matt Krantz

Although stock message boards have been around essentially since the start of online investing, they’ve morphed quite a bit through the past bull and bear markets. But currently, they’re available on a number of different platforms.

Using online stock message boards as the key to your investment strategy isn’t a good idea. Listening to so many other opinions might cause you to second-guess yourself and prompt you to buy and sell stocks too often. But more importantly, you don’t know whom you’re chatting with, and such boards are havens for scammers.

Consider Anthony Elgindy, an infamous stock picker who developed a strong following for some of his picks on the stock message board, Silicon Investor, as “AnthonyPacific,” in addition to promoting stocks on his own website. Elgindy was convicted in 2005 in federal court on multiple counts of securities fraud and extortion. Remember, always consider the source when using stock message boards to pick stocks.

The investing areas of general Internet portals

As message boards get pushed aside by Twitter and Facebook, most of the portals have dropped them. The last holdout that still offers them is Yahoo! Finance, which has become a top destination for the casual stock message board participant. Just enter a stock symbol of a company you’d like to hear about into the Quote Lookup text field and click the name of the company you’re interested in when it pops up. Click the Message Boards link on the left-hand side of the new page that appears. You can scroll down through the messages and read them, but if you want to reply to messages, you’ll need a Yahoo! logon ID and password.

Specialized stock message boards

These boards are often the most popular sites with individual investors who see themselves as being more advanced than those using the general Internet portals’ boards. Examples include

  • Raging Bull: One of the favorite spots for day traders and active speculators, here you can find a board on just about anything, ranging from individual stocks to specific industries. You can even trade investing jokes!

  • Silicon Investor: This site tends to attract investors primarily interested in large and midsize publicly traded companies.

  • Investors Hub: Discussions here tend to focus on who’s hot (and who’s not) among smaller companies.

Stock message board aggregators

You can waste a great deal of time hopping between all the different stock message boards. Some sites, called aggregators, try to solve this problem by pulling the messages into one place. One source of this information is BoardCentral, shown in the following figure. BoardCentral offers a single place to get messages from Yahoo! Finance, Raging Bull, Silicon Investor, and others. It has also recently started scouring Twitter for messages about stocks, too. BoardCentral also ranks the stocks that are most talked about as well as those stocks that investors are most often searching for.

BoardCentral consolidates links to stock blogs and news sites — and Twitter.
BoardCentral consolidates links to stock blogs and news sites — and Twitter.