November 17, 2003

TinyURL Stock Investing

BoingBoing blogged today about tinkering with TinyURL's (looks like it's Erik Olsen's original suggestion). TinyURL is a great little site I use often to scrunch an absurdly long URL into something... tiny, that I can then pass along to someone in email or in a conference posting.

TinyURL (which I love much more than competitor MakeAShorterLink.com) works by your simply entering the URL you want squished and it spits back a 4-character filename at the tinyurl.com webserver that when accessed, is redirected to the long URL you specified.

True to form, the BoingBoingers tried out their names (think about it... Mark, Cory, Xeni...) to see where they led. Very clever, those BoingBoingers.

Considering that I've already proposed a rather unusual stock investing method based on Amazon Purchase Circles (hey, Motley Fool loved it), why not try one based on TinyURLs?

After all, guess what has four letters: Nasdaq stock symbols. Need I say more?

Hey: Maybe I've discovered the great secret way to divine what stocks to buy, sell, or hold, depending on what URL the stock symbol's TinyURL points to?

First, let's set up some rules:

  • If NO TinyURL exists for a stock symbol, then don't do anything. No buy, no sell. Hold if you already own.

  • If a TinyURL exists and the web page you go to is a page with text that's generally positive, good news or a happy picture, then BUY!!!

  • If a TinyURL exists but the web page you go to is a page with text that's generally negative or whiny, controversial, or morally objectionable, or has a similarly uncouth photograph, then SELL that stock!

  • If the TinyURL exists but when TinyURL redirects, you arrive at a 404 not found, signup/registration page, or similar non-content page, HOLD (probably indefinitely!)

Ok, with these rules in place, let's have some fun.

  • AAPL -- Apple Computer. TinyURL.com/AAPL points to an AutoTrader page for a car that is no longer listed for sale. Hey, you know what that means! HOLD!

  • AMAT -- Applied Materials. TinyURL.com/AMAT points to a PDF file for "Women who shine" nominees for a Women of Distinction Awards from YMCA/YWCA. Cool! BUY!

  • AMZN -- Amazon.com. TinyURL.com/AMZN points to a no longer existing item at eBay. HOLD!

  • CSCO -- Cisco. TinyURL.com/CSCO points to a January 2001 CNN story with the headline "Ballot nightmare lingers for Palm Beach elections chief." Nightmare, eh? SELL!

  • DELL -- Dell. TinyURL.com/DELL points to, er, a website that some would find er, morally objectionable, shall we say. Don't even think of going there, just SELL, SELL, SELL!

  • EBAY -- eBay. TinyURL.com/EBAY points to a dead web page. HOLD!

  • ERTS -- Electronic Arts. TinyURL.com/ERTS points to a web discussion page on a PDA product, where the customers seem very very happy. You know what that means (sheesh, this stock can do no wrong): BUY!

  • IACI -- InterActive Corp. TinyURL.com/IACI points to a tourist photo of Plymouth Rock. Check out the angle of the photo. Now if that were a stock chart, what would you do? Of course you would . . . BUY!

  • INTC -- Intel. TinyURL.com/INTC points to a July 2003 Washington Post story about how Top Iraqi scientists deny WMD programs. SELL!

  • MSFT -- Microsoft. TinyURL.com/MSFT points to a News24.com registration page for South Africa. HOLD!

  • NFLX -- Netflix. TinyURL.com/NFLX points to an AP wire story on how power anomalies presaged the nation's worst blackout back in August. Blackouts? Uh-oh. SELL!

  • NXTL -- Nextel. TinyURL.com/NXTL points to a BMW of Canada website but the database-driven page is broken, with a big "Microsoft VBScript runtime error". Don't you just hate when that happens? SELL!

  • ORCL -- Oracle. TinyURL.com/ORCL points to a Canadian Amazon page for the import CD of Elton John's Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. Hmm, well, it does have a couple good songs on it, so. . . BUY!

  • PAYC -- Paychex. TinyURL.com/PAYC points to an order form -- a completed Jukebox Super Store order form, with personal information on it -- for an $8,995 Wurlitzer One More Time Vinyl Jukebox. Somebody oughta talk to the Juke Box Superstore. . . they have some serious security issues. SELL!

  • PETM -- PetSmart. TinyURL.com/PETM points to an Indian business newspaper story about how some telecom agency has given Indian telecom companies a "breather" to fix their tarrifs. Whew! BUY!

  • PIXR -- PIXAR. TinyURL.com/PIXR points to a big long Usenet posting about some spammer abusing net privileges. Ugh. SELL!

  • SBUX -- Starbucks. TinyURL.com/SBUX points to a very nice wedding photo of a happy couple. Mazel tov! BUY!

  • SEBL -- Siebel Systems. TinyURL.com/SEBL points to a google Directory page for dictionaries and references for kids. Cool! BUY!

  • SUNW -- Sun Microsystems. TinyURL.com/SUNW points to a Shopping.com page for Fuji Finepix cameras. Cool! BUY!

  • YHOO -- Yahoo. TinyURL.com/YHOO points. . . wait, it doesn't point to anything --- TinyURL hasn't used it yet! HOLD!

Posted by brian at November 17, 2003 09:27 PM

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