I have always wondered how these amateur newsletters work
You mean to tell me that there's amateur newsletters available to SI subscribers??? I thought that was just another urban legend. Hehehe...
Do they buy a whole bunch of shares before they recommend it, or do they buy after the recommend?
Generally, they don't have to buy their shares. They probably hype enough that the hyped companies give them their shares for free. Why not? They're usually worthless in a month or two anyway.
Do they do the research on the stocks before or after?
Research? What research??? The company tells 'em everything the sheep need to know!
When do they sell? Do they tell when they sell, or do they just vanish?
It's not polite to sell and tell.
Do they sell, then start posting so called bad news and ifso is this just a poor attempt to lower the price?
They sell into the pump and hype into the dump. When they post the bad news, it's usually an attempt to divert the attention to other factors so that the flock realizes that what's occurred is definitely not the fault of the newsletter. In fact, usually there's no possible way that the newsletter could of or should of known. The fall in price is usually due to bashers, and is almost never the fault of management, unless the SEC has stepped in and shut down the company.
Do they even buy the stocks they promote, or do they wait for the run up and then short the stock to death?
Why take any chances on shorting when there's always a new pump 'n dump waiting just around the corner??? Don't mess with success!
Are they well seasoned investors, or just a young kid with a computer and a direct trading account?
Usually, they're people living life on the edge. On the edge of reality... On the edge of credibility... On the edge of honesty...