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Pastimes
Isn't this dirty pool?
An SI Board Since March 2001
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Emcee:  Marshall Type:  Unmoderated
Is it fair game for major brokerage firms to employ people to post over and over to the major stock message boards? A couple of months ago a very suspicious poster began haunting a particular board I participate in. Curiosity got the best of some of us and after reviewing weeks of server logs from a machine I occasionally posted links to it became obvious that the poster in question was posting from the domain of a very large Canadian subsidiary of one of the largest firms in the U.S.

When confronted with this evidence he slipped and pretty well admitted it, however within 24 hours every one of his posts had been deleted including those he had been making on a few other boards he was also "participating" in as did those of his other known aliases.

I contacted the legal department of the parent firm here in the States who had someone from their Canadian counterpart call me. He said if I'd e-mail him the IP addresses from the logs he'd pinpoint where it was coming from and handle it. I did so with no reply - even sent a follow-up e-mail - but all we saw were even more deleted posts, alias changes and yet another poster joining in.

The other day we caught them again and when confronted with a copy of the actual log entry one of them slipped up again, this time trying to excuse himself as saying he wasn't the only one that could use that machine.

My concern doesn't just lie for individual investors holding the few stocks we've caught them trying to manipulate over the past several months but in the principal of the matter. After being duly notified both verbally and twice in writing only to see it continue one has to wonder if they condone this type of activity and if so - just how widespread is this practice?
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