A very interesting and meritorious effort on stock spam from the folks at Motley Fool.
First off a little background, the Fool has a game called CAPS, you can think of this like fantasy baseball, but its for picking stocks. So you pick a stock like say MMM and you enter whether or not you think it will out perform or under perform the S&P index over some period of time. Then you get points if you are right and by how much it over performs or under performs. There are over 69,000 players. (*)
So its a pretty straightforward concept, you get points for picking the right stocks. Now with that background, here is the part of interest to security. You know the gajillion stock spam messages you get typically around small cap penny stocks that you've never heard of (and wish you never had)? Well, two Fools set up an account TMFStockSpam, they take the penny stock fraud/spam messages, enter them into the CAPS engine as picks that they shorting (meaning they predict they'll go down - "red thumbing" in CAPS parlance).
TMFStockSpam has 20 picks since 12/15/09, they have shorted them all. 80% of these have underpeformed the S&P. Four of the 20 have actually generated positive returns (+2, +2, +14, 27%)
The other 16 have generated negative returns with the worst being BRGO.OB -89.5%, a recent pick from 2/23 (RCYT.OB) has lost -44.8% from 2/23-2/26.
Anyway, its interesting data on stock spam, and they are also asking for people to send them any stock offers that you receive so they can track them
Oh one more thing the TMFStockSpam CAPS player is ranked 5,368 out of 69,524 players
* note that the CAPS community as a whole has outperformed the S&P index over its life, something the various misguided MBA programs that drunk the efficient Market Hypothesis kool aid by the gallon would say is impossible, but which does explain why fully 80% of mutual funds (run by these same MBA grads) under perform the S&P *before* fees