Agoracom Blog

AGORACOM Survey Reveals Web Research and Discussion Forum Habits of Small-Cap Investors

Posted by AGORACOM at 5:03 PM on Sunday, September 9th, 2007

Earlier this year, AGORACOM surveyed approximately 800 small-cap investors at 3 separate conferences for the purposes of discovering how much of a role the web plays in their small-cap / micro-cap research and investing. We purposely avoided an online survey to avoid skewing of the results.

We were pretty convinced the number was significant based on anecdotal evidence but given the fact some small-cap CEO’s still believed the internet had no significance, we had to settle it once and for all.

Well, the results are in and they are irrefutable. In fact, they’re even bigger than we thought. Ir you’re an old school CEO, it’s time to re-visit your web strategy. If you’re a shareholder of a small-cap or micro-cap company, you need to find out their web strategy and, if one doesn’t exist, encourage them to create one.

Percentage Of Research Into Next Investment That Is Derived From The Internet

  • 76.6%

Comment: This is a wake-up call for small-cap and micro-cap CEO’s that believe a website is sufficient exposure on the web. Small-cap investors depend heavily on the web to find their next investment. As such, companies must incorporate proactive web marketing strategies in order to reach them. Search engine programs are the easiest and most effective method. In addition tools such as podcasting and blogging must be considered. You should even speak to your newswire provider about any web optimization they can offer for each of your press releases, or at least your most important press releases. In short, you need a web 2.0 strategy

If you don’t make it easy for new potential investors to find you , then they won’t. It is that simple. Companies that incorporate these tools into their IR programs will win. It is that simple.

Percentage Of Investors That Participate In Discussion Forums

  • All Investors – 59.7%

Comment: Despite the often ridiculous nature of stock discussion forums on most portals (we won’t mention any names) the fact of the matter is that investors do not want to sit at home and feel as if they are the only person invested in your stock. As such, they are going to use discussion forums to seek out fellow investors and exchange information.

Unfortunately, this also means that unscrupulous investors can have a significant impact on your stock price on both the downside (bashing) and the upside (hyping). It also provides your competitors with an opportunity to bait and switch your shareholders by bashing you while presenting their case.

This dynamic is not going to change. Stock discussion forums have been around since the advent of the mass web and they are going to be here long after. They’ll get better (watch for our big move into this space) but you’ll have to contend with it one way or another.

Suggestion – take control of your message by creating your own community that amalgamates your current and prospective investors into a controlled environment. Use the community to communicate with investors, while providing investors with an ability to discuss the pro’s and con’s of your company.

For Those Who Do Not Participate In Discussion Forums, The Percentage That Would Participate If Quality Control Measures Were Implemented

  • All Investors – 72.5%

Comment: This number only serves to further support our contention above. Small-cap companies that create a community and give their shareholders safe haven will benefit tremendously.

Moreover, this was a real eye-opener for us as it indicates three very telling things:

  1. The current state of discussion forums is not working. The abundance of profanity, spam, bashing, hyping and name-calling is driving away a large percentage of small-cap participants.
  2. Small-cap investors have a strong desire to collaborate online with fellow investors. Much of this can probably be attributed to the fact that small-cap investors do not have the comfort of analyst coverage, independent research and financial media coverage. As such, they are forced to rely on “the wisdom of crowds” by amalgamating and exchanging information in stock discussion forums.
  3. A Web 2.0 model that can minimize noise and maximize the exchange of information in a constructive and professional environment will receive mass acceptance from small-cap investors.

Total Percentage Of Investors That Would Participate In Discussion Forums If Quality Control Measures Were Implemented

  • 88.5%

Comment: This number combines the percentage of small-cap investors currently using discussion forums with the percentage of small-cap investors that want to use them if quality control measures were implemented. It is a huge number. If small-cap and micro-cap CEO’s that previously thought the web was unimportant do not see the error of their ways, then there isn’t anything more we can say.

On the other hand, if you are a shareholder of one of these companies, you have a lot to say. Mobilize your fellow investors and insist as a group that your company invest in a web 2.0 strategy to attract new shareholders and better maintain current ones.


These survey results should come as no surprise to readers that are the slightest bit web savvy. Online communities have gone parabolic in the past 18 months as like minded individuals seek each other out to share, collaborate and grow. MySpace for teenagers, Facebook for college students and grads, Linkedin for professionals. Each one of these started from zero and now have tens of millions of members.

Would you expect small-cap investors to be any different?


5 Responses to “AGORACOM Survey Reveals Web Research and Discussion Forum Habits of Small-Cap Investors”

  1. […] Online Research Dominates – The majority of research into new investment ideas by small-cap investors is done via the web. […]

  2. AGORACOM says:

    Hi, Kori and thanks for both the input and questions. You can find the complete surveys here by going to

    With respect to working together, I really like what you guys are trying to accomplish at infongen. Any time I see Web 2.0 solutions that help filter information overload for investors, it is worth taking a closer look.

    Unfortunately, we are neck deep in biz dev/partnerships over the next 3 months that we can barely keep up. As such, be sure to stay in touch via this blog and let’s revisit near the end of the year.

    If you can reply with a link to one piece of collateral information for me (and all of us) to watch and learn more about infongen, that would be great.

    Thanks and talk to you soon.


  3. Kori S. says:

    George, I am very interested in this topic, as I work for a company who has built our whole business on this exact premise. I’d be very interested to know at which conferences the surveys were taken. On a broader scale, I’d be very interesting in investigating any synergies our businesses may have and discuss opportunities to work together. Please take a look at our website: (this is the free personal version…we also have a professional version) and feel free to reach out to me at the above email address if you have intersted in discussing this further.

    Best Regards,


  4. AGORACOM says:

    Hi, Neville. No doubt about the fact video is in high demand by investors. After all, we grew up with video as our primary form of contact with trusted sources of information, so it follows that investors want video from their small-cap companies.

    On the other hand, our experience shows that most small-cap companies are just starting to grasp the power of Web 2.0 and are taking small steps via webcasts, podcasts, etc. Video will get there but the high production investment (time, equipment, proper lighting) means investors will have to be patient. Factor in the fear that most – yes most – CEO’s have and you start to see why US Gold is the exception rather than the rule.

    Those who do embrace video early will have a definite advantage in maintaining and building a shareholder base.

    Thanks for the great post.


  5. Neville says:

    I also think companies need to invest more time communicating with investors by video. Press releases and powerpoint presentations are nice, but people also want to put a face behind the name. They want to see they have a leader that handles themselves well.

    For example, I was looking at US Gold’s website this afternoon. I was amazed by the amount of video and audio content on their site. As an investor, that makes me feel they are putting their time and money trying to get the word out. Great results are nice but promotion is the key for these companies to build a shareholder base and then increase shareholder value.