Agoracom Blog

AGORACOM Responds To OSC Allegations

Posted by AGORACOM at 8:29 PM on Thursday, April 1st, 2010

TORONTO, APRIL 1, 2010 – AGORACOM, North America’s leading small-cap online investor relations firm and second-generation online financial community provides the following response to Ontario Securities Commission allegations announced earlier today.

George Tsiolis, Founder of AGORACOM, stated “It is an understatement to say that we are all shocked to receive the allegations made by the OSC earlier today. As the person who founded this company from his home, based on a passion to create a better online investor relations model for the small-cap industry, we at AGORACOM have strived to do nothing less than deliver great, affordable and cost-efficient solutions of the highest standards. Since inception, AGORACOM has spoken out against the pitfalls of an industry plagued by fast-money boiler rooms, e-mail and fax spam, and chose to focus on long-term online investor relations campaigns. This includes search engine marketing and other Web 2.0 strategies that provide small-cap companies with an opportunity to connect with investors, something that was never before possible. We at AGORACOM are extremely proud of this feat, outright disagree with allegations made by the OSC and look forward to vigorously defending them at any future proceeding.”


The OSC allegation of fraud pertaining to traffic and activity on client HUBS is unfounded and without merit. AGORACOM initiated conversation on some client HUBS to simply act as a catalyst to spark conversation amongst members and forum users.

As a new medium that is still unfamiliar, the initiating of conversation was also meant to remove inhibitions of members that often feared being the first to post or “sound stupid”- a dynamic that is common to most social settings.

Tsiolis added “We are all acutely aware of the dynamic in which complete strangers are brought together into a community for the first time and the inhibitions that prevent people from interacting. From our first days in school, to our first high-school dance, to the local town hall meeting, people are naturally afraid to be the first to speak or act. The minority of people that do tend to speak or act first tend to be the best, brightest or loudest in the group, which further drives the inhibitions of the majority. My extensive face-to-face experience with small-cap investors has shown they are no different. I have heard time and time again about their fear of asking “simple” questions that might demonstrate a perceived lack of knowledge, or contributing information that isn’t “smart”. We helped those investors open up and begin sharing their knowledge.”

Although AGORACOM has been advised by counsel not to respond to the OSC allegations publicly, AGORACOM feels it is important to put the alleged quantity of posts in context.

First, AGORACOM client HUBS during the period in question ranged between approximately 30 – 90, while non-client HUBS ranged between 300 – 2,000.

Secondly, AGORACOM traffic during the period in question (as measured by Google Analytics) provides further relevant context to the statistics used by the OSC.

o Absolute Unique Visitors 2.204 million

o Visits 14.036 million

o Page Views 163.11 million

o Total Clients 170

o Total Countries/Territories 217

* AGORACOM began using Google Analytics in July of 2007, so no traffic figures are available for approximately 11 of the first 35 months in question.

Moreover, for the years 2008 – 2009, AGORACOM employees accounted for just 0.23%, or just under ¼ of 1% of total visits to the site.

Finally, AGORACOM outright rejects any allegation or insinuation that AGORACOM posts were intended to be promotional and promoted purchasing or holding of stock in order to increase the value of stock options in our clients. To this end, senior account executives of AGORACOM provided the following unified statement today:

“This allegation is simply untrue. In fact, we were repeatedly instructed and reminded by both Mr. Tsiolis and Mr. Kondakos to not post promotional materials and provide information and dialogue that will stimulate conversation. The fact that a former employee decided to use the message boards for his own benefit last year is unfortunate but in no way reflects the honest and hard work that we have delivered to our clients over the last several years. ”

Tsiolis concluded “Our experience unequivocally demonstrates that small-cap clients engage AGORACOM for its ability to use Web 2.0 strategies to reach potential investors and audiences that could not otherwise be reached through traditional investor relations methods. Those services are listed below. This is what clients are promised, this is what AGORACOM delivers.”

o Search Engine Marketing

o Exposure On Our Tier-1 Content Partner Sites

o Exposure On Global Mobile Partner Sites

o iTunes Videos and Audios

o YouTube Videos

o Podcasting

o Webcasting

o Blogosphere Marketing

o Daily Video Broadcasts

o National Business Television Advertising

o Online Conferences

o Twitter Exposure

AGORACOM has not received any supporting documentation from the OSC to support its allegations. We look forward to defending our reputation vigorously.

About AGORACOM – Online Investor Relations Firm For Small-Cap Companies

AGORACOM Investor Relations is North America’s leading online investor relations firm for small-cap companies. We have partnered with some of the world’s biggest Internet and mobile companies to market our clients to a massive and targeted audience of new small-cap investors. Our traffic ranking is above the top 1% of all websites around the world, with almost 2.5 million visitors, 15.7 million visits and 168 million page views from 220 countries and territories in 2008-2009 (As tracked by Google Analytics).


George Tsiolis, LL.B



[email protected]

18 Responses to “AGORACOM Responds To OSC Allegations”

  1. […] for their great support over the last 7 months.  We asked for the benefit of the doubt in our April 1 Public Response when more severe allegations were announced and you gave it to us.   I am eternally grateful for […]

  2. Tony says:

    How about a Book-Deal !

  3. Jude Lay says:

    that’s incredible.

  4. […] On Thursday April 1st, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) – the Canadian equivalent to the SEC put forth allegations against an online investor relations forum for seeding fake conversations throughout their investor message board community. The allegations describe a scenario of more than 24,000 fraudulent posts made by 670 different accounts. The papers filed by the OSC go into detail on how employees at Agoracom were required to posts under several different aliases and on occasion, conversed with themselves on the forums using different aliases. Agoracom has denied the charges and says they are without merit. […]

  5. Chris Ruel says:

    George you know what’s funny. When I posted that I thought it was real. I ran out and threw a buck at that rag to get the story in print and ran around the house all morning cursing the conservatives on Good Friday of all days.I posted it on Synergy and Peter’s blog and finally someone pointed out the Toronto article said April fools at the bottom which the article I had, did not.Anyhow what a relief, I was figuring out what it would cost me to spend 8 plus hours on line all day..ha….they got me good with that one. I told an April Fools joke on Synergy that gold shot to 1400 in a short squeeze and silver was currently 40….one guy said he ran around after work trying to get info on the short squeeze…hahah well at least I got some vindication of sorts…well April fools is only 364 days away now….I can hardly wait.

  6. AGORACOM says:

    @Claude Thanks for the great post. To be clear, Peter’s blog is not involved in the allegation. Nonetheless, Peter and I are together because we share the very bonds you point out. Neither of us would sell our souls for a few bucks. We’ve already won the lottery. Life is great, even when it’s not.


  7. AGORACOM says:

    @Chris Ruel. Thanks for posting this April Fool’s joke on “iTax”. I liked the part about “they’ve started a petition – but not online to avoid the tax”.



  8. Claude says:

    Hi George,

    Happy Birthday to Peter and Happy Easter to all.

    As one of the new kids on the block, I would like to say why I am now following you religiously on Twitter, on the site and why I never miss the weekly shows:

    – Your obvious Honesty
    – The fact that you are both transparent
    – and fun to be around

    Please note that, like most, I do operate on your site under a pseudo. Is the OSC assuming that I work for you?

    Don’t worry too much about them, lot’s of us are ready to stand up for you and Peter.

    Have a good weekend and take care

  9. AGORACOM says:

    @Chris Ruel – How can I thank you for taking so much time out of your day on Good Friday to post such a great and well thought out post?

    Creating a well-organized small-cap community without all the nonsense found on other sites has been a labor of love that has only been overcome by the feedback of investors like you over the past several years.

    Thanks so much for your honesty and support. Thanks so much for the time and contributions you put into the site. AGORACOM is the best small-cap platform on the web by far – but it would just be dead software without people like you breathing life into it.

    Happy Easter.

    With respect and appreciation,

  10. Chris Ruel says:

    Well wonders will never cease. I have always found Agoracom an unbiased informative stop while seeking conversation on a stock/company whether it be a good or bad opinion encountered, a place to gather information while doing due diligence that I might never come across myself,to garner opinions of those that possibly have a little more experience or knowledge and are willing to share it with others,and in the long run a good place to meet intelligent investors with a common goal of protecting and possibly enhancing their investment portfolios in a world where the odds seem heavily stacked in the favor of entities much larger than ourselves not to mention other unscrupulous people navigating the investment world with the likes of Ponzi schemes.This Small Cap Center at first glance looks to be no different than the likes of other boards where investors get together and discuss stocks and flaunt their more than likely, colorful and varied opinions and in some cases to say the least, push their favorite stocks, good or bad, well researched or knowing absolutely nothing about the company’s fundamentals. But Agoracom does have some big differences, that at least here at Agoracom we can count on several things that those other boards most likely do not offer,we can have reasonable discussions, count on decent, fair and in depth research to be offered by the likes of George and many others on the hubs. We are given the opportunity to keep our boards clean of spam, and possibly deceptive postings, clear of abusive individuals who do not respect the level of experience of some, especially if that person lacks experience or knowledge, individuals that resort to name calling or bashing to intimidate other posters unless they agree to his own agenda. We can also count on boiler room type activities not flooding our hubs as Agoracom readily oversees inappropriate behavior and also readily shares that same power to oversee to all the individual posters whom eventually become more active hub leaders.They also promote a healthy environment where inexperienced investors can promote themselves by doing more due diligence and more informative posting by recognizing them and elevating them in status on the hubs. This creates a much healthier environment and tends to keep out those who would only promote their own agenda.

    Agoracom strives to ensure us a much healthier environment to seek help or do research than any other board in the financial industry and also presents what I consider very unbiased opinions on small cap companies with absolutely no sense that anyone here is trying to convince, pressure or deceive me out of capital, or to sway my thinking. The diligence into the research of the companies are well presented to the best expectations that I or anyone could expect and any pitfalls are always well laid out so we can make a better than what could be expected, informed investment opinion.For myself, I have never felt swayed or pressured by the companies presented as clients of Agoracom and all has been kept above board if Agoracom is being paid in some form or not and all opinions are well laid out,good or bad in black and white for us to make a decision whether we want to invest in the company.

    Let it be noted, that George and his crew at Agoracom should be given recommendations and not accusations for setting a new standard for aiding small investors in navigating in such a treacherous environment that small cap investing is. They have accomplished a better home for investors who in turn have been cultivated into a higher degree quality wise, in forming their opinions and researching companies that they may invest in. You have to wonder if all investment programs on radio or television or any media for that matter should fall to this scrutiny for having opinionated analysts, guests and companies present their platforms whether they be opinions, fundamentals or even share price targets if what is presented here at Agoracom is to be deemed investor unfriendly. I’m sure if most of us felt this site was an unethical environment for investors to be participating in we would have been long gone by now. I welcome the chance to get a better than normal look inside and at the underbelly of some of the companies that Agoracom brings in as clients, realizing that they are either advertisers or paying to be brought into the spotlight of investors, same as any other media centers do each and every day, but at least here Goerge has earned our respect that he is an ethical person and cares about what he represents and about those he encounters.Keep up the good work!

  11. AGORACOM says:

    Chris, a big thanks not only for the great support but for taking the time to itemize all the great things AGORACOM does for investors and companies in this space. Even the constructive criticism is welcomed and appreciated.

    Thanks and have a great day.


  12. Chris says:

    A few quick observations
    1. I will always be grateful to Agoracom for introdcing me to Peter Grandich. George is a stand up guy for making it clear that these allegations have nothing to do with Peter
    2. Agoracom has ALWAYS told members to do their own due diligence. Buying a stock purely on what a poster in a Web Hub says is akin to buying a car based purely on a review on epinions.
    3. Agoracom offers its clients a 21st century platform for Investor Relations-perhaps the best platform available-much to the chagrin of the “traditional” IR firms.
    4. Agoracom, in providing this service to its clients has a right, if not a duty, to stimulate discussion.
    5. IF any of the allegations are true, while it would have been more open to stimulate these discussions posting openly as “agoracom” or “moderator”, this strikes me as being a naive mistake rather than a grevious crime.

    For your consideration,

  13. AGORACOM says:

    Jeff, you are awesome and thanks for the words of support. I want to repeat that Peter and his blog are not part of any allegations. The personality that you hear in our weekly show is the personality that drives AGORACOM. We love our members and fight side by side with them to help everyone succeed together.

    Thanks again and look forward to any further support you can provide.


  14. AGORACOM says:

    Hey, Jim. Thanks for the great words. Just to be clear, this has nothing to do with Peter. His blog is separate from the main AGORACOM site. Nonetheless, Peter and I are together because we share the same ethical standards. I believe in backing the little guy and especially believe in rallying all of us together to protect what the sharks are always trying to take.

    Thanks for the great words.


  15. Jim says:

    Knowing Peter (and his integrity) personally, I KNOW that any allegations being cited will merely be unwillful, which makes all the difference. I don’t use the hubs, but could imagine that there will now be greater controls required to ensure they cannot be manipulated by anyone. I use the main blog, as many people, to hear from Peter, and maybe make a comment or 2. I think that is the essence and purpose of AGORACOM. I don’t give as much credence to other posters unless I view a link to a story, and then make MY OWN decisions.

    On a lighter note….any chance the OSC charge was initiated by a person with the name John Nadler ??

  16. jeff says:

    I have been following Peter Grandich since 2005. Peters move to Agoracom has been fantastic. The dialog between you George and Peter on fridays is great. Agoracom has given Peter a forum and a way to get interesting financial and other information to his readers efficiently and timely. I will continue to follow what goes on at the Agoracom website because I believe that you and Peter have been and are above board about who you are and what you stand for. I appreciate the honesty and hard work you put into your website everyday…. I use an RSS feed to make it easier to follow yours and Peters blog on a daily basis. Because I have been following Peter for so long and because I believe your website and blog have improved the information stream, I would be happy to provide you with any thing else that might be helpful.

    P.S. My wife and I even flew to New Jersey last year to hear Peter and his friends speak.

  17. jim trapasso says:

    .thanx for this open dialouge. I guess my concern that i have through e-mail tried to inform yourself about what happens in area plays. I guess i would like to see a conflict policy in place wheir hub leaders can only have hub leader status on one board. I see wheir hub leaders can play one stock against an-other as they are hub leaders on both. I see all right bashing between ISM and LBE . I have a flag in place on the LBE board for days now and no reflection from AGO, on this post. I see wheir the ISM bashers give each other your green star as if to chalenge your response and shows to some that they ( bashers ) can play their games.Traps7