Minimal Evaluation Period
Give A Subscription Time To Perform
Are you really interested in giving a subscription a fair trial? Potential subscribers should consider staying with a program for at least six months if at all possible (9 months is even better). We do NOT require this, but we strongly recommend it. Why?
It is often the case that when a person pays a small monthly fee, he has little commitment and is anxious to "cut the cord" if he does not see immediate success. His emphasis is on staying with a program only as long as necessary to make a quick evaluation of how well a program performs. Therein lies the problem. He thinks he has adequately sampled something when he really hasn't been with it long enough to see it perform. Here is an illustration.
Our Strongest ETFs algorithm detects relative persistent strength. If you subscribe during a time when the market has little internal dispersion, there will be little differentiated performance for the algorithm to detect. The algorithms will still detect the strongest ETFs, but those ranked at the top of the list may not look very different from those that rank lower on the list. However, robust performance must exist for it to be detected. The danger is that when a person reviews the stocks at the top of a list, he might conclude that the algorithm does not do a good job of finding really strong stocks just because most of the stocks on the list do not seem to have noteworthy strength. In fact, the algorithm has been looking for persistent strength when it does not exist. It therefore generates a list of the best it can find. The program could show no really strong ETFs during the period because there were none to be found. If an individual happens to subscribe during a time when there is little differentiated performance, he may conclude that the subscription provides him with few outstanding investment candidates. He may be right, if there are none to report. However, it would be a major error to cancel a good program just because it does not deliver what is not there. The person should stay with the program long enough to see what it offers when conditions improve. Though dispersion patterns may be better in a rising market, they are not always so. It is possible for them to be better in a sideways market or even, at times, in a declining market. A person should not assume that because a market is rising that the dispersion pattern is good. Our point is that it takes time to get an accurate sense of what the algorithms can deliver. We have not measured the duration of dispersion patterns, but we have analyzed market trends. Some trends lasted a week or less and some lated a year or more. However, we have found that the average trend lasts about 6 months (6 months was the central tendency with variations generally ranging ± 3 months). It may be that a given dispersion pattern will have similar endurance. If so, that would suggest that a poor dispersion pattern could last for 9 months before changing to a better pattern. Hence, the suggestion in the first sentence of this page. We think that a person who is serious about investing should stay with a subscription long enough to get an accurate sense of its efficacy. We think a person is much more likely to discover the benefits of a subscription by staying with it for a reasonable length of time. Aso, it may take a little time to learn how to make the best use of a subscription.
We have focused here on the Strongest ETFs program, but the same thing applies to all of our programs. The market environment affects the quality of the output of algorithms that find Bollinger band squeeze alerts, breakouts, and other setup configurations. When conditions are good, setups are less likely to fail, surges and breakouts are more robust and more likely to continue, and persistent strength is more likely to be evident and to persist. Selections at the top of the lists are obviously more attractive than those lower on the lists. While good setup configurations increase the probabilities of good outcomes, good environments enhance those probabilities.
Why No Trial Periods?
There is a reason we no longer offer trial periods. When we charged fees for six months or a year in advance, it made a lot of sense to offer a trial period, not because a few weeks was enough to evaluate a subscription, but because of the amount of money involved. Even though a refund was available, very few asked for it, even though there were six months or even a year of fees at stake. The reason so few asked for a refund is because the amount of money required in advance served to screen out those who were not serious about developing their investment discipline. However, when we started charging a small monthly fee, a money-back trial period no longer made sense. Instead of charging for six months or a year in advance, we now charge only $25 per month (one month at a time) for a single subscription. Under this fee arrangement, there are several new factors to consider.
1. The very small advance fee is not an effective screening device. The small fee required to try a subscription, coupled with a money-back trial period, would result in subscription orders by many more people who really think they can evaluate a subscription in a few weeks, people who have no intention of trying a subscription for a period that is long enough to give it a chance to prove its worth. The low monthly fee, coupled with a money-back trial period, therefore means we would be sending many more refunds for small amounts of money to people who should not have subscribed in the first place. Generally, people who are willing to pay more are also more realistic in their expectations. Most serious market investors are sensible enough to know that it takes more than a few weeks to determine if they can make money by using a subscription service. Charging a small month by month fee without a money-back enticement to quit, gives people who are serious about evaluating a subscription service a chance to evaluate its effectiveness with very little at stake for each month of the evaluation period.
2. Encouraging the less serious "evaluators" who have unrealistic expectations would require us to have somebody on our staff to take the time and go to the expense of processing more refunds for small amounts of money. In the past, to keep our expenses down, we paid all refunds by check. That means somebody had to type up the acknowledgement of cancellation letter with details of the transaction, write the check, address the envelope, go to the post office, pay for postage and mail the letter. That does not include the time it takes to set up the account in the first place, allocate a password, write a "welcome letter" when the person first subscribed, write the details of the subscription, provide instructions for access, and so on. Then there are the additional time and resources required to deactivate an account, passwords, and Web site access. Then it is necessary to make modifications to the subscriber database so it will "know" what has happened, and so that future balances will read correctly. All of that takes time and resources. The reason we can offer a single subscription for $25/month rather than the normal $95 to $195/month is because we keep our expenses low. The difference between our fees and "normal" fees would easily pay for the time and resources needed to take care of the details associated with a trial period, but the individuals who do not cancel would end up paying an extra $75 or more month after month after month. However, we do not think it is fair, for the sake of increasing the number of "tire-kickers," to penalize those who are serious about learning how to use a subscription.
3. Are you really interested in giving a subscription a fair trial? We want subscribers who are willing to give a subscription a fair trial, and we believe it is impossible to accomplish that in only a month. We do not want to encourage "tire kickers" who flit from site to site trying to pick up freebies. We also do not want to encourage subscribers who are willing to pay $25 only if they can get it back after trying a subscription for only 15 days! The premise of such people (that they can judge a subscription's effectiveness in only a few days) is absurd. The problem is that they are expecting to accomplish the impossible.
4. A trial period of a few weeks when a fee is only $25 makes little sense. It would attract people who have an unrealistic idea about how long it takes to evaluate a program and even reinforce or encourage unrealistic expectations. It would attract quick quitters. In addition, it would increase our overhead disproportionately to the amount of money involved. Finally, it could damage our reputation. A "quick quitter" who quits after a few weeks, when asked about his experience with our service, is apt to say "yes, I tried that, but it didn't work for me. I found it to be a waste of time," even though he didn't give the program a chance.
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