Like many folks, I was surprised by the sudden shift to the pay for chat model at Investor’s Live, formerly Green on the Screen. There seemed to be some foreshadowing, but I’m not tight with anyone so I hadn’t heard the rumors. Here are my thoughts:

The Pros:

1) Folks providing a service to me will be compensated for their expertise and technical assistance. Go capitalism!

2) In my trail membership today, there seemed to be less off topic discussion and jibber jabber in the chat room. Amen.

3) It appears that there will be more formality in the sharing of information and in some of the educational opportunities, for example bi monthly seminars. The blogs were very helpful, but sometimes I hit road blocks in comprehending certain specifics just by reading the posts or following in chat.

4) I was always very uncomfortable of the pedestal that some put Muddy on, it felt cult like at times. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for him and hope to be 10% the trader he is someday, but at times I was embarrassed to say I was a follower because of the idolization surrounding him. So he is human like all of us, and I think that is great realization to see people making.

The Cons:

1) In hoping their new enterprise does well, all you can say is that the way things were rolled out was horrible. I bet they lost permanently 50-100 existing members who would have converted to subscribers. Good will and word of mouth is how you build a business like this, and they used the nuclear option to introduce the transition. I’m sure there is some consultant out there or textbook that says this is the way to do this type of thing, but that’s BS. Yes, maybe we are all whining but the customer (who pays) is always right, its business 101 and their brand took a significant hit and lost much loyalty over the last 36 hours.

2) Among those 50 to 100 traders that are walking away, were some of the best contributors to the chat room. Yes, Muddy is the key, but the admins were not the only ones finding great alerts or helping out newbies.

3) While it was us that bought into a feeling of “community”, there’s no denying that there was a communal, mutual help dynamic going on within the chat room that feels like is disappearing. While today members were making contributions, in the long run, I wonder if this will fizzle as subscribers become consumers of the service rather than part of a larger ethos of traders.

4) In the long run, I wonder if they will make up enough money to justify the conversion. Between not getting some of the best alerts from traders that are not there any more (and making money by trading on these alerts), and the lower number of people buying into stocks and helping them run up (selling or covering at a better price because of the liquidity), in the end, I wonder how big the actual paying subscriber base will be after the trail memberships run out. There were 150 registered users today, down from the peaks of 300 over the last month. I bet less than 100 of them end up signing up to pay.

5) I really think that the regular price of $99 is way too high, and they will get very few takers at this price point, so in the end, I suspect the $39 cost will be the base price and there will be no grandfathering discount for existing members.

Of course, trading is a dog eat dog world. The argument for the fees will be one minor good trade will pay the subscription for the month, and one great trade will pay for it for the year.

Anyone who has read this blog knows I struggle with following the alerts during the day versus going solo. Despite this, I’m still going to be a paying subscriber for at least one quarter, and I’m just paper trading.

It is sad to see the hate toward the leaders of the chat community, here and here. It feels like the day you found out Santa Claus was your parents. Or when you realized Jerry Garcia was just a run of the mill junkie. Or that Obama will eventually disappoint the left and right alike. That’s the grown up world!

None the less, I’m in debt for all I’ve learned from the “Muddy Method” community of blogs, traders and the chat room. Thank you!