FT Alphaville’s predictive powers

By Felix Salmon
July 22, 2010
takes his leave of Alphaville, news arrives that his baby has predictive powers:

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As Paul Murphy takes his leave of Alphaville, news arrives that his baby has predictive powers:

On average, good news on FT Alphaville is associated with 1-week ahead outperformance. Conversely, on average, bad news for a company on FT Alphaville is associated with 1-week ahead under-performance. The same effect is not evident in our database as a whole, indicating that there is something “special” about the news that comes from FT Alphaville.

This worries me. Paul’s been a valiant one-man fighter against the Forces of Paywall at the FT, and he’s kept Alphaville free to date. But as he leaves, parts of Alphaville have already started disappearing behind the wall, and FT staffers, after seeing that I’d blogged the Secret Free RSS Feed, immediately went and truncated it. “If it’s worth something, charge for it” seems to be the mantra at the FT these days, and without Paul’s ninja political skills, I’m not sure how long his successor, Neil Hume, will be able to hold out. Especially when Scientific Research proves how valuable Alphaville is!

Neil will do his best, I’m sure, to try to persuade the FT that Alphaville is valuable (and has those predictive powers) precisely because it’s free. But such thinking is increasingly heretical over by Southwark Bridge, I fear. In any case, maybe I should shut up now. Friends like me are probably the last thing Neil needs. And I’m sure that the folks over at Recorded Future will be getting a nastygram from the FT’s legal folks in 3… 2…


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Felix, it is indeed incredibly disappointing (and annoying), how FT seems to grasp onto his PayWall/truncate policies. However, for you and your other readers who might use Google Reader, the excellent google reader full feed chrome extension (https://chrome.google.com/extensions/de tail/ngjdkiihbphbiaeaaghhlacjnoekdcfe) allows one to read FT Alphaville within google reader. Of course, that’ll probably be non-functional once Alphaville goes behind the paywall as you seem to semi imply with the departure of Paul Murphy.

Posted by GregHao | Report as abusive

Felix – Do you actually have any evidence that Paul Murphy is leaving Alphaville other than the pre-existence of something called FT Tilt? And are you sure that Alphaville is heading for paywall obscurity? Stacy Marie Ishmael has assured me that this is not the case, although I must admit that I was not completely convinced.

Personally I don’t see the problem with paying for online newspapers – I’m a subscriber to FT.com and it is cheaper and more useful than buying the wooden version every day.

Posted by BigBadBank | Report as abusive

Yes, Paul has left Alphaville, along with Stacy. But no, I’m not at all sure that Alphaville is now headed for paywall obscurity. I sincerely hope it isn’t.

Posted by FelixSalmon | Report as abusive

It’s amusing how different people behave differently, I actually subscribe to the dead tree version of the FT and am happy paying for it while I get my FT online access through my work and if they didn’t pay for it I doubt that I would do it out of my own pockets.

Also, maybe this is some more confusion on my part but Paul & Stacy will not be a part of the FT Tilt project and have left FT altogether?

Posted by GregHao | Report as abusive