Maybe you saw Friday's gauzy New York Times profile of Wallstrip, a daily video podcast about the stock market. Or perhaps you saw last Monday's similarly enthusiastic BusinessWeek piece. And perhaps you were intrigued. Investment news with a YouTube sensibility, you thought, how hip and fun! You're not the only one: The site supposedly draws 10,000 viewers every day, and it boasts a "fetching" host in Lindsay Campbell, an actress happy to ride a Harley for one piece or frolic with pigs for another. To all of which we say: Congratulations. Wallstrip's creators have an admirable sense of the Zeitgeist, especially when the reigning pretty face of financial video, Maria Bartiromo, is — how to put it? — otherwise distracted.
Here's the problem, though: The Wallstrippers seem to think the current generation doesn't take to "old-school" business news — meaning news with insight, perspective, or even the remotest sense of history. You can almost imagine them saying, "Jim Cramer broke the rules, so why can't we?" Here's why. First, behind the bluster, (New York columnist) Cramer is a bona fide market savant. No one at Wallstrip seems to be. Second — and this is more important — the thing is terrible. Really terrible. Watch a few episodes, and you'll see. Whoever those 10,000 viewers are, they're clearly at a loss for alternative entertainment. (Which is not to suggest Lindsay Campbell isn't nice to look at. We await with relish the April Sopranos appearance promised in the Times. But still.)
The Times says someone has been foolish enough to invest $500,000 in this folly. Our advice to that investor: Make sure to get your picture taken with Campbell before she appears on The Sopranos. That photo will be about the only thing of value you'll get from your half-mil. And it'll make a lovely memento of what is clearly the new Internet bubble. —Duff McDonald