Metafilter collective buying power. November 13, 2007 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Can we harness our collective buying power?

After reading another great Asparagirl comment regarding financial market stuff I got to thinking...do we as a collective have some way to leverage our buying power as an investment opportunity?

There are two things that struck me off the top of my head. One is as an investment collective. We all know of groups that invest in stocks together, save on commisions, buy in blocks, etc. Maybe a group of people here would be willing to commit modest sums of money to a fund for that purpose. The second idea is as a group procurer of health insurance. It seems this would be more difficult, requiring some sort of legal entity but again, we potentially have a membership of well over 30,000 people for this purpose, and I'm certain that many are like me with very sub-optimal health insurance currently but few options to upgrade.

I haven't given it alot of thought, this is just off the top of my head. I'm sure there are many other possibilities. I'd like to hear how this is a good idea. I'd like to hear how this is a bad idea.
posted by vito90 to MetaFilter-Related at 9:39 AM (47 comments total)

You want Metafilter to provide healthcare now? Really?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 9:52 AM on November 13, 2007


Insurance questions come up all the time, especially ones geared toward the options out there for self-employed/freelancers. I've often thought that it would be an interesting idea to explore the possibility buying health insurance as a group. Anyone else interested in this idea?
posted by necessitas at 9:53 AM on November 13, 2007


To do this effectively, it would require a lot of us putting our collective trusts into one MeFite (or a small contingent of MeFites), and I imagine it would be ridiculously hard for any substantial number of MeFites to agree to the competence of one individual on here. And if it were done by pure democracy, well... that defeats the purpose.

(Health Insurance might be a good idea, but being a Canuck.. Eh.)
posted by Phire at 9:54 AM on November 13, 2007


Actually, thinking about the amount of heath questions that pop up daily, maybe this would end up being much more expensive than regular, private health insurance.
posted by necessitas at 9:55 AM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was rather hoping we'd harness our collective might to topple capitalism and its anti-human order then rebuild for a brighter, better communist tomorrow. I'm kind of loath to settle for a dental plan.
posted by Abiezer at 9:56 AM on November 13, 2007 [5 favorites]


And we can have all cost/benefit decisions made by AskMe: "I'm dying of cancer—can alternative treatments be authorized?"

(I wouldn't mind an investment bloc or a loan bloc or even one of those trusts where the last surviving MeFite gets it all, but probably best done off-site).
posted by klangklangston at 9:58 AM on November 13, 2007


Can we unleash the awesome power of apples?
posted by LordSludge at 9:59 AM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


or a loan bloc

Why not start group on Prosper?
posted by necessitas at 10:00 AM on November 13, 2007


hi! my name is quonsar, and i'll be your designated beneficiary...
posted by quonsar at 10:02 AM on November 13, 2007


You want Metafilter to provide healthcare now? Really?
posted by kuujjuarapik

Yes! That's exactly what I'm asking for. Maybe I should have posted this under "Feature requests"? Douchebag.
posted by vito90 at 10:03 AM on November 13, 2007


Insurance companies are (justifiably) skeptical of groups formed for the specific purpose of attaining group health insurance, since there tends to be a hell of a lot of antiselection going on. For what that's worth.

More generally, rolling Metafilter into a legal investment entity or some such thing seems like sort of a crazy nightmare scenario; I'm not sure what benefit having it be Official would be. I don't know that that's really what you're suggesting, vito90, and as klang suggests it might not be a bad idea for interested parties to pursue off-site, but that's my first blush reaction.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:06 AM on November 13, 2007


hi! my name is quonsar, and i'll be your designated beneficiary...

Sorry. I'm giving everything to the fish.
posted by quin at 10:12 AM on November 13, 2007


I wasn't suggesting that Metafilter be that entity, but that some members of Metafilter might be interested in making up that collective.
posted by vito90 at 10:16 AM on November 13, 2007


"hi! my name is quonsar, and i'll be your designated beneficiary..."

Heh. I'd bet on you dying before me.
posted by klangklangston at 10:23 AM on November 13, 2007


MetaFund.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:24 AM on November 13, 2007


one of those trusts where the last surviving MeFite gets it all

I like that idea, but how can we skip ahead to the part where we hunt each other for sport?
posted by box at 10:29 AM on November 13, 2007 [8 favorites]


With all the drug and alcohol humor, no one would insure Metafilter. Hell, they'd probably add a question on their application asking if anyone you know belongs to Metafilter and promptly deny you and anyone on your block coverage.

However, the holidays are coming up and sponsoring a poor family would be a good use of community power.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:30 AM on November 13, 2007


Note: I am poor.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:30 AM on November 13, 2007


Wait - Blue Cross is not related to MetaFilter? I thought . . . you know, the color blue and all . . . shit. Now I know why that woman was so confused when I was all like, I paid my $5, lady! Now give me my prescription!
posted by chinston at 10:38 AM on November 13, 2007


I too am poor, and am more photogenic than BB, so sponsor me instead because the PR opportunities are waaaaaay better.
posted by baphomet at 10:40 AM on November 13, 2007


I like that idea, but how can we skip ahead to the part where we hunt each other for sport?

Would someone please remind me where to find that thread about hiding bodies? Thanks in advance.
posted by inigo2 at 10:41 AM on November 13, 2007


Haven't we discussed buying a castle already?
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 10:42 AM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't think a MeFi investment pool would be a very good idea; our members' financial aims and outlooks are just so diverse. What happens when you get a Malor "buy guns and canned foods because T[financial]EOTWAWKI is coming!" type squaring off with a Steven C. Den Beste "inflation, what inflation?" type, fighting for supremacy of the pool's investing aims? Not to mention that we all have different levels of risk tolerance and ethical standards -- after all, a few of us here are even rumored to be Republicans... *coughs*

Unless the NASDAQ suddenly starts listing the ticker symbol BCOX (Bucket of Cocks, Inc.), I don't think we'll ever get consensus.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:53 AM on November 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


Let's just go for a full fledged MeFi nation-state.
posted by langeNU at 11:01 AM on November 13, 2007


am more photogenic than BB

But i has more favritz and pretty boa.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:09 AM on November 13, 2007


Let's just go for a full fledged MeFi nation-state.

Let snarkocracy reign!
posted by baphomet at 11:11 AM on November 13, 2007


I would love to join a Metafilter investment club. Maybe we could have a few different ones to square up with different views of the world?
posted by drezdn at 11:15 AM on November 13, 2007


Also, it would need a really low buy in for I am not wealthy.
posted by drezdn at 11:16 AM on November 13, 2007




Sorry. I'm giving everything to the fish.

I'm donating to the pants. It's been years and still with the corduroy?
posted by Sparx at 11:28 AM on November 13, 2007


Great idea!

If each member gives me a dollar, I'll deftly fold and tuck it into the proferred garter without taking my eyes off the beav during my three weeks on the rail at Wiggles.

If each member gives me a fifty, I'll probably last about five days in the VVIP room before the last flake is vacuumed from the dancer's mons and the grimly smiling bouncer breaks out the horse that will carry me to hell.
posted by breezeway at 11:30 AM on November 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


"'hi! my name is quonsar, and i'll be your designated beneficiary...'

Heh. I'd bet on you dying before me."


Well, I wouldn't. If all the shit he's done ain't killed him yet, it never will.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:39 AM on November 13, 2007


It is my understanding that it is not legal to form a group solely for the purpose of buying insurance. IANAL.

Maybe we could harness our collective buying power to make a contribution to a charity in the name of MetaFilter? Aww.
posted by Secretariat at 12:38 PM on November 13, 2007


With regards to the health insurance thing, those whose health insurance is already adequate or better would probably not have the urge to join; thus, although we may have 30k members, I don't think we'd have 30k people signing up for MetaFaCHOO! or MeFinance.
posted by WCityMike at 12:48 PM on November 13, 2007


Well, as an alternate idea, if Metafilter could collectively pool money & pay off my taxes, that would TOTALLY rock my world.

Thanks, Metafilter! You guys rock!
posted by miss lynnster at 3:42 PM on November 13, 2007


"hi! my name is quonsar, and i'll be your designated beneficiary..."

Heh. I'd bet on you dying before me.


Yeah, but I'd bet on him being resurrected before you.
posted by Eideteker at 4:07 PM on November 13, 2007


Can I interest any of you fine, fine people in becoming an Amway dealer?
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:17 PM on November 13, 2007


Here is an idea: We could set up a fund for future investment into metafilter itself. If one were to invest, say $5 into ensuring the continuing financial well-being of the website, you could.. let's say, have an additional sock-puppet account for making snarky comments or asking embarassing questions in askme.
posted by empath at 4:26 PM on November 13, 2007


"Well, I wouldn't. If all the shit he's done ain't killed him yet, it never will."

I'd lay money on it—$5, at least.

Matt, deadpool?
posted by klangklangston at 4:36 PM on November 13, 2007


OMG. Have you ever seen the drama caused when people pool together to buy something as simple as a t-shirts, and it doesn't go perfectly?
posted by smackfu at 5:37 PM on November 13, 2007


People should get health insurance, they spend so much of their "work week" posting...how about an a 401k?
posted by SassHat at 5:50 PM on November 13, 2007


I would be much more interested if (for example) a hundred of us got together to get a truly wonderful deal on a hundred laptops.
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:27 PM on November 13, 2007


Look, everyone send me $5 and I'll send you information how you can make $250,000 with a single comment posted to a community weblog.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:47 PM on November 13, 2007


So, while Penny Arcade is kickstarting its annual charity drive (to name another random website with incredible leverage over a huge user base), we here at MetaFilter are trying to figure out how to get richer?

I guess I can hope that the two communities overlap by a lot, or something.
posted by obliquicity at 9:21 PM on November 13, 2007


Asparagirl's got it -- there's no way we'd come up with a consensus. One of the cool things about Mefi is that there is (some) diversity of opinion here, and investment opinions are no exception.
posted by spiderskull at 1:17 AM on November 14, 2007


I say use that to advantage. Certainly it would be interesting to model the performance of a fund that tracked to the S&P 500 but got alpha by going long on companies favorably mentioned on Metafilter (e.g. Apple) and short on companies unfavorably mentioned (e.g. Blackwater).
posted by felix at 8:40 AM on November 14, 2007


How about just organizing group buys and purchases?

Some car enthusiast forums I've hung out with usually were able to organize group buys of stuff. Trying to get the consensus is hard, but usually it just goes "call them up and say you are from forumx, you want this sku, and they will give you %5 off." A lot of auto shop places love doing this because it means they can get a bulk order and distribute it without requiring much in the way of overhead.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:57 AM on November 14, 2007


« Older Lawrence, KS meetup on Nov. 19th   |   While I'm at work, I don't want to know you're a... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments