REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 5, 2001 — Starting today, consumers can log onto MSN MoneyCentral and challenge Bill Gates, Microsofts chairman and chief software architect, in a virtual investment portfolio contest to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Microsoft will make a 50-cent donation to the nationwide nonprofit group for each person who enters the competition. Based on the number of participants, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America could receive up to $150,000 from Microsoft.
“Our goal is to show people all the great money management and investing tools on the Internet, enjoy some friendly competition and enable Big Brothers Big Sisters to help even more children,” Gates says. “MSN MoneyCentral has great personal finance tools, so I’m helping people learn about managing their finances and investments online. I’m sure I won’t win the contest, but it’s all for a great cause. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides role models and mentoring to thousands of youngsters every year, but there are still many more children who need a Big Brother or Big Sister.”
Anyone with access to the Internet can register for one of three MSN Market Challenge Series with Gates at http://msnchallenge.com/ . Contestants in each series have two weeks to register and choose up to four stocks to include in their contest portfolio. Players are encouraged to use both analysis and intuition when selecting stocks, since there is no actual purchase or investment of funds involved in series participation.
The MSN Market Challenge Series will include three rounds. Registration for Round One begins today. The competition will begin on Feb. 20, and the winner will be announced March 6. Registration for Round Two begins Feb. 20. The competition will begin on March 6, and the winner will be announced March 27. Registration for the Grand Finale begins March 6. The competition will begin on March 27, and the winner will be announced May 1. A $5,000 cash prize will be awarded to the winners from the first two rounds; the winner of the grand finale will be awarded $10,000.
“This is a really fun way for people to learn about investing,”
said Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of MSN.
We’re excited and invite everyone to come to MoneyCentral and take the MSN Market Challenge.”
Travis Earl, a native Northwesterner now working as the internal audit director for the city of Everett, Wash., is no stranger to the MoneyCentral site. He says he’s eager to match wits with the well-known Microsoft executive and test his investment knowledge, a good deal of which he gets from investment advice and editorial content supplied by MoneyCentral columnists Jim Jubak and Jon Markman.
“I got hooked a while back. A friend of mine actually started emailing me links to some of the investment articles. I think those are what I enjoy the most, especially the opinions,” Earl says. “Even if I don’t agree with Jubak’s opinions on a particular stock, I enjoy his articles. They give me ideas and help me with my investment choices.”
Rob Stephenson, a Portland-based investor, serves up similar praise for MoneyCentral’s content. He says he discovered the site about six months ago after purchasing Markman’s book, “Online Investing
(Microsoft Press 1999).
“MoneyCentral has a lot of the typical market information, which stocks were up or down,
“Stephenson says. “But what’s really interesting and unique are the in-depth columns by people like Jim Jubak and Jon Markman. They give you a lot of information you won’t get anywhere else.”
With more than 11 million unique users per month according to Integrated Decision Support System, MoneyCentral has consistently ranked as a leader among industry publications, such as Money magazine, PC Magazine, Barron’s, Forbes Magazine and PC World magazine.
Kathy Stout, a part-time employee for a furniture manufacturer, marvels that she can access MoneyCentral from anywhere in the world and can easily track her portfolio. “It’s so easy to use and to understand. It’s also very easy to access. I was in Europe twice last summer, and I was never out of touch,” she says.
MoneyCentral boasts many investment-related features that draw both the novice and veteran investors to the site several times a day. Here are just a few of them:
Research Wizard — explore the five major questions to consider when evaluating a stock
Stock Screener — search for stocks that meet your criteria
Message Boards — share tips and suggestions with other participants
Stock alerts — receive alerts whenever a designated stock goes above or below a certain price threshold
Stewart Todd, a 29-year-old training manager for an Internet infrastructure company, says he logs onto MoneyCentral several times a day to read the news and check his portfolio. “When I first started I had one IRA, and that was my portfolio,” he says. “But now, with multiple 401K, IRA and stock option accounts, the portfolio has become considerably more complicated. MoneyCentral helps simplify things by providing one place where I can find all the information I need — fund histories, stock performance against its peer groups, analyst ratings. No doubt about it, MoneyCentral has made me a smarter, more successful investor.”