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The Twitter Hijacking of Stocktwits $ …The Cashtag

It’s interesting that Twitter has hijacked our creation of $TICKER ie. $AAPL. It only took four years to ‘fill‘ this hole, though a few months back they told me in a detailed email it was not a hole they wanted to fill.

You can hijack a plane but it does not mean you know how to fly it.

Twitter is about advertising dollars. They have $1 billion of venture money on the line. Lot’s of pressures I am not interested in.

Go check out $HIT or $WAG (walgreen’s) on Twitter search or thousands of other features around curation that we have thought about for 4 years and implemented.

I wonder how well that will do for $FXCM (buying ads on twitter) converting hits from rappers into FOREX accounts.

CNN Money, Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg, Globe and Mail, Reuters, Bing, MSN trust Stocktwits with many more partners in the works. If you send a message from Stocktwits it is seen on these sites and their ticker pages.

I am disappointed of course that Twitter is hijacking our idea and time (will only confuse the masses), but Stocktwits moved beyond that basic functionality 4 years ago. In a dirty way, it’s the ultimate compliment so we will take it as such for the moment and keep rolling out functionality that makes us the best real-time communication platform for people that love stocks and markets.

Stocktwits provides context, curation and community.

It’s easy to sign up for Stocktwits and see the difference.

  • oghowie

    Handling the situation with class, but I hope you guys get compensated in some way.

    Rest assured I will continue to support StockTwits.

  •!/tarhini_smb TarhiniTrade

    serious question, does this mean if I post something on twitter with the cashtag, it wont shoot over to stocktwits?

    • howardlindzon

      if you have an account on stockitwits yes, but best you use Stocktwits to be seen and get our distribution

      •!/tarhini_smb TarhiniTrade

        thanks. I should have just tried it out. still, Im sure others will have the same question

  • raznick

    Yep, and you can find Benzinga’s real-time updates on ST in an easy, digestable manner.

    • howardlindzon

      keep em clean :) and fast

      • raznick

        Exactly. No unnecessary noise. Surprised not to see an attribution. I think I was one of the first 50 stocktwits users and it has been one incredible ride.

  • Prince Bhojwani

    “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.
    You handled this well, Howard.

    I wish you and the stocktwits team the best, because even as a professional, Stocktwits has reminded me that I am still a student of the market. There is always something new to be learned, especially in regards to the finance world.

    • Jordan Holliman

      Prince beat me too it. I was going to utter the same sentiment — Imitation is the highest form of flattery.

  • Dan Robbins

    Wow. I remember the day when Soren asked for volunteers to include a dollar sign with the symbol as an experiment. I hope Twitter at least offered a buyout of you guys first. Or did they simply say, “You didn’t build that”

    • howardlindzon

      I dont see any attribution from the company.

  • rosswhiting

    Howard, they have a long way to go regarding their cashtags.!/search/$wag?q=%24wag Their $wag is no wag at all. More like spamtag or junktag. Beat them to a trademark.

    • howardlindzon


  • Chirag Chamoli

    Reminds me of the quote by Fred Wilson, “don’t be google bitch, don’t be fb.., don’t be twitter bitch” and I have seen stocktwits rise above twitter long time back. I personally feel twitter is getting screwed internally to innovate and all they can do is a copy paste of existing things built on “twitter API”.

    Good luck to the stock wits team and if you can do sue them ;)

    • howardlindzon

      ha. we built off on our own in 2009 because soren, chris, phil and I knew that just a $ was an idea and we knew what WE wanted to create.

  • Allan Schoenberg

    I remember our first discussions with you and the team and immediately got it. You, Phil, et al have built a great service, not just a site, that has made a huge difference for so many.

    • howardlindzon

      Hey Europe!

      You are a great partner and friend. Lots of cool stuff still to come.

  • Don Synstelien

    Howard. First off. I love Stocktwits. Always have, always will. You are a pioneer. Secondly, and with sadness… Welcome to the club.

    Twitter is out to kill every startup that even tries to carve a niche out of it’s network. I’m sad to say that I’m not surprised that Twitter “stole your idea” I’m only surprised that it took them this long. My own company stopped developing products around Twitter when they indicated that it was open season on third party clients, and I’d suggest that anyone who has not had their ideas stolen by Twitter yet or product duplicated or otherwise been made irrelevant by Twitter, your time is coming soon.

    My guess for next on the chopping block is any company that does celebrity endorsements or otherwise monetizes the stream creatively. i.e. “Without ads”

    • howardlindzon

      I think its about knowledge of verticals and community. twitter has breadth. Love that. Love the graph and product. we are just deeper and different and interesting and fun.

    • howardlindzon

      glad u like stocktwits of course. thx

  • TrendRida

    Twitter will screw around with the idea for awhile & when they can’t figure it out throw some cash at u guys and give u a fancy title…

    • howardlindzon

      i like the title of ….. i have sold plenty of things. I like stocktwits a lot. thats why you sell things and build businesses you can control a bit.

      • TrendRida

        U guys have more leverage than Twitter realizes. If it wasn’t for StockTwits most of us wouldn’t be using Twitter. U should sample your users and find out how many use FaceBook. I’m guessing a small percentage. FaceBook doesn’t help us make money. StockTwits helps us print it…

        • howardlindzon

          thats the bummer of course. attribution for the idea would be a beginning. team stocktwits worked hard on this and will fight about that forever. we should.!!

          • TrendRida

            Steve Jobs would kick your ass for not patenting everything. It is clearly your idea. Don’t know what your legal grounds are, but I wouldn’t just lay down…

          • howardlindzon

            of course not. cant blog and share every move :)

    • howardlindzon

      now though its easier to work with a real financial brand and service. twitter is a yahoo message board now and you are left to trust their curation ….i like our strategy better … bloomberg and factset and markit print money from utility and service and data, not ads and hiring. I am interested more in how they think about markets and stocks and finance.

      exciting time for everyone really that love stocks and are cynical of large media and institutional finance.

  • ben s

    As both a tech startup junkie and stock trader, StockTwits has been pretty much the only startup I have come across that is the perfect combination of both of my interests. To Howard, I have the highest respect for you and admire your ability to innovate and bring fresh air to a rather mundane and stale industry. Aside from Stocktwits (and maybe Simple, Square, and Mint) the finance industry has mainly used it’s focus on technological innovation for the sole benefit of a select group of participants (HFT). However, back to the startup side of the equation, with all due respect sir, could Twitter not turn the tables around and make a similair same claim? You have the word “twit” in the name of your company, you limit posts to the same number of characters, and the look and feel of the site is VERY similar to Twitter. Could Twitter make the claim that without them, StockTwits would not exist, or at least have a very different look and feel than it does today? Did you carve out a niche market and build the best damn product you could? Of course, and the end result is an amazing product that will ultimately cause Twitter’s implementation of the ‘cashtag’ to undoubtedly flop, which is why I’m sure you wont be losing TOO much sleep over this move… I am sorry that this news has come but it could not have been that big of a blindside, regardless of whatever their team had told you. You are a brilliant man, I am sure you had seen this day coming sooner or later… Best of luck. I am truly a big fan of yours.

    • howardlindzon

      twit is a word i have long loved like putz and yutz. for the record again it is a play on who is the twit…the institution or the individual…i say the institution. hence the name.

      people that know stocktwits know why I chose the name and not stocktweets.
      I am glad you appreciate the product and service.

      no sleep lost as its why we started stocktwits. sleep is lost because of stockitwits, not twitter :)

    • howardlindzon

      thanks for the kind words btw…glad u like our style.

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  • gregorylent

    twitter is too important to be left to the marketing minds at @twitter.

    • howardlindzon

      amen. silly stuff they are doing but it’s media baby.

  • yzyer

    So how much money did you make off of Twitter using your idea?

    • howardlindzon

      ha. never enough when its personal and ‘death is on the line (name the movie )

      • Leonard Welter

        ‘Have you ever heard of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates? One of the all time best movies. Cannot see twitter succeeding with this idea.

      • gbattle

        But you’re not Sicilian Howard? ;-)

  • CoryS

    Riding on the Freemium highway has some nasty off ramps. Not the first time for Twitter, Google or Facebook to crush ecosystem partners. Time to find a deal?

    • howardlindzon

      why do we need a deal. shouldnt we just focus on our vision and product and user experience?

  • Dennis Goedegebuure

    i always was rooting for Twitter, but lately I’m loosing my faith. This is a simple rip-of of StockTwits. Like said below here, I can remember Stocktwits getting a round of funding just a couple of weeks after they launched, based on the $ ticker symbol protocol, and the team was asking to tweet for testing with it.

    I feel I just lost an idol…

    • howardlindzon

      hmmm…faith is dangerous. Its a large corporation and does not need rooting anymore, they need huge rev and profits. They have unique stresses i imagine.

  • Think Ezy

    you can’t make it easy to sign up for stocktwits by placing a horrendous capcha on the home page.
    Also, you should have made a communication platform on cashtags ($ as againt @) all through these years. That would have been less confusing and more rewarding. In 4 years Twitter has gone places.
    Howard, you lost a great opportunity and now riding back on Twitter. Not expected from a fighter.

    • howardlindzon

      we have NO captcha so please send me a link to that or jpeg ?

      instagram worked well with @ …i think you are being a bit unfair and unclear here. we built this for different reasons than you want or expect and appreciate ideas and constructive criticism.

      • Think Ezy

        There was a capcha just some time back with a title access restricted. It was on this site as well.
        Honestly, i am not unfair to you. You discovered the great cashtag. You would have developed without the Twitter back end. There may still be time and an opportunity, as Twitter is closing gates to outside citizen.

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  • render

    Im not a finance guy, nor will I ever be. But I like your site, just checked it out. Ya know, Ive had a huge change of heart lately about one particular issue and thats whether or not people should be attempting to build out existing ideas when they have already been done.

    A few months ago, I would have said no dont waste your time. But now that I have committed to being an independent software developer I have started to work on ideas which are not original, but have promise.

    And one thing I realized quickly is that to say that existing ideas cant simply be improved…a lot is a bigoted demeaning thought process.

    People wonder where the next facebook and the next twitter will come from and it will be from guys like you, who dare to take an existing idea, run with it and improve on it. While the facebooks and twitters will be too worried about making money, little guys will be out there building to an audience and growing because their stuff is more thoughtful.

    kudos to you on stocktwits.

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  • Chris Selland

    Twitter likes to state they want an ‘ecosystem’ but keeps taking actions to prove they don’t. Very lame move on their part.

    Keep innovating – in terms of the audience that cares about these types of things, you’ve got it, they don’t.

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  • Declan Fallon

    Value is in the execution; pulling all content from $cashtag will only lead to (even more) spam. It will only challenge Stocktwits if they combine it with true curation, otherwise it’s just streamed noise.

    • howardlindzon

      yes way more spam.

    • howardlindzon

      you are very wise

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  • William Mougayar

    Wow. Of course Twitter-searching for these symbols is yielding crap results that no one in their right mind will pay for. I say you’re still 4 years ahead of them on this one.

    • peter_north

      Amen. You’ve got a huge head start and tons of credibility over them. Don’t underestimate yourself, Howard. I’m rooting for ya.

      • howardlindzon

        thx. we like rooters of us :)

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  • Phil Simon

    To Mr. Lindzon and Others

    Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others are frenemies. Get used to it. The Age of the Platform is here.

  • Adam Sussman

    Although I doubt any investors in Stocktwits are truly concerned regarding this news, I would love to take some shares from anyone who wants to cash out. Is it possible that twitter will hurt stocktwits, sure, but Lindzon and team (yo Phil!) are true superstars. It’s tough to bet against these guys even in the rough and tumble world we find ourselves in. … wish I had more time to hang with you folks $$

    • ppearlman

      thanks suss!

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  • Abdallah Al-Hakim

    I have recently re-engaged with my stocktwits account and I think the service has a lot of potential for me because of the “context, curation and community”. I don’t see any tangible reason that will make me want to use twitter for tracking stocks (at least in foreseeable future). Twitter will continue to serve an important job for me but not when it comes to stocks

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  • Shawn Christopher

    Honestly, this would have been a better “Facebook-esque” move where Twitter should have just acquired StockTwits instead of getting the bad karma of “idea jacking”

    • howardlindzon

      it is stealing at many levels but makes it easier to steal ideas from them now too :)

      • Dominic Dalglish


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  • Anon

    If you’re only adding a hyperlink, then you’re probably not creating much value.

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  • Mark Gannon

    I’m not sure you should be worried until Twitter improves the quality of its search function. I recently started tweeting summaries of 10-Q and 10-K SEC filings, but I’ve yet to see one of my tweets show up in a Twitter search. Instead, I see useless stuff like re-tweets from Cramer that I’ve already seen. In my opinion, Topsy has a much better search function.

    • howardlindzon

      they let people delete messages which is just ridiculous when you think of financial messaging and structure and …take a look at @stockgod a scam penny stock guy who just promoted stocks to his audience, they blew up and he departed unscathed while deleting his ccme and other zero’s he pumped.

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  • Jason Andrus

    I’ve always had great respect for Phil and the team over at Stocktwits having the early vision to take what can be a chaos of messaging and making it into something useful. We’ve enjoyed using Stocktwits ever since I dragged DailyFX on board to contribute, and I’m sure you guys will overcome this.

    Btw, FXCM won’t be advertising on $HIT or $WAG :)

    • ppearlman

      thanks a bunch jason.

  • @446721x

    You are claiming Twitter took the $ tag from you? I didn’t see them complaining when you stole the enitre twitter platform from them and pretended like it was your own. Without twitter paving the way for you, stocktwits wouldn’t even exist!

    • Dustin

      Don’t be an idiot. StockTwits uses Twitter from Twitter’s developer API. TWITTER offered it. Howard didn’t offer the cash tag.

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  • gbattle

    Uncle Howard-

    As you well know, I’ve been a fan and friend for many years. You knew this day would come. The feeling of being validated and robbed at the same time is bittersweet. It’s OK though, as you’ve said, you’ve differentiated away from $cashtags and Twitter aggregation as a pure strategy. Good luck to $TWIT when they start getting $6758 or
    ¥6758 (Japanese ticker for Sony) and the like.

    They’ll be knocking on your door soon enough.



    • howardlindzon

      You can answer :)

  • Jeremy Campbell

    Copy cats are the ultimate compliment, consider it a positive Howard, especially since you guys are far ahead with the Stocktwits ecosystem!

    Twitter should have made a big acquisition offer, poor decision on their part!

  • Chris Lau

    Imitation is the highest form of flattery. All twitter did was validate StockTwits’ cash tag. The copy merely validated your offering. The hijack merely raises the value of your site, your community, your tools in connection with the cash tag. Keep building the tools around cashtags and watch your traffic explode even further.

    Twitter Search($CashTag) != Stocktwits.

    • howardlindzon

      Thanks Chris.

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  • Ari

    FYI here is a link to newsy on this issue:

  • Busta

    You da’ man Howard!

    • howardlindzon

      i really am …according to max anyway

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  • Andrew Korf

    Howard – just so we’re clear are you saying the royal “Our” and “We”? Im a little fuzzy on the dates, but are you saying the $TAG was a creation of yours/StockTwits? The same way @chrismessina is credited for first use of the #HashTag?

    If nothing else, this move by Twitter makes the need for an open, federated, one to many messaging platform more clear and urgent. Neither Twitter, Stocktwits, or anyone else should claim ownership of semantics or the language we use to communicate.

    • howardlindzon

      i think yes stocktwits absoluetly created this.

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  • Alexander Ainslie (@AAinslie)

    Twitter probably just did StockTwits a fav, I suspect lots of new signups to StockTwits as a result of newly aware twitter users clicking on $symbols, finding StockTwits, realizing how poor the twitter experience and results in comparison, then signing on to StockTwits for their financial info. #MoreFalafel my friend!

    • howardlindzon

      i agree honestly. i wish I could truly elaborate but that would hurt book sales.

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  • TruthSeeker

    So, exactly where did the idea for the StockTwits website come from? That wouldn’t be…..ah……Twitter. Would it?

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  • Monique

    I admit to being a confused mass. Is there somewhere that explains what cashtags are and how they’re used? Thanks @MoniqueElwell

  • dizzy

    and didn’t you hijack $TICKER from yahoo?

  • dizzy

    i see you also censor critics of your criticism…well that’s the great thing about twitter, they don’t…unless you bark at nbc coverage of the olympics.

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  • paramendra

    Should I Get Disqus For My Blog?:
    If the intensity of your focus in the space is bigger than that of a big company, you will beat the big company.

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  • Hawkmojama

    This was a good idea, but regretfully for StockTwits not one that could be protected. Maybe this seemingly negative “hijacking” by Twitter, however, will be positive in the end, by allowing the $TICKER convention to catch on more. Is that silver in that dark cloud?

    FYI, TickerChirp ( is now archiving the trending tweets for the cashtags of the majority of the companies in the Russell 3000, plus a few others.


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