Thursday, June 28, 2007

Review: Top Prosper Blogs

Prosper is a social lending marketplace. In this post I wanted to look at one part of that online social aspect - blogging about Prosper.

I've spent several hours searching the interweb and come up with a list of Prosper blogs. I'm sure that I've missed some and ask for reader's help in identifying any additions.

Rateladder.com - Rateladder is clearly the most prolific Prosper blogger. He has his pulse on the Prosper community and certainly provides a valuable service. He has averaged more than a blog post a day since launching in December 2006 and is still going strong. His most popular post is Prosper.com and your emergency fund. Kevin, the blog author, also runs ProProsper.com which provides tools for Prosper lenders.


Wiseclerk.com - Wiseclerk is an interesting blog that started about the same time as rateladder. The focus is much broader with attention to all P2P banking sites including a lot of international coverage. Here's a direct link to wiseclerk's Prosper blog posts and posts about Prosper groups. Wiseclerk is the blog's primary author but there are also several other guest authors. My only confusion with wiseclerk is the header says P2P-Banking.com while the site is hosted on wiseclerk.com - odd. In addition to the blog, wiseclerk offers several useful statistical reports.


Jutia Group - Jutia Group is a finance blog. Stephen Oakes, the author, is the group leader for the aptly named Jutia Group on Prosper. His 45 active loans are earning over 20% since February and he is much more bullish than most investors, "Although picking solid stocks is my expertise and passion, I've found that making diversified loans earning over 20% every year is an absolute no brainer." In my opinion, his best post is about standing orders - not only does he provide a brief tutorial but he shares his own criteria as an example.


Lazy Man and Money - Lazy Man blogs about all things money but his favorite topic is Prosper with over 30 posts. He freely shares the mistakes he has made and has changed his investment strategy from focusing on high interest rates to focusing on AA, A, and B loans. This reminds me of Matt's risk management advice.


Prosperous Land - Mike doesn't post often (maybe a half dozen times a month) but when he does it it's quality. The most valuable post for me was his analysis of default rates on auto funded loans. Based on his stats, they will fail at 2x3 times the rate of non-auto funded loans. He also presents some shocking statistics on how borrowers without verified bank accounts almost always default.


Prospers.org Blogs - Prospers.org allows anyone to host their own Prosper blog and currently has eight bloggers which include zcommodore (brand new blog), PrinceOfEgypt (not updated since May), Caladia (nice Prosper anniversary post), Bamalucky (self-described as daily rants and anti-prosper), and bmay2 (group leader of NuBeginnings). The two I'll highlight are Fred93 and Jwitchel. I'll also point out that here on Prosper Lending Review we plan on allowing guest author posts in the near future. This may be a valuable option for people who don't want to start their own blog but have valuable insights to provide to the community outside of the forums. Email me if interested.


Fred93 - Fred is a top lender with over $700,000 invested. He has only blogged three times but they are weighty posts. He has soured on Prosper and has published a couple open letters to Prosper (1, 2). He says, "Sadly, I have to report that my disappointment with Prosper’s management has continued to increase month after month, and my enthusiasm has continued to decline. I’m pretty sure that the majority of things that are wrong can be fixed. However my confidence that Prosper’s management will fix them has simply declined with time as I’ve witnessed their response."

Jwitchel, Prosper CTO Blog - Prosper.com does not have an official company blog. This surprised me, but they make up for it by directly interacting with users in the forums. There is an official company announcements section of the forums and several Prosper employees are active in the forums. John Witchel, Prosper's CTO and co-founder, made the decision to host his blog on Prospers.org instead of the company's official site. In his first post he says, "Following up on my promise to start communicating more, I thought I'd start a blog and Prospers.org is kind enough to hook me up." His posts have been very informative yet somewhat infrequent (four in the last two months). He has blogged about the Prosper collections process, debt sales, debt to income ratio, pre-vetting borrower's income, and interest in idle money among other topics.

There are several blogs, while interesting, are no longer updated.

Money Walks - Lender's perspective on Prosper with an emphasis on data analysis. My favorite post, Blame the Lenders? Or the Borrowers?, shows that HR and E-grade loans make up 80% of the listings. Wow! Money walks, if you read this, I'd love to see these stats run again to see what the marketplace looks like now. I wonder if it has changed in the last six months. Money Walks has not been updated since February.

DebInVenice - coverage and pictures of Prosper Days February 2007.

SeattleEditor's Prosper Blog - has not been updated in over a year but has some good gems among the older posts.

Prosperlicious - Very active blog from March to August 2006 but nothing since.

Group blogs

Craiglisters Group - good tips for borrowers.

Vets helping vets - military group blog with Prosper news, group news, and tips for borrowers.

In addition to blogs, there are many 3rd party statistical tools and group websites. I plan on reviewing those as well in the future. If you know of any websites that I should take a look at please email me or leave a note in the comments. Also, if there are any blogs I have missed please let me know.

As for this blog, Prosper Lending Review, we hope to build a long term resource for those involved in the peer to peer lending community with a focus on Prosper lenders. Right now we have two authors. I'm Tom, also known as Spider5 on the forums, and am relatively new to Prosper. Matt (mateo) has been lending successfully on Prosper for about a year. In our first two weeks I think we have already built a wealth of good content. If you haven't yet, I invite you to subscribe to our daily updates by entering your email in the box on the top right. We plan to continue publishing high quality content. So far here are our most popular posts:

eBay + MySpace + ? = Peer to peer lending - industry review
Do Prosper lenders discriminate?
Prosper lending 101 - review of Prosper's online seminar for new lenders
A Prosper scam: The story of Jessica Wolcott - could be a movie made from this
Prosper: A hands-on education in risk management - avoid HR and E's
Why would a borrower use Prosper instead of a traditional bank?
Prosper lending - How to avoid bankruptcies
When to bid on Prosper loans - not like eBay

I've created a blog roll on this site to make it easy to find your Prosper blogs. In addition, I've created a shared Google Reader page for Prosper blogs and the five most recent blog posts are published on this page. Right now the feeds included on the shared Google Reader page are Wiseclerk, Prosper Lending Review, Prosperous Land, Rateladder, and all Prospers.org blogs. If you have anything you want me to add please send me an email or add a comment.

8 comments:

RateLadder said...

Thanks for the mention...

tom said...

No problem. You certainly have an interesting blog and are well connected in the Prosper community. I enjoy reading what you have written.

Mike said...

Thanks for the nod as well

Mike

tom said...

Mike - I really like your blog. You should post more often!

tom said...

I've come across two more Prosper blogs since yesterday -

FANAFI - I'll review them in a future post about group webpages.

Prosper IE Extension - I'll work this into my review of 3rd party tools

Stephen Oakes said...

Great job on bringing all the Prosper resources together! Also, thanks for the mention...much appreciated.

Tom said...

Thanks Stephen. Your blog also inspired me to write this article - Prosper lenders avoid high risk loans.

Tom said...

I just came across Prosperous PF Strategies Blog. It's well written. Most of the posts are from April but there are two new posts in the last couple of days. I added the feed to the recent blog posts feed I keep on this blog. We will watch it for updates.