Friday, May 26, 2006

CNET Review of Inkling

We met a reporter, Rafe Needleman, from CNET the other night and he decided to say a few words about us:

New Dashboard

After receiving lots of feedback about our dashboard, we’ve decided to revamp it with a new layout and a key piece of new functionality.

First, you’ll notice the obvious layout changes. People who were trading in lots of markets were having trouble reading the table and following whether or not they were up or down for the day. Now things scroll a bit more but hopefully they are MUCH easier to read and interpret. Let us know what you think.

Second, you can now close out your position directly from the dashboard. It used to be that if you had 50 shares on credit, for example, to buy those shares you would have to go through the same process and buy the 50 shares. Now we’ve made things much easier and allow you to do this right from your dashboard.

As you always do when we introduce something new, please be vocal about the good, the bad, and the ugly with these new changes so we can continue to improve Inkling.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

London School of Economics Research

Jed Christiansen, a long time follower of the prediction market community and a student of the London School of Economics is partnering with Inkling to conduct research for his graduate studies.

In the coming days we will be launching a separate site for Jed to run his own markets. He may be asking for volunteers to participate in his markets so be on the lookout for further announcements. Here is a brief description of Jed’s research:

The ability of groups of non-experts to outperform individual experts was recently popularized in the book “The Wisdom of Crowds,” by James Surowiecki. While a good amount of research has been done in the field of Prediction Markets, there is little empirical evidence that proves that groups out-perform experts, and even less when very small groups (so-called “thin markets”) are used.

My graduate project with the London School of Economics will examine if a group of non-experts can beat the judgement of experts, and the dynamics of how and why that occurs. I intend to demonstrate through experiments run at that a small group of non experts with no background in financial markets or market models can easily learn to express their opinions by trading and in doing so beat expert predictions. By following up with users and comparing the data they used to make judgements with the data the experts used to make judgements should yield insights into why Prediction Markets can be a powerful decision-making tool.

If other members of the academic community are interested in using Inkling as a research tool, please contact us; we would be happy to brainstorm about how we can work together.

Site Improvements

In addition to working on our “make your own” service, we’ve also made a number of additional enhancements to the site:

  • If you click on your settings page, you now have a personal profile you can fill out. People access your profile when you are the author of a market or you are in one of the top trader lists. Eventually we’ll make this more searchable/pervasive but fill out your profile and get to know your fellow Inklers.
  • Dozens of code enhancements to make the site response times faster
  • re-designed homepage
  • new logo
  • re-vamped top traders page that is now real-time vs. updated once daily

We’re always interested in feedback so let us know what you think about any of the changes!

Make Your Own Markets Released

We’ve been hard at work on “make your own” markets for personal use, small business, and enterprise, and we think we’re finally ready to release them in to the “wild” for people to use.

We’re excited and thankful for the number of people who volunteered to test these markets and we’re looking forward to seeing what kind of markets people begin to run themselves on our public site. Anyone who uses Inkling regularly can already see the number of markets being published steadily increasing.

Finally, we’ve heard from several small and large businesses alike about using Inkling within their organizations.

We’ve created the ability to run your own “site,” i.e. This is a sand box completely separate from our public site where an administrator can control the access list and user priveleges, use a simple workflow to approve/deny new markets, and customize certain aspects of the user-interface.

We’re going to be talking soon about some of the projects we’re already working on. Contact us about setting up a trial site for yourself.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Testing: Write and Manage Your Own Market

It has been a long time coming but we are finally about to take the wraps off our “do it yourself” market manager, allowing you to write and run your own markets.

All those times you’ve cursed Inkling about not having enough markets or cursed us for not closing a market soon enough are about to end – now YOU can take all the responsibility!

We aren’t quite ready to release this in to the wild, but if you are interested in trying this out now, give us a shout and we’ll upgrade your account. You can make both public markets that show up on Inkling and private markets that only you and your friends see.

We hope to hear from you!