Amazon's stock will hit $400, predicted analyst Henry Blodget in 1998. It didn't. The stock now trades at $32.14, but Blodget got attention and a job at Merrill Lynch. Never mind that he was a journalist by trade, with no analyst training. One dot-com bomb later, Merrill let him go, Eliot Spitzer charged him with securities fraud (he settled), and the "analyst" was banned from the securities industry for life.
Blodget recently resurfaced on a blog called "Internet Outsider." His latest post begins: "The most surprising thing about RBC analyst Jordan Rohan's comment that MySpace could be worth $10-$20 billion in a few years is that he deemed this assessment 'audacious'—and the press seemed to agree. Why is this audacious?"
Ahem. It's audacious because the company, bought for $518 million, is so precariously perched on an aging model of social networking that it could lose its sweet advertising deals as soon as the market implodes.
Given all of this, it's distressing to see Blodget quoted — without irony — in the New York Times. These days, Blodget is practically a voice of reason. A scary thought, unless you're into the "blind seer" archetype.