Motley Fool vs. Seeking Alpha: An Overview

Investors have many online options to assist in their investment research and trading decisions. Across the web, a variety of websites provide web-based news wires, investment research articles, and other financial services, each with its unique offering.

Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha are two platforms that seek to reach investors in different ways. Motley Fool offers content for new, intermediate, and advanced investors with a mission to help any investor. Seeking Alpha targets more the intermediate to the advanced audience with in-depth, analytical analysis.

Key Takeaways

  • Motley Fool is likely to appeal to investors who look at investing in a fun and honest way.
  • Seeking Alpha offers a unique production of crowdsourced research content that is primarily written about individual investments.
  • Subscription services are offered by each of the two platforms with Motley Fool seeking to help readers develop a more well-rounded portfolio perspective while Seeking Alpha focuses on providing its readers with the most exclusive Wall Street perspectives on individual holdings.

Motley Fool

The Motley Fool has a company mission "to help the world invest better," and was founded in 1993 by brothers Tom and David Gardner. As such, it targets all types of investors with empowering do-it-yourself resources. Readers will find that its content is clear, targeted, prevalent, modern, and academic with a bit of humor. In general, the Motley Fool’s offerings are likely to appeal to investors who are not enthused with the clichéd research services provided by other vendors and who look at investing in a fun and honest way.

Motley Fool’s landing page provides a good overview of the many resources investors can find on the site. Its homepage includes trending news and investing articles, as well as links to beginner investing, stock ideas, retirement resources, a stock tracker, help finding a broker, podcasts, and the Stock Advisor, a premium service option. In their disclosure statement, they list Factset and Morningstar as the two primary providers of data and quote information.

Motley Fool is also associated with several unique companies that are of interest to its many readers. Its sister companies include Motley Fool Asset Management, Motley Fool Wealth Management, and Motley Fool Ventures. The site runs a portfolio service, a syndicated newspaper column, and offers books on investing from the site.


Motley Fool creates content on stocks and investment strategies for both paid subscription and free readers. They select portions of the premium newsletters to share on the free platform. When the Fool writer has ownership in a recommended security, they will disclose this information. Also, some of the recommended stocks are holdings in the Fool's portfolio service holdings. Some of the articles on the website come from affiliate companies or writers who operate under their separate disclosure standard.

Employees of the Motley Fool have further limitations on writing about stocks they hold and trade.

Subscription Content

Motley Fool’s subscription service offers several levels of membership customized to various types of investing and interest.

  • Stock Advisor (SA) features stock recommendations from the company’s analysts and founders, newsletters, and community access. This service cost new members $199 per year.
  • Rule Breakers (RB) focuses on the high-growth stocks that may become tomorrow's market leaders. This access includes newsletters, recommendations, and community access for $299 per year.
  • Rule Your Retirement (RYR) is geared for those investors reaching or in retirement. The service offers model portfolios, tips on Social Security, and will run the subscriber $149 per year.
  • Options (OPT) is customized to immediate and advanced traders and gives access to the Options University, weekly commentary, and recommendations. This package costs the subscriber $999 per year.

Motley Fool also has more advanced platforms that are currently closed to new members. These custom subscription packages include Market Pass (MP), Total Income (TI), Supernova (SN), Explorer (EXP1), Premier Pass (PP), and One which includes full access to all the Fool has to offer. Membership begins at $1,499 per year and tops out at $8,499 annually for the One level of service.

Seeking Alpha

Seeking Alpha was founded in 2004. This platform offers a unique production of crowdsourced research content that is primarily written about individual investments. The authors are individual, crowdsourced writers and investors, many of which have investment management backgrounds in buy and sell side research.

Seeking Alpha’s content targets intermediate to advanced investors. Readers enjoy following the views of other professionals in the investing field and also look to Seeking Alpha’s content for investing recommendations. Articles provide in-depth insight with valuations derived using a mix of investment valuation theory and market opinion. The platform is also a top source for all kinds of news on individual holdings and management transcripts. Overall their free service gives investors access to a wide range of investing content on individual holdings with Wall Street level opinions and insights.


Seeking Alpha is a crowd-sourced platform of investment and financial literacy information. Crowd-sourcing means a large, diverse group of individuals and companies may submit content to the site. The site seldom offers per technical analysis of trading strategies or securities.

Seeking Alpha has over 15,000 writers whom they pay at varying rates for the content they accept. All writers must sign and disclose information about any holdings they have if they write about that stock. These authors may submit work on bullish or bearish stances on particular securities as long as they disclose their holdings. Alpha allows readers to dispute content displayed on their site. Seeking Alpha reminds readers in their terms of use that not all investment strategies are suited for all investors and they should always discuss decisions with their financial advisor before investing.

Subscription Content

Seeking Alpha offers both free and paid membership only content. Free content includes investing and financial literacy articles and breaking news. However, access to older articles is limited, some to as little as 10 days from the original posting date.

Seeking Alpha Essential, previously known as Seeking Alpha Pro, is for the individual investor who wants more exclusive access to the daily developments of Wall Street. The service includes access to new and archival content of articles and news, newsletters, recommendations, alerts, charts, and comparison tools. With this subscription level, subscribers pay $239 for a year's membership or may pay on a per month basis for $29.99 per month.

Both services offer free and subscription content so readers who like the style can pay to receive more.

Seeking Alpha Pro+ is the platform’s advertisement-free professional level subscription offering. This platform provides ideas, charts, research tools, newsletters, and access to all the content on the Seeking Alpha site. Users may create on-demand ticker research for specific securities, and receive advance notice of the most relevant long and short articles. The service includes content exclusively curated for institutional level investors. Alpha Pro+ also offers corporate plans. This level of service cost an individual subscriber $2,400 per year, or they may choose a month-to-month payment of $300 per month.

Special Considerations

With so many web-based portals dedicated to investment research, investors have a variety of sources to seek investment ideas and advice. Both Motley Fool and Seeking Alpha offer a gamut of financial services to cater to the varying needs of investors. Ultimately, which resource an investor chooses depends on their individual service needs, risk appetite, and investment ideology.

The Motley Fool seeks to attract all types of investors with an approach that makes investing fun, approachable, and casual. Meanwhile, Seeking Alpha provides high-level content for more advanced investors who are interested in staying abreast of Wall Street’s most current developments and acting individually on profitable investing ideas. Both services offer subscriptions that target slightly different purposes. Investors who are looking for help in managing a well-rounded portfolio will enjoy the content developed by Motley Fool along with the support of its Motley Fool Asset Management products and professional Motley Fool Wealth Management advice. What most subscribers enjoy most about Seeking Alpha’s premium offerings is the awareness of new market developments and perspectives on profitable individual holdings.