July 9, 2008
To Whom It May Concern,
I am writing this letter to express my opposition to the proposal (File No. 34-57917) by NYSE Arca, Inc. to establish a new fee structure for the distribution of its market data.
While I am supportive of making real-time market data more accessible online to individual investors, I believe that the Securities and Exchange Commission needs to ensure that this data is made widely available and at a reasonable cost to competing websites. By allowing NYSE Arca to unilaterally sell and distribute its data in an exclusive fashion to the highest bidder, the Commission will be permitting a de facto online monopoly to be established - that is, a monopoly of the deepest pockets.
The success of the World Wide Web, which has served to level the playing field for individual investors, has been made possible with open standards and the widespread availability of information and content. In turn, this has promoted a virtuous cycle of innovation and entrepreneurial efforts that has let a thousand flowers bloom.
Specifically, as NYSE Arca's proposal is currently structured, two of the online investor websites that I have co-founded, RagingBull.com and TickerSpy.com, would have been or could be hamstrung by making this data available only to a few select companies. Both of this websites were created with the goal of allowing investors to communicate directly with each other and to share ideas. By limiting the resources we can provide these investors, the Commission would be doing a disservice to some of the most important public market participants.
To ensure fairness and to prevent the crowning of a monopolist, the Commission should require that NYSE Arca make this data available to smaller websites at a reasonable cost. Pricing could be based on either site usage volumes or a share of advertising/subscriptions, or both. This model is currently and successfully used by a number of information providers.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
William C. Martin
Principal, Indie Research, LLC (dba TickerSpy.com)