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Am I the only MoneySavingExpert in the village?

This is a Chat Forum discussion on Martin's 'Am I the only MoneySavingExpert in the village?' blog that you can read here
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  • SystemSystem Forumite, Community Admin
    178K Posts
    10,000 Posts Photogenic Name Dropper
    Community Admin
    Martin, whatever you call yourself, someone will complain. Be proud of what you have done, and what you have acheived - which is an emormous amount, in a short space of time.

    Big hugs to you xxx
  • I think they're infiltrating your site too and trying to have a go! (See credit cards are for MoneyWasingExperts thread) Also I don't like being called a 'money miser' by this person.................if I'd been one of those I wouldn't have got myself in the mess I'm desperately trying to get myself out now!

    Keep up the good work Martin - I think you're the only MSE in the village!
  • robnyerobnye Forumite
    5.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    i get called lots of things, but i tend to ignore them and pretend to be deaf until i hear something i like...... :D
    smile --- it makes people wonder what you are up to.... ;) :cool:
  • Tim_LTim_L Forumite
    3.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Oh dear... time to don the fireproof underwear again.

    I have slightly mixed feelings about this, as I think do many of the people who have been doing all of this sort of thing - stoozing, rate surfing, loophole hunting, incentive grabbing, bill paring, and what not - for very many years.

    Catch us on a bad day and we can get a little irritated at the way some of these basically very simple ideas have been rather appropriated by the "Moneysaving Expert" brand as if they were wholly invented here. And to quite a large degree the new and interesting ideas tend to bubble up from the chat forums rather than from the titular head of the organisation: the money saving expertise is in fact pretty widely distributed.

    However on balance I think that if having a highly visible figurehead and an identifiable brand image pulls more people into applying these concepts, which are in effect being shrewd and savvy and understanding and applying fundamentals of cash and money management, then it's a good thing.

    In many ways the reaction is probably the Bill Gates syndrome: to geeks, the idea that another geek has made it big when they haven't is difficult to bear, and hence the extreme antipathy towards Microsoft and Gates himself. For "amateur" moneysaving experts there can be a similar reaction to someone who has had the drive and ambition to actually make a go of making a very good living from the idea, and developing it into a recognizable brand.
  • I believe you are wrong Tim L - I dont think martin looked at this as a way to make a good living (although if he did thats ok by me). There are thousands of ordinary people getting this email and saving money, but it is not only the money saving, its the advice we can get each week. This is of immeasurable benefit and I for one certainly would not have believed I could do the things I do now. I wouldnt have even known of their existance. Martin has proved that people power works - I prefer to call us people - geeks sounds somewhat disrespectful. Keep up the good work Martin!
    heading4pension :eek:
    a grandparent at last :j
    and now a 2 pound saver as well!! :o
  • Tim_LTim_L Forumite
    3.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Well, you would hardly call yourself a professional moneysaving expert if it wasn't your profession, or perhaps I'm missing something?

    A large part of why MSE exists as a site is to build the Martin Lewis brand - nothing wrong with that, but most of the original source material has been around for many years at TMF (to take one example) and elsewhere; almost all of the new and useful advice comes from the chat forums. This information would be available somewhere with or without Martin being involved, though it's questionable whether any site not fronted by someone with a decent and growing media profile would become truly mainstream.

    I think you've missed the point about geeks and Bill Gates too: I was not suggesting MSE members were (necessarily) geeks. Geeks resent Bill Gates because he has been a major success in their own particular field, and they are jealous. This is precisely the same extreme reaction to MSE and Martin from some people who have been doing basically the same sorts of things for many years and who are irritated to see these ideas being appropriated into the MSE brand. I don't personally share this level of resentment, but I think it's important to understand where it comes from.
  • MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
    8.3K Posts
    Tim I'm sorry to disagree with you but the idea that the source material came from elsewhere or the Fool is palpable nonesense. Now i freely admit and applaud the fact that many people were doing MoneySaving themselves - finding the best deals, thinking through the logic, and bravo, in fact people doing that is the life blood of the forum.

    However the site is driven by the articles. The research done cross market and all sectors was unique, the Fool nor any other site had anything close (and still doesn't in my opinion - the Fool is great for shares, but its other articles have neither the breadth or depth in most subject of the ones here).

    I remember in the early days in the press review of my Sunday Express column on the closed site for personal finance journalists (done by a different hack each week). I had done a comparison of 40 override providers and produced the results in a table. At the time Telediscount won 7 out of 10. The reviewer noted "ho ho, I note there's no source, I presume it came from Telediscount".

    I reacted rather harshly to this and was given a right to reply "actually the reason there's no source is I am the source, i checked 40 providers as the article states with no bias." The reason this was different is many did (and still do) rely on press releases for tables and industry people for quotes, something i've never relied on since i became an MSE.

    The information presented in articles is done by primary source research, originally by me alone, now with a team to help. It focuses on providing both a. a methodlogy and b. an answer and it is part b that was the revolution in journalism when i started - a hack willing to actually say "this is better, this is what you should do" rather than simply presenting a range of comments.

    Of course the discussion boards around at the time were often commenting on these things. Yet the systemised research looking cross market simply wasn't there (remember I started this back in 2000 - the site came in 2003) and I would argue in many ways still isn't. The codefying of strategies is one part, yet many of the articles and strategies are totally originally and simply not written about elsewhere.

    While the forums (both here and elsewhere) are amazing, it relies on filtering the good or bad information and checking out the source. The main site does that for you - provided you trust my research that is (which as you know only recommends due to whats best unlike other sites). I disagree fundamentally that 'all the new stuff is in the forums' - the articles and the tip often contain unique information and research with scores of man hours in them.

    It's also important to remember the main site has three times as many users of the forums and is the depth of what most people perceive as moneysaving. Don't get me wrong I love the forums and the contributers and information and am very powerful fo the consumer collective research that goes on there, but i think it is very unfair to call it the sole vestige of originality.

    This isn't purely an exercise in branding it is about providing unique, detailed, checked, journalistic primary source material from a trusted brand that comes from a coherent philosophy. It's also about persuading people to follow that philosophy in their pracices. It's also about a movement, and I use the media to do that, to draw people into a way of thinking and effectively sell that message.

    All the best :)

    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at
    Debt-Free Wannabee Official Nerd Club: (Honorary) Members number 000
  • Well done Martin! You're OK in my book and have a fantastic site that not only covers the moneysaving but a whole encyclopaedia of help on other issues. Thanks
    DTD - Doing Tesco Daily - while I still have vouchers!
  • Tim_LTim_L Forumite
    3.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    I didn't suggest the ideas came from TMF, but by the same token they didn't originate here either. Just to take one example, the idea of stoozing came to a great many people at the same time, triggered by the invention of 0% deals (if I recall correctly by RBS who ran a mailshot which got many people's attention). In fact if you ask around you'll find people who were doing a very similar sort of thing in the 1980s.

    Similarly if you look at the other mainstays of the moneysaving canon, for example savings rate surfing, remortgaging and utility switching, people have been doing this sort of thing for a very long time. Clearly, having things fully researched and laid out as a recipe is useful for very many people, and I certainly wouldn't argue that this does not bring very significant benefits. There is absolutely positively great value for many in the editorial content and I agree entirely that this detailed content doesn't really exist in the same form elsewhere. But fundamentally the ideas have been around for a long time.

    Remember that what I'm reacting to in this thread is not the nature of the site itself. On the contrary I think that it's a very good thing indeed - without being patronising, anything that leads people towards better money management is beneficial, no question about it, and of course the nature of the site - independant and ad free - positions it very firmly on the moral high ground, where sites like TMF still shamelessly stick up popups for very dodgy penny share schemes. What I'm doing here is to explain the sort of thought process that leads some people to resent to a greater or lesser degree the unilateral proclamation that Martin is the UK's "only Moneysaving Expert" (which was the original subject for discussion). Even though I don't agree with them.
  • Well, if I can use the term "only" in this next sentence: This is the only site that I will rely on for Money Saving and Consumer Revenge. You should be proud Martin of how far you have got regarding the journalistic part of your job and the running of this site. :)
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