Stealth Ads/Solicitations

Hopefully, this post gets The Motley Fool’s attention. I know they are busy with updating the community boards but I had reported the problem to Customer Service two months ago to no avail. Perhaps CMF_ Muskie has the power to have TMF either get rid of unwanted ads/solicitations or label them clearly as such so unsuspecting Fools do not get tricked into clicking on them.

On July 17, 2022, while on Saul’s Investing Discussions, I noticed under Announcements, the blatant solicitation of a non-Fool business. The deception is listed with the rest of the usual TMF notifications in not-to-be-overlooked CAPITAL letters.

Among all TMF boards, either free or behind the paywall, only the popular, much frequented Saul’s board, seems to be affected,…. The deceptive announcement to your right urges you to READ THIS BEFORE POSTING. (Please do not click on it unless you have read the ad details below, and please do not comment on Saul’s board as I will remove my own off-topic post on that board within the next few days. Thank you).

Thinking it was perhaps an important TMF notice of newly revised posting rules, I clicked on it. It took me to a request for device enrollment by Mimecast, a Jersey-domiciled, London-based company, owned by Microsoft. Jersey is not part of the UK,, but they seem to have data protection according to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), see

Mimecast, hacked only a few month ago, clearly peddles the enrollment of your “device to access message links” and claims that “[y]our IT department has enabled Targeted Threat Protection for all users. This is a service that protects you from email attacks and provides live security training.” It then requests your email address so Mimecast can send you an authentication code to verify your identity.

Since this announcement is a blatant, unmarked solicitation for our business, I reported it to The Motley Fool that same day, July 17, 2022, and requested its removal. As a long-time paying member of TMF, I believe the Fool has the responsibility to clearly label any advertisement, promotion or peddling of outside products.

When I checked a few days after reporting it, the offensive solicitation originating from the Mimecast US security website had disappeared. Today I noticed that it is back again. Not only do I resent being fooled by the Fool, but what makes me uneasy are reports that Mimecast was hacked a few months ago, the attack reportedly similar to the SolarWinds hacks, see

Email Security Firm Mimecast Says Hackers Hijacked Its Products to Spy on Customers Reuters,…

Mimecast Certificate Hacked in Microsoft Email Supply-Chain Attack,….

It shouldn’t be too difficult for The Motley Fool IT staff to find out who keeps on adding this unwanted advertisement and blatant business solicitation to the Announcements on Saul’s Discussion Board or to successfully prevent it from reappearing.

I again request that TMF either permanently remove the Mimecast solicitation or clearly mark it as such. I also hope that when they “update the community boards” as advertised, TMF will clearly label any ads, promotions, and solicitations as is the usual custom for most freemium business models.

Sine TMF is migrating the boards to a new platform, it would also be nice to publish any and all new policies.

Thank you,

I. M. Young
holding off on renewing my membership



I have bumped your comment up to the powers that be. I will let you know what I hear. For what it’s worth I also have frequent requests from Mimecast to authenticate myself, and I’m not particularly a fan.



I suggest you bring it up with Saul. I think he controls what shows up in the right panel.

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My guess is that Saul controls some, and TMF controls some. The sidebar contains links to TMF jobs and TMF paid boards, along with Saul’s links. But this is likely a Saul link.

The “ad” in question is a link thru Mimecast’s protection service. The service is suppose to verify the link is safe before forwarding the user onward.

I suspect the link is supposed to go to… Someone on Saul’s team posted the mimecast link instead of the forwarded link. It likely works for them, because they are logged into the service. I suspect Saul will follow up with his information shortly.

It is unlikely that a hacker hacked mimecast, then somehow got his hacked link on a TMF sidebar.


Hi I.M. Young –

I am responding to this with something that will be mostly correct as I do not have anything to do with security, verification or anything tech here at the Fool.

Mimecast isn’t advertising on the Fool. Mimecast is an authentication manager that provides security, verification and spam prevention for the company. The link you clicked on normally goes to a 10 month old post. But in this case Mimecast did not recognize your device and diverted you to a verification screen.

I wish none of the multifactor verification engines were necessary but they are an unfortunate reality of the value of data on the web and the efforts which seriously bad people go through to steal it.

Can’t tell you why you were diverted, but it wasn’t because Mimecast has some scheme to get you to enroll in something shady.

All the best-

Bill Mann


Hi I.M. Young,

As Bill said, The Fool uses Mimecast so when a CMF or TMF clicks a link, we go through Mimecast. When Saul asked Tony to add that link to the Announcements, Tony grabbed the link and copied it without realizing he hadn’t cleared the Mimecast aspect of it so he accidentally pasted in the link with Mimecast in it. Because of that, Mimecast ‘activates’ and anyone who isn’t a CMF or TMF still gets the message.

It will be cleared out Friday night with the migration since I have to recreate the Announcement Sidebar with all the new post links on Saturday. It is NOT spam or stealth ads/solicitation…it was just an error cutting and pasting.



I suggest you bring it up with Saul. I think he controls what shows up in the right panel.

Hey, it’s either Saul’s way or the highway.

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To all,

Thanks for trying to clarify it.


Thanks for your explanation.

I don’t envy you your job of setting up the new Announcement Sidebar on Saul’s board which needs updating.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to get my list of suggestions regarding the sequence, inclusions and updates of some links to Saul and crew before the tomorrow.

It would also take some time to review, reconsider and update several items especially in view of the planned classification into active posters and mere readers.

I. M.