Stock Market Game Sparks Fury and Excitement with Spy Feature

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Stock market game releases controversial feature that allows members to spy on top virtual traders' portfolios.

The nation’s largest stock market game generated both interest and fury over the last few days. In late June, the Utah-based company, Smartstocks.com, launched a new “spy” feature that allows its 600,000 users to see the trades and holdings of other users.

Some players of the virtual stock market game are vocally unhappy. One user, Gary, wrote into the site’s support desk, “I think that the spy feature is cheating. It is the same as hacking the game.”

In response to comments like this, Smartstocks.com promptly added a “Spy Blocker” feature within hours of the controversy, which allows the game’s players to stop any user’s attempt to peek in on their holdings or trading history.

Another player, Jen, says the addition won’t affect her. “I don’t need the spy feature. I just ask the top ranked players how they do it. They tell me. I guess a pretty smile on my profile photo helps.”

Mike Woolf, Vice President of Smartstocks.com, says that the company has received mixed responses, but encourages both current users and the public to send feedback and opinions via the website.

Smartstocks.com executives say that several new features like Smartspy and Spyblocker have created excitement and caused their registrations to surge in 2012.

In addition to daytraders and gamers, college students account for many of Smartstocks.com's 600,000 registered users. The game allows them to gain experience while learning financial principles in business classes. Many experienced investors use the stock market game for experimental trades and a refuge from the storms plaguing global capital markets.

Anyone can sign up for a free fantasy stock account at Smartstocks.com.

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