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Lendstats Loan Filtering is Down…Permanently?

by Peter Renton on July 13, 2012

I received an email this morning from a reader informing me that Lendstats filtering was down. While the Lendstats home page is still working when you go to the Prosper or Lending Club filtering pages you receive this message: Sorry, this page is currently unavailable.

The first thing I did was check the Lendstats Forum and sure enough there was already a thread going on discussing this problem. Apparently there was an issue with his server yesterday and Ken, the owner of Lendstats, has decided not to fix the problem.

Ken has been maintaining Lendstats as a labor of love for a couple of years now and obviously it has been a great deal of work. He says he is burned out by all the negative comments he has received and will not be putting any more effort into Lendstats. If that is the case this is a bad day for p2p investors.

Lendstats Has Been the Number 1 Resource for P2P Investors

While I have been a big supporter of Lendstats over the last 18 months, I have linked to it over 100 times from this blog, I have also been critical of it on occasion so I fear I may have been a contributing factor in Ken’s decision to shut it down. If that is the case I want to say here publicly that I love Lendstats and I consider it to be the number one tool for p2p investors. Period.

There is no question that Lendstats has made me a better investor. And I am not alone here – I know there are hundreds of investors who have relied on Lendstats to do a thorough analysis of the loan history of Lending Club and Prosper. My success as an investor has been directly related to the filtering I have been able to run on Lendstats.

It looks like Ken is serious. There was a movement on his forum for people to start a donation drive but Ken has taken down his donation page so that movement can’t go ahead. I hope he reconsiders, I really do. It would be a great loss for the p2p lending community if Lendstats didn’t come back.

Hat tip to Rocco for letting me know.

[Update: I have written a short review and created a video tutorial for a Lendstats alternative called Nickel Steamroller]

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Marc July 13, 2012 at 9:49 am

A sad day in P2P lending. A hero has fallen.

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Peter Renton July 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Agreed Marc. Something good may eventually come out of this but if Lendstats doesn’t come back it will be bad for all p2p investors.

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Anonymous July 13, 2012 at 10:17 am

Let’s put some buy-out offers up?

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Peter Renton July 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I have offered to buy the site before and be happy to do the same now if Ken is open to selling.

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Larry Ventura July 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm

On a slightly different note, I was thinking a week or so ago that you, Ken, and SmartPeerLending should merge. It seems like each site was slightly different, and together they covered all the bases, from news to loan recommendations. I was noticing that neither forum (lendstat/SLN) was able to get enough traffic to warrant an everyday visit, but combining might get there.

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Roy S July 13, 2012 at 10:22 am

Well, that sucks. I didn’t know that there were a lot of negative comments/criticism (don’t know why they couldn’t start their own if they felt Lendstats so bad?!). Maybe I should have gone on to the forum. It was a very useful website that I used on several occasions. I’m hoping that Ken just needs a little break from it, and that Lendstats will be resurrected in the future.

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Peter Renton July 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Roy, it is quite possible that Ken just needs a break and Lendstats will be back at some point, I really don’t know. I have reached out to Ken today and if I hear back anything I will let everyone know.

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jiannone July 13, 2012 at 11:01 am

I invest through a lendstats filter in a favorited link. I don’t even have the values written down. Awful.

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Peter Renton July 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm

That is a bummer. You can always email Ken and ask him if he could decode your bookmark link for you.

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Larry Ventura July 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I started hanging out in the lendstats forum a month or two ago. Never saw any negative comments, but Ken also stopped posting his picks. I think that Ken could easily monetize his site, and I’d be willing to pay a monthly for the “service”. Not sure how others feel.

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Peter Renton July 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Larry, I have told Ken before that he should charge for his site because it is so valuable but he wanted to keep it free.

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CA-Lender July 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I too would pay a monthly subscription to use the site.

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Dan B July 18, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Well, now’s your chance to help pay for the new site.

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Wangchuk July 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm

I would pay a monthly subscription

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Larry Ventura July 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I understand that thought. Also, with investment-focused sites, charging could be a bigger deal than one might think. At some point it could be perceived that you are giving advice.

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Craig Hollyfield July 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Ken, your site has helped so many folks become better investors. This benefits both the borrower and the investor communities. I hope you can come up with an alternate model that would allow Lendstats to continue.

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Peter Renton July 13, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I second that. I hope something can be done to allow Lendstats to continue. I am more than happy to buy it and take it over so that it can continue and I have told Ken that.

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Steve Bryant July 13, 2012 at 3:31 pm

I second the idea of a subscription service for LendStats. I would be willing to pay. I would also be willing to sign a disclaimer that the LendStats site is for research porposes only.

Peter — have you considered selling an excel macro package that would allow generation of loan pick lists that meet the user’s selection criteria?

Otherwise, I am going to have to breakout the excel macro books and start writing my own filtering routines.

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Peter Renton July 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Steve, I am working on a couple of projects right now that I think will benefit investors – my goal is always to provide useful information and tools for all p2p investors.

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Rocco July 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm

A sad day in P2P lending in deed.

I must admit that Lendstats has allowed me to achieve an ROI that will be impossible to attain without them. Hopefully, after a well deserved break, Ken may reconsider bringing the site back on-line, charging a membership fee, or at the least discussing the sale with Peter.

Peter, a BIG Thank you for your dedication and hard work also. The P2P investor communtiy also owes you big time!

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Kent July 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm

If this is true, it is extremely sad news. I used Lendstats daily to monitor my investments with Prosper.com. It is a very valuable yet complimentary resource, which is extremely rare in this dog eat dog world. Please Ken, change your mind.

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Investor Junkie July 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Let me state this publicly, I would be willing to discuss with Ken taking over the site.

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Dan B July 13, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Guys, let’s be serious. Wouldn’t you want someone a bit more “fair & balanced” like myself to run a site like Lendstats??
In your response just remember that no personal attacks are allowed on this site! :)

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Michael July 13, 2012 at 10:29 pm

If you disable JavaScript the site will work, he’s placed the following code in the headers of the pages:

location.href = ‘../../loansearch/noaccess.php’

All he has to do is:

And disabling JavaScript will no longer work.

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Frankie C July 13, 2012 at 10:35 pm

So the site is not broken, it’s intentionally disabled?

Either way, from a technical perspective, there doesn’t seem to be much to that site. It’s just a handful of (amazingly useful) php pages and probably a back-end cronjob that pulls the data on a regular schedule from the 2 platforms. If the author doesn’t want to run the site any longer, he could give or sell these few scripts and anyone with a web site could have them back and running the same day.

I don’t mean to sound like I don’t appreciate how much work it was to write the code. I’m just saying that with a small amount of collaboration from the author, and given how many ppl are willing to help, this seems easily resolvable.

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Russell July 17, 2012 at 1:10 am

The real work in lendstats is parsing the obtuse format provided by Prosper, getting it into databases, and then coming up with the right PHP to poke at the database. Ken mentioned somewhere his provider cut his maximum DB size. So, the project went from being low effort maintenance to high maintenance.

It seems likely he was pulling the diffs from Prosper and the outage that prevented his scripts from running. Since, AFIK Prosper only provides the most current diff, he may have needed to do a full pull on the DB. If he didn’t automate that first step it is easy to see why he might not want to bother. Compressed the Prosper DB is about a gig of data. Uncompressed to CSV it is 2.85 GB. The Prosper format is obtuse. The P2PXML offering from NickleSteamroller looks promising, but if you use it as your base (as of right now) you are at the mercy of that source continuing to do the reparsing.

I also (briefly) considered rolling together a replacement. However, NickleSteamroller’s front end is too pretty. I could never match that.

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Megan July 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I don’t need pretty I like fast, clean, and accurate. Nickle Steam roller is lovely and has a lot of phenomenal data, but you just don’t have the flexibility in the filter selection that was available at Lendstats. I’m thinking to do my research with NSR and then using excel for my filtering.

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Michael July 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm

If you let me know what you would like added to the filters, I am more than happy to add it. I also have the website http://www.p2pxml.com which will assist you will your own data modeling.

Wiseclerk July 14, 2012 at 3:09 am

Too bad.

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Peter Renton July 14, 2012 at 6:57 am

Thanks for chiming in everyone, I agree with the sentiment here. I know Ken could fix Lendstats very easily it is just that he doesn’t want to. As I said I have reached out to him, as have others, but we have not heard back. I still hope he will be open to a sale or Lendstats but he may not want anyone else to run it.

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Forrest July 14, 2012 at 8:15 am

I’ve only started with p2p leaning a little over a month ago and had found the Lendstats site a very useful tool. I really hope Ken reconsiders.

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Anil Gupta July 14, 2012 at 11:21 am

Shutting down lendstats unexpectedly is an unfortunate situation for most p2p lenders who were relying on it. Ken should have atleast allowed some time before shutting down to extract their criteria and other info users needed.

I never used lendstats site personally as I have my own methods and setup. But knowing that there are lot of users with no options for analysis left, I am thinking of opening my tools for lending club historical data to the public. I can most probably expose the existing data though stale within a few days. There is no ROI portion or analysis of users portfolio in my tools and it is primarily visualization driven. A user will be able to create the charts with the data the types i post on my blog.

Based on user feedback, I can work slowly to improve or create another service in the background.

Also, is anyone interested in crowd funding developing a resource similar to lendstats?

Anil

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p2pLoanStats.com July 17, 2012 at 8:40 pm
JD Cullum July 14, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Hi,
I too just started with P2P lending via Lending Club, and I am very disappointed that Lendstats has suddenly disappeared. The filters are far more detailed than what is available on the Lending Club. I, too, would be willing to pay a subscription fee for this information. I’ve got money from loans that failed to go through and I’m really unsure about what to do about it. I guess I’ll keep an eye on this site to see what develops. Thank you, Peter for letting folks know what’s going on…
- JD

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Daniel Croce July 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Very sad as this was a tool of tremendous value. Clear from the comments that the P2P investor community appreciates Lendstats; let’s hope for the best.

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Peter Renton July 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Thanks for your comments everyone. I think it is clear that relying on any one third party source can be problematic as we are seeing. The good that is coming out of this is that people realize there is a need for a robust analytical tool for investors. Ideally, this tool should be for-profit to ensure its continued improvement and operation. From the comments I have seen here as well as emails I have received in the past 24 hours I think we might end up with several choices here within a short time period.

For those looking for an update Ken posted this on his Lendstats forum earlier today:
Thanks for your sentiments everyone. I’ve been obsessing over lendstats for good chunks of the past 3 years, and I finally need some down time. I’m not sure exactly how much I will scale it back, but I think I will heed LovingLifeStyle’s advice and take some time off of LendStats and re-boot my brain.

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DT July 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I have used Lendstats daily for years and the site has contributed tremendously to my Prosper and Lending Club investments. I also invested heavily in loans that Ken invested in. What a brilliant birddog! Lendstats going away is a tremendous loss! I am definitely willing to pay a fee for the service. I know my ROI will decrese with the loss of Lendstats. I hope Ken comes back or someone else picks up the mantle. I think the amount of work involved with the Lendstats site is too much for volunteer work and do not mind if the site collects dues.

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Peter Renton July 16, 2012 at 6:58 am

@DT, I am working on putting together something that will allow investors to continue to analyze the loan history for Lending Club and Prosper in a similar way that Lendstats does it. Stay tuned.

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Bilgefisher July 16, 2012 at 7:29 am

I respect his wishes. There is a need through. A smart individual looking to capitalize on this need could easily create a very valuable company as this industry is still in its infancy.

Opportunities of a lifetime come every day.

Jason

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p2pLoanStats.com July 17, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Just launched an indiegogo campaign for a new subscription-based loan stats site:

http://www.indiegogo.com/p2pLoanStats?a=873768

Hope you guys can help out! Spread the word!

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Peter Renton July 17, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Best of luck to you. I have kicked things off with a $100 investment. I hope you can raise the money needed.

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p2pLoanStats.com July 18, 2012 at 11:36 am

Thanks again, Peter.

If anybody would like to see different perks on the indiegogo site, please let us know. Chicago-area developers interested in joining the team should contact [email protected].

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Willsch July 18, 2012 at 11:07 am

I’d pay to keep Lendstats alive.

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DT July 19, 2012 at 9:53 am

I just made a contribution to p2pLoanStats.com to show my support to fill the need for a replacement for Lendstats. A clear need exists. I am enjoying watching free enterprise in action working to fill a need and most likely creating jobs over time.

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Peter Renton July 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Good for you DT. I hope we see some more interest.

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TP July 19, 2012 at 9:20 pm

No wonder I haven’t been able to sell notes for the entire week.

While I applaud the third party effort to come out with a new “lendstate” site, I am curious as to why nobody here thinks the FOLIOfn should be the one to improve its platform. After all, this is the company that charges the fee and I’m sure everybody would agree that its platform sucks.

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Frankie C July 20, 2012 at 8:39 am

Oh, they should. Their UI is only one small notch above unusable. It’s so primitive that just a few days of development could improve it greatly.

Yet they don’t seem to be doing anything about it. Wonder why…

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Larry Ventura July 20, 2012 at 8:42 am

I think we’d all like Folio to improve, or even come up with basic features such as staus change alerts….but we really don’t have pull with Folio as individuals. LC contracts with Folio, not me (even though I pay for it).

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Peter Renton July 20, 2012 at 10:00 am

I have spoken to Lending Club many times about Folio. While it improvements are on their to-do list it is clearly not a priority. I was told in June last year that they would put some effort into Folio soon. But that hasn’t happened. I can see why. While Lending Club want an active secondary market it doesn’t really matter to them how efficient it is – they make nothing directly out of it. LC may be contracting with Folio but it is the investor that pays the fees.

Improvements here will really help customer satisfaction. I will mention it again when I visit the Lending Club offices next month.

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Frankie C July 20, 2012 at 1:31 am

There’s one thing I don’t get about several comments in this thread: it sounds like several people relied on lendstats on a daily basis to steer their p2p investments.

I used lendstats the same way Peter described in his youtube video, and the same way he uses the Nickelsteamroller Return Forecaster: as a tool to test various filtering criterias against historical data. When I discovered p2p, I went through that whole process several times as I did more and more reading of blogs like this one. And after a few weeks of doing so, I had refined my set of filters, saved them on LC and I was done. It’s going to take 6-12 months before I need to do that again. It’s not something I do every day.

Sure, every month or 2, I upload my notes.csv to get a more accurate calculation than LC’s NAR. Not something I do every day.

So… for those of you who can’t live without lendstats on a daily basis: why not? What were you using that site for on a daily basis?

I’m only asking because I’m worried I was missing out on something, some process I could benefit from.

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DT July 20, 2012 at 5:08 am

Frankie C – The big difference in the way you are investing and I am investing is that I am a lot more hands on than you are. This is why I was using Lendstats daily. What you are doing works. I do that also. In addition to what you do I would use Lendstats in additional ways: (1) use loans picked by top investors as bird dogs (2) invest in blenders (3) incrementally lesson criteria to identify additional loans to invest in more loans quicker (4) see how my ROI compares to others (95 percentile or higher in two accounts) (5) see if I need to change criteria over time due to new data added to the database, etc. Hope this answers your question and good luck with your investing.

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Frankie C July 20, 2012 at 8:43 am

DT – Thank you for your reply.

Are (1), (2) and (4) Prosper-specific? That data is not available on LC, is it?

I’m with you on (5), I just don’t do it too frequently.

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Peter Renton July 20, 2012 at 10:06 am

Frankie, I think you are right. DT’s items (1), (2), and (4) seem Prosper specific. I would go to Lendstats weekly for updates on my own account and to see how others are investing.

But I know what some investors did is use Lendstats to actually make their daily or weekly investments. Underneath the filter results there was an option to show available loans, so you could run your filters and then just click on the loans that Lendstats gave you and invest directly in the loans on the Lending Club site in just one click. It was very convenient for many people. I preferred to use Excel but I know others that preferred Lendstats.

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seth yancey July 23, 2012 at 9:29 am

how does he pull the prosper data from the site?

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Peter Renton July 23, 2012 at 9:36 am

Seth, I believe Lendstats just takes the publicly available file but then he does some quite complex machinations in order to present the data in an acceptable way. One of the main reasons there has been no other site with Prosper data is because the data is complex and there are some missing pieces (such as total interest paid) that have to be calculated.

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Michael July 23, 2012 at 9:45 am

I make publically available the library NSR uses to process the Prosper data. You can download it here: http://www.nickelsteamroller.com/lab

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seth yancey July 23, 2012 at 10:42 am

thanks.

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