Whatever comes to mind, and then the interesting directions that thought will take you on the web.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


I've written about Prosper.com previously.

I'm really excited that after nearly 3 and a half years of using Prosper, I am near to making a positive return! That's right, I am now only $100 down, but I am trending to positive returns! There are so many charge-offs, that so far, all the interest I've made - $1,024.89 has been reversed by the charge-offs $1,125.76. If Prosper ever holds another debt sale, I might be positive sooner than I think.

It got me thinking - it's tough to make money lending to consumers. No wonder credit cards have to charge exorbitant fees and charges.

One strategy that I've been following is to monitor loans that become overdue. Then, immediately that they become Current, list in the Notes Trading section, with a tempting 1% discount.

Luckily (and purposefully??), Prosper allows you to see what happened to the Notes that you sold:
43714-89.20%A700-719 Current3629$32.33$32.008.99%1.0% discFixed PriceSold
39019-20211.00%AA800-819 Late (61-90d)
In collections
3622$16.40$16.2011.17%1.2% discFixed PriceSold
44162-2758.25%AA740-759 Late (31-60d)
In collections
3633$37.30$36.907.98%1.1% discFixed PriceSold
40755-2712.04%A740-759 Late (61-90d)
In collections
3627$20.17$19.9012.15%1.3% discFixed PriceSold
40755-5512.04%A740-759 Late (61-90d)
In collections
3627$20.17$19.9511.91%1.1% discFixed PriceSold

So, from this evidence, being late once is a good indicator of being late again! It would be good to test this with more data.

Anyway, the process of trying to do this is a drag. It means logging in to Prosper regularly, bookmarking new delinquent loans, and checking on the status of previously bookmarked delinquent loans.

I was beginning to think about scripting in Selenium, then I suddenly thought to myself - Prosper should have an API.

I was thinking of the email I would send to the "Contact Us" link, and I was imagining the response "Thank you for your great idea. We'll discuss within the team", or some such platitude.

I went to the Prosper Blog, and noticed an Academics Tab, and lo and behold, a link to the developer tools and data mining resources page. And on the Developer Tools and Data Mining Resource page, a link to the docs for the API's. I felt like crying - they had done the right thing.

Now, to try using them. Maybe I'll still be crying, but for the wrong reasons.