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It’s All About The Benjamins… Why Real Billionaires Do not Take Forbes Ratings Seriously

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It’s All About The Benjamins… Why Real Billionaires Do not Take Forbes Ratings Seriously

October 03
21:17 2020

—How the magazine went from status conferer to junk paper

The history of Forbes Magazine’s billionaires rating has been one continued gaffe from one end to the other. Among other things, the magazine has been accused severally of publishing flawed ratings of national and global billionaires thus conferring unearned repute on many of its subjects.

Insiders allege that the publication has over time, developed a strategy for amassing profit via advertisements from beneficiaries of its often slanted ratings.

In Nigeria and other parts of the globe, for instance, many of the characters who are listed in the magazine’s billionaires’ ratings have been deemed unworthy. 

Pundits alleged that if beneficiaries have to ply Forbes with advertisements to get on the list thus making the ratings very unreliable.

It’s a poor reflection of the actual state of things as many beneficiaries of the publication’s billionaire ratings have been described as desperate characters seeking overnight acclaim. 

“Forbes will feature anyone now as long as the individual can place an advertisement in the magazine. They are practically selling the ratings to anyone with advertisement money. That’s a shame,” said a financial expert cum auditor in the energy services industry.

Having realised Nigerians’ lust for titles, and to be identified as symbols of affluence, the Forbes magazine management, and editorial team devised a strategy to exploit the vanities of such readership segment. 

For instance, part of that strategy has been the magazine’s 30 under 30 list, aimed explicitly at supposedly ‘up and coming.’ The expansion of the list to include multiple categories and a vast array of individuals has been greeted with understandable scepticism, but Forbes defends the move with reference to those who get name-checked.

Financial experts argued that the magazine’s yardstick for calculating billionaires’ net worth is extremely flawed. According to them, the task is seriously complex, for the primary reason that many of these assets have values that are changing nearly continuously, and some can experience large swings on an hourly basis. 

The more complex financial instruments become, the harder it is to ever say they are worth one thing since a few seconds later they could be worth something else entirely. Billionaires do not, as a rule, keep their net worth in a bank account somewhere they can just look up the balance, but rather diversify their holdings across a range of asset classes and as a result their net worth continuously shifts and thus have to be estimated like a random, inaccurate guess.

Consequently, some of their articles have been condemned and declared sheer hooey, with no basis in reality; and the magazine has been conned successfully, several times into publishing things that simply aren’t true.

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