It looks as though the site known for predicting outcomes couldn’t foretell its own demise

The number of people using Intrade has plummeted since a US government crackdown late last year, calling into doubt the online prediction market’s powers to divine the wisdom of crowds on matters ranging from election results to the stock market.

Unique visitors to the site were too few to measure in January, according to ComScore. This followed a 77 per cent plunge from 287,000 in November to 67,000 December and was the first time on record that traffic failed to meet reporting thresholds.

The vanishing traffic raises questions about the predictive value of a market feted by journalists and academics as a pioneering gauge of public opinion. At its peak, Intrade counted 112,000 users. At midday on Wednesday, the site said there were 509 – and 498 were guests.

Ouch.

InTrade is best known for brokering bets in the U.S. presidential elections.  But last November, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued to stop the Dublin-based site from offering prediction contracts to Americans.  As a result, InTrade closed all U.S. accounts pending a court-ordered injunction.

Nevertheless, predictions from around the world are still coming in.  At the moment, InTrade gives Ben Affleck’s Argo an 83% chance at winning the Academy Award for best picture this weekend.