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Yahoo Finance getting in on the real-time game

Posted on June 17, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Thanks to the ever-vigilant Felix Salmon (he’s a hawk, actually) who tweeted a job opening at Yahoo Finance.

From the job posting:

We’re looking for an experienced, versatile, high-motor blog editor specializing in business news targeted at both sophisticated and mass-market audiences. The successful candidate will write and report his or her own stories, as well as hire and manage a small team of professional bloggers to curate and create original content for the largest audience on the Web. This person will set the strategy for and oversee the publication of financial blog content for programming on Yahoo! Finance, the Yahoo! network and consumption on the Web at-large.

The move in context

So, like Forbes which recently announced its intentions and strategy to unload its Investopedia property and embark on a more real-time blogging/curating model, Yahoo Finance is moving towards its own real-time financial content aggregation model.  Whether you agree with Fobes’ decision or not (and Paul Carr most certainly doesn’t calling it the “death of a thousand hacks”), Yahoo Finance’s move is different.

Forbes and Forbes.com have always been about content.  Forbes has always employed professional editors in a mixed outside-inside model for content, blending its own staff reporters with content contributed from asset managers and thought-leaders in their field.  Never known for its ability to break stories, Forbes really was about highlighting interesting opinions from experts in their verticals.

But Yahoo is different than Forbes

Yahoo Finance is a different animal.  While Yahoo Finance hasn’t changed much in the past 10 years (much to my chagrin), this move changes its tack.  Remember, Yahoo Finance, as a giant financial portal, has always been about aggregation of both data and information, taking feeds from tens of information and content providers.  By the way, check out ValueCruncher’s CEO’s, Mark Clare, great breakdown of Yahoo Finance, its past, its business and potential to disrupt providers like Bloomberg in the future.

Yahoo Finance is still the 800-lb gorilla in online finance as evidenced by its majority of traffic in the online finance category (see graph to the right). What’s made Yahoo Finance so strong was an early-mover advantage and a site that just worked quickly and had enough information on it to act as a proxy for a research terminal (Why Google Finance still sucks at its news offering is beyond me).  With a deal it consummated with Seeking Alpha in 2007, Y! Finance dipped its big toe into the wild and woolly financial blogosphere.  Now, with the job posting mentioned above, it appears that Yahoo Finance is changing its strategy.

How this may play out

This is a risky strategy.  In essence, the financial portal is pitting itself opposite all its content partners — many of whom pay the portal for the firehose of traffic it throws off.   I’d be less willing to partner with a company that is introducing a product to compete directly with mine.  And this is a common problem with channel marketing for any platform — and Yahoo Finance is certainly a finance platform — in that the platform, given where it sits in the whole matrix of supply-demand, can always just mimic other offerings that are working.  This is the fear of developing any tools that work on Twitter of Facebook – that the social media platform can quickly just put you out of business.

Such is the life now for Yahoo Finance content partners.  If (and this is a big IF) the Yahoo Finance offering is a combination of serious, professional editorial oversight with smart curation with a good understanding of what’s important to Y! Finance readers (a-la Abnormal Returns) with thought-evoking and decision-supporting articles, Yahoo Finance can evolve itself from a financial resource to a must-see, must-read site for both individual and institutional investors.

What if it doesn’t work

If, however, Yahoo Finance doesn’t do this right and takes a half-assed, half-baked approach, the results could be pretty serious: both for the company/site and for content, in general.  As Steve Lubetkin argued with me yesterday in the comments on PRNewser’s article Is Steve Rubel the Future of Forbes, aggregation using free, contributed — outside content — risks turning everything into an “echo chamber” where the biggest voices (those voices appearing everywhere) drown out newer, more creative content by people who take content creation really seriously.  If Yahoo Finance’s own content offering isn’t managed well, it could cause other partners to leave the site, taking their money and their contribution to the estimated few hundred million dollars in annual revenue Yahoo Finance generated.

What this all  means for aggregation sites?  We’ll have to see how it plays out.   There’s most likely room for multiple aggregators if they end up focusing on slightly different readerships (a retirement investors reads different content than a day trader).

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  • Best investment newsletter resources

    Posted on June 27, 2010 at 12:26 pm UTC

    Throughout the writing of my book, Tradestreaming, I’ve been asked time and time again if there are any good resources (lists, really) of the top investment newsletters. Unfortunately, there aren’t any all-encompassing sites that investors can tap. This post is a start. Please comment or contact me if you have anything to add, as well.

    Top investment newsletter resources

    There a couple of firms that market multiple newsletters.  Sometimes, these are just publishing firms that produce different products.  Others, like Forbes, market 3rd part newsletters.

    Diversified investment newsletter businesses

    InvestorPlace: Philips Newsletters, a giant in the financial newsletter place, uses InvestorPlace as its flagship site to market its newsletters.

    StockTwits: More blogs/trading systems than traditional investment newsletters, StockTwits’ store sells subscriptions to the blogs of many of StockTwits’ top investors and analysts.

    Cabot: In the business for 40 years, Cabot publishes a variety of newsletters.

    MoneyWeek: The UK’s best selling finance magazine also offers a variety of subscription investment letters.

    Stansberry Research: Another 800lb gorilla in the financial newsletter space, Stansberry publishes almost 20 different subscription newsletters

    Motley Fool: Of course, we couldn’t leave out The Fool — they’re got a stable of about 10 newsletters.

    3rd part newsletter distributors

    Forbes Newsletters: In addition to the Forbes.com site, the old business mag distributes both their own premium newsletters as well as leading newsletters like Al Frank’s Prudent Speculator and the Obeweis Report.

    Financial newsletter directories

    MarketWatch Newsletter Directory: Dow Jones’ MarketWatch has a database of many of the industry’s top financial newsletters.

    Newsletter Access: This site claims a directory of over 9000 investment letters

    Seeking Alpha’s Newsletter Authors: The financial content aggregator has a listing of all its authors categorized as newsletter authors

    Investment Newsletter Benchmarking

    Hulbert Financial Digest: Mark Hulbert has been following the performance of top newsletters for heaven-knows how many years.  He publishes a newsletter himself of his findings on which newsletters exhibit top performance — and which don’t.

    Investimonials: Users submit their own rankings on many of the industry’s leading investment newsletters.

    Crowdsourced Trading Strategies

    Zignals: Not sure why more people don’t know about this Irish firm but they allow users to publish trading strategies and investors to subscribe to them.

    Academic Research

    The Equity Performance of Investment Newsletters

    Herding Among Investment Newsletters: Theory and Evidence

    Market Timing Ability and Volatility Implied in Investment Newsletters’ Asset Allocation Recommendations

    The Performance of Investment Newsletters

    How to Start an Investment Newsletter

    NewsletterGrowth: This is a shameless plug for a site that I’m incubating that really helpful for investment newsletter writers/publishers and people thinking about getting into the business to maximize their writing, marketing, and monetization of their investment newsletters.  Check it out — there’s also a 20+ page ebook about how to start an investment newsletter.

    What to do next

    I’ve got a lot more interesting stuff to share: weekly tips, updates, special offers, etc.  Make sure you sign up for my free mailing list here.

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  • Chart.ly’s new beta screencasting tool enables analysts to up their games

    Posted on June 24, 2010 at 8:29 pm UTC

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  • …and Tradestreaming the book is a go, Houston

    Posted on June 21, 2010 at 12:36 pm UTC

    I’m proud to announce the official sales launch of my book, Tradestream your Way to Profits: How to Build a Killer Portfolio in the Age of Social Media.

    It’s been a *long haul* and I received a lot of great help/support from many of the investment industry’s top thinkers.  Thanks to everyone who’s listened to my ideas, helped me vet them, contributed their own perspectives and helped propel this work forward (you know who you are :-) )

    I think this is just the beginning of an exploration of the new modes of investment research empowered by the Internet in general and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter in particular.  There is a ton of great stuff going on at startups in Silicon Valley, New York, Europe and Israel.

    I plan to continue to analyze tradestreaming strategies and the new technology platforms enabling this all to happen.

    Bonus Material

    To accompany the launch of the book, I’ve compiled an ebook entitled “Tradestreaming and the Future of Investing”.  It’s a compendium of opinions from many of the online investing industry’s thought leaders from a variety of different disciplines.  It’s a really interesting view about where we are and where we’re headed in financial communications, research, and investing.

    Hedge fund analysts, financial advisors and brokers, investment advisors, investment relations professionals, Internet entrepreneurs, and all investors will find something useful and thought-provoking.

    You can download it here (.pdf).

    What to do next

    I’ve got a lot more interesting stuff to share: weekly tips, updates, special offers, etc.  Make sure you sign up for my free mailing list here.

    1

  • Top business books to read this summer

    Posted on June 20, 2010 at 9:36 am UTC

    Here is a short compilation of top business books taken from the New York Times best seller list (if you purchase off these links, my Amazon account gets credited a minute sum).  Hopefully, this is useful.  Some, if not all, of these titles should be on your nightstand.

    *************
    The Blind Side (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Movie Tie-in Editions): As always, Lewis is a great story teller in the world of business and sports (think previous hit, Moneyball — a great read) and this tale of rags to fame was supported by a recent movie with the same title.  My kids even enjoyed it.

    Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work: Like this one a lot.  As a fan of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, this book eschews the cubicle life for something more valuable, real — and it’s found by using one’s hands and body.

    The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal: As a Harvard grad myself, I always find these sordid tales of great minds acting like lunatics while pursuing their fortunes.  Facebook, the company and its founders, are totally complicit.  Mezrich is a great writer (The movie, 21, was a takeoff of his Bringing Down the House)

    Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard: Heath Brothers (of Made to Stick fame) are at it again with a gameplan to help readers face hard changes in life and make them a little bit easier.

    Sign up to get more real-time updates from me and Tradestreaming.

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  • Financial product development a la AlphaClone

    Posted on June 18, 2010 at 8:58 am UTC

    Interesting case study(.pdf) from Venture Capital and Private Equity Club (UCLA chapter) on the launch of piggyback investing platform, AlphaClone.

    Combining an interview with founder and CEO, Maz Jadallah, the paper includes his comments that should provide a resounding recommendation for using blogging as a lead generation tool for premium financial products:

    Jadallah: Hiring a PR firm turned out to be a disaster for us. They simply did not perform well. The important point here is what does a startup do when they have zero/limited budget for marketing. Answer: blog, blog, blog, use word of mouth, run affiliate programs, cold call reporters, try to get content syndicated on third party sites!!

    Source

    AlphaClone, LLC: Launching an Investment Services Business in the
    Midst of a Financial Crisis
    (Undergraduate Journal)

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About Tradestreaming

Tradestreaming is a community of investors learning directly from experts. I’m Zack Miller, investor, entrepreneur, and founder of Tradestreaming.com and I literally wrote the book on how to invest in the age of Facebook and Twitter. Tradestreaming is the resource I’ve created to help me become a better investor.  I believe it will help you … Continue Reading