THEY’RE not the only providers of hosted investor relations websites, but they’re the biggest in the United States so many companies wonder which one has the better IR website product.
Our survey of over 500 international large-cap IR websites includes companies that are clients of Thomson Financial and Shareholder.com, so we have a good handle on which firm offers the best IR website suite.
To be clear, we evaluate the public websites that companies provide for investors’ use. Our interest is confined to how well IR websites hosted by Thomson or Shareholder.com meet the needs of investors. We are not concerned with how well they meet the needs of IR departments, although what’s best for investors should also be good for IR departments.
Before I declare a winner, let me also state clearly that I don’t like the IR website products of either company very much. I think IR departments would be much better off hosting their own sites and/or establishing close relationships with smaller web development firms that can provide higher levels of service and greater technical flexibility.
And I have to make the point again that Shareholder.com’s investor spying tools are the dumbest thing we’ve seen in all of the years we’ve been watching IR websites. They should never have added the tracking tools. If you are a Shareholder.com client, tell them you don’t want the tracking features — before the SEC comes knocking.
The final disclaimer I need to make is that neither Thomson nor Shareholder.com have any IR website clients within our Top 40 sites. By saying that the one company’s IR website product is better than the other doesn’t mean its products are great.
And the winner is…
Okay, with all of that out of the way, I reluctantly declare that Thomson Financial’s IR website suite is better overall from an investor’s perspective than Shareholder.com’s. But only by the narrowest of margins, and only because Thomson has more respect for investors’ privacy, so far.
Let us know if you’d like us to compare any other service providers. How about some of the European providers? Or perhaps we should look at B2i and SNL? Tell us what you think.
(Disclosure: We don’t build sites or have any business relationships with companies that do. We’re strictly independent consultants.)