“I love the smell of profits in the morning.”
That simply has to be the lamest tagline imaginable for a new section on Yahoo Inc.’s finance portal called Tech Ticker that just went live.
According to the introduction post by Diane Galligan, who is a Yahoo! editor, the new section is “a daily video-centric blog focused on the incredible world of technology investing.” At the time of writing no video was available, but Galligan says to expect it to be “quirky and opinionated.”
The contributors are mixed bag of bloggers, venture capitalists, print and TV journalists — and the reinvented Henry Blodget.
I don’t really have an issue with any of the contributors or the idea behind the section, but I question the judgment of the Yahoo! Finance team in positioning Tech Ticker as a main section of Yahoo! Finance, on a par with the main Investing and Personal Finance sections.
People use Yahoo! Finance because it’s an authoritative resource. They use it to inform themselves about life or career altering decisions involving serious financial consequences. So when Galligan writes that Tech Ticker is “quirky and opinionated” and “won’t cover everything” she may as well be saying it is a non-authoritative or lightweight source.
Another issue about the positioning is that people who use Yahoo! Finance don’t just invest in tech stocks. They invest in companies in a wide range of industries. So where’s the Health Care Ticker site or the Mining Ticker site? Silicon Valley may seem like the center of the universe to the people at Yahoo!, but it’s not for most people.
But all of this is just small potatoes compared to Yahoo! Finance’s many other problems. The site is a mess of old design and new design. The homepage has been upgraded, but if you drill down into the site’s sections and pages, they’re all different. And it has been like that for months, or is it a year already?
Then there’s the “new” stock charts that have been in “beta” for what must be at least a year now. When are they going to make those new charts part of the main site?
And last week, they started shoving a big ad in my face when I visited the homepage. That makes them look desperate. I could go on and on, but it would be a waste of time.
Poof positive for me that the Yahoo! Finance team does not have the foggiest idea of what they’re doing is the most recent addition to their list of news providers.
Listed amongst predictable news sources such as AP, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times is a news source called Sun CEO Blog. It even has its own archive in the News & Opinion section.
I don’t have an issue with Jonathan Schwartz’s blog or anyone else’s being republished on Yahoo! Finance (I’ve written before that it was a great thing), but Jonathan is not a “news provider.”
You can argue till you’re blue in the face that we are all news providers now, but it’s still inappropriate to include one guy’s 1.5 blog posts per month alongside mainstream or semi-mainstream media outlets. And why is there only one corporate executive blog on Yahoo! Finance anyway?
Who is making these decisions? Where is the vision or the plan? It seems to me that there is none and that things are being done haphazardly. Yahoo! Finance should be the global hub for investors on the Web, not some parochial tech stock vlog.
Yahoo! Finance was once the undisputed leader in finance websites. I started using it in 1996 or thereabouts. It has had pride of place in my bookmarks across several computers and many more browsers, from Netscape to Firefox.
And I still use it more than any other finance portal, as do many investment professionals. In fact, Thomson Financial found in a survey of 304 portfolio managers and analysts in 2006 that Yahoo! Finance was the number one source of investment ideas for professionals. Fully 65% of investment pros mentioned it ahead of ThomsonOne (50%) and Bloomberg (33%). Thomson never released those results publicly.
However, for the past year or so I have been using other sites much more often than I used to. Google Finance gets a lot of my attention now because its integration with Google’s main search results and Calendar is very convenient.
And I’m quite impressed with the new AOL Money and Finance beta site, which has seen strong growth in visitors in recent months. I also like BusinessWeek’s Company Insight Center, although it’s less appealing to me than it used to be due to poor news release usability.
Yahoo! Finance feels like an old habit that I am now conscious of. And I am starting to think I should break the habit. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I have a strong sense that it will. And not just for me.
As soon as someone offers a truly global portal for investment information, I’m gone.