We have been discussing the vertical segments that old media companies are losing to new media, and have focused on Personal Finance as an important category. We covered Yahoo from a Web 3.0 perspective earlier, and here we take a look at Microsoft’s offering.
MSN Money is the Personal Finance and Investing site of Microsoft. The site is an excellent resource for news and information and provides consumers with a number of financial services tools. The site is powered by Microsoft Money 2007, gets software and financial content from CNBC, a leading financial news channel. The main sub-categories of MSN Money are News, Banking, Investing, Planning, Tax, My Money, Portfolio, Loans, RSS and Insurance.
The site has tie-ups with State Farm, ShareBuilder, LendingTree, Countrywide, Quicken Loans, Fidelity Investments, Reuters, Financial Times, etc for financial content. MSN Money scores over most personal finance sites on financial and investing News as most of the content is from CNBC and the news and information is frequently updated. Like most other personal finance sites it provides mortgage rates, stock quotes , stock scouter and screening, insurance quotes, etc.
The site offers “Microsoft Money”, a personal finance application that allows users to manage household financial accounts and track a budget. Cnet rates it among the best personal finance applications. MSN Money also provides Bill Payment services for a monthly fee of $2.95 for the basic plan and $5.95 for the premium plan.
Banking allows users to avail various services like tracking accounts, bill payments, finding great credit card rates, applying for loans, comparing bank fees and services, budgeting, and applying for credit reports.
Similarly, the other sections of the site deal with different personal finance issues like Investing, Retirement, Tax, Insurance, etc in detail and has good contextual information and advice to aid a lay person understand, decide and manage finances.
MSN Money Community scores over Yahoo as the site provides Message Boards, Newsletters and RSS Feeds, which allow users to not only post questions but also interact and generate ideas and discuss a variety of personal finance issues and investments options. The message boards have different categories (YourMoney, WomenInRed, PoliticsandtheMarkets, etc).
MSN Money Investment Toolbox is a free service that allows users to track, screen, and manage one’s portfolio of investments (stocks, bonds, options). The software allows a very high level of customization to the users, and is a successful Software-As-A-Service implementation of Microsoft’s personal finance desktop application. Over time, however, they could go much further in this area.
MSN Money offers vertical search option through its popular MSN Money Investment Toolbox, which allows users to screen stocks from more than 500 criteria. Stocks can be screened on the basis of Market Capitalization, ROE, EPS Growth, etc. It is a powerful tool that allows investors to focus their search and save it or export it to one’s portfolio or mail the result to a friend. Other kinds of Vertical Search can easily be added to extend the offering, and make it deeper and more compelling.
MSN Money earns majority of its revenues from the advertisements. MSN Money has over 12.9 million unique users, and has ETrade, LendingTree, Intuit TurboTax, Quicken Loans, as advertisers.
Overall, our Web 3.0 rating is as follows: Context : A+, Content : A+, Commerce : A-, Community : A-, Personalization : B, Vertical Search : B.