We have reviewed Yahoo and MSN’s Personal Finance offerings in earlier posts.
Marketwatch Inc. is one of the leading providers of financial information, business news and analytical tools. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Jones & Company Inc. Here, we take a look at Marketwatch from the web 3.0 perspective.
The personal finance section of Marketwatch provides news, information, tools and advice on personal financial management. The personal finance section of Marketwatch has seven broad categories – Auto, Life & Money, Real Estate, Retirement, Taxes, Tools and an investment overview section called Getting Started. The presentation of the Marketwatch site is not as good as MSN Money or Yahoo Personal Finance. However the site is an investment and financial news powerhouse.
The broad categories like, Auto, Life & Money, Tools, etc have further sub-categories. The sub-categories of each section provide in-depth contextual information on the broad topics. The Auto section for example provides reviews of latest automotives, existing loan rates on new and old vehicles, auto insurance and news from the automotive industry to help a consumer make an informed decision. The Investment overview (Getting Started) section is very comprehensive and deals with investment and money management. The section includes Stocks, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Options, Futures, Kids & Money, and Glossary. Investments is clearly the forte of the Marketwatch site, due to its Dow Jones lineage.
The site has a number of financial tools and provides information on mortgage rates, mortgage calculator, money tips, portfolio tracking and a host of investor and analysis tools. Marketwatch is the best place for individual investors looking for financial information, news and synthesis. The personal finance section covers most of the broad categories and certain sections like Retirement have very good content. The site lags Yahoo and MSN on the other aspects of personal finance beyond investments. Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones are the major sources of content for the site, consequently offering a calibre of content not easily replicable. The news box on the Marketwatch site is updated every 2 to 5 minutes.
MarketWatch offers subscription products for individual investors, including the Hulbert Financial Digest suite of products, Retirement Weekly and ETF Trader. The site also provides a host of premium services including Hulbert Financial Digest Individual Newsletter Profile ($25), Hulbert Interactive ($149/year), The Hulbert Financial Digest Monthly Newsletter ($59/year), Retirement Weekly ($29/year) and MarketWatch Live ($14.90/month). Again, all these commerce offerings are still investment related, and thus, the site never really becomes a full-fledged Personal Finance “solution”, beyond investment.
The Marketwach site has community features like, discussions, which allows users to discuss every personal finance and investment topics. The community is also naturally more inclined to stocks and investments and there is very little focus on the other areas of personal finance.
Marketwatch allows personalization through My Marketwatch. The site allows users to customize the Marketwatch portfolio on the basis of input criteria like price, volumes, fundamentals, technical strength and comparison with the benchmark indices. The default portfolio screen provides a detailed comparison of the real time stock prices based on a number of customization options available to the user. The website also allows simultaneous display of comparative charts of all the stock in the portfolio. The site also allows user to set alerts for stocks and news items, which is very useful for stock traders and investors. Again, non-investment aspects of Personal Finance are absent.
Marketwatch has a very simple but useful vertical search tool that allows stock screening based on various parameters. The company also provides good vertical search services for industries and mutual funds.
Marketwatch with over five million unique visitors and 180 million monthly page views is a leading online financial news and information site. Licensing of news, data, investment tools, etc. to third parties and online advertising are the two main sources of revenue for the company. The Marketwatch site contributes significantly to the online revenues of Dow Jones.
Overall, our Web 3.0 rating is as follows: Context : B, Content : B+, Commerce : B+, Community : B-, Personalization : B+, Vertical Search : B+. As you can see, if the site were rated based on its investment capabilities only, it would probably score A/A- on most categories. But since it is positioned as a Personal Finance site, it comes up short, and scores an overall rating of a B+.