Wikinvest: What it is and where it’s going
Don’t get me wrong. I really like the guys at Wikinvest. I’ve written a lot about how well their crowdsourced information and annotatable charts kicks the pants off of more static resources. I’ve also contended that the way Wikinvest deals with investment data is better by leaps and bounds over everything else out there available freely on the Web.
I see Wikinvest as the next generation financial portal best positioned to take on Yahoo Finance with expanded charting, news, opinion, and data.
But I’m puzzled by the new launch of the Wikinvest Portfolio. Not that I don’t think it’s a good product. After giving Wikinvest your brokerage credentials the site quickly populates a portfolio that brings in all real-time pricing (so you get performance metrics), charting and news, but also allows more flexibility than traditional online portfolios in terms of researching and structuring/ordering the portfolio.
Personal finance portfolios are everywhere — offered even by media sites like Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal. But generally speaking they have limited functionality, are difficult to set-up and need manual updating whenever something changes in one of your accounts.
Wikinvest reduces the friction of creation and maintenance by creating an onramp which seems ridiculously simple.
It’s this onramp — made easy by linking up a brokerage account to Wikinvest — which makes me scratch my head. It’s not that I don’t think financial sites can ask for login info: Cake Financial (bought by E*Trade) and Mint (bought by Intuit) both proved that in return for something valuable, users will give up their most trusted of details.
But that’s the rub for me. It’s unclear as a user what value I get in giving up my private information. The value proposition of this portfolio — how it betters from just manually creating one on another site or using my brokers portfolio (which also has some aggregation functionality) — isn’t compelling. Wikinvest needs to do a better job explaining what I get in return for trusting them with my data. I don’t feel they’ve done that.
Maybe it’s just me, though: Wikinvest was quoted in the same Wired article referenced above as having had over $100 million in client portfolios linked within 6 hours of launch. That’s not too shabby.
Where Wikinvest appears headed
For me, what this looks like, is that Wikinvest is positioning itself to take over where Cake Financial left off and will probably begin to offer value-added services tied to users’ portfolios. Some of these were mentioned in the NY Times article about the portfolio launch:
- 3rd party monitoring of financial planners/investment advisors
- tax preparation
- Mint/LowerMyBills-like suggestions on personal finance issues
- Sharing of investment ideas across Wikinvest user base
- even entry into Covestor/kaChing space with an ability for users to invest in other users’ portfolios