Yahoo Personal Finance is a part of Yahoo! Finance and has nine sub-categories. The site provides financial information, tools, and advice on personal financial management. The sub-categories of Yahoo Personal Finance are:
- Banking & Budgeting
- Career & Work
- College & Education
- Family & Home
- Real Estate
Yahoo! Personal Finance provides sub-categories under the broad categories.
For example Retirement has been further broken down into four categories:
This provides better context to a person who is looking for retirement planning.
However note that Yahoo! has not clubbed Stocks, Mutual Finds, Bonds, Research under Personal Finance, but has included them under Investing - as they appeal to a much broader financial community than only those who are concerned with personal finance.
Content has always been Yahoo’s strength and the Personal Finance site is no exception. The website has numerous (66!) finance tools, including Financial Calculators, Experts, Glossary, Rates. It also has 48 How-to Guides.
With its Personal Finance website, Yahoo has managed to differentiate itself in content from the likes of Google Finance. Yahoo! Personal Finance has 25 partners for financial content, including CNNMoney, Lightbulb Press, Kiplinger, The Motley Fool, Smart Money and the Wall Street Journal. So Yahoo! has done a wonderful job on the content front. [Ed: no RSS feeds though?!]
Yahoo Personal Finance doesn’t provide any transaction, banking or bill payment facilities. However Yahoo! Finance provides the Yahoo! Real-Time Package on a subscription basis and Yahoo! Finance Research Reports on a 'pay per download' basis.
Yahoo could really beef up the transactional elements of the site, by tying into banks and brokerage accounts - so that users don’t ever have to leave the site to transact.
Community has been Yahoo’s sore point and the Personal Finance website lacks any major community feature - i.e. features which allow social interaction or discussion on personal financial matters. What they have done is incorporate Yahoo! Answers into the Personal Finance section, which allows users to ask relevant questions regarding their personal finance - and answers are then given by real people.
However the Community section needs more punch and Yahoo should incorporate many more community features - like discussion forums, SIGs (Special Interest Groups), investment clubs, etc. - on financial matters on the various sub-categories. They need to do this to attract eyeballs and keep visitors hooked on the website.
The site allows personalization through My Yahoo, and allows users to customize the homepage to display their portfolio and track the performance of their investments.
Again, the Personalization offering is nominal and it could be enhanced hugely. The holy grail would be to offer personal financial advisors - which may be implemented via an expert system, or by offering human advisors for a fee. Tying up with private banks may be another way to go, to make their PCS advisors available to Yahoo’s customers.
Vertical Search: B
Yahoo! Finance allows a decent search function and provides screening facilities, which allow users to screen stocks by using various parameters like share price, market cap, sales revenue, industry, profit, etc. The company provides similar screening facilities for mutual funds, stock research and bonds.
This function, however, could also be enhanced to include context-specific search capabilities - for example, college tuition costs for specific colleges.
Yahoo earns around 88% of its revenues from the advertisements posted on its web properties. So in that respect the new personal finance site has broadened its reach.
The incentive which drove Yahoo! to launch a personal finance site, is the demand by advertisers to reach out to end-users in the middle of making financial decisions. Yahoo had previously sold out its advertising inventory for the finance site and therefore analysts expect Yahoo to generate substantial advertising revenues from this new site. Yahoo personal Finance has already signed up ETrade, LendingTree, Intuit TurboTax, Progressive Direct, and Quicken Loans as advertisers.
Conclusion: A+ for content/context, B for commerce/personalization/etc
Overall my rating of Yahoo Personal Finance, using the categories from my Web 3.0 framework, is as follows: Context : A+, Content : A+, Commerce : B, Community : B-, Personalization : B, Vertical Search : B.
Do you agree? What are your thoughts on Yahoo Personal Finance?
For more on this topic, see Sramana's post Personal Finance & Web 3.0 : Overview.