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As the Markets Melt, Wikinvest Wire Launches To Offer Advice From Financial Blogs

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The current market gyrations have investors running everywhere seeking advice. What better time to launch a newswire culled from the latest posts of financial bloggers? That’s the idea behind Wikinvest Wire, which has just been launched by the user-edited investment site Wikinvest. Except that it is not really a newswire in the traditional sense. It is more like a contextual recommendation system for the blogs invited to participate.

Wikinvest Wire is starting off with 100 financial blogs, including Confused Capitalist, Money Morning, College Analysts, The Mess That Greenspan Made, Financial Armageddon, and Old School Value. All told the blogs attract about one million unique visitors a month. Wikinvest is also in the process of syndicating the Wikinvest Wire to mainstream media sites, where links will appear on their stock pages. Wikinvest Wire is invite-only, but interested bloggers can apply.

The Wire will exist primarily on the participating blogs themselves, on Wikinvest topic pages, and on the yet-to-be-named media sites. For each of the 100 financial blogs, at the end of each post three links will appear to posts from other blogs in the network discussing the same stock or financial topic (such as “Google (GOOG),” “bailout,” or “credit default swaps”). The contextual links will also appear on relevant pages on Wikinvest and other stock and financial sites. (See screenshot). In this sense, it is similar to contextual recommendation systems like Sphere, OutBrain, or BlogRovr, which all append recommended links at the end of blog posts or news articles using a variety of methods.

Nevertheless, Wikinvest co-founder Parker Conrad positions Wikinvest Wire as really taking on SeekingAlpha, an investing news site that republishes posts from select blogs and media outlets (including TechCrunch). Conrad argues:

This launch puts us directly in competition with a larger site—SeekingAlpha.com—in that both SeekingAlpha and the Wire are syndication platforms for investing bloggers. However, there are some important distinctions:

SeekingAlpha requires a blogger to give up their content to SeekingAlpha. The bloggers’ articles are published on SeekingAlpha, and SeekingAlpha distributes links to content on their site to their partners, such as Yahoo Finance. Investing bloggers use SeekingAlpha, grudgingly, because it increases their traffic marginally. But they also hate SeekingAlpha—because 99% of the traffic to their posts actually goes to SeekingAlpha. Selling ads against the bloggers’ content is, after all, SeekingAlpha’s business model. But you can see why that might chafe . . .

Wikinvest, however, does not require bloggers to host their content on our site—and all links, from media partners, wikinvest.com, and other bloggers, go directly to the blogger’s own site. What we get out of it are links back to Wikinvest which are included in the Wire.

There’s also another big difference Conrad forgot to mention. SeekingAlpha is an actual site where readers can go and see all of the posts it hand-picks in one place. There is no one place you can go to see all the posts included in the Wikinvest Wire. The links are generated algorithmically and distributed piecemeal all over the Web. There is not even an RSS feed that pulls all the 100 financial blogs that make up the Wikinvest Wire together. (Although, you can get an RSS feed for any Wikinvest topic page, which will include Wikinvest Wire posts for that topic).

All of this is by design, as Conrad explains above, to generate more traffic for the participating blogs. But it’s not really a wire unless there is one place you can go to see all the posts popping up as they go live. So I’m not sure SeekingAlpha has too much to worry about.

Nevertheless, the addition of relevant financial blog posts to each page on Wikinvest should help to make it an even more useful site than it is today. If you are trying to figure out what to do with your stock portfolio, it is worth checking out for the comprehensiveness of the data and collection of arguments from both bulls and bears on each stock. They also have great charts that anyone can annotate (I’ve embedded one below).

http://charts.wikinvest.com/WikiChartMini.swf

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