If you’ve ever tried searching the web for financial advice, you probably know just how much junk there is out there. Sure, there may be a few diamonds in the rough, but oftentimes the best results go to the finance ‘experts’ who are good at SEO – not the ones who know what they’re talking about. Investimonials is a new site launching this week that’s looking to offer an unbiased view of the variety of financial brokers, services, videos, and books out there. And to do that, it’s turning to the site’s community to submit their own reviews (it’s essentially a TripAdvisor for financial goods).
The new site was founded by Timothy Sykes, a controversial financial expert who was named to Trader Monthly’s 2006 “Top 30 under 30” and had a once-successful hedge fund that shut down in 2007 after taking heavy losses. Since then, though, he’s mounted a comeback and is now one of Covestor’s top ranked traders (though some people aren’t fans of his tactics).
Sykes says that his goal with Investimonials is to help users cut through the spammy and scammy financial sites that litter the web, by offering a comprehensive hub of user reviews for each product. Investimonials will be launching with eight categories, including the top rated Brokers, Newsletters, DVDs, Books, and websites, with plans to have “dozens” over the next few years. At launch the site has 3,000 products ready to review, though the vast majority of them haven’t been reviewed by anyone yet.
Sykes says the primary competitor in this area is EliteTrader, which has been around for a decade and has around one thousand total reviews (the site also looks pretty dated).
Investimonials incentivizes users to write reviews and share their personal contact information by offering ‘iv bucks’, which can be traded in for prizes. Many of these are Sykes’s own products, though there are a variety of prizes from others as well.
Investimonials seems like a good idea, though it’s going to have to be very transparent if it wants to avoid constant accusations of bias. And as with all review sites, it’s going to suffer from the chicken-and-the-egg problem – until it has a lot of reviews about products, few people will have a good reason to use it.