Monday, March 5, 2007

May I Violate Your Space?

Reuters was a bit late to embrace the Internet for its core franchises and now wants it known that it gets it. Loud and clear.

Sure, Reuters lagged Bloomberg on instant messaging and failed to gain traction with "Reuters Mail" but, as CEO Tom Glocer recently asserted, Reuters invented the UGC phenomenon 50 years ago by getting contributed data from some of its customers and selling it to others. Now Reuters is talking about creating a financial MySpace.
"It won't have the latest hot videos and the 'why I am into Metallica and the Arctic Monkeys' blogs,"Glocer tells the Guardian. "Instead we
are going to give our financial services users the ability to post their research or if they are traders, their trading models."
And then there was this other money quote:

"People don't want to have 100 friend requests from teenage girls in Florida if they are trading the credit derivatives market, but they probably are interested in being able to share research."
Will the business class, which invented networking and raised it to an art form at power lunches, conferences and golf clubs, take to schmoozing in the virtual world?

The basic ingredients of online communities are showing off and sharing. The college kids and undiscovered musicians who populate MySpace and Facebook are natural virtual citizens. Masters of the Universe in The City and on Wall Street -- not so much. But off the bat I'd back off that Metallica-free zone posture. It just might find it helpful to know if CIBC's buy-side tech analyst listens to Akon.

It must also have occurred to the strategists behind this idea that financial houses are notoriously secretive about their methods and techniques -- but not their successes, which may make the Reuters community an additional marketing platform, but not really very useful. What is the incentive for posting research or trading models, and would the reader have visions of Sharesleuth dancing in his head?

In the meantime it is good buzz, and it's often good to have a second message when announcing your results.

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