The No. 1 consumer finance site increases flexibility by buying stock quotes directly from exchanges

Thomas Claburn, Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

October 20, 2006

2 Min Read

What this allows, Kadaba says, is rapid localization. Yahoo was able to take the system it developed for the United States and very quickly create a version for other countries. Since the new platform was introduced in the United States in early 2005, Yahoo has adapted it for 20 different countries with relatively minor engineering resources.

White calls the new platform a real competitive advantage. "The innovation that it has really sparked in our own engineering team has been really great," she says.

Yahoo Finance serves more than 2 billion stock quotes per day. The site saw 31.4 million visitors worldwide in August, according to Internet metrics company comScore Networks. Its nearest competitor, MSN Money, saw 18.5 million visitors that same month.

Google Finance, launched in March, isn't among the top 10 most-visited finance sites. But Google will try to win more users with the introduction of features in November as its first anniversary approaches.

Unlike Yahoo, Google prefers to work with a single data aggregator, ComStock, as a source of financial data. The main reason, says Katie Jacobs Stanton, product manager for Google Finance, is that managing financial data is a large task and the Google Finance team is small. "There's a reason why there are really huge companies involved in this business, because it takes a lot of effort to comb through volumes of data, to make sure that things flow more quickly and reliably," she says.

But using a third-party provider hasn't proven a hindrance in terms of innovation or time to market, Stanton says. "We try to work with our partners so that we have a fairly liberal interpretation of what we can do with the data," she says. "Of course, we use up our lawyers' time pretty well to make sure that everyone agrees with what we're doing."

It's in the interests of both sides to "let us work with the data and make a really good product," Stanton says.

The consumer finance market is important to both Yahoo and Google because financial news is one of the most popular topics on the Web. It doesn't generate as much revenue as search, a market where Google is the clear leader. But Yahoo is trying to do a better job in the search market, unveiling a new advertising platform upgrade called Project Panama. The ad-serving platform, a major technology initiative by Yahoo, was recently deployed after a delay of several months.

Getting ad-serving platforms and consumer finance sites right is crucial for Yahoo, which recently reported disappointing financial results. Yahoo faced "unanticipated challenges," says CFO Susan Decker, that may have hurt its performance. The company last week reported third-quarter revenue of $1.58 billion, a 19% increase from 2005 but below expectations.

That's a story you may be able to read on the new and improved Yahoo Finance.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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