RealTime IT News

Siebert Acquires So-called Women's Finance Site

Siebert Financial Corp. announced plans to acquire a pair of women-centric financial Web sites, WFN.com and HerDollar.com, for an undisclosed amount of stock. The discount broker's firecracker chief executive, Muriel Siebert, paraded the land-grab before the media as the first women's site that incorporates trading stocks online or off.

Siebert opined, "We are starting this site because it is time to give women investors the customized, targeted services they deserve. And though there are sites out there that purport to address the financial needs of women, in my opinion, they offer trivia and fail to provide the real tools women need. Even worse, many of them talk down to women. This site will be the best one on finance for women on the Web."

A gal after my own heart, leave it to Muriel to shoot from the hip. I couldn't agree more with her sentiment. Traditionally, financial Web sites that cater towards the female gender pander to the lowest common denominator with everything from horoscopes to sex advice. While there are only a handful of online women-centric financial sites that even exist, the few that do are just plain laughable.

Take one stinker authored by publicly-traded Women.com for example. The site, located at MoneyMinded, is part of the Women.com Networks, boasting the requisite co-branded stock quotes and useless financial calculators. But the real embarrassment lies in the fact that the Web site hasn't been updated one single time in the last year. Almost like a ghost ship in the night, the upstart's parent company has left it to drift aimlessly, sort of like Women.com's own stock price.

Today, Muriel promises she's got the answer - things will be different this time around. But scratching the surface, there's hardly a detail on the new flagship Web property that hasn't been done before ad-nauseum. The acquisition looks like little more than a publicity tool to help attract the lucrative and growing patch of women investors to Siebert's brokerage firm.

To be fair, the lingering question on how to best cater toward women's financial needs on the Net is really a flawed premise to begin with. To suggest that women somehow need a tailor-made, watered-down solution is flat hogwash. For the vast majority, we frequent the same financial Web sites our male counterparts do. Why? Because these sites don't waste their energies pandering. Instead, they get busy offering great content and valuable market data - what both men and women alike look for in a crackerjack financial Web site.

These so-called women's financial Web sites ought to spend less time putting on a dog-and-pony show centered around the fact that they supposedly cater toward the female gender and devote more time to generating buzz based on their own merits for covering financial issues that matter most to the average armchair investor. Only then will the Sieberts of the world truly understand what most investors already know - on the Internet, the cream rises to the top.

Any questions or comments, love letters or hate mail? As always, feel free to forward them to kblack@internet.com.

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