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Zecco.com To Offer Free Stock Trading

Zecco.com, an online financial portal, today announced it will begin offering free online stock trading next week.

The site is already open for user registration, though it will remain in beta until the launch of free- trading, Zecco spokeswoman Shellee Smith told internetnews.com.

Smith said Zecco can afford to offer zero-commission trading because it plans to earn its revenue elsewhere, and because it won't be spending a lot of money on traditional marketing methods.

Instead, Zecco wants to go viral.

"You are not going to see expensive commercials about Zecco. You're not going to see big billboards about Zecco. We're going to try to do it through word-of-mouth," she said.

Smith did confirm, however, that Zecco will bring its ad campaign to Google's AdWords and AdSense products.

Zecco will earn most of its money from interest income from margin and cash balances in brokerage accounts and profits from premium services, such as options trading.

The company will also supplement its revenue stream with advertising around financial portal features, Smith said.

Smith characterized some of those features, such as blogging and forums, as social-networking features.

"We look at [Zecco] as a combination of a brokerage site, Yahoo Finance and MySpace," Smith said.

As an incentive to increase participation and content creation, Zecco users-turned-bloggers will have the option of sharing the site's advertising revenue.

Jeroen Veth, a 37 year-old entrepreneur and former Merrill Lynch vice president, founded Zecco along with partners and investors, including early Skype investor Morten Lund; entrepreneur Marcel Boekhoorn; and Soren Kenner, former chairman of McCann Erickson MRM Europe.