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.
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Siebert Acquires So-called Women’s Finance Site
Siebert Financial Corp.