Portal Model Rules the Roost
Web sites that pull in business news from a variety of news organizations while generating original content top our list of the best business- and financial-news Web sites for 2006.
The No. 1 standout is CNNMoney.com. The site could be viewed simply as a portal for Time Inc.'s business magazines, but with original content from blogs to video, the site is so much more than a regurgitation of the pages of Fortune, Money, Business 2.0, and Fortune Small Business.
CNN and Time Inc. relaunched this joint business and financial Web site in January 2006 in a twofold effort to give readers a one-stop spot for editorial content and to accommodate advertisers that preferred cutting a single check when buying ad space.
The site, which grew from the partnership of CNN and Money when it was known as CNNfn.com, strayed from a paid-subscription model for the individual magazines and began offering all content from the magazines for free, including lists such as "Most Admired Companies" and "Best Places to Live."
In 2006, the site attracted an average of 8.3 million unique visitors a month, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, an increase of 8 percent year-over-year. At 8.3 million monthly unique visitors, the site is the largest business/finance vertical site (excluding portals) in the world, ahead of DowJonesOnline.com, Forbes.com, BusinessWeek.com, TheStreet.com, and others.
Last October, CNNMoney set a record for monthly page views, with more than 305 million, which was 66 percent higher than the year-ago period, according to Omniture. In 2006, page views were up 29 percent over 2005, averaging approximately 250 million a month. During the past several months, with the launch of blogs and video and an increased focus on marketing, CNNMoney averaged nearly 300 million page views each month.
CNNMoney's combined editorial resources include a full-time editorial staff of 35 journalists and editors. In addition, magazine staff writers contribute their own exclusive online content. Last November, for example, a collection of 20 blogs written by the print staffs from Fortune and Business 2.0 went live on topics such as "The Utility Belt," which featured commentary on technology and gadgets. "Green Wombat" offers insight into environmental policy, "The Browser" analyzes the technology business, and there's also a real estate offering.
CNNMoney also offers extensive video resources. Although some of the video consists of rebroadcast content from CNN, a fair amount of it is original and created by journalists from the print magazines. In 2007, readers can expect to see more features that enable personalization, along with new tools and applications.
Yahoo Finance, which has also increased its video coverage, primarily by providing content from Fox Business Now, Forbes.com, and SmartMoney.com, receives kudos for cutting deals with major media outlets that are basically competitors. For example, it features editorial from CNNMoney, the Wall Street Journal Online's CareerJournal.com, and RealEstateJournal.com. It also has revamped its message boards and allowed online publishers to place a dynamic stock chart on their own Web pages. In addition, Yahoo Finance began a small business microsite that features articles and information for entrepreneurs.
AOL Money & Finance, which offers personalized stock quotes, consumer buying guides, and free online bill payment tools, has more than 11.5 million monthly unique visitors reading the content it pulls from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Reuters, Kiplinger's, and others. It also has added a new blogging network, called Bloggingstocks, which discusses the top S&P 500 stocks in the news and provides the stories behind the stories.
For simply getting in the game, a nod also goes to Google Finance, which got a redesign last December. The portal site primarily offers stock market figures and links to business stories from other news sources.