Power of the Wiki

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2008-02-07 Print this article Print

Wikinvest, a research portal where users can contribute information on company profiles, investment concepts or chart analysis, is built on the open-source MediaWiki package that was originally written for Wikipedia and is now customized for its use.

But Wikinvest co-founder Michael Sha agrees that the platform itself is not the value-add any more. It's the user-generated investment and research content on its site that brings value for the Web 2.0 firm.

The Wiki is a new and transparent tool that facilitates the creation of good content as numerous people work on a single document. So far the startup has had more than 2,000 people contributing content, and there has been more than 100,000 edits.

"It opens up a huge opportunity for us to provide people with free investment research, something they had to previously pay a financial services firm for and, on the business side, advertising is now a potential good source of revenue for us," he told eWEEK.

Wikinvest will also soon launch a new data service that compares the productivity and performance of specific companies in various sectors. Much of this content will also be user-driven, the company announced in January at the Money:Tech conference.

Another Web 2.0 company in the financial space that is taking advantage of user collaboration, is Covestor, a no cost sharing service that lets self-investors share their investment decisions and earn fees by helping others.

All the data is private and anonymous, and membership is free. Members of the service plug in their online brokerage account information, their portfolio shows up on the site and then the system creates its relative performance to the broader indices, sector indices and a risk profile, CEO Richard Tahta told eWEEK.

"Other members can see a person's holdings as percentage of their portfolio, along with charts and other relevant data, and can track their investments in a social networking-like environment," he said.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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