Posted August 24, 2009 12:59 pm by with 5 comments

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yahoo-logoApparently someone clued the NYT in to the fact that Yahoo Finance is pretty popular. In fact, Yahoo Finance has been the #1 finance site for over a year and a half, while Google Finance languishes at #17 (“one slot above a site called,” the NYT points out).

The Times looks at all the various reasons Yahoo Finance is doing so much better, starting with something you’d expect from Google: a clean page layout. Google is known for its clutter-free homepage—definitely not something you’d associate with Yahoo. However, on Finance pages, Yahoo says they realize that too much data overwhelms and confuses visitors. Google, on the other hand, is of the opinion that a finance site should “offer the best data and charts. And when that doesn’t work, offer still more data and charts.”

However, the opposite approaches to homepage clutter may also be working in favor of Yahoo. They often feature interesting, appealing articles (the NYT mentions one highlight: “Where Rich Singles Live” with a picture of a pretty professional woman) on their homepage, drawing more visitors to their Finance site.

But, the NYT points out, Yahoo suffers from a major flaw, completely and totally insurmountable to anyone who might ever want financial information: their stock ticker is up to a minute slower than Google’s, unless you fork over up to $13.95/month. And Yahoo doesn’t use the Nasdaq or NY Stock Exchange data. Unforgivable finance sins.

The NYT gives no indication of joking about the seriousness of this matter. But I am definitely not serious. That’s the best criticism you can come up with? Unless you’re an obsessive stock market gambler or a professional day trader, is that going to hurt?

Yahoo Finance’s content is mostly stock quotes, charts, press releases, SEC filings, etc., with a few syndicated and feature articles. About 5% of their content is original, though the NYT says they’re working on bringing that up to 10%, on par with Yahoo Sports.

What do you think? Is a one-minute delay on stock quotes worth the worry? Is less really more when it comes to financial information online?

  • What’s surprising is that Google shoves their own finance content into the top of the SERPs. Search for, e.g. KO, and you’re going to see a chart, a quote, and some extra market data. (The first organic result is from Y!Finance.)

    Google Finance does look really good, and the tools they have function quite well. But they’re feature-phobic and they hate clutter. Most people who care about finance still remember scanning stock tables in the paper; they expect to be bombarded with columns of numbers when they read about stocks. Google’s design is clean, but it’s the unnerving kind of “clean” you get when you go to the grocery store and the shelves are bare.

  • Yeah, I’m not sure I buy the “fear of data.” I was about to put screencaps of stock profile pages in this post—but Yahoo’s didn’t look “cleaner,” like the NYT seemed to think. To me, Google’s looked slightly less cluttered, but didn’t work on some level for me. I think your analogy is apt.

  • Udi

    Odd, I usually prefer Yahoo products as they are superior to Google’s. However, in this particular case I think Google Finance is simply better – it offers so much more, even if it’s slightly harder to use (and it is). I guess my taste differs from that of the NYT!
    .-= Udi´s last blog ..The Professional and Personal Hazards that Twitter Carries =-.

  • Just to focus on your final question, is a one-minute delay worth the worry? Depends on the audience a site hopes to attract. Casual traders and individuals may be ok with delayed data, but for serious investors and traders, a one-minute delay is an eternity. Algo-traders, which make up a huge portion of trading activity, are looking to shave milliseconds off time-lags in data and information.

  • Yeah, that’s why I said it probably wouldn’t hurt you “unless you’re an obsessive stock market gambler or a professional day trader.”

    And let’s face it, if you need that extra millisecond, you’re not using Yahoo or Google for your financial info.