I come from the retail brokerage world. A zero-sum game where every broker was always trying to one up the other guy all based on price. How low can you go was always the question the execs battled and price ruled when there was fierce competition for the same customers.
Price competition certainly continues to exist today, but what’s interesting is that brokers and other financial services players are finally catching on to other ways of differentiating. Some tout service, others executions, still others research and reporting. Zecco emerged in 2006 and announced Free trades and shook up the market. The big guys scrambled and soon everyone was offering free trades. What next? The emergence of forums, communities and networks was just beginning and Zecco realized that creating a trading community could help differentiate their offering.
Recently, Zecco announced that their CEO is moving out and the CIO is stepping up. The Broker News blog covered this news and talked about the trading community space with the new CEO, Michael Raneri. The reporter says,
“Aside from Scottrade no other broker has dabbled in the community space, and Scottrade is still a relatively small effort. Zecco may have an opportunity to play in the same waters as kaChing, Covestor and even sites like Currensee. And Ranieri agreed. The opportunity to tap into the wisdom of the crowds exists, and in fact Raneri used that term several times in our conversation.
Wisdom of the crowds, eh? Sounds right up my alley, so I went ahead and joined the Zecco community. A few things struck me off the bat. First, while it seems like a great idea to let everyone join the community without linking their brokerage account, I felt lost and confused. There I was in a community with a bunch of people with zero trades (see image) and zero faces (yes, that’s me) with not much to say.
I wasn’t sure what to do next so I started looking at peoples’ profiles. Most of them hadn’t done much or said much which supports Raneri’s comment, “The community tends to mirror the blogosphere,” he admitted. “Some are very active while 90% are just lurking. But what’s important is we can mine the community for data.”
I get it. It’s all about the data, sure, makes sense. But if 90% are just like me and just lurking, you only have data for 10% of your community. And, that leaves, in my opinion, a way-watered-down “forum-like” experience for the majority of people who haven’t fully joined and may never see the value because of their initial experience.
Maybe Raneri has some tricks up his sleeve to improve his community. We have found here at Currensee that a trading community is only as good as the activity of the traders. We are lucky to have lots of active members who participate in our trader network and add value every day. My advice to Raneri is, rather than focusing on building another free community, put your heart and soul into building a valuable trading community where people actively share ideas and insights based on real trades and real information. Hm, sounds familiar…
Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results.
Be sure to read the full risk disclosure before trading Forex. Please note that Forex trading involves significant risk of loss. It is not suitable for all investors and you should make sure you understand the risks involved before trading. Performance, strategies and charts shown are not necessarily predictive of any particular result. And, as always, past performance is no indication of future results. Investor returns may vary from Trade Leader returns based on slippage, fees, broker spreads, volatility or other market conditions.