Tuesday, October 30, 2007

5 Reasons why the Fed Should Not Cut Rates

1. The pathetic US Dollar. I'm legal to work in the EU, and I'm starting to think of this now as a benefit.
2. Oil at $90 a barrel
3. P&G dissappoints Wall Street, warns of price increases.
4. Restore Fed credibility: They've been telling us a story of moderate growth, cutting rates would confirm that they don't believe their own tales.
5. Help speed up the bottom of real estate values. Dropping rates would extend pain.

Monday, October 22, 2007

More Subprime ARM Reset Data, Growing in 2010, 2011


Calculated Risk has a frightening chart up (above) showing that the ARM reset storm we're entering in 2007, is only the beginning. Note the compounding resets between, ALT-A, Agency, Prime and Subprime notes, and we begin to get an even scarier picture of the damage potential if affordable rates and refinance products are available to these borrowers. This looks like one hell of a hangover to the 2002-2006 housing party.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Google click-to-call program testing again


Pay Per Click advertisers take note, Google is testing again click-to-call advertisers in the main search engine results.


This is not the first time. Google's click-to-call program was reported by Greg Yardley to be seen in Adwords results on Google.com, two years ago. This is the first time in a while that I've seen new activity.

There is a good discussion about the implications and complications around pay per call, in Greg Yardley's post above. That aside, what gets my attention is little green phone next to each participating listing. It is very noticable, and does not give the user the ability to click through to the Quickenloans website, only to call. Not for nothing, QuickenLoans takes the top PPC spot in this SERP. It will be interesting to find out what methodology Google uses for inclusion and ranking of paid call ads withing Google.com Adwords listings.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Mint Shows Consumer Finance + Social Work Together (and Make Money)

Despite the naysayers, Mint and its classmates have exploded over the past few weeks -- proving that customers will share data about their habits and spending, especially if they believe doing so will help them save money.

Think about them as contenders to take over the space owned by Quicken, Bankrate, and others.

Mint, Wesabe and Geezeo. Each are social consumer finance websites which are based on the idea that sharing data about personal finance and spending is valuable the the group, anonymously or otherwise. From there they each differ in approach:

Mint:

- Upload your bank and loan accounts
- See where your money goes
- Compare your spending and your interest rates to others.
- Get recommendations for better interest rates or other ways to save on monthly bills(utilities, etc.)

Geezeo:

-Upload your bank and loan accounts, (including investments, mortgages and student loans, unlike the others).
-See where your money goes
-Get updates via text messages
-Allows users to tag spending and join or add discussion about the tagged topic.


Wesabe:

- Upload your bank and loan accounts
- See where your money goes
-Allows users to tag spending and join or add discussion about the tagged topic.
- Share and support financial goals


Where Wesabe is more robustly social, and Geezeo has the most best support for including accounts, Mint wins the day easily by giving consumers just what they are looking for, clear actionable suggestions (offers) that point out where they are paying too much, and what alternatives they have to save money. If they can keep up their new sign-up rate, reported at 1 every 5 minutes that these sponsored offers will enable Mint, to make a mint.

Not without obstacles, the process of adding accounts is still cumbersome and at least moderately annoying. For me Mint's business model is vulnerable due to the fact that its recommendations (Mint Offers) are not organic and unbiased, they are paid advertisements. Finally, security of personal data is the greatest wild card, as each of these startups are a hacker's dream. Regardless, the promise to the consumer is strong enough that it seems initially that consumers are already willing to these startups with their most sensitive financial data.