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Raging Bull Bets on Community as the Differentiator

With the integration of Raging Bull, an online investment community, into Alta Vista in the works, the vertical finance portal is planning to become a best-of-breed financial destination site that appeals to people at different life stages.

At the same time, Raging Bull will leverage its strength in "driving community throughout the Alta Vista network," says Jeff Housenbold, who heads the integration project.

And the site is also in discussions with brokerage houses about powering community for them, despite concerns about compliance. Housenbold says Raging Bull would use innovative tools it has created, such as the "ignore feature," which allows members to self-police its message boards and off-topic boards to deal with liability.

Alta Vista completed the acquisition of Raging Bull in early February in a stock-for-stock exchange of the privately held shares of each company. Terms were not disclosed.

The advantage to Alta Vista will be the additional stickiness and customer loyalty that Raging Bull's over 3 million members show toward the brand. Recently it was ranked as the fourth stickiest site on the Web by Media Metrix.

While Raging Bull's members-46% of which make less than three trades a month-are predominantly well educated, high-net-worth males with over $100,000 in their portfolios, Raging Bull wants to broaden its demographic. It will provide investment tools, news and, foremost, community to help people at whatever life stage they are in, whether it's buying a home, retirement planning, elder care, taxes, mortgages, investing or banking.

There's a good chance it will create a product or service around community finance for Alta Vista's women's channel, he said. Another mission is to create an investor university for novices.

Going forward, Raging Bull will continue to use its strength in driving communities to differentiate itself from competitors, such as Yahoo Investor, CBS MarketWatch.com and TheStreet.com.

"We have a number of highly branded strategic partners in the works for whom we'll be rolling out community," says Housenbold. Raging Bull has already started to form co-branded deals, and it was already powering communities for Alta Vista Sports, Health and Travel as well as their Money channel. In fact, the Money channel will go away and become Raging Bull, he said. Also, it plans to roll out a community for Shopping.com, which Alta Vista owns, as well as their search engine.

It already built a co-branded, plug-and-play community for ThomsonInvestnet.com, using Thomson's look and feel, that has access to Raging Bull's three million-plus members.

Ivy is Editor-at-Large for Advanced Trading and Wall Street & Technology. Ivy is responsible for writing in-depth feature articles, daily blogs and news articles with a focus on automated trading in the capital markets. As an industry expert, Ivy has reported on a myriad ... View Full Bio

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