One problem with most websites, as compared to the offline world, is that they are relatively static experiences. Unless you are already familiar with the brand, you don’t know if you are the first visitor this year or if 10,000 others are banging away on the servers right now. There’s no online equivalent to the “line out the door” that signals you arrived at a popular restaurant or night club.
That’s why I like online tickers that show user activity. In financial services, the best example, active for many years, is Progressive Insurance’s scrolling window of rate quotes (see inset). Geezeo, Zillow and ING Direct (see note 1) have also used the technique (see previous post).
And just this month, two financial providers added similar tickers to their homepages:
- BillShrink: The personal finance tool, and FinovateStartup 2009 Best of Show winner, shows potential savings in its “live feed” in the middle of its home page (screenshot below).
- MoneyAisle: The online deposit auction site, and Finovate 2008 Best of Show winner, scrolls auction results with a 15-minute delay (screenshot below, see note 2)
Both newcomers have neglected to “time stamp” the activity to demonstrate how recent it was. That’s an important aspect for credibility.
BillShrink homepage with Live Feed (16 July 2009)
MoneyAisle’s Live Ticker was recently added to its homepage
(16 July 2009)
Progressive’s Rate Ticker (16 July 2009)
1. Behind the login screen, ING Direct used to have a counter showing the total amount of interest paid to depositors. But it was discontinued last year at about the $9 billion mark.
2. Industry participants can purchase MoneyAisle’s real-time deposit pricing data stream for $1,500/year (here).