Much virtual ink has been spilled over ING Direct's Electric Orange account, and the new checking account isn't even available to the general public. From its Internet cafes to subway sponsorships, this is a bank that knows how to generate buzz, which really isn't all that easy with checking and savings accounts (see here for previous coverage of ING Direct).
Searching for <"Electric Orange" + review> on Google, we found six full-scale reviews of the product among the first 100 organic listings (10 pages of results using the default settings). All were blog postings. Most were moderately positive, and only one took shots at the bank calling the rates "too good to be true" (see Watch Your Wallet below).
It illustrates an interesting new phenomena, the power of the personal finance blogosphere. Most top-ranked search results belong not to mainstream press accounts, but to bloggers writing from various levels of knowledge about banking and finance. Most of the top-ranked blog reviews were thorough, factual, and relatively unbiased. But a few bits of misinformation creep in now and again, such as the rumor that the account stops paying interest on the sixth transaction in a statement period (false, by the way). Financial institutions should monitor these postings and jump in with a comment and/or email to the author to correct any factual errors.
Here's a list of what the personal finance bloggers are saying about Electric Orange:
1. Highest-ranked review on Google (#2 overall)
Date: 13 Feb. 2007
2. Second-highest ranked blog review (#4 overall)
Date: 2 Dec. 2006
3. Third-highest blog review (#5 overall)
Date: 30 Nov. 2006 (#7 overall)
4. Fourth-highest blog review (#33 overall)
Date: 29 Nov. 2006
5. Fifth-highest blog review (#46 overall)
Date: 4 Dec. 2006
6. Sixth-highest blog review (#65 overall)
Date: 28 Dec. 2006
Verdict: Somewhat negative