March 23, 2011

E*TRADE is launching a new Facebook-style social networking platform for retail brokerage customers.

The community allows members to show whether they are feeling bullish or bearish about the market, and also enables them to view the most actively-traded and widely held stocks at E*Trade. They can also see the top performing community members, while viewing their portfolio.

The site also provides a news feed similar to the one on Facebook or Twitter, showing real-time investment opinions from other members that E*Trade clients choose to 'follow.'

The idea behind the community was spurred by the belief that investors don't just want to meet other investors but also want to get ideas and validate their investment strategy decisions, according to E*Trade.

Members are encouraged to share information on their investment styles and portfolio holdings, although they are asked to not use their real name so as to protect their personal information.

While E*Trade has hosted web communities for over a decade, the new community "takes it to the next level," says Bonnie Van Dyke, director of product management, E*Trade.

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"The integrated account data we provide, and the ability to look at people's performance and account activity really adds value," she relates.

While the site is currently in beta, E*Trade's analysis suggests that the community sentiment poll, discussion boards and community opinion sections of the site are currently the most popular among its members.

For E*Trade investors, the most useful tools are the ability to view other members' account performance, trading activity and portfolio holdings," Van Dyke says.

Melanie Rodier has worked as a print and broadcast journalist for over 10 years, covering business and finance, general news, and film trade news. Prior to joining Wall Street & Technology in ...