Google Wallet for content is an experiment to see if users will be prepared to pay for individual web pages if the buying process is easy enough. Should advisors participate in this experiment?
Most financial advisors have no interest or talent for creating content, but a small number of you do. For those who do, check out what Google just started doing with Wallet.
Wallet is experimenting with allowing content providers to get paid for access to their content. It allows a content provider to offer partial access to a Web page and make people pay 50 cents, $5 or any other amount to access the full Web page.
How could advisors use this?
Say you want to create an investment advice service for DIY investors. You could post model portfolios on a Web page and make your methodology available and some research public, but require a payment for access to the full details about your recommendations.
I realize that what I am saying could be a compliance minefield. But this type of service is coming and Google Wallet may be an easy way for advisors to get paid for their knowledge.
The model portfolio idea could also be a loss leader, just a way to get people to let you manage their portfolios.
Model portfolios represent just one type of research piece you could provide. You could also provide special reports on 529 plans in your state, quarterly analysis of the investment choices offered by 401(k) plans of the biggest employers in your area, or other specialized knowledge.
You would probably want to produce research that requires little writing but does involve number crunching, tables of data that can be updated periodically. It would need to be repeatable. It would be best if it is research you are producing now for managing client money but that you do not get paid for -- tasks that you must do every month or every quarter. You would also want to produce content that is targeted locally.
What do you think?