@ Needham Digital Media Con: Tom Clarke: TheStreet.com To Rebrand Itself?; Going Hard After Bankrate

At the Needham Internet and Digital Media Conference, Thomas Clarke, CEO of TheStreet.com (NSDQ: TSCM), gave an almost identical presentation to one he gave at a Jefferies conference earlier this year. The basic gist: TheStreet.com isn’t a financial news company anymore, as its various acquisitions and organic launches demonstrate. But this time he went further, and actually opened the door to the idea that TheStreet.com could do a total rebrand to reflect this reality, perhaps more revolving around the company’s recently launched Mainstreet, personal finance site..

Rebranding: At first it seemed as though he was just musing on the idea of a rebranding, but when asked head on, it was clear that serious thought is being given to the idea: “I don’t know that I’m a believe in a dual-brand… the real question is the branding of the entity itself. I think that decision carries a lot of weight… there’s a lot of equity in (the current name), however it’s not reflective of where the company really is going. I don’t think it will be a TheStreet.com-Mainstreet brand. I’ve a believer that each of the sites should stay independent. Number one, users like it that way and I think advertisers like it… So I think it’ll be a single brand, I just don’t know that ultimately it will be TheStreet.com brand.”

Bankrate: The acquisition of BankingMyWay last year put the company into competition with dominant financial lead-gen site Bankrate: “I think there is always opportunity for a second player in the category… Bankrate (NSDQ: RATE) is a formidable competitor.” But, he believes their data is better, that they offer more local content, and that the company can offer a better proposition to advertisers. He also explained how the recent investment in (and likely acquisition of) social finance site Geezeo had a lead-gen component to it. For example, the site can tell users when their credit card is about to expire and at the moment present them with alternatives.

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