First has signed up with Yodlee of Sunnyvale, Calif., one of several companies that will scrape data from your various online financial accounts — banking, brokerage, credit cards and others — and track them for you on one password-protected web site. First's site also keeps tabs on his phone bills, updates him on UPS shipments for work and gives him a bottom line of his total assets and liabilities. How does he like it so far? "It's just amazing," he says.
With a name like his, Robb First was born to be a pioneer. The 34-year-old advertising executive from Cleveland, Ohio, was an early adopter of cell phones (he has two), computers (he has four) and a PalmPilot (only one, but it's the sleek, thin one). And now he's trying one of the latest and most controversial innovations in online personal finance: screen scraping.