Zero Hedge

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Zero Hedge
Web address www.zerohedge.com
Slogan On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero[1]
Type of site
Financial blog; news and opinion (original and aggregated)
Available in English
Launched January 2009; 7 years ago (2009-01)
Alexa rank
Negative increase 2076 (March 2014)[2]

Zero Hedge is a financial blog that aggregates news and presents editorial opinions from original and outside sources. The news portion of the site is written by a group of editors who collectively write under the pseudonym "Tyler Durden" (a character from the novel and film Fight Club).

History, authorship, and finances[edit]

The website was established in 2009.[3] According to the Boston Business Journal, the website "publishes financial news and opinion, aggregated and original" from a number of writers "who purportedly hail from within the financial industry."[3] Posts on the website are signed "Tyler Durden," a character in the Chuck Palahniuk book and movie Fight Club.[3][4]

In 2009, shortly after the blog was founded, news reports identified Daniel Ivandjiiski, a Bulgarian-born former hedge-fund analyst who was barred from the industry for insider trading by FINRA in 2008, as the founder of the site, and reported that "Durden" was a pseudonym for Ivandjiiski.[4][5][6][1] One contributor, who spoke to New York magazine after an interview was arranged by Ivandjiiski, said that "up to 40" people were permitted to post under the "Durden" name.[4]

In April 2016, the authors writing as "Durden" on the website were reported by Bloomberg News to be Ivandjiiski, Tim Backshall (a credit derivatives strategist), and Colin Lokey. Lokey, the newest member revealed himself and the other two when he left the site.[1] Ivandjiiski confirmed that the three men "had been the only Tyler Durdens on the payroll" since Lokey joined the site in 2015.[1] On leaving, Lokey said: "I can't be a 24-hour cheerleader for Hezbollah, Moscow, Tehran, Beijing, and Trump anymore. It's wrong. Period. I know it gets you views now, but it will kill your brand over the long run. This isn't a revolution. It's a joke."[1] Lokey said that he earned more than $100,000 in compensation from Zero Hedge in 2015, but departed from the site over a disagreement with editorial vision, expressing dissatisfaction with what he believed to be the website's turn toward clickbait.[1] Ivandjiiski defended the website, saying that it was always intended to be a for-profit entity, and criticized Lokey for making public comments.[1]

According to Ivandjiiski, the blog generates revenue from online advertising.[1]

Readership, views, and stances[edit]

The New York Times described Zero Hedge in 2011 as "a well-read and controversial financial blog."[7] The site was described by CNNMoney as offering a "deeply conspiratorial, anti-establishment and pessimistic view of the world."[8] Financial journalists Felix Salmon and Justin Fox have characterized the site as conspiratorial.[9][10] Fox described Ivandjiiski as "a wonderfully persistent investigative reporter" and credited him for successfully turning high-frequency trading "into a big political issue," but also termed most of the writing on the website as "half-baked hooey," albeit with some "truth to be gleaned from it."[10] Tim Worstall described the site as a source of hysteria and occasionally misleading information.[11] Bloomberg Markets noted in 2016 that since its founding in the middle of the financial crisis, "Zero Hedge has grown from a blog to an Internet powerhouse. Often distrustful of the 'establishment' and almost always bearish, it's known for a pessimistic world view. Posts entitled 'Stocks Are In a Far More Precarious State Than Was Ever Truly Believed Possible' and “America's Entitled (And Doomed) Upper Middle Class' are not uncommon."[1]

Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman describes Zero Hedge as a scaremongering outlet that promotes fears of hyperinflation and an "obviously ridiculous" form of "monetary permahawkery."[12] Krugman notes that Bill McBride of Calculated Risk, an economics blog, has treated Zero Hedge with "appropriate contempt."[13]

Lokey, a former paid Zero Hedge writer who left the website in 2016 over disagreements in editorial direction, characterizes the site's political content as "disingenuous," summarizing its political stances as "Russia=good. Obama=idiot. Bashar al-Assad=benevolent leader. John Kerry=dunce. Vladimir Putin=greatest leader in the history of statecraft."[1]

In December 2012, Bank of America, which had been criticized by the site in the past, blocked its employees' access to Zero Hedge from BOA servers.[3]

In September 2009, Zero Hedge had begun drawing more traffic than certain financial websites[6] with 333,000 unique visitors a month.[5] According to Quantcast, in 2012 Zero Hedge had a monthly global traffic of 1.8 million people. In 2016 3.3m.[14] Under the name Tyler Durden, Ivandjiiski was interviewed on Bloomberg Radio[4][15] and Zero Hedge has been quoted in the Columbia Journalism Review.[16]

Matt Taibbi cites Zero Hedge as having accurately assessed the level of corruption in the banking industry. He questions why mainstream financial media did not earlier detect the corruption at Goldman Sachs.[17]

Dr. Craig Pirrong, professor at the Bauer College of Business points "I have frequently written that Zero Hedge has the MO of a Soviet agitprop operation, that it reliably peddles Russian propaganda: my first post on this, almost exactly three years ago, noted the parallels between Zero Hedge and Russia Today."[18][19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Tracy Alloway & Luke Kawa, Unmasking the Men Behind Zero Hedge, Wall Street's Renegade Blog, Bloomberg Markets (April 29, 2016).
  2. ^ "zerohedge.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-03-06. 
  3. ^ a b c d Moore, Galen (December 19, 2012). "Bank of America blocks employees from reading Zero Hedge blog". Boston Business Journal. 
  4. ^ a b c d Joe Hagan, The Dow Zero Insurgency, New York (September 27, 2009). Retrieved May 12, 2011
  5. ^ a b Justin Fox, Wall Streeters like conspiracy theories. Always have, Time (October 1, 2009).
  6. ^ a b Kaja Whitehouse, Blogger May Have a Past, New York Post (September 2, 2009). Retrieved May 12, 2011
  7. ^ Susanne Craig, Morgan Tries to Quell Rumors About Its Holdings, New York Times (October 4, 2011).
  8. ^ Matt Egan (September 25, 2014). "Zero Hedge: Wall Street's daily dose of doom and gloom". CNNMoney. 
  9. ^ Salmon, Felix (September 30, 2009). "The Zero Hedgies". Reuters Blogs. 
  10. ^ a b Fox, Justin (October 10, 2009). "Wall Streeters like conspiracy theories. Always have". Time. 
  11. ^ Tim Worstall (February 23, 2016). "Zero Hedge Still Wrong on Maersk, Global Trade and the Baltic Dry". Forbes. 
  12. ^ Paul Krugman, Nutcases and Knut Cases, New York Times (September 21, 2015).
  13. ^ Paul Krugman, All Hail Calculated Risk, New York Times (November 21, 2012).
  14. ^ "Zerohedge.com Site Info". Quantcast. 
  15. ^ Tim Fox, Interview with "Tyler Durden" on Taking Stock[permanent dead link] (MP3) Bloomberg Radio. (August 20, 2009). Retrieved December 4, 2011
  16. ^ Ryan Chittum, Insurer Alleges Fraud by Bear Stearns and JPMorgan, Columbia Journalism Review (January 25, 2011).
  17. ^ Matt Taibbi, Griftopia, New York: Spiegel & Grau (2010), p. 208
  18. ^ Craig Pirrong, How Do You Know That Zero Hedge is a Russian Information Operation? Here’s How, Streetwise Professor (November 20, 2014)
  19. ^ Craig Pirrong, Peas in a Pod: Occupy, RT, and Zero Hedge, Streetwise Professor (November 7, 2011)