Type of site
|Financial blog; news and opinion (original and aggregated)|
|Slogan(s)||On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero|
|Alexa rank||1625 (October 2016[update])|
Zero Hedge is an English-language 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).
Critics assert that Zero Hedge's content is conspiratorial, anti-establishment, and economically pessimistic, and has been criticized for presenting extreme and sometimes pro-Russian views.
Zero Hedge was established in 2009. 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." Posts on the website are signed "Tyler Durden," a character in the Chuck Palahniuk book and movie Fight Club.
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. 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. The website is registered in Bulgaria at the same address as that of Strogo Sekretno, a site run by Ivandjiiski's father, Krassimir Ivandjiiski. Zero Hedge is registered under the name Georgi Georgiev, a business partner of Krassimir Ivandjiiski.
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. Ivandjiiski confirmed that the three men "had been the only Tyler Durdens on the payroll" since Lokey joined the site in 2015. Former Zero Hedge writer Colin Lokey said that he was pressured to frame issues in a way he felt was "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." Zero Hedge founder Daniel Ivandjiiski, in response, said that Lokey could write "anything and everything he wanted directly without anyone writing over it." 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."
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 as well as its pro-Hezbollah, Russian, Iranian, Chinese, and Trump positions. Ivandjiiski defended the website, saying that it was always intended to be a for-profit entity, and criticized Lokey for making public comments.
Readership, views, and stances
The New York Times described Zero Hedge in 2011 as "a well-read and controversial financial blog." The site was described by CNNMoney as offering a "deeply conspiratorial, anti-establishment and pessimistic view of the world." Financial journalists Felix Salmon and Justin Fox have characterized the site as conspiratorial. 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." Tim Worstall described the site as a source of hysteria and occasionally misleading information. 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."
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." Krugman notes that Bill McBride of Calculated Risk, an economics blog, has treated Zero Hedge with "appropriate contempt."
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."
By September 2009, Zero Hedge had begun drawing more traffic than some established financial blogs. In that year, Quantcast reported that the blog had received 333,000 unique visitors a month. Under the name Tyler Durden, Ivandjiiski was interviewed on Bloomberg Radio and Zero Hedge has been quoted in the Columbia Journalism Review.
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.
Dr. Craig Pirrong, professor at the Bauer College of Business writes that "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."
- Alloway, Tracy; Kawa, Luke (April 29, 2016). "Unmasking the Men Behind Zero Hedge, Wall Street's Renegade Blog", Bloomberg Markets.
- "zerohedge.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
- Egan, Matt (September 25, 2014). "Zero Hedge: Wall Street's daily dose of doom and gloom". CNNMoney.
- Worstall, Tim (February 23, 2016). "Zero Hedge Still Wrong on Maersk, Global Trade and the Baltic Dry". Forbes.
- Hagan, Joe (September 27, 2009). "The Dow Zero Insurgency", New York. Retrieved May 12, 2011.
- Moore, Galen (December 19, 2012). "Bank of America blocks employees from reading Zero Hedge blog". Boston Business Journal.
- Fox, Justin (October 10, 2009). "Wall Streeters like conspiracy theories. Always have". Time.
- Whitehouse, Kaja (September 2, 2009). "Blogger May Have a Past", New York Post. Retrieved May 12, 2011
- Mishev, Konstantin (26 June 2016). "Zero Hedge now for use in Bulgaria too". Bulgaria Analytica.
- МАРИЯНСКА, Еми (6 September 2014). "Българин е най-скандалният блогър в Щатите". Blitz (in Bulgarian).
- Craig, Susanne (October 4, 2011). "Morgan Tries to Quell Rumors About Its Holdings", The New York Times.
- Salmon, Felix (September 30, 2009). "The Zero Hedgies". Reuters Blogs.
- Krugman, Paul (September 21, 2015). "Nutcases and Knut Cases", The New York Times.
- Krugman, Paul (November 21, 2012). "All Hail Calculated Risk", The New York Times.
- Tim Fox, Interview with "Tyler Durden" on Taking Stock[permanent dead link] (MP3) Bloomberg Radio. (August 20, 2009). Retrieved December 4, 2011
- Ryan Chittum, Insurer Alleges Fraud by Bear Stearns and JPMorgan, Columbia Journalism Review (January 25, 2011).
- Taibbi, Matt, Griftopia, New York: Spiegel & Grau (2010), p. 208 ISBN 978-0-385-52995-2
- Pirrong, Craig. How Do You Know That Zero Hedge is a Russian Information Operation? Here’s How, Streetwise Professor (November 20, 2014)
- Pirrong, Craig. Peas in a Pod: Occupy, RT, and Zero Hedge, Streetwise Professor (November 7, 2011)