Zero Hedge

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Zero Hedge
Web addresswww.zerohedge.com
SloganOn a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero
Type of sitenews website
Available language(s)English
LaunchedJanuary 2009; 4 years ago (2009-01)
 
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Zero Hedge
Web addresswww.zerohedge.com
SloganOn a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero
Type of sitenews website
Available language(s)English
LaunchedJanuary 2009; 4 years ago (2009-01)

Zero Hedge is a news website, content aggregator, and collection of blogs by contributing editors. It reports on economics, Wall Street, and the financial sector and is credited with bringing the controversial practice of flash trading to public attention in 2009 via a series of posts alleging that Goldman Sachs' access to flash order information allowed the firm to gain unfair profits. 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 Fight Club.

Profile[edit]

Zero Hedge was founded in January 2009.[1] Posts are signed "Tyler Durden," a character in the Chuck Palahniuk book and movie Fight Club,[2] reflecting the news site's activist posture.[1] Despite speculation that "Tyler Durden" is a pseudonym of Daniel Ivandjiiski,[2][3] who was penalized for insider trading in New York in September 2008,[4] Ivandjiiski denies being a founder of Zero Hedge. Rather, he says he is one of several writers contributing to the site under the pseudonym.[4] In an interview, "Durden" said there were four editors at Zero Hedge[1] but another editor says there are up to 40.[note 1][2] Editors have experience in various areas of finance and operations, differing from journalists who become experts about finance as they write about it, but have no practical work experience in the sector.[1] The online newspaper publishes anonymously to protect the editors from retaliation for dissident speech.[1] Durden maintains this protects its integrity, objectivity, and independence, as well. Durden cites the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the 1995 United States Supreme Court case, McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission,[1] which upheld anonymity as a right of free speech.[5][note 2]

Readership and influence[edit]

By September 2009, Zero Hedge had begun drawing more traffic than more established financial websites[4] with 333,000 unique visitors a month, impressing even those who say the news site is full of conspiracy theory and "apocalyptic world view".[3] Durden says two-thirds of its readers are from Wall Street.[1] According to Quantcast, Zero Hedge has as of 2012 a monthly global traffic of 1.8 million people.[6] Under the name Tyler Durden, Ivandjiiski was interviewed on Bloomberg Radio[2][7] and Zero Hedge has been quoted in the Columbia Journalism Review.[8]

In December 2012, Bank of America blocked its employees' access to Zero Hedge.[9]

Zero Hedge celebrated one billion views in June 2013.[10]

Bill Gross, the head of PIMCO, is an avid Zero Hedge reader. On August 9, 2013 he tweeted, "Gross: Strategists/writers I follow? Dalio, Durden, Bianco, Arnott, Aitken, Santelli, Grant, Grantham, Inker, Marks, Quaintenance & Brodsky."[11]

Exposing Goldman Sachs[edit]

Zero Hedge is credited with bringing flash trading to public attention in 2009 with a series of posts alleging that Goldman Sachs had access to flash order information, allowing the firm to gain unfair profits.[2] It used New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) data to detect Goldman's flash trading advantage. The site contends that Goldman Sachs' alumni are at the center of a powerful cabal and that the solution is "a purifying market crash that leads to the elimination of the big banks altogether and the reinstatement of genuine free-market capitalism" - "Dow Zero."[2] The site drew the attention of the mainstream financial media and became a news source for reporters. Bloomberg News published stories based on Zero Hedge’s posts, such as “Goldman Sachs Loses Grip on Its Doomsday Machine,” by columnist Jonathan Weil.[2][12] The New York Times ran a front-page story on the high-frequency trading, detailing how it translated into billions of dollars of profit for Goldman Sachs and hedge funds.[13] The NYSE has since made a rule change and no longer releases the data used by Zero Hedge.[2]

Matt Taibbi, in his book Griftopia, cites Zero Hedge in the last chapter as accurately assessing the level of corruption in the banking industry and credits its inside advantage. He questions why the mainstream financial media did not earlier detect the corruption at Goldman Sachs. Taibbi writes:[14]

Right around that same time, there were three media stories that helped focus a swirl of seriously negative attention on the bank. My piece was one, New York magazine's Joe Hagan wrote another, and the third was a series of stories by a heretofore little-known blogger who went by the nom de plume of "Tyler Durden" on a blog called Zero Hedge.

Durden's blog was written in an impenetrable Wall Street jargon, and the man himself – later outed by nosy reporters as an Eastern European trader who had been sanctioned by FINRA – was intimidating even to Wall Street insiders. "Zero Hedge, man, he makes my head hurt" was a typical comment from my Wall Street sources.

Beginning in early 2009 Durden had been on a jihad about Goldman, having sifted through trading data to make what he insisted was an airtight case proving that the bank's high-frequency or "flash" trading desk was engaged in some sort of large-scale manipulation of the New York Stock Exchange. Durden drew his conclusions by scrupulously analyzing trading data the NYSE released each week. So what happened? Naturally, the NYSE on June 24 changed its rules and stopped releasing the data, seemingly to protect Goldman from Zero Hedge's meddling.

—Matt Taibbi, Griftopia

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ One editor has also been known to contribute using the pseudonym "Marla Singer", another character from Fight Club.
  2. ^ In McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission (93-986), 514 U.S. 334, Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the majority, stated, "The right to remain anonymous may be abused when it shields fraudulent conduct. But political speech by its nature will sometimes have unpalatable consequences, and, in general, our society accords greater weight to the value of free speech than to the dangers of its misuse."

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Damien Hoffman, "First Amendment Award for Outstanding Journalism: Best Blog Zero Hedge" Wall St. Cheat Sheet (August 4, 2009). Includes interview with co-founder "Tyler Durden". Retrieved May 12, 2011
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Joe Hagan, "The Dow Zero Insurgency" New York magazine (September 27, 2009). Retrieved May 12, 2011
  3. ^ a b Justin Fox, Wall Streeters like conspiracy theories. Always have Time blog (October 1, 2009). Retrieved May 12, 2011
  4. ^ a b c Kaja Whitehouse, "Blogger May Have a Past" New York Post (September 2, 2009). Retrieved May 12, 2011
  5. ^ "McINTYRE, executor of Estate of McIntyre, Deceased v. Ohio Elections Commission" Cornell University Law School (April 19, 1995). Retrieved May 12, 2011
  6. ^ "Zerohedge.com Site Info". Quantcast. Retrieved May 29, 2012. 
  7. ^ Tim Fox, Interview with "Tyler Durden" on Taking Stock (MP3) Bloomberg Radio. (August 20, 2009). Retrieved December 4, 2011
  8. ^ Ryan Chittum, "Insurer Alleges Fraud by Bear Stearns and JPMorgan" Columbia Journalism Review (January 25, 2011). Retrieved May 12, 2011
  9. ^ Moore, Galen (2012-12-19). "Bank of America blocks employees from reading Zero Hedge blog". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 2012-12-22. 
  10. ^ "A One Billionth Anniversary" Zero Hedge. Retrieved July 4, 2013
  11. ^ Whom Does Bill Gross Read?
  12. ^ Tyler Durden, "Is Goldman Legally Frontrunning Its Clients?" Zero Hedge (July 1, 2009). Retrieved May 12, 2011
  13. ^ Charles Duhigg, "Stock Traders Find Speed Pays, in Milliseconds" The New York Times (July 24, 2009). Retrieved May 12, 2011
  14. ^ Matt Taibbi, Griftopia, New York: Spiegel & Grau (2010), p. 208

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]