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Zero Hedge writers exposed
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polar Offline
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Zero Hedge writers exposed
An angry ex-writer for ZH exposes the two other full-time writers for ZH, everyone's favorite source of contrarian market information and "the end is nigh" financial analysis. 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2...egade-blog

Quote:Colin Lokey, also known as "Tyler Durden," is breaking the first rule of Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club. He’s also breaking the second rule of Fight Club. (See the first rule.)

After more than a year writing for the financial website Zero Hedge under the nom de doom of the cult classic’s anarchic hero, Lokey’s going public. In doing so, he’s answering a question that has bedeviled Wall Street since the site sprang up seven years ago: Just who is Tyler Durden, anyway?

The answer, it turns out, is three people. Following an acrimonious departure this month, in which two-thirds of the trio traded allegations of hypocrisy and mental instability, Lokey, 32, decided to unmask himself and his fellow Durdens.

Lokey said the other two men are Daniel Ivandjiiski, 37, the Bulgarian-born former analyst long reputed to be behind the site, and Tim Backshall, 45, a well-known credit derivatives strategist. (Bloomberg LP competes with Zero Hedge in providing financial news and information.) 

In a telephone interview, Ivandjiiski confirmed that the men had been the only Tyler Durdens on the payroll since Lokey came aboard last year, but he criticized his former colleague's decision to come forward.

He called Lokey's parting gift a case of sour grapes. Backshall, meanwhile, declined to comment, referring questions to Ivandjiiski. A political science graduate with an MBA and a Southern twang, Lokey said he had a checkered past before joining Zero Hedge. Earlier this month, overwork landed him in a hospital because he felt a panic attack coming on, he said.

“Ultimately we wish Colin all the best, he’s clearly a troubled individual in many ways, and we are frankly disappointed that he’s decided to take his displeasure with the company in such a public manner,” Ivandjiiski said.

The Schism

Ivandjiiski worked for a hedge fund before being barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in 2008 for insider trading. He didn’t admit or deny wrongdoing, the agency said. Backshall is a familiar face on financial news networks who has been quoted by media outlets, including Bloomberg. His involvement with Zero Hedge, along with that of Lokey, hasn’t been widely known.

The schism between the men sheds light on a website popular among market professionals, one that mixes detailed financial analysis with sensational headlines such as "The Coming War Will Solve Our Unemployment & Growth Problem" and "Exposed—How Two Janet Yellen Phone Calls Saved The World." 

Since being founded in the depths 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.

The site’s ethos is perhaps best summed up by the tagline at the top of its homepage, also borrowed from Fight Club: “On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” A paean to populism, the 1999 film is filled with loathing for consumerism and the financial system. Brad Pitt portrays Tyler Durden as hell-bent onbringing down the corrupt system of the global elite—an attitude often reflected in Zero Hedge’s content.

With that in mind, the website has argued that “pseudonymous speech” is necessary amid an atmosphere of stifled public dissent—hence the "Tyler Durden" alias was born. In earlier years, Durden was joined by "Marla Singer," another Fight Club character, as one of the site’s most prominent authors.

“It reminds me of a successful information operation where you mix in the propaganda stories along with other legitimate stories,” said Craig Pirrong, finance professor at the University of Houston. “There are some interesting things on it, and then there are the crazy things.”

Profit Motive

Despite holding itself out as a town crier for market angst, transcripts from Zero Hedge internal chat sessions provided by Lokey reveal a focus on Web traffic by the Durdens. Headlines are debated and a relentless publishing schedule maintained to keep readers sated. Lokey said the emphasis on profit—and what he considered political bias at the site—motivated him to quit. 

He pointed to the wealth of the Durdens as a factor. Ivandjiiski has a multimillion-dollar mansion in Mahwah, N.J., and Backshall lives in a plush San Francisco suburb—not exactly reflections of Pitt's anticapitalist icon. “What you are reading at Zero Hedge isnonsense. And you shouldn’t support it,” Lokey wrote in an e-mail. “Two guys who live a lifestyle you only dream of are pretending to speak for you.”

Lokey adds: “Durden lives in a castle. If you’ve seen Fight Club, you know how ironic that is.”

A former “director of contributor success” at website Seeking Alpha, Lokey said he joined Zero Hedge for $6,000 a month and received an annual bonus of $50,000, earning more than $100,000 last year. His salary helped pay the rent on a “very nice” condominium on South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island, he said. Despite the compensation, he contends that he left because he disagreed with the site's editorial vision. “Reality checks are great. But Zero Hedge ceased to serve that public service years ago,” Lokey wrote. “They care what generates page views. Clicks. Money.”

Zero Hedge founder Ivandjiiski defended the site, adding that it's designed to be a for-profit entity. “Ultimately, the website makes money, and it’s profitable, which is also why we’ve never had to seek outside funding or any outside money—our only revenue is from advertising, always has been since day one,” he said. “Obviously, every publisher’s mission is to maximize revenue and page views, and we think that we do it in a way that is appropriate.”

Outside the Bubble

Any website's focus on traffic and revenue certainly isn't unusual. But Lokey said he was irked by what he saw as the hypocrisy of Zero Hedge and how it runs counter to its antiestablishment image. In the chat transcripts, Ivandjiiski refers to America's “silent majority” as “beastly,” while Backshall acknowledges life in the U.S. is bad “outside of my bubble.”

Ivandjiiski disagreed with the suggestion that personal worth or lifestyle precluded them from donning the mask of Durden (the character who quipped “the things you own end up owning you”) to deride the prevailing order. “We’ve never said that we are pro-socialist,” he said.

Lokey, who said he wrote much of the site’s political content, claimed there was pressure to frame issues in a way he felt was disingenuous. “I tried to inject as much truth as I could into my posts, but there’s no room for it. “Russia=good. Obama=idiot. Bashar al-Assad=benevolent leader. John Kerry= dunce. Vladimir Putin=greatest leader in the history of statecraft,” Lokey wrote, describing his take on the website's politics. Ivandjiiski countered that Lokey could write “anything and everything he wanted directly without anyone writing over it.”

Working at Zero Hedge was also exhausting, Lokey said, and typically involved early morning starts and writing as many as 15 posts a day of as many as 1,500 words each. The work didn’t stop on the weekends, either. Text messages exchanged between Lokey and Ivandjiiski, screen shots of which were provided by the latter, paint the picture of a work environment that ranged from exhilarating to exasperating.

For instance, Lokey says he's “scared to even ask for an hour off,” while Ivandjiiski replies that “if you ever need time off for whatever reason, never hesitate to just ask.” In February, Lokey says, “I love this company and this website,” and tells Ivandjiiski “you saved my life,” expressing thanks for the job.

By April 2—the day Lokey left Zero Hedge—their relationship had deteriorated significantly, according to the messages provided by Ivandjiiski.

“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,” Lokey texted Ivandjiiski. “This isn’t a revolution. It’s a joke.”

The site, which was built by a former hedge fund analyst barred from the securities industry for an insider trade (only netting him $780 in the process) and a prominent credit derivatives strategist. Both live nicely off the advertising money (something that should surprise nobody who's ever visited the site - it's plastered with ads). 

Here's a good summary piece on the founder of ZH.
http://nymag.com/guides/money/2009/59457/

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04-29-2016 09:48 AM
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[email protected] Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Zero Hedge writers exposed
It sounds like they hired a shitlib and now they are paying for it.

Holy shit, it's real:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-29...zero-hedge

The guy went from bum to six figure salary job and he couldn't hold on for more than a year
04-29-2016 10:01 AM
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Roosh Offline
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RE: Zero Hedge writers exposed
I don't see how maximizing site revenue and profit goes against highlighting the hypocrisy of the nation's elite. Are they supposed to run a charity? They don't charge access for the site.

Either way, identifying the writers won't dampen interest in the site. In fact, it lends credibility that the men writing it are qualified "insiders" who know the real scoop on things.

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04-29-2016 10:59 AM
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RE: Zero Hedge writers exposed
Yes, I trust billionaire globalist Bloomberg and NYMag, who are part of the 5 company global monopoly on media over Zero hedge, an alternative news site that has broken the story on many major world events that otherwise would have never seen the light of day in western media.

This was an obvious hit piece by mainstream media outlets that feel threatened by an alternative news source which has upset the approved narrative.
04-29-2016 11:05 AM
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polar Offline
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RE: Zero Hedge writers exposed
(04-29-2016 10:59 AM)Roosh Wrote:  I don't see how maximizing site revenue and profit goes against highlighting the hypocrisy of the nation's elite. Are they supposed to run a charity? They don't charge access for the site.

Either way, identifying the writers won't dampen interest in the site. In fact, it lends credibility that the men writing it are qualified "insiders" who know the real scoop on things.
Roosh, I agree with both of your points. I also agree with the idea in Burner's post - this was revenge by a crazy, disgruntled employee, coupled with Bloomberg News' desire for a scoop to pull in page views. The main author has already been unmasked several years ago. What this Bloomberg article did is is air their dirty laundry and question their credibility.

They have the right to do whatever they think will make them money and their writing should be primarily measured by the quality of their advice. That being said, I do think that the sensationalism negatively impacts their site's credibility, as does one of the writers' industry ban over insider trading. (He consented to the insider trading charge and permanent ban by FINRA, the industry regulator, without choosing to appeal or comment. Even in cases where appeal would have been cost-prohibitive, registered individuals are able to go on record with a comment in response.)

I myself frequent ZH for their analysis, but only as a supplement to many other news sources.

Along with contrarian thinkers, ZH attracts a lot of rabid, emotional reactionaries who drown out the more rational commenters. If someone were to take everything on ZH at face value, they'd be wearing tinfoil hats, stocking up on rations, and burying gold in their back yard. Even if the markets are irrational, their performance is set by the marginal investors, not the perma-bulls and perma-bears.

There's some good discussion of ZH on this page here:
https://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-54033...pid1261496

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04-29-2016 12:06 PM
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RE: Zero Hedge writers exposed
I had heard that the site had ties to Russia somehow, but this information seems to eliminate this theory. The disgruntled former worker would certainly have revealed this. Rather, the owners are just going against the narrative based on their own beliefs about the underlying factors behind current economic events.

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04-29-2016 01:30 PM
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Hades Offline
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RE: Zero Hedge writers exposed
Every time I think I'm getting too optimistic about the future, a few articles of zerohedge brings me right back to earth. They provide a valuable service. Very entertaining as well.
04-29-2016 01:42 PM
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RE: Zero Hedge writers exposed
It's like Pirrong said in the Bloomberg article - “There are some interesting things on it, and then there are the crazy things.” I only read mainstream financial news like WSJ and Bloomberg to stay apprised of what the finance industry majority is thinking. For real analysis, I have a collection of alt websites, one of which is ZH. Just ignore the doomsday, "buy fizz and bury it" talk and you're good.

Like Roosh said, this will probably only raise interest in the website. Authors are truly antifragile. The two guys should send Mr. Lokey a sarcastic thank you next to a screenshot of the page view uptick.

Edit: Just read ZH's side of the story. Holy shit, they gave this guy a ton of chances.
(This post was last modified: 04-29-2016 03:34 PM by Peregrine.)
04-29-2016 03:07 PM
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RE: Zero Hedge writers exposed
(04-29-2016 03:07 PM)Peregrine Wrote:  It's like Pirrong said in the Bloomberg article - “There are some interesting things on it, and then there are the crazy things.” I only read mainstream financial news like WSJ and Bloomberg to stay apprised of what the finance industry majority is thinking. For real analysis, I have a collection of alt websites, one of which is ZH. Just ignore the doomsday, "buy fizz and bury it" talk and you're good.

Like Roosh said, this will probably only raise interest in the website. Authors are truly antifragile. The two guys should send Mr. Lokey a sarcastic thank you next to a screenshot of the page view uptick.

Edit: Just read ZH's side of the story. Holy shit, they gave this guy a ton of chances.

I agree - I got the feeling it was an equitable team effort and while they probably had to work 50-60 hour weeks of grinding out articles and coming up with interesting takes on world events, they were most certainly well paid for the job. This is literally a media startup.

I almost considered emailing these guys about an internship but unfortunately I know relatively little about investing or geopolitics. Would like to learn, though.
04-29-2016 08:59 PM
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RE: Zero Hedge writers exposed
I hardly ever visit Zero Hedge usually just when an occasional link from RVF or another source pointed me there. After reading this article today this was the first time I ever went directly to ZeroHedge.com. I disabled my ad block and went to the site, the site is covered in a massive amount of ads. I never realize how huge of a business that site is. Today alone their team posted 45+ stories to the site, they generate a massive amount of content. And only a handful of people generate that much content? Damn impressive.
04-29-2016 10:05 PM
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RE: Zero Hedge writers exposed
(04-29-2016 10:05 PM)username Wrote:  I hardly ever visit Zero Hedge usually just when an occasional link from RVF or another source pointed me there. After reading this article today this was the first time I ever went directly to ZeroHedge.com. I disabled my ad block and went to the site, the site is covered in a massive amount of ads. I never realize how huge of a business that site is. Today alone their team posted 45+ stories to the site, they generate a massive amount of content. And only a handful of people generate that much content? Damn impressive.

Out of the 45 you saw, quite a few will be reposts. That said, they do turn out a solid amount of original content and it's good writing.

And the ads must be very lucrative, as I'm sure their readership's intelligence is bimodal.
04-30-2016 02:58 AM
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RE: Zero Hedge writers exposed
With all due respect there's not a single media organisation that doesn't have its staple of click bait nonsense stories. These stories have a purpose - to get eyeballs onto the site or paper which allows them them to broadcast "real stories" which are properly researched and well funded as a result of the advertising revenues brought in by the click bait.

What's a reputable news source - Washington Post, NYT, The Telegraph?

A leftist newspaper might write "why equal pay day is real" or "why women deserve equal pay at grand slams" (these get insane traffic). A right wing newspaper might write "why every child should own a gun", "why poor people deserve to be poor". They know this will get people to engage and hopefully they move onto the story about Fed Reserve policy (but probably not).

No different from Zero Hedge.

I ignore the articles about physical gold being the only real investment you should make or why the global economy is going to melt down next month.

However, if I want to read up on Russian strategy in Syria or get an understanding of why the U.S. Air Force didn't bomb ISIS oil tankers at all for 6 months, I need to read Zero Hedge for that. If I want an update on the Baltic Dry Index, worldwide output in oil and the most up to date context behind upcoming OPEC talks, or Federal Reserve policy direction, it's Zero Hedge. Some of their best work this year has focused on the evisceration of middle class wealth, the impact of the student debt bubble on disposable income and clashes in values between Swedes/Germans and recently arrived Muslim migrants (particularly at swimming pools and train stations).

Yes there's bias but there's also facts and serious discussion on topics no other broadsheet media organisation will touch. Without Zero Hedge I'm convinced there are numerous 'big stories' that would never have risen to mainstream consciousness otherwise. The big papers will only report on "sensitive issues" if they feel they are being left behind.
(This post was last modified: 04-30-2016 10:11 AM by Que enspastic.)
04-30-2016 10:09 AM
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Post: #13
RE: Zero Hedge writers exposed
Zero Hedge has posted its rebuttal - it's a good one
04-30-2016 12:04 PM
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RE: Zero Hedge writers exposed
What is most amazing for me is that this guy was compensated $100k - I always thought web writers, outside of the very top talent, make significantly less, with the writing primarily being a marketing tool to sell other stuff.
04-30-2016 12:44 PM
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RE: Zero Hedge writers exposed
(04-29-2016 10:59 AM)Roosh Wrote:  I don't see how maximizing site revenue and profit goes against highlighting the hypocrisy of the nation's elite. Are they supposed to run a charity?

Fucking EXACTLY.

The biggest cultural meme we need to combat is "providing a service for compensation is wrong/greedy/selfish... you also need to give back."

The SERVICE... that the market willingly CHOOSES... is the giving back! Otherwise it would cease to exist.
04-30-2016 03:26 PM
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RE: Zero Hedge writers exposed
I'm a Zero Hedge fan, and I would encourage you to start reading the site if you don't already. Honestly, if you're a typical RVF member, then you can already easily identify with almost all that Zero Hedge stands for. That site is awesome for financial and geopolitical news that is pragmatic, realistic and directly refutes most of the corporate "news" that prevails today.

From Wikipedia:
Quote: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."

Corporate cuck confirmed. Easy to identify use of verbal misdirection. "If you do not agree with the current mainstream geopolitical narrative that is being pulled then you must be an enemy sympathizer."

Obviously the Wall Street elites hate the site, because more often than not, it really does expose a lot of their shenanigans.

Quote:(Zero Hedge) 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 it to gain unfair profits.

Quote:In December 2012, Bank of America blocked its employees' access to Zero Hedge

If these guys hate you, then you obviously must be doing something right.
(This post was last modified: 04-30-2016 04:10 PM by The Truth.)
04-30-2016 04:04 PM
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