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Friday, April 29, 2016

Who Runs Zero Hedge? The 3 Names Behind Tyler Durden

Many of my subscribers over the years have quoted articles from Zero Hedge.  I did a scan of their home page just now (4/29/16 at 10:28AM PST) and all fifteen of the articles were written by "Tyler Durden" with today listed as the "submission date."

An article today on Bloomberg "Unmasking the Men Behind Zero Hedge, Wall Street's Renegade Blog" says there were at least three people writing for that name.  This isn't new as I am sure many on the internet pay others to write articles for them.  What is new is the admission that the site content is what I long expected, designed to generate revenue.


Tyler Durden is at least three people according to the article:

  1. Zero Hedge Founder, 37 year old Daniel Ivandjiiski
  2. Tim Backshall, a 45 year old "well-known credit derivatives strategist"
    and
  3. Colin Lokey, someone who was paid $6000 a month to write for Zero Hedge until he left on April 2, 2016.
Article quotes:
  1. "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."
  2. 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.
  3. Colin Lokey: "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.” 
I've long written that you shouldn't trust what you read on the internet from anyone who hides their name... as you have no idea what their motivation is AND they can always come back with a new, fake name if their current alias is thoroughly discredited.

Since being founded in the depths of the financial crisis, Zero Hedge has grown from a blog to an Internet powerhouse. They've been mostly bearish all the way up from the bottom too... yet so many still quote their articles.

"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.”"
This is no surprise... fear sells!

The unusual thing to read is Tyler Durden's defense blames the split on Lokey's drinking 


then claims he admitted to being a drug dealer in college!

followed by calling Bloomberg hypocritical

Full rebuttal 

Link

Kirk Lindstrom's Investment Letter
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Update 4/29/16 @ 12:10PM PST "Rational Wiki" says of Zero Hedge
"Zero Hedge is a batshit insane Austrian school finance blog run by a pseudonymous founder who posts articles under the name "Tyler Durden," after the character from Fight Club. It has accurately predicted 200 of the last 2 recessions... The site first appeared in early 2009, meaning that (given Tyler's habit of taking a shit on each and every positive data point), anyone listening to him from the beginning missed the entire 2009-2014 rally in the equities market."




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