Outing Zero Hedge

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am not a fan of the blog Zero Hedge. In my opinion it tends to sensationalize based on meager and sometimes flat out wrong data. In short, I find it adds little to reasoned discourse about events and issues.

Given its penchant for being over-the-top and the anonymity of its author it was probably inevitable that someone would start poking around to see who was behind the blog. So, it’s not a surprise to see this in the New York Post:

A 30-year-old New Yorker who was barred from the securities industry last year may be behind an increasingly popular financial blog known as Zerohedge.com, which is catching flack for its obsession with anonymity.

Daniel Ivandjiiski, whose most recently listed address is on the Upper East Side, was barred last September by the financial industry’s self regulatory authority, FINRA, for insider trading.

Ivandjiiski is also suspected of being one of the founders of controversial financial blog Zerohedge.com, sources tell The Post.

Ivandjiiski didn’t return requests for comment, but he recently told industry publication Hedge Fund Alert that while he writes for Zerohedge, he’s not a founder.

“He denied that he was a founder. He said he was just a contributor,” Hedge Fund Alert Managing Editor Howard Kapiloff told The Post.

Ivandjiiski told Kapiloff that he’s one of several writers who contributes to the site under the pseudonym “Tyler Durden,” the charismatic, psychopathic alter-ego of the main character in the book and movie “Fight Club.”

The fact that the blog is not authored by a given person took me somewhat by surprise, but I suppose that in the larger scheme of things that doesn’t make any difference.  Somehow, though the entire picture strikes me for whatever reason as a bit seedy.

Joe Weisenthal at Clusterstock thinks it’s not a big deal:

In the end, it doesn’t matter much. Neither Ivandjiiski nor anyone else who writes for the site is doing anything wrong, and the site is popular because the content is solid. If anything, the controversy adds to the aura of mystery surrounding it, a big part of its appeal.

While Felix Salmon at Reuters has a somewhat different take:

Does it matter that Ivandjiiski was barred from the securities industry for insider trading? In most cases, no, but in some cases, yes.

In any case, it’s now time that “Tyler Durden” disaggregate himself, so that it’s more transparent which blog entries were written by the same person. I used to pay more attention to Zero Hedge than I do now, because I found a few posts which I considered to be so wild that I felt I could no longer trust much of what I read there. If it were clearer which “Tyler Durden” wrote those particular posts, I’d pay much more attention to the other “Tyler Durden” posts. And that’s good for everyone.

I think that Salmon is more on point here than Joe. I recognize the need for some bloggers to use pseudonyms to protect their day jobs but I’ve never been a big fan of that approach. As Salmon points out, it’s not unimportant for a reader to know who is writing the posts even if they don’t know his or her real name.

As for the issue of a questionable background, well, yeah it is important. When you’re inclined to hurl as many self-righteous stones as Zero Hedge,  you should at least tell the world you’re doing so from a glass house.

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