Disaggregating Zero Hedge

By Felix Salmon
August 21, 2009
Daniel Ivandjiiski associated with Zero Hedge in March of this year, before the blog really took off. I do believe that he's just one of many contributors who use the pseudonym "Tyler Durden", but he's the only one I've ever heard identified, and I think he's been there for quite a while. He has reportedly said that he's just a contributor, not a founder, but I'm not sure that distinction really means very much.

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I first heard the name Daniel Ivandjiiski associated with Zero Hedge in March of this year, before the blog really took off. I do believe that he’s just one of many contributors who use the pseudonym “Tyler Durden”, but he’s the only one I’ve ever heard identified, and I think he’s been there for quite a while. He has reportedly said that he’s just a contributor, not a founder, but I’m not sure that distinction really means very much.

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.

47 comments

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Theology and law stayed in the scholastic world, while the rest moved into the light of facts and reality. Seven hundred years later the two were joined by the journalists, and after another hundred years by the blogger Felix Salmon.

You want a world of trust me, ZH insist that you must check the facts.

Posted by GSo | Report as abusive

Why is what you propose “good”, Felix? I don’t think this is good for anyone. The point of ZH is to deal with the CONTENT of the threads, not the people.

Posted by Unsympathetic | Report as abusive

Also, worry more about ZH’s cryptofascist policies, rather than their personnel. You probably haven’t noticed that, because their policies are, basically, your own. But they live in the same world as Geithner: only power matters, so only people who have power, matter.

ZH seems to be at odds with the political system, but really, they are not. They simply want to be the ones in power. If they don’t disclose who they are, you should stop complaining about it, because it is a useful characteristic in, ironically, identifying.

So who are those who don’t identify themselves: a shadow government. There are LOTS of shadow governments. Obama was a shadow government. Wait until Fitzgerald reveals that he’s a flunkey for General Mediterranean, the Syrian mafia front (unless, of course, Fitzy is himself a front for GM).

See? That’s another shadow government. But in this case, the General Mediterranean shadow government actually came to power.

The gutter came to power.

Posted by John Ryskamp | Report as abusive

Exactly as predicted. Attacking the people, not the content. You PROVE why anonymous is still a necessity today.

I once asked after details of a trade a guy had posted on, and his reply was, “Hey, I do this for my own reasons, not yours.” I was enlightened.

Posted by David F. | Report as abusive

Wow and it was all for $780…

In May 2005, Ivandjiiski became employed by another firm, Miller Buckfire & Co. Nevertheless, before the financing deal for Hawaiian Holdings was announced, he obtained confidential documents that his former firm had prepared concerning the impending deal. On March 14, 2006, while in possession of that material, non-public information, Ivandjiiski bought 1000 shares of Hawaiian Holdings for $4.75 a share. On March 15th, when the new financing was publicly announced, the share price of Hawaiian Holdings increased 6%, to close at $5.30. On March 21, 2006, Ivandjiiski sold his 1,000 shares of Hawaiian Holdings stock for $5.53 per share, for a profit of $780.

Posted by SL | Report as abusive

My own algorithmic deconstruction of his writing leads me to believe that Tyler is the millionth monkey.

Posted by Dire Turdly | Report as abusive

Presumably Henry Blodget passes your integrity test, Salmon.

Posted by otto | Report as abusive

Gee! I had no idea all those deconstructive literary theories about “only the text matters, the author’s personal life and intention are unimportant” were still so popular in some circles. I thought they went out of fashion around the late 1980′s, or whenever Paul De Man passed away.

Maybe “you do not talk about Fight Club,” but clearly “you can talk and talk and talk all day about ZH, please do in fact,” which perhaps makes “Tyler Durden” (in solo or aggregate) the allegory of his own unreadability.

Posted by SelenesMom | Report as abusive

how can readers be sure there is only one felix salmon?

Posted by dvictr | Report as abusive

“…how can readers be sure there is only one felix salmon?..”

Easy; his bike isn’t a tandem.

Posted by otto | Report as abusive

Frankly, Felix, I’ve never really trusted anything that came out of that so-called “Nicolas Bourbaki” persona since I discovered that André Weil’s little sister was so weird ;-)

So you mean they should give away their identity to have a washed out blog, that interest no one as the one you are running here.
I happen to agree that their CONTENT is what matters. It is their content that makes me go there, read and think. It is the place were I put my media money because during this crisis the so called mainstream journalism contributed almost nothing of investigative value. An there were many many questions that begged for an answer.
Some those topics started timidly to appear in the media many months after being disclosed on zerohedge.
And you are not reading it so often? Yeah right ! Felix ! Felix !
You are the little washed up “rebel” boy alla Dowson’s Creek

Posted by YourMom | Report as abusive

You always write the same way Felix? You’re never emotive about one topic versus another?

I contribute to ZH once in a while. Proud of it. I think they are the most interesting new source of financial information out there.

The fact that other sites, including yours, pick on them over the pen name thing just proves the point. It adds to their credibility. not detracts from it. They are taken to task on a regular basis for their views. I think they have stood up to that pretty well.

I have never met or talked to anyone at ZH. I want to keep it that way. In my mind Tyler Durden is a 38 year old woman. Drop dead beautiful….

Second Bruce Krasting, expect the posting on ZH thing – and the beautiful woman thing, Ok jst on the who-the-heck cares what the guy’s name is. Or the many many guys/gals. I read first then decind if I agree/disagree.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

We need a standing army of faceless Tyler Durdens. I don’t care who he/she is or who they are because unlike most financial press journalists and lettered scholars who pick at the edge of truth and spin their findings to serve their masters and pray not offend their subject matter, the Tylers leave the meat on these bones and yes, give us much to think about and provide a credible springboard for our own diligent research.

Full Disclosure: “Blossom” is a pseudonym

Posted by Blossom | Report as abusive

Felix isn’t saying they should all come out, just that they should get their own psuedonyms.

Posted by crack | Report as abusive

“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.”

Wow Felix… You must be new at Zerohedge. Generally ZHers don’t believe anything we hear/read and only half of what we see. If you don’t think ZH has made a positive contribution with regards to shining sunlight on “industry practices” perhaps you should talk to Lloyd Blankfein at GS. Perhaps you already did.

Posted by NotTylerDurden | Report as abusive

what crack said.

They can all keep their pseudonyms, just don’t share them. May I also suggest someone over at ZH claim Robert ‘Bob’ Paulson.

Posted by Zero Shnaps | Report as abusive

“So you mean they should give away their identity to have a washed out blog, that interest no one as the one you are running here.”

No, dumbass, all that’s necessary is that the ZH posters use their own pseudonyms rather than all posting as Tyler Durden. Their actual identities aren’t necessary.

The idea is to identify which contributor is, say, the racist loon who’s a fan of Hal Turner, so that person’s posts can be ignored in favor of the posters with a stronger grip on reality.

Doesn’t really matter if their real-world identities are revealed, as long as each contributor consistently identifies themselves somehow. Hell, calling themselves “Tyler Durden 1″, “Tyler Durden 2″, “Tyler Durden 3″ would suffice, as long as they do it consistently.

Posted by Jon H | Report as abusive

“You must be new at Zerohedge. Generally ZHers don’t believe anything we hear/read and only half of what we see.”

Right. If that were true they wouldn’t waste their time reading Hal Turner and his ilk.

Posted by Jon H | Report as abusive

I’m looking forward to your post where you say that The Economist should “disaggregate” and start publishing who writes what. Or do you think that anonymity should be reserved for the Patricians?

Posted by GaryD | Report as abusive

Identities are only important if one wishes to attack the messenger and not the message.

ZH is a forum for the dissemination of information (news AND opinion) much of which would otherwise never see the light of day. The main stream media, including the financial media, are miserable failures at bringing vital information into the public realm. There have been many examples, and I expect there will be many more.

All are free to refute the information presented there. Some have tried, and some have even pointed out weaknesses in arguments presented. ZH goes on.

If “investigative journalism” hadn’t been wounded by access controls and cutoffs (ask a surprise hard question in a press conference and see if you get picked again!), then killed off by ‘media aggregation’ into the hands of a few interested parties, ZH wouldn’t be so popular.

Quit whining.

What is interesting is that the Zerohedge site, while exalting the place of anonymity in the blog-o-sphere, filters (moderates) comments of non-registered guests. Separately and notwithstanding the disclaimer on its site, Zerohedge readers have been constantly exposed to one of the most bearish rants out there as the market have soared more than 50%.

Posted by absolutezero | Report as abusive

Identities are also important if one wishes to identify the messenger… you figure out why that might be important Felix.

Posted by NotTylerDurden | Report as abusive

If, as an analyst of information, you have a source you trust, that source can and will play you like violin.

I don’t trust any source, and Felix that includes you. I’m an amateur and work the old fashioned way, aided by indexes and cross-indexes of my subject and bio files, as well as custom thesauri. In other words, I analyze everything and attempt to validate it before I decide whether to internalize it–make it knowledge. It takes a lot of time.

Zero Hedge is a source. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but it’s definitely not a bunch of kids from a middle school in upstate New York. So, I suggest you listen to what they have to say or, like the guy above suggested, you can push the “easy” button on your phone and talk to Lloyd Blankfein.

He’ll set you straight.

Posted by mp | Report as abusive

Oh boy, so you were turned off because SOME posts were wild? You don’t say… did you stop reporting on the Bush administration after it turned out the whole WMD was just “wild”? How about Paulson’s TARP when he switched from buying toxic assets to just pumping money into banks like Citi so the banks can go gamble in 2009Q1 and pay an oil speculator 100 millions? Do you understand the difference in “wildness” between ZH and what news organizations report daily?

Posted by TCG | Report as abusive

gordon says…

Poor Yves Smith seems close to panic about stories that one of the people who shared the pseudonym “Tyler Durden” and guest-posted at Naked Capitalism may have a past. She posts about her worries, saying: “The mysteriousness has served Zero Hedge well thus far, but the messianic zeal and the sometimes strident tone serves to undercut their typically good content. It clearly boosts traffic (ZH has become popular in a very short period of time), but does it in the end serve his cause? In the long run, it raises question about credibility, and and I worry not just his/theirs, but of financial blogs generally”.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2009/08/w ho-is-tyler-durden.html

I would like to reassure her that people with a past are the people most likely to know the inside story. I would guess that Stavisky could have told people a lot about the inside workings of the pre-War French Govt., and of course we all know that Albert Speer had a hell of a past – but people still read his book.

So I would like to suggest to Yves Smith that instead of having the vapours she put up an index to all of Tyler Durden’s guest posts, and watch the click rate soar.

I would have put these comments directly on Naked Capitalism, but now that registration is required I no longer comment there.

Posted by gordon | Report as abusive

“I would have put these comments directly on Naked Capitalism, but now that registration is required I no longer comment there. – Posted by gordon”

Correction – NC does not require registration and unlike Zerohedge who holds anonymous comments for “screening purposes”, Yves posts comments instantaneously.

Posted by absolutezero | Report as abusive

ZH was founded by Martha Stewart.

Posted by greatifeel | Report as abusive

Daniel/Tyler’s exposure is important because it is a demonstration of hypocrisy, pure and simple. They say the content is important and it is, but the context is too. In this case the context is that a guy who was banned for insider trading, and probably is lucky not to be in jail, is criticizing Wall Street. What a hoot. The irony is that if he revealed his identity and came clean he would be in good shape and his credibility would not be in tatters.

Posted by Not on Wall Street | Report as abusive

I looked at the FINRA press release on the insider trading case for Daniel I… and it looks like petty theft. A few thousand dollars? What a joke. When is FINRA going to look at real insider traders in wall street, including John Mack, and of course the greatest of them all Hank Paulson’s Goldman Sachs. I’d rather read articles written by this Daniel I… than those from Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley.

Posted by Anyone | Report as abusive

August 22nd, 2009
Posted by absolutezero 2:15 am GMT
“What is interesting is that the Zerohedge site, while exalting the place of anonymity in the blog-o-sphere, filters (moderates) comments of non-registered guests.”

Whenever I have posted to ZH the comment has always appeared immediately. Anyone can try it for themselves. I see you took the time to repeat your claim otherwise a few posts down. What’s your agenda and on who’s behalf?

Or maybe you get the math captcha wrong!

Posted by cyberflunkey | Report as abusive

I agree that they posters on Zero Hedge should have unique handles, even if they are anonymous. The truth is that some posts there are very intelligent and informed, and others are ignorant and speculative. I’d like to know the track record of who’s posting so if they have a history of writing crazy, inaccurate ones I will take theirs less seriously than the others.

Posted by Sally | Report as abusive

Felix, this article of yours bleeds with envy and petulance. And THIS post of mine, Mr. Felix Salmon, marks the last time I read or link your content.

Felix Salmon unblogger.

Thanks, Absolutezero. My comment is now on Naked Capitalism, for the record.

Posted by gordon | Report as abusive

Terrible, 780 dollars of insider trading.

Too bad they didn’t catch Madoff, or anyone else that really matters. Only the petty fish who don’t matter are caught. The rest are untouchable while they rally up the market with free money from the Fed.

As a worker and consumer, You will be paying heavily for this free money. While the perpetrators will go uninvestigated and unpunished.

Posted by Yes Indeed | Report as abusive

My ideal blog would be one focused on a subject area, where all posts were concise, well reasoned, and any supporting information easily verifiable. I would prefer not to know the author’s identity. Why? Because I may have biases that even I don’t recognize. If the author is someone whose comments I normally don’t agree with, or who I don’t like, it could cause me to dismiss a valid point of view, and that defeats the goal. So I favor totally anonymous entries. The problem is who would sponsor such a blog, and how could it be effectively moderated.

Posted by Idealist | Report as abusive

We both know that you will continue reading it several times a day. Consider the material you provide vs what zerohedge provides. You offer nothing except regurgitated posts of what they do, look at all your HFT posts. Do you think you would be posting about that if ZH didn’t? lol

Posted by jealousy | Report as abusive

Felix is just jealous of ZH because, well, ZH actually provides, some critical insight that hasn’t been watered down for the masses…………..

Posted by FunnyBanker | Report as abusive

ZH does in fact filter out comments it deems inappropriate to its narrative. For instance, on a post from “Tyler Durden” marking the transition from Blogger to the new website (with more ads, tshirts, etc), I tried to leave the following comment:

“On a long enough timeline, zero hedge becomes a product”

The comment was immediately posted. I checked back later in the day to see if any readers had replied, but the comment had been removed.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

I simply do not care about names like Felix Salomon or Tyler Durden. I have no benefit from knowing names. The benefit comes from an crisp and informative compilation of information. And here ZeroHedge does for me a much better job than Bloomberg, CNBC or Reuters, which are frequently linked by ZeroHedge.

Posted by Dr. Strebel | Report as abusive

Wall Street can’t kill the message. Now it wants to kill the messenger. Will you be a stooge?

Apparently ZeroHedge’s readers are about as stupid as I would expect Hal Turner fans to be.

What a remarkable flood of morons this has been.

Posted by Jon H | Report as abusive

I got ip banned from zerohedge today for posting this and other mean comments. I am a trading professional who uses software to trade different assets on exchanges across the globe. I have an agenda which is to trade and make money. Zerohedge offends me because they are populist, ill-informed, and stir up angry, ignorant commenters cum acolytes and claim to be insurgents against “elites”. Just like Lou Dobbs on CNN. I am beyond suspicious of those propose to put the heads of elites on sticks. ZH are jokers who are engaged in something actually quite dangerous. Just look at the crazy frothing anger by their registered users looking for someone to blame for the US’s current troubles.

“So Tylers want heads on sticks, chaos, mayhem and….taxes? I guess that kind of confusion happens when you work from home. BTW I think I just got banned for calling Tylers the Lou Dobbs of finance. I can’t help it — ill-informed populism peddled in bad faith makes me say things I really mean.”

“I am puzzled that the market insurgents called Tyler will now ban commenters who are simply mean to them and who display well-justified condescension at Tylers lack of knowledge and bad-faith populism. Calling Tylers the Lou Dobbs of finance should not result in an ip ban. It makes you look even more idiotic.
If you can’t handle ad hominen attacks in blog comments from actual traders then it is not surprising that you are trying to make a living doing this. “

Shaen Bernhardt von Bernhardi

Posted by Some One | Report as abusive

If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.