"Do You Read Zero Hedge?" A Review of Zero Hedge's Most Popular Articles of [All Time|2009]

Marla Singer's picture

True, the decade is not really over, but no one called 1930 the "last year of the 20's," and given the reflective mood that seems to grip all of Western society whenever a year ending in "9" draws to a close, well, we thought we'd better embrace the trend now so that when some idiot with a pair of glow-in-the-dark "2010" glasses with holes in the zeros for his eyes tries to convince us to watch Roy Scheider over and over again in a celebratory, all-day, marathon screening of "2010," well, we can say we gave at the blog.

Instead, and in conjunction with your many suggestions, we took the opportunity to go back over Zero Hedge's posts and see what moved you, with an eye towards getting a sense of what Zero Hedge wants to read.  The results were quite interesting.  We thought readers would find it engaging both as a sort of "year in review" post, and, perhaps, in finding old material missed the first time around (or before the discovery of Zero Hedge).

Though this is by no means a comprehensive list, and we have omitted a number of "big hit count" posts that may have repeated the subject matter of those listed here, or otherwise be dull (what weighty relevance could our T-Shirt post have?) the list below represents a good sampling of some of the most popular articles, reproduced here in (very rough) ascending order of popularity:

One thing we learned very quickly is that, as often as not, title is a strong determiner of post popularity on Zero Hedge. "Tiny Mauritius Tells US To Shove Its Dollar, Buys 2 Metric Tons Of Gold From IMF At $1,115 An Ounce" was one such.  The news that a small island was buying gold en masse hit all the hot buttons:  Gold.  Banana republics. The dollar as a reserve currency.  (The swimsuit picture might have helped too).

Obviously, the FDIC has been a frequent target of our curiosity.  Along with increasingly obvious signs of an impending nervous breakdown in Sheila Bair's on-camera appearance, the recent dip of the Insurance Fund into red ink prompted "FDIC Discloses Deposit Insurance Fund Is Now Negative," which, while unsurprising to those of us who have been watching for some time, was a good reminder that when you base insurance rates on something other than real actuarial data (like say, the impact those rates might have on a bank's bottom line) you get bankrupt insurance [companies|funds].  Of course, since the FDIC can "literally never run out of money," none of that really matters.  Right?

One thing leads to another, so it's not surprising that "Peter Costa: 'The US Government Will Be Totally Bankrupt In A Year And A Half'" ends up right next to Sheila in the popularity list.  Government spending is, of course, an important topic to Zero Hedge readers.  (Also, you seem to like videos from CNBC.  We aren't sure what to make of this).

We were amused to no end on discovering that a CNBC video re-post was just below "CNBC Viewership Plunges 50% In October" on the popularity list.  To be fair, Zero Hedge has relentlessly hounded the bag of schnitzel that is CNBC on the ratings issue.  This particular post prompted an angry call from a fairly senior executive in CNBC's public relations arm to our never-complaining but often beleaguered (and uncompensated) Executive Vice President of Answering the Hot-line wherein the CNBC exec berated our hero for not calling him directly for comment before printing and accusing Zero Hedge of being a shill for the Fox network.  When asked if the figures discussed in the post were inaccurate CNBC exec reportedly paused before intoning: "Well, that's not the point, is it? You are comparing against our biggest ratings ever at the beginning of the crash!"  Yes.  And?

Huge selloffs often result in the dusting off of some version of "The 'Money On The Sidelines' Fallacy."  As a bit of silver lining lore, it is looking pretty tarnished.  That didn't stop our examination of it from being one of the top posts of the Summer.

A constant and early debate at Zero Hedge was the viability of a philosophy that included a wealth of Deep-dive analysis as a mainstay of our editorial strategy.  Would an audience entertain repeated and highly technical postings day after day and keep coming back for more?  Or would we drive away the interest if we did not dumb down the content.  As "deep-dive" goes, and begging the audiences pardon for the shameless self reference, my occasional pairings with Geoffrey Batt tend to peg the Zero Hedge complexity meter into the red with a combination of legal and financial wonkism.  "Is The Fed Facing Margin Calls From European Banks?" was no exception.  A hybridized subject matter including AIG, the circumventing of banking regulation, margin calls and backstopping by the Federal reserve combined to propel what was otherwise a highly technical post to one of the top 25 in Zero Hedge history, despite it being less than a month old.  Apparently, you Zero Hedge readers don't need "dumbing down" to remain interested.

It would be entirely impossible to catalogue a list of popular (or influential) posts at Zero Hedge without including "Is A Case Of Quant Trading Sabotage About To Destroy Goldman Sachs?" in a prominent spot.  Again, a combination of some classic Zero Hedge hot buttons (Goldman Sachs possibly influencing a young and impressionable U.S. Attorney, High Frequency Trading and the term "market manipulation") conspired to stress our servers.

Gold is a consistently popular theme at Zero Hedge so, in last month's runup, it wasn't hard to make some predictions a la "Is Gold Set To Hit $1,200 Within 24 Hours?"  Alas, we missed our call by 10 days.

Direct intervention in the equity markets by the Federal Reserve is a big "no-no."  But who cares when easy credit from the Fed can be used by primary dealers to go on a equity buying spree? We explored the answer to that question in "An Overview Of The Fed's Intervention In Equity Markets Via The Primary Dealer Credit Facility."  It was another highly technical (and yet highly popular) posting.  Kudos to you, oh, Zero Hedge reader of great complexity thirst.

We loves us some Janet Tavakoli.  So do you apparently, as the widespread interest in "Janet Tavakoli On Why Meltdown Risk Now Is Greater Than It Was In 2007" aptly demonstrated.  But then, who can fail to enjoy a firebrand like Tavakoli when she prompts the likes of Goldman Sachs to distraction?

One measure of Zero Hedge's success is the almost daunting stature of the many collaborators and guest posters our pages attract.  Articles with the likes of David Rosenberg as collaborators are, as one would suspect, intensely popular.  "The End Of The End Of The Recession" was no exception.

Need we insult you by explaining the popularity of "A Zero Hedge Petition: Break Debt Habit, Freeze The Debt Ceiling"?

It probably isn't a surprise that an article about phantom Treasury purchasers would be among Zero Hedge's top posts of all time.  That an article less than a week old would top many others with months of clicking under the belts already is, however, impressive.  Witness the massive click fest that was "Sprott Calls The Fed "A Ponzi Scheme" As Half A Trillion In Treasury Purchasers Are Unaccounted For".

The difference between real and nominal returns is oft ignored when the mainstream media engages in economic analysis based on equity prices.  Hence, our "DOW 10,000!!!! Oh Wait, Make That 7,537" got quite a lot of attention.  Never to be left out of the fun, the mainstream press has seemingly adopted the theme (10 weeks later).  We aren't holding our breath for attribution.

The Swiss Franc was redeemable in gold up until the year 2000.  Whatever else they are, the Swiss are stability obsessed.  Unsurprising, then, that "From Switzerland With No Love - Wegelin Bank Says Goodbye," a review of Wegelin's decision to abandon investment in the United States, drew so many Zero Hedge readers in.

As you might imagine, we hear a number of theories on why the Dollar is in a secular decline.  Still, our own analysis "Here Is Why The Dollar Is Now Effectively Worthless," used the apparently winning combination of QE and reserve analysis to wonder how anyone could ascribe a positive value to the fiat currency any longer.  Like it or not, you apparently enjoyed the discussion, as this post sailed effortlessly into our top ten of all time.

Closely behind was "Thousands Of Rusting Ship Hulls Are A Fitting Tribute To The Speculative Market Bubble," a bit of analysis that seems to have prompted a gaggle of writers worldwide to take a keen interest in satellite photos of idle shipping and GPS tracking sites for the world's mercantile fleet.  Of course, the obligatory flood of copy-cat analysis by more mainstream outlets followed hard upon.

My personal pick for best Zero Hedge post of all time "How The Federal Reserve Bailed Out The World" is also in the top five. I cannot imagine a forum in which this sort of analysis would ever find a public airing, or a place where readers could obtain a deeper understanding of the global interplay between central banks than is exemplified in this post.  Again, the fact that readers had a voracious appetite for the piece is a reminder than depth is not anathema to readership.

There is no way that, after a mere three days (and over the holidays no less),  "Brace For Impact: In 2010, Demand For US Fixed Income Has To Increase Elevenfold... Or Else" should be in the top four.  It is a deep, highly complex and analysis laden post.  True, there are colorful graphs, but even repeated readings by CNBC's color addled anchors could not explain the massive readership that hit this post on the afternoon of Christmas Day while the Christmas Ham (or non-denominational family dinner) was cooking in the other room.  Just, wow.

"Goldman Sachs Responds To Zero Hedge."  Yeah, so that was kind of popular.  Modest prevents us from further comment.

Arguments for the secrecy of the Federal Reserve, and pleadings for its continued independence, are always a big draw.  Still, we were surprised by the absolutely massive response to "Racketeering 101: Bailed Out Banks Threaten Systemic Collapse If Fed Discloses Information."  Massive enough, in fact, to make it the second most popular post on Zero Hedge.  Ever.

Number one "Shadowstats' John Williams: Prepare For The Hyperinflationary Great Depression" probably bears no further comment.

It has been a dauntingly popular year.  We look forward to the next one.  Join us? (Or die).

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Anonymouse's picture

Love the countdown.  Are you taking long-distance dedications?


Great job ZH.  Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Congratulations Zero Hedge on a fantastic first year. Judging by the amount of corporate and governmental corruption left to be scrutinized and commented upon (not to mention general evil doing as far as the eye can see) you'll have plenty of dirty laundry to launder for at least a few more years.


nicholsong's picture

My favorite was that one story about the guy in that place with the thing.

Handle with care's picture

That one wasn't bad, but the best one was the two guys arguing with the other guy about whether the thingamajig was still whatchamacallit.




I still reminisce about that one. 

nicholsong's picture

Ah yes, that one gets me every time.

Anonymous's picture

I'm not funny or articulate enough to comment often on this site, but in my days of despair in 2009 this site offered me rip roaring laughter on a daily basis. Sometimes I don't even read the articles but go staight to the comments to give myself a lift. Love all the commentators on this site. Thank You!!!

qqqqtrader's picture

Are we supposed to read the articles?

hmmmm... I've just been reading the titles, I better get busy

Fur Trader's picture

Me too.  When time is tight I go from headline to comments right away.

I love ZH.  I love hearing my inner voice say " I didn't know that....", or better still, " I didn't know I didn't know that."

Anonymous's picture


Yes, given the comments, that is exactly how most view ZH - as a community and not a source of facts.

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for feeding my brain.

besodemuerte's picture

Thanks for the list, now I can go over all that I missed this year by discovering ZH later than I would've liked!

Oso's picture

yes, great work guys.  Im not sure what my view of reality would be like if ZH wasnt around.  I mean, i would have lower blood pressure, thats for sure.... but I wouldnt be happier ;)

chumbawamba's picture

Sorry to rain on part of your parade, but I had read about the dormant shipping vessels at least a day or two before seeing it written about on ZH.

All the same, though...

The ZH Top Ten is simply a reflection that people want THE TRUTH, something that only ZH is apparently able to provide in a compelling way that draws throngs of readers.

Like I said before, this is the start of something very special.  The best is well yet to come.

I am Chumbawamba.

Handle with care's picture

I'll back you up here as I also remember reading about several days before.  I discovered it on another board so it was also being discussed relatively widely on the interwebs before ZH posted it.


I have lost hope that the truth has any purchasing power in a system where every politician and mass media outlet is bought and paid for by the criminal proceeds of the actions they permit and abet. 


The level of corruption that is being revealed and is ongoing is beyond the worst nightmares of anyone and I think that most are still in a state of denial as accepting the truth as reality can only mean violent revolution.  So most will prefer to accept the panglossian propaganda rather than risk losing the little they have left.


We've reached a stage where no level of cynicism can keep up with reality

Marley's picture

Thanks again ZH. 

"Most will perfer to accept the panglossian propaganda rather than risk losing the little they have left."  I would add that this is not a poor man's depression.  When those whom are less than three generations into the "upper class" are smacked back down, then possibly it will be they that revolt. Assuming they can leave their Starbucks cups and crack berries behind.  After all, you've got to have money to make or lose money.  This period of "good times" wasn't shared by all.  Look at the increasing disparity between the "rich" and the "poor".  So while you all cry into your $300 dollar bottles of wine this New Years, the real strife for life continues.

Lou629's picture

"The ZH Top Ten is simply a reflection that people want THE TRUTH..."


I note that all the tinfoil that had been having an undue influence on the signal-to-noise ratio around here lately doesn't seem to have made it into the top ten either.  Kudos.

Anonymous's picture

Hey, Louie, sorry to see half the content of your posts are sorry attempts at provocation.

And sorry to not see 'Gold, Bitches' NOT in the top 25 - it even got itself a coffee mug!

Lou629's picture

Sorry to see another no-count "Anon." post with nothing to add except the very thing you accuse me of.  You must surely be one of the tinfoil crowd posting anonymously.  Try to imagine my surprise.   By the way, my friends can call me "Louie", it's Mr. 629 to you, Asshole.

Anonymous's picture

M. 626,
A bit harsh no? Whilst I agree with your distaste here, coming down on Anons like that is a bit undeserved.

Also, what's wrong with a little meme here and there? 'Gold Bitches' really is a ZH endogenic meme that has, as memes are want to do, spread its wings and flown.

I think this is a little too hardcore to fall prey to the machinations that befell other once worthy but now asinine post boards(reddit/digg), so let a discussion be a discussion rather than a spitting match.


Anonymous's picture

It's on, mofo.

Tinfoil is the only thing keeping you from getting bent over by over-funded tyranny agencies. What do you think the CIA does all day, throw candy to kids?

The CIA beats, maims, murders, bombs - worldwide. But you, and so many other sheep don't seem to care - in fact, you're not one of the sheep. You go out of your way to make fun of people that question authority - fuck you, Lou-bag.

VegasBD's picture

dormant shipping vessels bitches!

phaesed's picture

ZH is the only financial news source I trust *shrug* Opinions are stated as opinions and facts are stated as facts. But the most important fact is that they report NEWS, not bank fluffer pieces. Thank you to all who contribute. (and yes, I do realize in the prior piece I actually dissented *gasp* :) )

Anal_yst's picture

Thanks, MS, here's to hoping you, TD, etc don't give up on us anytime soon/ever.

Anonymous's picture

Very nice, I have never felt comfortable requesting this before, but I felt this was a good a place and time as I would get.

Have you ever thought of running a bank failure counter on the margins of this blog?


Thank you.

dogbreath's picture


started as a mortgage company implode blog and then started tracking bank implosions and home builder implosions.



Stoploss's picture

ZH is rooted in reality. To me, that is what seperates this site from any other. Keep up the excellent work!

Anonymous's picture

thank you guys. before you arrived, i thought my head would explode every time I heard a government statistic telling me how great the recovery is, or why we "had to" give the treasury to Goldman Sachs.

thank you.

Eternal Student's picture

And thanks to all at ZH for these great articles.

Speaking of Janet Tavakoli, here's an idea for a ZH money-raiser. How about a pin up calendar of the hot babes of finance? Women who are:

  1. A part of the financial world.
  2. Bright
  3. Hot, or at least good looking (I'll take brains and knowledge anytime).
  4. Not a shill.

My votes so far are:

  1. Marla
  2. Janet Tavakoli
  3. Meredith Witney
  4. Elizabeth Warren
  5. Diana Olick

Diana Olick is a maybe, as requirement #4 would eliminate most of the bimbo's as CNBC. But she's no bimbo, and pretty much tells it like it is.

Any other nominations?

mule65's picture

Who could forget Erin Callan?

VegasBD's picture

Amanda Drury.

Looks are all that matters to me. Maybe its a vegas thing...

Anonymous's picture

What about Ellen Brown. http://www.webofdebt.com/

I don't know what she looks like. Sometimes truth is hot though.

Anonymous's picture

Yeah, go back to school and figure out that not everything has to be done by girls for looks and boys for brains. stupid ideas just don't seem to go away.

Cursive's picture

My favorite story?  There have been many, but Sprott's QuEasyGate.  And it's still developing...

Anonymous's picture

Why no rebuttal to Goldman Sachs response? If there is anything, this website is not known as being 'modest' - and in fact revels in the opposite.

callistenes's picture

Thanks, there were some I missed while in Thailand trying to stay drunk and ignore Dubai.

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for all the hard work. Great investigatory, creative, and smart writing. Now, next is to actually nudge / force progress and solutions to all this nonsense. We, the ZH consuming public, are just as guilty as anyone if the only thing we do with all your hard work is shake our heads as we shut out laptops.

Unscarred's picture

Given the obvious cumulative wattage held by ZH senior staff, I can only image the number of laughs had at our expense based upon the popularity (or lack thereof) for various posts over the past year (not to mention the comments, both individually and collectively).  As an experiment in human behavior, this would be truly fascinating data to peruse.

Also, I share Andy Dufresne's perspective as to what hooked me on ZH.  As they say the tongue is the only tool to grow sharper with use, your abilities as cunning linguists continue to impress, enlighten, and entertain.

Many congratulations to all of you, and I eagerly await 2010.

nopat's picture

Graphs, goddamnit, I need graphs.  And charts.  Fucking bullet points, too many goddamn words!!!

Hephasteus's picture

Nooooo!!!! Powerpoint has turned another brain to MUSH!!! LOL

laughing_swordfish's picture

Great Reads every one.

For my part I prop ZH everywhere I can, and can tell you that I have at least two dozen folks now reading the site and participating, most with more technical financial knowledge than myself.

Zero Hedge is true "Samizdat" - the hidden truth that TPTB and their bought-and-paid-for mouthpieces don't want us even discussing, let alone finding out about.

Carry on and bring it in 2010!


KptLt. laughing swordfish

9er Unterseeboote Flotille

dogbreath's picture

Zero Hedge is true "Samizdat"  !!!

merehuman's picture

would love to hear any comment at all on Arrow trucking closing its doors over christmas. At minimum 1,400 drivers left stranded, told to leave truck.

Their last check bounced but the executives paid themselves well and first.

I wonder how they rank, they are not the biggest, but others may fall also due to retailers minimizing orders.  Lack of credit may also play in this.

Can i still get my beer and mtv?

MsCreant's picture

I know someone who works at Ford. When I read him the news he told me that they have had this happen to them three times (ie the trucking outfit going bankrupt and leaving their cargo stranded where it sat and the trucker gone). He was not impressed with this as a news item, at all. I think the Christmas angle made it "newsworthy."

merehuman's picture

Thanks MsCreant, 1,400 drivers means that many mortgages arent getting paid.

And that many trucks arent delivering, so to me its part of the ongoing crumbling of our society.

Anonymous's picture

Don't worry, those homes will just go into the shadow inventory. Haven't you heard home prices are on the rise again?

Handle with care's picture

I'd just like to add that what you're doing here is important. Really important.


Sites like ZH, Denningers Market Ticker, and others, whether you agree with all the opinions that intersperse the analysis, are at the very least trying to shine light on the dark spaces where the parasitic criminal classes lurk.


The bankers and their crony politicians can only conduct their thefts in the dark.  Exposed to the light they slither away.


Only by removing the cloak of shadow that covers their misdeeds do we have any chance at all at stopping and rescuing this nation and making the seeming inevitable slide to neo-feudalism a little less inevitable.


I for one deeply appreciate the work that all contributors to this site have made to lifting up the rocks and exposing the dark undersides to the light

mule65's picture

I like RobotTrader.