When this website launched 12 years ago, little did we know - or expect - that it would grow to become one of the most popular and trafficked financial blogs, let alone websites, in the world. Since then, ZeroHedge has expanded from being focused on purely esoteric concepts in finance and capital markets to covering geopolitics, social, political (and recently, healthcare) matters (if for no other reason than the central bank takeover of markets has made discussing centrally-planned "markets" borderline absurd and often painfully boring).
In those twelve years we have had the pleasure of sharing hundreds of thousands of notable news items, events and market absurdities with you, our readers, creating a magnificent support base of millions of fans who - for one reason or another - come to this site daily, sometimes dozens of times. In that period we have, of course, also spawned countless critics and haters, and that's perfectly normal: that's what free speech is all about - the ability to exchange opinions, often in a less than glorified manner, in order to reach a consensus or optimal conclusion. After all, that is one of the anchors that made America great.
Which is why what troubles us most, far more than the Fed's vain and futile attempt to control the business cycle and plan markets (for the eventual outcome, see USSR), are the creeping attempts by various multinational entities and corporations to quash free speech, both elsewhere and here. It started with Facebook, which in May 2019 became the first "social network" to ban ZeroHedge, only to reverse shortly after (admitting it had made a mistake); this was followed a little over half a year later by Twitter, which "permanently" banned our account, only to admit 6 months later that it had "made a mistake" and reinstated us. But barely had the digital ink on these "mistaken" attempts to censor free speech dried, when the world's biggest online advertising monopoly, Google, took the unprecedented step of demonetizing the website (following a similar step taken by PayPal). Why? Because it disapproved of the language in our comments (how or why it picked on this website's comment section as opposed to millions of others, we will never know). To avoid a shutdown, and against our wishes, we were forced to implement comment moderation as the alternative was insolvency. Also, contrary to occasional laughable rumors, we don't and have never had access to outside capital - be it political or financial - and have been reliant on the same advertising model we have used since inception.
Needless to say, whether due to "mistakes" or overt attempts to demonetize us, the writing on the wall was clear: while they may be entirely within their rights to do whatever they want as "private" companies, pardon monopolies, the 'social' and ad-based gatekeepers of online content - the twitters, the googles, the facebooks of the world - had launched an overt crusade to upend the uncensored internet, to snuff out independent thought, contrarian views, and inconvenient opinions and create one giant echo chamber of consent straight out of George Orwell. To do that they would use any and every tool they have access to, and unfortunately we had to comply with the whims of these monopolies which nobody in Congress has the guts to challenge directly and to strip them of their too-big-to-question powers.
When Google suspended us in June we said that a standalone website was in the works, one which is funded not by advertising - and is thus beholden to the biased internet titans of the world - but by you, our readers.
We are launching that website today, call it ZeroHedge Premium for lack of a better word.
Here's what will happen next.
We will maintain the traditional zerohedge.com website as is, without a paywall and with ads... but since it has ads, it will also maintain the comment moderation - that, as we explained in June, was a prerequisite demand by Google. But parallel with that we are launching a "premium" website, where subscribers will not only never again have to see one more ad but more importantly will have access to a fully unmoderated comment section.
Our hope is to eventually have enough subscribers so we can do away with advertising altogether - call it a real-time experiment in media for the censorship age. Because "mistakes" and events in the past several years have made it clear to us - and we hope to you - that there is no such thing as free speech any more; if you really want "free speech" you have to pay for it (in the case of ZeroHedge, the premium subscription will be $1/day - less than the proverbial cup of coffee). We also hope that enough people sign up allowing us to aggressively grow our team and expand our coverage, both thematically and geographically, so we can provide you with better content, better coverage, better everything.
But there's more.
As part of the premium offering, we have paired with the financial wizards from the The Market Ear who have taken brevity of content and made it into an art form: between their countless hot takes and endless supply of charts, financial fanatics will have hours of content to go through every single day and a glimpse into the latest content created by Wall Street's analysts, strategists and traders. In the future, TME's content can be found exclusively on the premium site.
We have also paired with Newsquawk (formerly RanSquawk) to provide readers with near real-time news coverage - both in textual and audible format - of breaking news in everything from capital markets to economics to geopolitics to the latest headlines on Brexit.
As part of the premium rollout, we are collaborating with the derivative and "Greek" gurus at SpotGamma to roll out exclusive features and content meant to assist traders in today's market, where fundamentals may not matter but fund flows and technicals especially when it comes to trading options as everyone on Robinhood seems to be doing these days, have never been more important.
Subs will have an early glimpse of all future posts as well as a premium comment section which will provide user-tiering and comment tracking (coming soon).
Subscribers will also have access to our new, private twitter account which will have exclusive content and where we hope to encourage a focused dialogue between members.
A "best charts" weekly recap.
Additionally, as part of the higher subscription tier we will share access to the various pdfs we draw information through a private, invite-only dropbox account. The higher subscription tier will also have access to our discord-based chat and commentary rooms (this will be rolled out shortly).
Separately, we are also working on many other projects and features we hope will make the ZeroHedge experience even more enjoyable, and it is your direct support that will make it possible.
In the end, our goal remains the same:
- to widen the scope of financial, economic and political information available to the professional investing public.
- to skeptically examine and, where necessary, attack the flaccid institution that financial journalism has become.
- to liberate oppressed knowledge.
- to provide analysis uninhibited by political constraint.
- to facilitate information's unending quest for freedom.
With your help, we will be able to do all of that without the threat of "someone" shutting us down at a whim. Ultimately, Edward Snowden said it best: "get your news from reliable sources & think critically about everything that you hear; there’s no way to hack logic." As part of this new experiment, we hope to continue being your reliable source of information and "unhackable logic" that makes you think critically, and will continue what has been an exciting adventure in the creation of a new type of media platform, only now you - our readers - will be an even more critical part of this next evolutionary step.
(And yes, there will be bugs in the beginning so please be patient; if you encounter a glitch please email admin(at)zerohedge.com. And yes, we have heard some initial feedback about fonts, layouts, night mode, and we are working on all those).