2011: The Year in Financial Blogging

A few of you have asked me where my annual financial blog list is this year.  The answer is I didn’t do one, mainly for two reasons:

1.  I decided to move it to January so that the year is fresh for longer.

2.  I’ve been really busy with what feels like the 12th round of edits for the friggin’ book (they’ve promised that this was the last round after I threatened to jump off the roof of the McGraw-Hill Building on 6th Avenue).

So we’ll get to that next month in other words.  But for now, here’s a roundup of 18 or so items – The Year in Financial Blogging, 2011:

1.  Tadas went to a twice-daily format with Abnormal Returns and I think we all like it much better than the AR Now real-time experiment (that probably would’ve killed him to maintain, omg).  Now we get the pre-market stuff at 7am and the regular roundup of links after lunch.  It is still the most important blog in all of finance.

2.  The best investment writer and market journalist alive, Jason Zweig, is now blogging!  So we no longer have to wait a week for his WSJ columns.  The blog he’s contributing to is called Total Return.  Zweig’s been covering markets and investors for decades – you are in the presence of greatness, kids.  Be sure to subscribe.

3.  Lots of new sites debuted this year, too many to name them all.  Three of my faves of the 2011 crop are Market Anthropology, bclund and Interloper, great stuff from three guys who could probably write about anything, fortunately for us they write about markets and trading and Wall Street.

4.  But the best new blog to debut this year, hands down, is Peter Brandt’s.  This is one of the original commodity traders, one of the guys who wrote the rules for chrissakes!  And he is just ripping motherf*ckers’ heads off with this blog; actionable ideas, trading truisms, market philosophy and street fights when anyone dares to step to him (and they better bring an audited track record).  Peter likes to remind us once a month how much he hates blogging and tweeting, but my fingers are crossed that he’ll stick around.

5.  It’s gotten very tough to pick on The Business Insider these days, mostly because it is now home to the single best all-around market news guy in the entire business.  That’s right, while you were laughing at the slide shows and hyperbolic headlines, Joe Weisenthal went and got good.  Real good.  The most unlikely blogger to be going toe to toe with Fed watchers, Krugman haters, derivatives experts and currency wonks is doing exactly that.  And there’s no need to search the web when news breaks or data is released – because Joe always has it first, even when the government’s servers have crashed from the traffic.  Watching The Stalwart’s evolution this past year has been pretty special, hope he still has time for a beer with me now and then like the old days 🙂

6.  The Epicurean Dealmaker committed Twittercide.  Then he came back to us a week later, thankfully.

7.  StockTwits went and built an army.  Over one hundred thousand registered StockTwits accounts and more than 40 bloggers on the team.  Not bad for our little community that began in the depths of the bear market on a 140-character platform.  Seeing the new wave of bloggers, like my friend JC of All Star Charts, take this social media finance thing to the next level in 2011 has been a ton of fun.  There is an embarrassment of talent on ST these days, it’s really amazing.

8.  Dealbreaker finally found a second blogger who is worthy of sharing the stage with Bess Levin (after lots of trial and error).  Let me clarify – there is no blogger anywhere that can really share the stage with Bess, but Matt Levine is certainly more worthy of attempting it than most.  The boy knows his sh*t and writes well too.  He’s also got a thick enough skin to brave the dreaded DB comment section, perhaps the most brutal on the entire financial internet.

9.  The Analyst finally unmasked himself.  Jordan Terry’s been a friend of mine for three years now even though I sometimes have to unfollow him every once in awhile.  Jordan’s got big ambitions, coming out of the dark was probably a good first step – but now he has to figure out how to maintain the snark without making too many enemies.  Good luck, my man!

10.  I pulled the Dinosaur Trader out of retirement.  For those of you who are new to the financial blogosphere, Dino was one of the original trader-bloggers, in 2007 every prop trader in the country was reading his Blogspot site.  I’m lucky to have him in the Mixtape as a contributor.

11.  Felix Salmon and Ryan McCarthy launched Counterparties, a very cool crowdsourced (but curated) aggregator that does none of the bullsh*t that makes us hate aggregators (click-whoring, ad-cluttering, SEO headlining, etc).  Reuters is backing the launch and allowing it to be freewheeling and experimental, and this is a very cool addition to the financial web, indeed.

12.  The rise and fall of FT Tilt.  My friend Stacy-Marie Ishmael went incommunicado for a bit last winter as the FT put her in charge of a new, ambitious web project.  Tilt was launched as a place where all of the best content producers and commentators could gravitate towards for the latest in global financial news.  There was smart opinion and sharp commentary but just not enough traction.  In retrospect, it may have been just a bit too early for the concept.  I had a few pints with Tom Brammar, one of the developers of the product for FT, and he concurred.  With more time, Tilt would have probably found it’s groove, but alas, time has become too valuable a commodity in newspaperland these days.  So RIP Tilt, we hardly knew ye.

13.  Heidi Moore, one of the first mainstream media reporters to really embrace blogging, was named New York bureau chief of Marketplace Radio (American Public Media) earlier this year.  She’s become a great on-air personality and is still writing up a storm – she even invented the world’s first “blolumn” – a blog/column hybrid from which she breaks news, comments on news, and links out to the rest of the web.  Cool.

14.  Proto-blogger Andrew Ross Sorkin gets the Squawk Box gig on CNBC.  Sorkin’s DealBook (NYT) was in some respects the first msm blog covering finance to really become a thing that people made a habit out of.  And when CNBC’s beloved Mark Haines passed, the network knew they needed “a name” to fill that hole.  They turned to a blogger.  We’re everywhere, lol.

15.  Seeking Alpha began paying its thousands of contributors this year.  I began my bloggery on Seeking Alpha back in 2008 (a lot of us did) but I don’t post there these days so I’m not sure how the program is going.  SA basically bumped up against the reality that all online content sites have or will at some point: People will only contribute for “exposure” for so long, eventually they want actual currency for their efforts.

16.  TheStreet.com still hasn’t merged with or acquired Minyanville.  I really don’t get the game of chicken going on there, I know all about the bad blood between the two sites’ founders, but business is business.  One of these sites has to blink at some point, the audience for financial news and commentary simply isn’t that big and the supply side (content creators) is metastasizing every day.

17.  He finally did it!  Mark Hanna of Fund My Mutual Fund finally launched the Paladin Fund (long/short mutual fund) on December 15th.  Hanna was one of the first financial bloggers, Barron’s wrote about his efforts to launch his own fund with capital raised from the web way back in ’06 or ’07 ( a million years ago).  After all kinds of regulatory hold-ups and other hurdles, the guy is finally realizing his dream.  Props to Mark, we’re all really inspired.

18.  Financial Web 1.0 star James Altucher came out of nowhere, started bleeding out at the Altucher Confidential, and became the Patron Saint of Financial Bloggers.  Without even writing about stocks or financial markets at all, my pal James became one of the must-reads within our community.  We all get beat up in bad trades and watch opportunities slip away from us, we all have trouble balancing career and family – but James has been through it all and then some.  He writes about what the rest of us merely keep bottled up inside or hide behind a facade of bravado; James became our Keeper of the Pain this year.

Anyway, these were the standout developments in the financial blogging realm from my point of view, what did I miss?



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