Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Modish Money

Eh, before anyone else goes and writes something stupid about Dealbreaker, I suppose I should go and take a look at it. Finance, after all, has proved to be spectacularly poor ground for mass-market blogging until now.

A large part of this might be the fact that financial professionals don't think snark is that big or clever. Moreover, Financial humour, for instance, is even less entertaining than musical comedy. You can say that this po-faced attitude is all a facade designed to keep up the air of mystery around the money men. And then, may I suggest, you try to make a joke about the inverted yield curve.

There's also a more mundane reason. You didn't really hang out with the people who ended up as investment bakers in school. They were intense, no fun, frequently completed course assignments, didn't much care about Page Six. They're not sending you tips right now, they're just sneering at you at class reunions.

But Elizabeth Spiers, a blogging, um, legend, has set up Dealbreaker, a zippy, reasonably lively take on Wall Street. It features lots of pretend articles by famous people or composites, hopefully to tide the editors over until disgruntled compliance staff start sending them tips. At the moment, the site seems to be of most interest to financial journalists, a wretched species, of which I count myself a member.

The first time I visited, I encountered a huge banner ad for the blog. So huge, in fact that I almost though that Spiers had set up shop within the tender embrace of the shop that once named Andrew Fastow as CFO of the year. Subsequent visits, however, revealed adverts for Brokeback Mountain and Goldfrapp, both of which are a mite less confusing, if less of interest to financial readers.

Because, as you can probably tell, this is still nagging at me - do general readers want an insidery view of Wall Street and corporate America? Or maybe they prefer the approach of Consumerist, a blog I genuinely like, which basically says "oh you beautiful company b*tches, please do whatever it is you're being paid to do."

As a quick run-down, we have fake columnist Muffie Benson-Perella, a rich kid playing at finance, which poor Jake Dobkin at Gothamist appears to have taken for a real contributor, some links to the human interest stories featuring Wall Street people, and a morning round up of the business news. We did like the Enron tombstones on eBay nib, which was rather cool, and the opening line of Spiers' welcome letter was the title of a !!! song - one of their better ones, in fact.

They'll probably have a rather interesting time hanging with corporate publicity machines, which tend to believe that there is such a thing as bad publicity, that looking nasty isn't a marketing hurdle, and are quite used to paying their lawyers too much. They might attract less attention by going after the world of penny stocks, but then the super-rich would not be anywhere near as interested.

Short answer is, though, that the site's bobbins. Will be until they get a handle on what they're talking about. Jason Calacanis, while getting it massively wrong ("if I could buy stock in a person I would buy EZSP." Or you could spend your money on a finance 101 course. It's your money, I suppose), does highlight how you do it right. Find the next Jim Cramer.

Cramer's good - a massively successful money manager with the knack of explaining things in really simple terms to the guppies that ring in to his show. And if you find a Jim Cramer willing to blog for fruit and a chance to hang with Spiers and her friends, have at 'em. Then ask them to buy your stupid blog.


At 1:47 PM, Blogger Alcuin Bramerton said...

A man with a well-worn cowboy hat
Has more money than he needs.

He fills his pockets with ten pound notes
And goes out into the street shouting,
"Free money, free money.
Get your free money here."

It is snowing heavily
But a number of people are interested
And an orderly queue forms
By the postbox on the corner.

Not everyone wants ten pounds.
Some people only want five pounds.
So he accepts change.

And, for good measure,
He puts a couple of ten pound notes
Into the postbox,
Just in case the postman
Feels the need for a little free money
While he is working.

A small boy comes along
And says that he doesn't want ten pounds;
He only wants two pounds
For a large bar
Of Fat Munchie's triple chocolate
With a soft almond and praline filling.

He is given a ten pound note,
Goes to the sweetshop,
And brings the man
Eight pounds change
And a piece of his chocolate bar.

The following Saturday,
The man with the well-worn cowboy hat
Wins the national lottery.

But no-one knows.
And he says nothing.

At 2:52 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

who invented straw man contributors?


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