In Marketing and in Markets, Don’t Be the Mark!

I have made countless posts lampooning the mainstream media and its eyeball harvesting, click baiting content. This content and especially the associated headlines (let’s recall the classic R.I.P. Bond Bull Market as Charts Say Last Gasps Have Been Taken, dated Dec. 2016 as but one example) are designed to whip up emotions, draw attention and thereby gain traffic and ad dollars (diminishing though they are these days). is and always will be ad-free, by the way.

So sure, the bond bull market may well have ended in the Brexit and NIRP dominated summer of anxiety (in fact I believe it did), but any good contrarian would have seen the trade setup to go bearish on bonds in the middle of that hysteria, not a half a year later when Bloomberg used Louis Yamada’s chart to make a big headline. From a post in June 2016 about the Silver/Gold ratio and the prospects for a future ‘inflation trade’ right at the height of the bond bull…

“All of this as the world sits in Treasury bonds and global NIRP garbage. Perfect. More and more it is looking like Brexit may have been an exclamation point.”


We later were compelled to do a 180° on that analysis after Trump mania drove ‘reflation’ expectations too high, aided by the likes of this sentiment setup (mark ups mine on a graphic courtesy of Sentimentrader) against bonds. This was not so surprisingly right around the time of the “R.I.P. Bond Bull Market” headline stated the obvious. Bonds have risen ever since.

10yr optix

‘Why drag we poor readers, with more than enough on our plates through all of this?’ you might think. Well dear reader, I am marketing to you right now. I write these articles for the purpose of getting the word out on what I think is the best market service of its kind. Marketing does not need to be a 4 letter word (mark) if the marketer is telling the truth and is 100% honest in his assertions (hint: I’ve never promised to be the best stock picker, chartist, trader or macro analyst around; I only promise to provide service to the best of my ability and let my customers form their own conclusions).

The funny thing about the financial market is that it seems so scientific, so beyond the grasp of the regular individual. It alternates over time between doing some very scary things and some very exhilarating things. What it also does is humble everybody at one time or another. All of us as market participants have been humbled. Here in this post I talked about the day of my biggest humbling.

Media headlines like the above, and the seamier end of the financial advice realm seek to give you the confidence you rightly lack (again, the market eventually eats alive anyone who is cocky or chronically over confident) by making firm statements. People think that this is a science instead of a black art. P/E ratios this and chart support that… ‘let me enlist an expert on those areas’ (fundamental and technical analysis). The stock market and financial media realm are filled with confidence men. Oh and ladies, I haven’t forgotten about you. There are plenty of shysters of the female variety out there too.

But in order to avoid becoming a perma-‘mark’, it is of utmost importance to think for yourself, to learn and to Deprogram Yourself. Sure, we can all benefit from the sound input of others, but in this confusing realm it is important to figure out who’s real and who’s Memorex (that reference may be beyond many of you younger readers, but it must have been marketing genius to still be rummaging around in my head decades later). But confidence men abound and the financial media and financial advice industries are designed to give the lowly participant firm answers in a realm that by its very nature makes us feel insecure. The mark wants to feel good and ooh, if a headline says it, it must have some validity! After all, if I just capitulate and sell bonds in December of 2016 the pain of holding them will stop… and, I won’t be alone! That’s what a herd is.

The reason for this article is that I saw this thing posted in financial social media today. I just shook my head and decided to write a post. You know the gold bug “community” * is a herd, ripe for the promotions. For privacy, I’ve blacked out the author of this goofy thing. Hear that? Time to load up on gold! It just never ends. You may ascribe this to the individual who posted it but really, how often have you seen similar things in the mainstream media or packaged as advice from supposedly serious analytical sources?


And finally, we’ve all seen the pitches that pop up out there in little ads served at every major media outlet. On Bloomberg just now… ads disguised as non-ads under the heading From The Web

Self-made Millionaire Boils Stock Success Down to 1 Pattern

Reclusive Millionaire Warns Americans: “Get Out of Cash” –Stansberry Research

Get it? They are millionaires and you are not. Now listen up chump!

Each of the above were served by none other than Taboola, but it may well have been Outbrain or any of the other companies raking in the bucks to disguise advertisements as content on the internet.

The ads noted above are actually relatively cartoonish and easy to see for what they are by people employing functioning brain cells. But believe me when I tell you, there are plenty of associations and agreements out there between news and analysis entities that have as the primary goal your eyeballs first, and getting the content right second; a distant second.

The bottom line is there is no easy way in the financial markets and anyone who tells you they have a secret sauce should be either avoided or thoroughly vetted. In many ways the internet is still like the wild west, where anything goes.

* The term “gold community”, used so often by “Mr. Gold” James Sinclair, is a dead giveaway.

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