The financial world was abuzz as “Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis,” a popular blog written by Mike “Mish” Shedlock, disappeared on Friday.
Visitors to Mish’s blog saw a message that stated simply “Blog has been removed. Sorry, the blog at globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs.”
Shedlock, an investment advisor at Sitka Pacific Capital, posts daily on the blog, which has a wide following in economic circles. The subject matter is wide-ranging, but “the Mish blog” was particularly well-known for its coverage and commentary on the recent housing bubble.
Other blogs and websites across the financial industry began to notice and comment on Mish’s absence throughout the day. Speculation became so intense after the blog disappeared that searches for “mish” rose to the top of Google Trends by mid-morning, spiking after the markets opened.
By mid-afternoon, eastern time, “Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis” appeared to be back to normal. Mish posted an acknowledgement of the mysterious disappearance, saying “many people noticed my blog was down this AM. I do not know what happened until I talk with Google. I picked a bad day to sleep in. I suspect someone tried to hack my blog. It happened once before. – Mish.”
Ironically, Mish’s first blog post after his site’s apparent overnight meltdown was entitled, in part “European Bond meltdown.”
The quick reaction to the disappearance of the Mish blog highlighted both its influence and the inter-connected nature of financial and economic news and opinion in the digital age.
It also pointed to the potential vulnerability that markets have to computer hackers. Imagine the reaction if hackers had posted a counterfeit story with positive or negative information about a specific stock on Mish’s blog rather than simply causing the whole blog to disappear. Traders would have had hours to react to the false blog post under Mish’s name before Shedlock even knew something was amiss.
The swift response after the blog disappeared also reinforces the manner in which what starts as an amusing sideline can mushroom into a major factor in influencing economic and financial markets. The uproar when the Mish blog disappeared perhaps pales in comparison to the reaction that might have resulted from real information that was posted. In this environment, amateur bloggers have a far greater responsibility to ensure accuracy in that which they post, given the tremendous scale of the potential consequences.
Regardless, the mystery as to why the mish blog disappeared rages on – for now.