Below is a quick outline on blogging anonymously thus far:
1) Intelligent Readership: This is not surprising. The only people who are able to tell that this blog is legitimately run by Wall Street professionals are people who either a) work on Wall Street, b) have legitimate knowledge of Wall Street or c) have a high IQ and spent the time reading about the profession.
Example: One of our contributors stumbled upon a personal finance website called Financial Samurai and in just 2 weeks we noticed he dropped in and left a comment on our post: Working with a Psycho Managing Director.You can’t fake experience because the content would reflect the lie. Sam over at Financial Samurai has a legitimate financial background so he’s one of the rare people we read with regard to personal finance advice. He didn’t inherit his money so he has a right to speak on the topic. Even though we may disagree (IE: we don’t like homes as long term investments while he loves them) at least he has walked the walk.
2) Easy to Recruit: Again, this is a bit Wall Street specific, however anyone who has actually spent more than a few years on Wall Street knows that the job can become painfully mind numbing and boring. By verifying legitimate Wall Street professionals (emails, linked-in etc.) it becomes very easy for someone to write a blog post when they have had very minimal exposure to creativity. It becomes a fun hobby and the content by default becomes much more interesting.
Example: We had a chance to speak with a few high end individuals in Private Equity. While they have no interest at all in becoming long-term bloggers they jumped at the chance to put in their few cents on what life is like on the Street and what their days look like. Negatively, since Wall Street is an extremely close knit group no one wants to have their name plastered over the internet so we can use hypervisors/logmein accounts and different servers to easily erase their linkage. Now you can see why choosing friends is important.
3) Private Network: This is probably the largest benefit of having an anonymous blog. You develop a private network where you can help other contributors meet one another to exchange ideas and build their own mini-private network. This way you are adding value through multiple avenues 1) posts and content and 2) peer to peer networking.
Example: Back in September of 2013, we had an out of work investment banking analyst contact us asking for advice on landing a job. The catch? Well we already knew of a slot that had opened in his city and the other contributing blogger was the person in charge of the hiring. You can guess what happened. Slotted into an interview at minimum which resulted in a job. As mentioned several times on this blog, this does not mean you can simply ask for a job or help, you need to be qualified. No one in their right mind would have a problem referring someone with legitimate job experience for a first round interview.
4) Slower Growth: Naturally, if you don’t want to put your name out there (no idea why anyone on Wall Street would ever do this) you’re going to experience slower growth. The slower growth eventually turns into sporadic growth and ideally hyper growth in the future. After about a year we received ~5-10 emails per month saying that the information was “fake”. Now that we have hundreds of posts and have answered hundreds of questions the only people who could believe that the information is fake don’t know anything about Wall Street or are simply haters. We get one of these once every 4 months or so and just chalk it up to someone being illiterate.
Example: Before we got around to throwing up our resume advice we had to prove our information was legitimate. So what did we do? We threw up an Investment Banking Q&A which is 100% accurate for anyone who has ever interviewed for Investment Banking. After a few highly detailed Wall Street specific posts we saw a massive increase in our stick rate (returning visitors). With the backdrop out of the way we believe an anonymous blog will take at least a year to gain any meaningful traffic since you have to build trust like any other business.
5) Hobby Atmosphere: Since we have no interest in really making a lot of money from this blog, we can simply write at our leisure and work on a product on the side as well. For one reason or another we’ve come up with some good ideas for posts over the past 3 months so we’ve increased the post count dramatically during February and March.
Example: The posts slow down in the Summer/December. This is the only time Wall Street employees take vacations. Generally it’s the “August slow down” and the normal holiday season shut down (week of Christmas/New Years). This year we’ll try to keep a few posts pre-loaded to help with the flow, but there is no chance we’re going to be typing up posts while we’re kicking it on an international vacation.
Overall Suggestions on Blogging: In short, if you intend to make a blog that obtains a high amount of revenue and net income, you need to show your face. If you look around at the high end blogs that make money, all of them have a person to attach to (IE: people don’t have control of their emotions and need a human connection). On the flip side, if you’re looking to meet a set of high quality people, anonymous blogging is great. You’re able to quickly filter out the noise and meet like minded individuals. Once every 1-2 months you’ll come across someone who understands your views and you may have a new friend out in Chicago or Miami in no time.
We are assuming that many of the readers here also run blogs or have an interest in starting one, if you have additional questions/comments feel free to leave them below.