• 30 Jul 2009 at 4:08 PM

Would You Pay Anything For Trader Monthly?

Picture 1843.pngBankrupt Doubledown Media, the former publisher of Trader Monthly magazine, is up for auction August 20th. Yes, auction, because apparently some people think it’s actually worth something– court documents state the bidding starts at $50,000. The real question is…what the hell is anyone buying? A brand name magazine title that epitomized the “greed is good” ethos of Wall Street, is likely a toxic brand right now.
When asked about the auction price Dan Ryan, former head of DDM’s capital markets ad sales, laughed, saying, “No one in the U.S. is going to pay anywhere near $50k for that title now. They’re dreaming.”


Considering press reports that say Businessweek might sell for only $1, the Trader Monthly price tag leaves us with questions. There must something left of the $1 million intangible asset value Lane said his publications were worth when he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy this February, right? Maybe the market really thinks everyone reader on the Street who told the mag how to reach you, what you make, and what you like to buy – just to get a free copy of Trader Monthly – is worth something. But Dealbreaker has learned that the supposedly coveted list of big-money spend-it-all traders isn’t what it appears to be.
Sources at the executive level of Doubledown Media confirmed that starting as far back as the summer of 2008, Hallmark Data, the company’s fulfillment house, stopped updating the list for the publisher. In fact Hallmark, which directly received each subscriber’s name and details passing it on to Doubledown, froze the information because Doubledown wasn’t paying their bill. According to bankruptcy filings signed by Randall Lane, Hallmark is owed $150,057 – which shows it had been a while since they’d actually received any coin. This likely rendered DDM’s mailing list old and inaccurate, given the tremendous amount of layoffs and upheavals within its audience.
Hallmark Data confirmed if a client signed a contract and didn’t pay, they’d freeze an account. But HD wouldn’t comment on when Doubledown first became a deadbeat bill or how long the freeze had actually been on.
A former Doubledown executive directly involved with the list who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “DDM unfortunately did nothing to really protect the privacy of their subscribers, and their most valuable asset, the database. In the end, it was a free-for-all with lots of different parties apparently grabbing the list.” On every piece of subscriber marketing material Doubledown boldly guaranteed “We will never rent or sell your name or personal information.”
One such list-grabber appears to be Randall Lane’s first cousin, Josh Lane, who was the publisher’s events manager. According to several sources, Josh is apparently using the old Trader Monthly subscriber list to market a corporate boxing event set to run this November in New York. Three former Trader Monthly subscribers told us that they’d received emails from Josh this month at addresses they’d only used to sign up for the magazine. They also confirmed they’d never agreed to give Josh’s boxing event their emails, nor had they attended Trader Monthly’s boxing events in the past.
One trader said, “I don’t know how they got my email but it’s really disappointing because Trader guaranteed privacy. I am wondering who else they gave my details to.” Josh Lane did not return a call for comment.
Other former staffers, who basically worked for free when Randall couldn’t make its payroll at the end of January, seconded the notion that other Doubledown mag titles wouldn’t fetch the initial auction prices the trustee set. Aaron Sigmond, founder of The Cigar Report, told Dealbreaker he tried to buy the title at the end for around $125,000 because he had just secured over $750,000 of big name ad contracts. But Doubledown wouldn’t sell. The auction price for The Cigar Report is now set at $25,000.
Sigmond says, “The momentum of the title has expediently ceased in the last few months and they will never get it back. If Lane or former Doubledown Chairman Jim Dunning had sold The Cigar Report to me in the beginning they could have realized real money, which would have helped pay off all those creditors. I wouldn’t pay $25 for it now.”
Doubledown’s court documents showed they owe $3.1 million dollars to 349 unsecured creditors. Sadly it’s not looking good for any of them to get their money back.
Disclaimer: Teri Buhl worked for Doubledown Media’s edit team until January 2008. She says she was always paid and had a great experience working with the Doubledown team.

62 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (62)

  1. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 4:10 PM

    hell yes i would!
    -tim sykes

  2. Posted by merkin capital partners | July 30, 2009 at 4:12 PM

    we’re not supposed to tl/dr anymore, right?

  3. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 4:13 PM

    Cliffy would pay for it. It’ll be the corner stone of his double-down trading strategy.

  4. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 4:13 PM

    meant to add, if i weren’t a hobo.
    -1/tim

  5. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 4:14 PM

    Do you take checks?
    -L. Dykstra

  6. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 4:14 PM

    I’m bid that particular cover.
    -RBI

  7. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 4:16 PM

    way too long

  8. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 4:19 PM

    toooooooooooooo looooooooong…lost me at Bankrupt…

  9. Posted by oneliner | July 30, 2009 at 4:19 PM

    too short, don’t believe it’s really teri buhl

  10. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 4:20 PM

    I still think Teri Buhl is a pseudonym.

  11. Posted by Anal_yst | July 30, 2009 at 4:20 PM

    sigh, I miss the free booze and other chotchkies

  12. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 4:23 PM

    See it. Trade it. Spend it. Close it.
    ~Magnus

  13. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 4:31 PM

    Do you think Trader Monthly ‘assets’ mean you get the color copies of the mag covers before they put the clothes
    on the girls.
    like the story – now we know there might be hope for someone to restart those sexy events that hawked girls for boys who showed off their padded wallets.

  14. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 4:42 PM

    In related news- Magizine titles:
    “Your Money is My Money”
    “Obama the new Black!”
    “Medical Care and scocialism any questions?”
    All up for multi-million dollar bids…

  15. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 4:46 PM

    @14 Not sure which extreme is worse really. Hope you can suck it and carry on in your new reality, tool.

  16. Posted by TimothySykes | July 30, 2009 at 4:46 PM

    I bid $1

  17. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 4:52 PM

    @15 not sure if you are liberal pussy or a GOPer who didnt understnad my post.
    either way, I fucked your mom twice.

  18. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 4:54 PM

    Rachel, Randall, and the rest of the TM fools… good riddance.

  19. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 4:55 PM

    Rename it “Douche”. The same cover picture would work.

  20. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 5:01 PM

    what the fuck is a Teri Buhl?

  21. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 5:01 PM

    Well played, @5 and @9… I laughed.
    Buhl, seriously, we’ll click the link if we want more info. Anything over 150 words on DB is just not getting read unless it’s Bess really on a roll with something.

  22. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 5:11 PM

    It’s kind of funny to see that cover. Back then, the bitch pressed up against EB was a hot blonde. Now, it’s Cody Willard.

  23. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 5:20 PM

    i bid $100 because i’m rich.

  24. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 5:23 PM

    @10, he was a pretty good outfielder for the Astros back in the 80s

  25. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 5:27 PM

    That disclaimer about Teri working at Doubledown should’ve went at the top. And Teri, you were paid? Really? Or you weren’t paid like the rest of the editorial assistants and slept with all your sources? Nice work, journo.

  26. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 5:34 PM

    I’ll doubledown on TeriBuhl if a pic of the terrible is forthcoming.

  27. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 5:34 PM

    I’d front run the hell out of Phibro and Goldman on this all day long.
    -RBI

  28. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 5:36 PM

    It starts at 50k, but if you say you work in finance they’ll give it to you for free.

  29. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 5:51 PM

    2 blumpkins
    M.Waters

  30. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 6:02 PM

    @21 There is a link, it says “continue reading >>.” There is no other link because it’s original reportage. This was one of the two things I asked for in the comments section of last week’s readers survey. When I get the other, I’ll be sure to prepare an original report to post here.

  31. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 6:07 PM

    “349 unsecured creditors” Seriously…for that rag? Wonder who is most interesting creditor.

  32. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 6:08 PM

    Another mimbo and bimbo make the coveted cover of Trader!

  33. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 6:13 PM

    They should use the same auction setup as swoopo.com

  34. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 6:44 PM

    Click on the court docs and you’ll see someone thinks their magazine for the M&A set is worth double Trader Monthly.
    Dealmaker starts at $100k. What fool is setting these prices?

  35. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 6:50 PM

    I remember when they first started mailing this out to our trading desk. It was the funniest thing we had seen in a long time. People couldn’t believe what they were seeing in this mess. If you wanted to purposely make a parody, you couldn’t match the insanity of this thing. There was a buzz in the whole building about it for a day or two, with people coming down from non-trading floors to take a lot at without doubt the worst magazine in the history of publishing.

  36. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 7:52 PM

    I just found this story after Felix Salmon tweeted about it. Great reporting Dealbreaker. Nice to see some original content here.
    I wonder how the lux brands feel about paying those high ad rates Randall Lane charged – only to learn in the last year they didn’t even have an updated qualifed subscirber list. I’d be asking for my money back. Or maybe the just won’t pay. How will that effect the accounts receivables that must be included in the bankruptcy auction? Past stories have said Doubledown had $1m uncollected receivables when they filed Chapter 7.
    Come on Dealbreaker readers let’s ask some smarter questions.
    Jim

  37. Posted by bateman | July 30, 2009 at 8:07 PM

    Elaine: Okay next bachelor is number, um 124 on your program. He’s uh, he’s a high school graduate.
    Kramer: Equivalent.
    Elaine: Oh, uh equivalency. A high school equivalency program graduate. He’s uh, self-employed. He’s…
    I don’t know, six foot three, 190 pounds, he likes, uh… fruit, and he just got uh, a haircut.
    Kramer steps from the stage onto a table. The table tips over and Kramer falls off.
    Elaine: Oh, Kramer. Okay uh, why don’t we start the bidding. Do I hear, uh, five bucks?

  38. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 8:53 PM

    If the sperm receptacle on the cover comes with the bid, I will open at $50k.
    And let her watch “Trader”. Top that, Cowboy’s.
    PTJ II

  39. Posted by guest | July 30, 2009 at 9:57 PM

    The douchebag on the cover works for Fox Business.
    You are witnessing the end of America if this clown can dispense advice.

  40. Posted by Last Man Standing | July 30, 2009 at 11:48 PM

    Teri,
    Do they pay you per word? Per page? Double spaced?
    Better start getting with the DB program sharpish, or you’ll end up in the DB graveyard lke the other past irregulars.
    Bess, start paying Teri per comment

  41. Posted by guest | July 31, 2009 at 1:01 AM

    Boneheaded idea in the first place to aim a MONTHLY publication specifically at people employed in a rapid fire, split-seconds-count business that revolves around instantaneous availability of the up-to-the instant news and data. Who ever heard of a trader reading a monthly anything?

  42. Posted by guest | July 31, 2009 at 5:07 AM

    To busy drinking expensive scotch, smoking a Cohiba, flying on my jet while banging my hot(wife, girlfriend) while putting on massive positions to read.

  43. Posted by guest | July 31, 2009 at 10:24 AM

    @41: who’s ever heard of a trader READING?

  44. Posted by guest | July 31, 2009 at 10:53 AM

    @41 If the story was about them or their buddy you don’t think they read it? That income story and 30 under 30 story got a huge follow. I know all my prop trader friends at JPM and GS read it. Traders have to read investment reports – let’s not assume they are all ADD.
    I liked the inside info clips and the daily Morning Call was really funny.

  45. Posted by little mojoe | July 31, 2009 at 11:26 AM

    This mag is now a legend — The biggest rag of all time and deservedly so!!

  46. Posted by guest | July 31, 2009 at 11:42 AM

    i find it odd that the editors at DB allow Teri buhl to write for them, she’s been banned from numerous sites for the vicious lies she writes. Teri Buhl claims she is an investigative journalist but instead she is a fraud, and writes only for sensationalism. Trader Monthly is DEAD Teri, go find some old rich man to obsess over your pathetic

  47. Posted by guest | July 31, 2009 at 11:50 AM

    @46 pathetic…yes….keep going…

  48. Posted by guest | July 31, 2009 at 12:54 PM

    Is that Eric B on the cover with his wife or his girlfriend?

  49. Posted by guest | July 31, 2009 at 1:39 PM

    If Trader Monthly is ‘dead’ (which most posters here agree with) why is Randall Lane pushing such a big price at auction for Doubledown magazines? He had investors right? Is it possible the big ticket prices for his mag titles are just a shell game to cover his rear from investor lawsuits?
    It look like there is bit more of this story to report out.

  50. Posted by guest | July 31, 2009 at 2:52 PM

    WHO CARES

  51. Posted by guest | July 31, 2009 at 3:02 PM

    From a March 2008 NY Times story. Randall told the paper:
    Doubledown had revenue of more than $10 million in 2007 and anticipates at least twice as much in 2008. The company’s advertising pages increased by 68 percent from 2006 to 2007, to 1,089 from 648.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/24/business/media/24traders.html?_r=2&st=cse&sq=Doubledown&scp=1&oref=slogin
    Q: Where did all the ad rev go and why wasn’t the publisher paying his vendors and creditors.
    8 months latter he stopped paying trade servicers and got an emergency loan from Jim Dunning which shot Dunning to the top of the secured creditors list.
    Was he lying to the NY Times about his ad rev growth and earnings?

  52. Posted by oldoiltrader | July 31, 2009 at 3:29 PM

    As a minor investor in Doubledown Media I’ve already written off any hope of getting our money back. But since Mr. Lane gave very little communication before he filed Chapter 7 I find stories like these very insightful, along with the comments. I hope this publication or other journalist continue to uncover what really happened. From my seat it unfortunatley looks like foul play by the companies executive managment.

  53. Posted by guest | July 31, 2009 at 4:34 PM

    From the looks of all the “insider information” from 51 and 52, it looks like Aaron Sigmond from the article above is still bitter and he too is obsessive, everyone who is obsessed apparently need to get a job and worry about their future! Not of some defunct magazine.
    Good investigative journalism, just really uninteresting.
    NOTE TO DB: get better stories on here, not just some lame disgruntled Trader Monthly employees.

  54. Posted by guest | August 1, 2009 at 9:50 AM

    Interesting comments here at the end. I just saw this story from Felix’s twitter link when he was making fun of Trader Monthly’s price tag. If unnamed commentators are attacking the writer ,without any mention of where facts might be wrong in the story, she must be getting to the uncomfortable truth.
    I read Trader Monthly, went to a few of their big parties, and thought they looked like they cornered the market on getting access to cheesy fast money boys who’d spend to show they made it.
    Sounds like a great recipe for advertisers. So I was surprised they shut down so fast. Curious now to know what really happened. Is this Lane character off on a Mexican vacation spending like his readers did. Really,where is he working now? I hope someone follows this sorid tale to the end.
    Philip

  55. Posted by guest | August 2, 2009 at 10:48 AM

    I know this is old news but didn’t anyone else find it werid that we received out Nov/Dec issue of TM in Feb. It should have gotten in in early Nov. What did they finally mail it before they filed bankruptcy so they could still charge for holiday ads? I wonder if they can still collect on $1m of accounts receivables they list in their court docs, if the holiday ads didn’t go out on time?
    Did the BK trustee ever try to get that $100k back that Jim Dunning took right before they filled. Shameful-that guy has a billion for himself and he still needs to take $100k that could have paid off creditors.
    http://www.nypost.com/seven/04052009/business/doubledown_debacle_162946.htm
    options trader

  56. Posted by guest | August 3, 2009 at 9:48 AM

    @55
    hey captain obvious – only a disgruntled employee would know that -
    loser!
    or is it Teri ugly Buhl again!
    teri your so transparent,
    DB – what a shame you come to this – you let any 2 bit retail sales employee write for you.

  57. Posted by guest | August 3, 2009 at 7:49 PM

    If there are ex Trader Monthly employees commenting here – lets at least get some news on sex in the office

  58. Posted by guest | August 29, 2009 at 3:36 PM

    Looks likes Dealbreaker was right. Doubledown Media (Trader Monthly) got ZERO dollars for any of their magazines at auction this week.
    http://www.foliomag.com/2009/doubledown-unable-sell-magazine-assets
    Folio says not even Trader Monthly’s subscriber list was deemed worthy of a bid.
    What a shame for all the $3m worth of creditors who are left with nothing becuase Lane choose to not pay the bills.

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