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Snopes’ $500,000 Crowdfunding Campaign Reaches Goal
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Summary: Snopes said that its vendor refuses to relinquish its advertising revenue.

Before we lived in a time where politicians quoted fake news sources and social media spread gossip before anyone fact-checked the story, the world had Snopes. The still-running website was the place to go to find out whether so-and-so actually died or if bubble gum truly took seven years to digest. Since its inception in 1994, it has expanded to a 16-person operation that monitors dishonesty. But this change has also caused the website financial trouble, and according to the New York Times, Snopes is also facing a costly legal battle.

  
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Snopes revenue model is dependent on advertising, and the website said that they are having a problem collecting from their vendor. In order to keep running, Snopes created a crowdfunding page on Monday, asking its readers to donate $500,000 in order to maintain operations.

“We’re just trying to pick a number that we’re sure we can continue operations for, let’s say, through possibly the end of the year, or at least the next several months while all this is happening,” Mr. Mikkelson said.

In one day, Snopes met its goal, according to The BBC, but that doesn’t mean that its problems are over. Snopes founder and Proper Media are still battling over the website’s corporate structure, and the two are expected to meet in court in August.

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Snopes said that it works with Proper Media, a vendor that runs its advertising services, but that Proper Media has withheld the site’s money and has refused to give up control of the site. According to Snopes’s founder David Mikkelson, this means that the site has no way of moving to another host or installing its own ads.

Mikkelson told New York Times that Snopes has not had income for the last several months and that it would not last long without an influx of cash.



Proper Media, however, said that Snopes will continue to be paid from the advertising revenue but that they believed Mikkelson should no longer run the company because of his wasteful spending. Proper Media also said that it is not a vendor but is actually a website partner. According to Proper Media, in 2016, Mikkelson’s ex-wife sold her 50% share of the company to them in the name of Proper Media’s individual members.

Proper Media also said that Mikkelson is free to do whatever he wants with the website.

“Mr. Mikkelson has absolute control of this domain name,’ ’Proper Media attorney Karl Kronenberger said. “He can move it within minutes.”

The two parties are engaged in a legal battle over who owns Snopes and what is being withheld from whom, according to The New York Times. Next week, they’re headed to court in hopes of a resolution.

In May, Proper Media filed a complaint in San Diego, outlining its position and its perception of Mikkelson.

“This case involves unlawful jockeying for ownership and control of the fact-checking website Snopes.com,” Proper Media’s lawsuit said. “But while Snopes is built entirely around the concepts of transparency and truth, its founder, Defendant David Mikkelson, has engaged in a lengthy scheme of concealment and subterfuge to gain control of the company and to drain its profits.”

What do you think of Snopes? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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